Pediatrics through the years.

In 1948, a gallon of gas was 26 cents and the average cost of a new home was $15,227. President Harry S. Truman was re-elected and the AAP published its inaugural issue of Pediatrics®. Enjoy our interactive timeline for a retrospective look at historical and pediatric milestones.

Committee Report: American Pediatrics: Milestones at the Millennium
Historical Archives Advisory Committee
Pediatrics 2001;107;1482
DOI: 10.1542/peds.107.6.1482

Home/Articles Videos Pediatrics: Celebrating 65 Years


Inaugural publication of Pediatrics® by the AAP

Inaugural issue of Pediatrics® (1948) In the inaugural January 1948 issue of PEDIATRICS, the editor Hugh McCulloch outlined the journal's vision and objectives. He said the journal is "intended to encompass the needs of the whole child in his physiologic, mental, emotional, and social structure. The single word, PEDIATRICS, has been chosen to indicate this catholic intent."

Poliovirus is grown in tissue culture.

(1948) Dr John Enders and his research fellows, Drs Thomas H. Weller and Frederick C. Robbins, successfully grew poliovirus in tissue culture, for which they received the 1954 Nobel Prize in Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts. This technique enabled commercial production of viral vaccines.

First chemotherapeutic agent induces remission of acute leukemia.

(1948) Boston, Massachusetts — Dr Sidney Farber and associates induced remissions of acute leukemia by the use of a folic acid antagonist (aminopterin), the first chemotherapeutic agent for childhood cancer.

Sickle cell anemia termed a molecular disease.

(1949) Palo Alto, California — Drs Linus Pauling and Harvey Itano described sickle cell anemia as a “molecular disease” caused by an abnormal hemoglobin molecule.
(1949) The last case of smallpox in the United States was reported.

National “Child Health Services and Pediatric Education” survey is published.

(1949) The AAP, APS, and the US Children’s Bureau published a national survey, “Child Health Services and Pediatric Education.” This study had an important influence on the health care of children and on pediatric education.

DTP vaccine proves effective.

(1949) Rochester, New York — Drs W. L. Bradford, Elizabeth Day, and F. C. Morton showed that infants respond to a triple vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTP).


First American textbook of pediatric endocrinology is published.

(1950) Baltimore, Maryland — Dr Lawson Wilkins published The Diagnosis and Treatment of Endocrine Disorders in Childhood and Adolescence, the first American textbook of pediatric endocrinology.

Agammaglobulinemia first introduced in article published in Pediatrics.

(1952) Washington, DC — Dr Ogden Bruton described agammaglobulinemia in an original article published in Pediatrics.

First African American pediatrician elected to the APS.

Dr. Roland Scott (1952) Washington, DC — Dr Roland Scott, professor of pediatrics at Howard University, was the first black pediatrician elected to the APS.

Dr Virginia Apgar described the Apgar Score for evaluation of the condition of the newborn.

(1952) New York, New York — The Apgar score comprises 5 components: heart rate, respiratory effort, muscle tone, reflex irritability, and color, each of which is given a score of 0, 1, or 2. The score is now reported at 1 and 5 minutes after birth.

First case of hypochloremia in cystic fibrosis patients with heat stroke described.

(1952) New York, New York — Drs Dorothy Anderson and William Kessler described hypochloremia in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients with heat stroke. A year later, Paul di Sant’Agnese demonstrated marked increases in sweat chloride levels, which became the diagnostic test for CF.

Double helical structure of DNA elucidated.

DNA (1952) Oxford, England — James Watson and Francis Crick elucidated the double helical structure of DNA, for which they received the 1962 Nobel Prize in Medicine.

Second Howland Award of the APS awarded.

(1953) New Haven, Connecticut — Dr Grover F. Powers received the second Howland Award of the APS in recognition of his long-time emphasis of the importance of humanistic, psychosocial, and emotional issues and mental retardation in pediatric practice.

Polio vaccine proven effective.

(1954) A national randomized trial of Dr Jonas Salk’s inactivated polio vaccine involving nearly 2 million American children demonstrated the vaccine’s effectiveness in preventing paralytic polio.
(1955) Last major American epidemic of poliomyelitis, especially prevalent in the Northeast.

Normal diploid chromosome number disproven.

(1956) Stockholm, Sweden — Albert Levan established that the normal diploid chromosome number in man was 46, not 48.

Live, attenuated polio vaccine developed.

Iron lung machines (1957) Cincinnati, Ohio — Dr Albert Sabin developed a live, attenuated polio vaccine, which was approved for general use in 1963. By the mid-1970s the Sabin live vaccine became nearly universally used in the United States.

First American textbook of pediatric infectious disease published.

(1958) New York, New York — Drs Saul Krugman and Robert Ward published Infectious Diseases of Children, the first American textbook of pediatric infectious diseases.

Declaration of the Rights of the Child adopted by the UN.

(1959) United Nations declaration of the Rights of the Child. “THIS DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD to the end that he may have a happy childhood and enjoy for his own good and for the good of society the rights and freedoms herein set forth….” To read the full declaration, click here.

Trisomy of chromosome 21 described in Down syndrome.

