According to recent estimates, 350 000 children each year will experience an acute episode of joint pain, and nearly 200 000 will have juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or another collagen vascular disease. In 1976, there were only 30 pediatric rheumatologists, and fewer than 10 inpatient centers for the care of children with rheumatic diseases in the United States. By 1986, there were pediatric rheumatology faculty in 46 (37%) of the 126 academic pediatric departments in the United States.

Recently, it was noted that several available pediatric rheumatology faculty positions remained unfilled for significant periods of time. Whether this indicated a need to train additional fellows or other problems was not clear.

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