www.aapnews.org Volume 36 • Number 3 • March 2015
Updated AAP policy opposes
marijuana use, citing potential
harms, lack of research
by Seth D. Ammerman, M.D., FAAP
;e parents of a 17-year-old ask you
to recommend medical marijuana for
their daughter, who was injured in an
auto accident six months ago and still
has back pain. Hydrocodone and ac-etaminophen initially helped, but the patient stopped
taking the medication because of unpleasant side e;ects.
She told her parents she smokes marijuana “for fun”
on weekends and believes it improves the pain. Her
parents say they also think medical marijuana would be
helpful for their daughter’s back pain. ;ey smoke legal
marijuana recreationally and feel like it’s a benign drug.
;is scenario is becoming more common. To date, 23
states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, and four states (Colorado, Washington,
Oregon and Alaska) and the District of Columbia have
legalized recreational marijuana for adults 21 years of
age and older.
Academy responds to
ABIM MOC announcement
by Melissa Jenco • News Content Editor
An announcement from the American Board
of Internal Medicine (ABIM) that it is modifying its Maintenance of Certification (MOC)
program has prompted responses from the
leadership of the American Board of Pediatrics
(ABP) and the Academy.
“;e ABP is working continually to make
all parts of MOC relevant and useful to pediatricians. In the coming weeks, ABP with
the input of the AAP, will be examining the
ABIM (American Board of Internal Medicine)
decision based on the data and in the most efficient and cost-e;ective manner,” AAP Executive Director and CEO Errol R. Alden, M.D.,
FAAP, and ABP President and CEO David G.
Nichols, M.D., M.B.A., FAAP, said in a Feb.
12 joint statement.
;e statement concluded that both organizations are committed to quality continuing education and professional standards commensurate with providing children with the best care.
;e comments followed ABIM’s Feb. 3 announcement that it would suspend practice
assessment, patient voice and patient safety requirements for at least two years following crit-
See MOC, page 13
AAP president calls on pediatricians
to promote effectiveness of vaccines
Editor’s note: ;e following letter was emailed to all AAP members Feb. 2.
As your new president, I have been working closely with AAP leaders and
sta; to monitor the recent cases of measles in the United States. ;e measles
outbreak that is linked to Disneyland has now been reported in 17 states and
the District of Columbia. ;e Academy is deeply concerned about the children
infected and, most importantly, those at risk because they are unvaccinated.
;e evidence is clear that the best way to protect children is to follow the recommended immunization schedule. ;e measles outbreak is a stark reminder
of this. Advocacy of delayed or alternative immunization schedules increases
the risks to all children. ;e AAP strongly urges all members to follow the
approved immunization schedule and to help educate families about the safety and e;ectiveness
of childhood vaccines. ;e Academy has a number of materials available to assist our members.
Media coverage of this measles
outbreak has been generally consistent with AAP policy, but there
have been examples of misinformation. ;e Academy is actively
promoting our policy and pitching interviews with AAP spokes-persons to the media. We need
all pediatricians to join the AAP,
the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention and the American
Academy of Family Physicians
to recommend children be immunized appropriately. ;e AAP
issued a press statement on Jan. 23 ( bit.ly/1CaSx3q), and I have released a new statement
( bit.ly/1FpZ636) that directly urges parents to vaccinate their children. Please consider linking
to it on your practice websites and sharing it with your patients and families.
;ank you for your help. As pediatricians, we have a unique and important role to play in times
like these to treat sick children, reassure anxious families, and maintain our focus on preventing
disease and promoting health. ;e most e;ective way to counter misinformation and to promote
the e;ectiveness of vaccinations in protecting child health is through all of us as pediatricians
talking about what we know: Vaccines work. We do this with our families, with the media and
in conversations taking place online.
I look forward to this year as your president and appreciate your feedback. Please feel free to
send me your comments and advice to President@AAP.org.
Sandra G. Hassink, M.D., FAAP
Helpful resources for pediatricians and parents can be found at