(1959) Dr Jerome Lejeune described trisomy of chromosome 21 in Down syndrome, Paris, France. This was followed by extensive investigations of chromosomal syndromes in man, further advanced by techniques for banding and identifying deletions and translocations.

Deficiency of surfactant discovered in lungs of dying infants.

(1959) Baltimore, Maryland — Drs Mary Ellen Avery and Jere Mead described a deficiency of surface-active material (surfactant) in lungs of infants dying of respiratory distress syndrome.


National Institute of Child Health and Human Development established.

(1960) The establishment of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) with Dr Robert Aldrich as first director.

The first American textbook of pediatric hematology/oncology is published.

(1960) New York, New York — Dr Carl H. Smith published Blood Diseases of Infancy and Childhood, the first American textbook of pediatric hematology/oncology.

Measles vaccine introduced.

(1960) Boston, Massachusetts — Live, attenuated rubella (measles) vaccine introduced by Drs John Enders, Samuel Katz, and associates. Dr Katz’s children were among the first to receive this vaccine.

Academic Pediatric Association is founded.

(1960) Founding of the Association for Ambulatory Pediatric Services, now the Academic Pediatric Association. The word “ambulatory” sparked controversy as it was not a word commonly used at the time.

First sub-board certification examination conducted by the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP).

(1961) The ABP conducted examinations for sub-board certification in pediatric cardiology, followed in 1974 by pediatric hematology/oncology, pediatric nephrology, and pediatric infectious disease; in 1975 by neonatology and perinatal medicine; and in 1978 by pediatric endocrinology. Specialty sub-boards in pediatric pulmonology, critical care medicine, rheumatology, and others were established subsequently.

The term “battered child syndrome” was coined by Dr Henry Kempe.

(1962) Dr Kempe and his colleagues produced “The Battered Child Syndrome,” a paper that detailed the identification and recognition of child abuse.

The first study of Reye syndrome published.

(1963) Australia — Dr R. D. K. Reye described a syndrome of encephalopathy, fatty degeneration of the liver following a prodromal viral infection, which was given the eponym Reye syndrome.

Test for detecting phenylketonuria is introduced.

(1963) Albany, New York — Dr Robert Guthrie described a test for detecting phenylketonuria in the newborn period. This was followed by methods for detecting other metabolic, genetic, and endocrinologic diseases by mass neonatal screening, now carried on in all of the United States.
(1965) Title XIX (Medicaid) was enacted by Congress.

The first NICU in America opens.

NICU (1965) The first American newborn intensive care unit (NICU), designed by Dr Louis Gluck, was opened in New Haven, Connecticut. After the 1976 report “Toward Improving the Outcome of Pregnancy” by the AAP, American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology, and the National Foundation, premature care became increasingly centralized in regional NICUs with dramatic improvements in survival.

Rubella vaccine developed.

(1966) Pearl River, New York — Live, attenuated rubella vaccine was developed by Drs Harry M. Meyer, Paul D. Parkman, and Theodore C. Panos.

Recognition and prevention of maternal Rh sensitization by anti-Rh antibody.

Maternal Rh (1966) New York, New York — Dr Victor Freda and associates described prevention of maternal Rh sensitization by anti-Rh antibody. Rh erythroblastosis became a rare disease in the United States.

AMSPDC founded.

(1967) The founding of the Association of Medical School Pediatric Departmental Chairmen (AMSPDC).

First successful bone marrow transplant for severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome.

(1968) Minneapolis, Minnesota — Dr Robert Good performed a successful bone marrow transplant for severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome. Good also introduced the concept of T- and B-lymphocyte subsets.

First American textbook on pediatric pulmonary medicine published.

(1968) Charlottesville, Virginia — Dr Edwin L Kendig Jr published Pulmonary Disorders, the first American textbook on pediatric pulmonary medicine.
Big Bird ca. 1969(1969) Debut of Sesame Street television series.


The term “new morbidity” is introduced.

(1970–1980) Rochester, New York and Indianapolis, Indiana — Drs Robert Haggerty and Morris Green described the “new morbidity” of modern American pediatric practice.

Routine smallpox vaccines discontinued.

(1972) The United States ended requirements for routine smallpox immunization.

First American textbook of nephrology published.

(1975) Buffalo, New York — Drs M. I. Rubin and T. M. Barrett published Pediatric Nephrology, the first American textbook of nephrology.

Nobel Prize in Medicine awarded for studies of kuru and slow virus infections.

Nobel Prize (1976) Dr D. Carleton Gajdusek, a pediatrician, received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his studies of kuru and slow virus infections.

Smallpox declared eradicated.

(1977) The WHO reported that smallpox was eliminated worldwide.

First definitive historic text on American pediatrics published.

(1979) Boston, Massachusetts — Dr Thomas E. Cone Jr published the History of American Pediatrics, the first definitive historic text on American pediatrics, 1600–1979.

Nobel Prize awarded for the development of the CAT scan.

(1979) Drs Godfrey N. Hounsfield and Allan M. Cormack received the Nobel Prize for the development of computed axial tomography (CAT) scans. This was followed by major advances in diagnostic imaging, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasonography.


