Moving Forward in 2022 to Advance Child Health

Bottom Line: The new year will bring opportunities to advance child health through equity, access, and pediatrician engagement.

By the time you read this blog post, our new calendar year will have already begun. Some of you might have celebrated with fireworks or relaxed with a day of watching football. Many likely kept a low profile this year, like last year, wary and weary of the pandemic. Some of you were at work, caring for patients in the hospital, connecting with families by telemedicine, teaching at the bedside, or tending to experiments in the laboratory. While it’s been said that some things never change, many things do. The new year often provides an opportunity to pause to reflect on the past with gratitude and lean into our future: our chance to sustain, enhance, and expand.

The American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) already has a strong foundation of advancing child health by certifying pediatricians who meet standards of excellence and are committed to continuous learning and improvement. The ABP has continued to evolve, as recently exemplified with an electronic, more user-friendly way to track the progress of trainees; new ways to earn MOC credit, including documentation of UpToDate learning and COVID-related practice improvements; and MOCA-Peds, the ABP’s award-winning, online learning and assessment platform that is now available for all subspecialties this year. For patients and families, two new learning networks were created in recent years: one to improve mental health care for children with chronic conditions and another for sickle cell disease.

Strong foundations are created to be built upon. They allow for expansion and enhancements. The ABP’s North Star is “the improvement of health outcomes for children, adolescents, and young adults.” With that as our guide, we will continuously assess and reassess our strengths and challenges, critically evaluate gaps and opportunities, and reach further in our pursuit of the high-quality, equitable, sustainable care our children need and deserve.

As the new President and CEO of the ABP, I am proud to serve our profession in the interest of the public. I am honored to follow in the footsteps of those who gave their careers to the betterment of pediatric learning and practice. I am also very excited to further our progress toward health equity, accessible behavioral and mental health care, and a workforce that meets child health needs. I look forward to engaging with trainees and early-career pediatricians, with pediatricians in research and in practice, and with those in urban and rural locations, to be sure we build the future we wish to see.

There is so much I am looking forward to in 2022. At the top of my list is working with you — board-certified pediatricians and ABP volunteers who define our profession. No doubt, we have some mutual resolutions. We may not fully accomplish all our goals this year, but we can make progress on our shared aims to:

  • Advance equity in our work and our communities to eliminate health disparities;
  • Address the behavioral and mental health care crisis that leaves too many of our children unidentified and without needed care;
  • Pursue solutions to workforce gaps that challenge access to general and subspecialty care;
  • Connect more certified pediatricians and candidates to the ABP’s vision, for it will only be realized through our full and united participation; and
  • Sustain our core commitment to pediatric excellence, through assessment, certification, and continuous learning.

These are uncertain and trying times. There is much we do not control. Yet, as child health leaders, we are aware of the importance and urgency of the tasks before us, for we work for children.

I came to the ABP because the vision and mission spoke to me and because the pediatric community and ABP staff are known for being passionate about advancing child health outcomes. I am optimistic about what we do, what we can do, and what we will do — together.

As we move forward, your input is welcomed. If you wish to share your perspective, concerns, or suggestions, I want to hear from you. Please contact the ABP at

Thank you for all that you do for children. Happy New Year!

About the Author

Dr. Judy Schaechter

Judy Schaechter, MD, MBA, is President and CEO of the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP), where she leads the work of the ABP in setting standards of excellence, improving child health outcomes, and engaging trainees and pediatricians to continuously improve learning and care. In previous roles, Dr. Schaechter was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow, Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Miami, Service Chief for Child Health at Jackson Memorial Health System, and Professor of Pediatrics and Public Health Sciences at the University of Miami. Dr. Schaechter received her initial board certification in 1996 and is maintaining her certification in General Pediatrics.