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VUMC’s DeBaun elected president-elect of the American Pediatric Society

Mar. 24, 2022, 9:57 AM

Michael DeBaun, MD, MS, MPH
Michael DeBaun, MD, MS, MPH

by Nancy Humphrey

Michael DeBaun, MD, MS, MPH, professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, vice-chair of Clinical Research and Translational Research and J.C. Peterson, M.D. Endowed Chair in Pediatrics, has been elected president-elect of the American Pediatric Society.

He will serve a three-year term as president-elect, president and immediate past term president. DeBaun, also director of the Vanderbilt-Meharry Center for Excellence in Sickle Cell Disease, will become president of the 1,800-member society in 2023.

A member of the APS since 2008, DeBaun was previously elected as a councilor to the APS Council in 2018.

DeBaun said his vision as president-elect is threefold.

  • Building on the organization’s formal mission by expanding the membership within the APS guidelines to child health specialists outside of pediatric medicine, including pediatric surgeons who are experts in trauma, child psychologists who are experts in eating disorders and other mental illnesses and nurses who are experts in health care delivery and the education of children.
  • Establishing a quarterly virtual APS State of Child Health Symposia to discuss the most pressing issues in child health
  • Creating a dialogue through a monthly book club for members to enhance dialogue and build a sense of community among those seeking to promote child health.

“To be elected APS president is an honor. Collectively, we have an opportunity to improve child health across North America,” DeBaun said. “The presidency provides a unique opportunity to create a dialogue about some of our nation’s most difficult questions related to child health.”

DeBaun said children’s health has never before been more important — with families affected so drastically during the COVID-19 pandemic and children being exposed to violent events throughout the country and the world over the past two years.

“The current era is critical for child health, DeBaun said. “We have a generation of children who have not had intimate contact with their extended family for 18-plus months. We’ve had an excessive rate of death in people over 60, so a generation will grow up without knowing their grandparents. There’s the stress and strain on their parents to manage the impossible task of being at home and at work and homeschooling their children. Our nation’s racial strife during the summer of 2020 and the international challenge of children of the war — recently Afghanistan, and now Ukraine — represent new challenges for child health here and abroad. Last but not least, the children of migrants on the border of the United States and their unique challenges,” he said. “This is the time our health system depends on efforts in the field to make informed, evidence-based decisions about improving children’s lives. We should embrace the American Pediatric Society members’ expertise for their advice and counsel to support our children,” he said.

“It is most fitting that APS has selected one of the country’s most thoughtful, innovative and scholarly pediatric leaders to lead this most prestigious pediatric academic society,” said Steven Webber, MBChB, MRCP, chair of Vanderbilt’s Department of Pediatrics, Pediatrician-in-Chief at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and James C. Overall Professor. “I anticipate that Dr. DeBaun will be a transformative leader for APS.”

The APS is a nonprofit organization founded in 1888 as the first pediatric society in North America. The mission of the APS is to shape the future of academic pediatrics through engagement of distinguished child health leaders to represent the full diversity within the field.

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