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The American Academy of Pediatrics was founded in 1931 with a group of 35 physicians from all over the United States. The Minnesota Chapter was founded in 1933 with 11 members.

Fast facts about the Minnesota Chapter:

  • 1934: First Chapter President is elected: EJ Huenekens with 22 members
  • 1949: First annual meeting with 45 members
  • 2007: Membership grew to 600 members
  • 2013: Membership has grown to more than 1000 members


  • E. J. Huenekens, MD, served as the first president for five years. He worked in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School. By the end of his term, membership had grown to 25 pediatricians.
  • During the first ten years, Chapter activity evolved slowly. It was 1956 before Minnesota pediatricians began to think of the Academy Chapter as an action group separate and distinct from the Northwestern Pediatric Society. Gradually, the new organization took over many of the activities of the Child Health Committee of the Minnesota Medical Association (MMA) as well as those of the Northwest Pediatric Society.
  • In that year, Dr. Al Schroeder was appointed chairman of a chapter committee on juvenile delinquency. For the rest of the decade he did a superb job centering around the Teen-Age code, which was put into practice by a number of Twin Cities and state schools. His work received recognition not only in Minnesota, but throughout the nation. The Chapter supported his exhibit at the annual MMA meeting in 1958.
  • A liaison committee was formed in 1959 in conjunction with other interested groups to advise the State Health Department about the use of oral polio vaccine. Its activities continued until at least 1964.
  • Operation “Poison Proof” was begun in 1958 by the Accident Committee, headed by Dr. Robert Semsch.


  • Civil Defense was a major national governmental program during the early ‘60s, reaching into even the smallest Minnesota communities. The Chapter addressed children’s problems, a badly needed addition to the original governmental plans.
  • The institution of the Minnesota “relative value scale” to help physicians with fair charges was begun and completed by a committee of the MMA with members of the Academy Chapter participating.
  • Cooperative work with various adoption agencies in the state was carried out by Dr. Arnold Anderson, chairman of the national AAP Committee on Adoptions.
  • Members put together a directory of Minnesota institutions that cared for children with psychiatric problems.
  • In 1966, a symposium on athletic injuries, organized in cooperation with state schools, was arranged by a Chapter committee.
  • In 1960, a state chapter newsletter began publication.


  • The possibility of national health insurance becoming was discussed, as were other ways the federal and state governments were affecting medical practice.
  • The Minnesota Chapter spent a great deal of time and effort trying to understand preschool and school screening programs. In addition, the Chapter held conferences with representatives from these agencies to eliminate duplicated efforts while insuring the best care for the children involved.
  • The Academy and the Chapter urged that children be kept in the mainstream of health care rather than put in a compartmentalized program.


  • Senator David Durenberger was recognized for his role in legislation that allowed a Maternal and Children’s Health Block Grant.
    There was continued activity in the Coalition for Quality Health Education in the public schools, which included Academy members’ appearances before state Senate and House committees.
  • The Academy supported mandated education for the handicapped. Dr. Richard Nelson organized in-service training programs for physicians who dealt with handicapped children.
  • The WIC (Woman, Infant, Child) nutrition program was re-endorsed by the Chapter. The Accident Prevention Committee worked with the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Safety Council to reduce motor vehicle injuries, to make an infant’s first ride a safe one and to pass the mandatory use of proper child passenger restraints for those under age four.
  • The videotape, Coaches World, was produced to instruct amateur coaches who deal with pre-adolescent children. This tape was developed by the Sports Medicine Committee in cooperation with Gillette Children’s Hospital, the American Red Cross, the Institute for Athletic Medicine, and the Minnesota High School League.
  • The Chapter Committee on Adoptions and Immigration worked with various state agencies on problems of adoption and immigration of Southeast Asian children.
  • The Chapter established a research fund to help practicing pediatricians develop research projects.
  • In 1985 the Chapter’s Child Advocacy Committee co-sponsored with the MMA a symposium of child sexual abuse and was active in educating pediatricians and family physicians on this important topic.
  • On the national level, the Chapter was active in legislation regarding Baby Doe regulations, preventative health care, and vaccine injury compensation. The Chapter and members were active in promoting childhood immunizations.


  • The Chapter has grown to approximately 1000 members and re-positioned itself to continue improving child health, quality, education, health care systems, and practice management. It played a key role in developing legislation to create a children's health plan, which later became Minnesota Care. It has also played a key role in increasing Minnesota's immunization rates.
  • In 2009 the Chapter pushed hard for child passenger safety, recommending children over the age of 4 be put in a booster seat. This became state law in May of 2009. In 2014 the Chapter led efforts to pass Minnesota's newborn screening restoration bill to prevent blood spots and test results from being automatically destroyed and jeopardizing the health of Minnesota children.
  • Currently, the Chapter is working on a variety of projects to improve access to mental health services, reduce poverty/disparities, strengthen child abuse screening and referrals and increase immunization rates.

Past Presidents

Year President
2014-2016 Susan A. Berry, MD
2012-2014 Robert M. Jacobson, MD
2010-2012 Marilyn Peitso, MD
2006-2010 Anne Edwards, MD
2006 Josh Petrikin, MD
2004-2006 Jeff Schiff, MD
2002-2004 Charles Oberg, MD
2000-2002 Kathleen Sweetman, MD
1998-2000 Michael Severson, MD
1996-1998 Joseph Rigatuso, MD
1994-1996 Daniel Broughton, MD
1992-1994 James Moore, MD
1990-1992 Carolyn McKay, MD
1988-1990 Susan Mahle, MD
1985-1988 G. Scott Giebink, MD
1982-1985 Lowell Barr, MD
1979-1982 James Moller, MD
1976-1979 Stephen Sommers, MD
1973-1976 William Bevis, MD
1970-1973 Edmund Burke, MD
1966-1970 Walter Wilder, MD
1964-1966 Robert Bergan, MD
1961-1964 Albert Schroeder, MD
1958-1961 George Logan, MD
1955-1958 Harold Flanagan, MD
1952-1955 Lawrence Richdorf, MD
1945-1952 Roland Nuting, MD
1939-1945 Roger L. Kennedy, MD
1934-1938 E.J. Huenekens, MD