The Citadel

The Military College of South Carolina


COL Joe M. Sanders, Jr.

Col Joe SandersAfter graduating from The Citadel in 1962, COL. Sanders, Jr. accepted a commission in the Regular Army and went on active duty while a student at the Medical College of SC (now MUSC). He was on special “excessive leave” program while in medical school and graduated in 1967. He went on to Letterman Army Hospital in San Francisco to complete an internship. He remained there to do two years of residency training in pediatrics followed by a one year fellowship in Adolescent Medicine at San Francisco Children’s Hospital (while still on active duty in the Army).

With his post-graduate medical education completed, he was transferred (by choice) to Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Colorado in 1971 where he established the military’s first fellowship training program in adolescent and young adult medicine. When he retired from the Army in 1986, he had trained some 29 Fellows in Adolescent Medicine. Dr. Sanders completed the clinical/academic phase of his career by serving of the faculty of the Department of Pediatrics at the Medical College of Georgia, the University of Georgia’s medical school in Augusta.

He began his second career in 1988, in administrative medicine, when he was recruited to join the staff of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) as the Associate Executive Director. Five years later he was promoted to the position of Executive Director/CEO. Located in the Chicago area, the AAP is a non-profit association of some 65,000+ Board Certified Pediatricians. COL. Sanders directed a staff of 350+ employees with an annual budget of 70+ million dollars. Their primary functions were to (1) provide postgraduate education opportunities for Pediatricians and (2) to establish standards of care for the pediatric population (birth to age 21). They accomplished the former by sponsoring a plethora of education courses around the country and by publishing a peer-reviewed scientific journal and several review journals, textbooks, and manuals. The second function included producing policy statements and guidelines related to the medical care of children – for example, the schedule for receiving childhood immunizations. Other activities included such things as developing educational materials for parents (books, pamphlets, etc.) and maintaining an office in Washington where they actively advocated (lobbied) for children’s issues.

COL. Sanders retired from this challenging but rewarding phase of his career in 2004, and he and his wife finally made it back to their native South Carolina.

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