First successful kidney transplantation performed.

(1980) Dr Joseph E. Murray performed a kidney transplantation, Boston, Massachusetts. This ushered in the modern era of transplantation of kidney, liver, heart, and other organs. Dr E. Donnell Thomas performed and studied bone marrow transplantation for a variety of blood diseases. Murray and Thomas received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1990.

Link between aspirin ingestion and Reye syndrome reported.

Aspirin (1980) Chamblee, Georgia — Dr K. M. Starko reported an association between aspirin ingestion and Reye syndrome. In 1987, Dr J. D. Arrowsmith documented a sharp decrease in the incidence of Reye syndrome paralleling a marked decrease in aspirin use in American children.

HIV/AIDS epidemic begins.

(1980–1985) The beginning of the human immunodeficiency/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) epidemic in the United States that soon affected hemophiliacs and newborns of infected mothers.

Prophylactic penicillin shown to reduce early infectious mortality of infants with sickle cell anemia.

(1985) The National Cooperative Study of Sickle Cell Diseases showed that the use of prophylactic penicillin greatly reduced the high early infectious mortality of infants with sickle cell anemia. This provided a rationale for neonatal screening for hemoglobinopathies, now conducted in 40 states.

Polysaccharide vaccine developed for HiB.

(1985) Rochester, New York — Drs David Smith and Porter Anderson developed polysaccharide vaccine for Haemophilus influenzae type B, This and the subsequent development of a protein-conjugated vaccine resulted in the virtual disappearance of invasive HiB disease (meningitis and epiglottitis) in the United States.


First female president of the AAP elected.

Dr. Toni Eaton (1990) Antoinette (Toni) Parisi Eaton, MD, FAAP, becomes the first woman president of the AAP.
(1990) The Americans With Disabilities Act goes into effect.
(1990) “World Wide Web” is launched by English physicist Tim Berners-Lee.

AAP statement advocating supine sleeping position published.

(1992) The AAP published a statement advocating supine instead of prone sleeping position for infants. This was followed by a 30% to 40% reduction in the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in the United States.
Beanie Baby(1993) Beanie Babies are introduced to the world.

The Back to Sleep campaign is launched.

(1994) The Back to Sleep (now Safe to Sleep) campaign is launched by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) following released its recommendation in 1992 that infants be placed for sleep in a supine position. Since then the AAP expanded recommendations to encourage a total safe infant sleep environment.

Zidovudine shown to reduce perinatal transmission of HIV.

(1994) Treatment of HIV-infected mothers with zidovudine was shown to reduce perinatal transmission to their infants. Testing of blood products for HIV markedly reduced transfusion-related HIV infections. New retroviral drugs markedly improved length of survival and quality of life.

First successfully cloned sheep is born.

Cloned sheep (1996) Dolly, the first successfully cloned sheep, is born at the Roslin Institute in Scotland.

HIPAA is enacted.

(1996) The United States Congress puts the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) into law.
(1997) Pediatrics web site is launched.
(1997) The premier of the Teletubbies television series.


(2000) Despite anxiety over the Y2K bug, the turn of the century is ushered in.

Human genome analysis completed.

(2000) Completion of the analysis (mapping) of the human genome by Drs Francis S. Collins and J. Craig Venter. Dr Collins explained in the 2000 AAP annual convention keynote address why pediatrics is most closely aligned with the advancements in genetics.

The FDA approves the use of the da Vinci Surgical System®, the first robotic surgical system.

DaVinci Robot (2000) For a review of robotically assisted surgery, read Pediatric Robotic Surgery: Early Assessment.
(2003) Scientists publish a final draft of the International Human Genome Project.
Facebook(2004) Facebook is launched.
(2005) YouTube is launched
(2006) Twitter is launched.

Gardasil vaccine approved by the FDA.

(2006) FDA approves vaccine to prevent cervical cancer, precancerous genital lesions, and genital warts due to human papillomavirus (HPV) types 6, 11, 16, and 18.
First iPhone(2007) Apple, Inc. launches the iPhone.
(2009) Pediatrics web site is redesigned.
(2009) The Pediatrics Kindle™ edition is launched.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) passed.

(2009) The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was signed into law. Check out the AAP Statement on the passage.
(2009) The Pediatrics® Facebook page is launched.


(2010) Pediatrics® Digital Edition is launched.
Pediatrics app(2010) Pediatrics® iPhone application is launched.

Affordable Care Act (ACA) enacted.

(2010) The Affordable Care Act becomes law. Learn how the AAP is actively working to protect child health provisions of the ACA.

FDA authorizes HPC-C cell therapy.

(2011) FDA authorizes the first licensed hematopoietic progenitor cells-cord (HPC-C) cell therapy.
Space shuttle Atlantis(2011) Space shuttle Atlantis launches into space from the Kennedy Space Center for its final voyage.
(2011) FDA approves mechanical cardiac assist device for children waiting for a heart transplant.
(2012) FDA approves use of Tamiflu’s (oseltamivir) to treat infants younger than 1 year.
(2013) FDA approves Gleevec (imatinib) for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.