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12.22.2015

Two Miller School Leaders Named to American Pediatric Society

Judy Schaechter, M.D., M.B.A., and F. Daniel Armstrong, Ph.D., two distinguished leaders at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, have been accepted into the American Pediatric Society, a highly selective national organization focusing on pediatric research and scholarship.

“We are truly honored to have these exceptional researchers and clinicians join the American Pediatric Society, whose purpose is to provide leadership for the advancement of academic pediatrics,” said Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Dean of the Miller School of Medicine.

Schaechter, who is Chair of the Department of Pediatrics, Chief of Service at Holtz Children’s Hospital at Jackson, and the George E. Batchelor Endowed Chair in Pediatrics, added, “The society helps assure that we continue to train the best clinician-scientists, that our children receive evidence-based medicine, and that our society benefits from robust child health research, now and into the future.”

Armstrong, Professor and Executive Vice Chair of Pediatrics and Director of the Mailman Center for Child Development at the Miller School, said, “It is very rewarding to be recognized for our center’s decades-long research, which is dedicated to improving the lives of children and families.”

Both Schaechter and Armstrong were nominated by American Pediatric Society (APS) member R. Rodney Howell, M.D., professor of pediatrics, chairman emeritus, and member of the Hussman Institute for Human Genomics.

“Dr. Judy Schaechter’s greatest strengths are in leadership, advocacy and in translating research into community change through policy, programming and education in her chosen field of injury and violence prevention,” wrote Howell.

A board-certified pediatrician who joined the Miller School faculty in 1997, Schaechter has dedicated her career to injury prevention, education and research. She is a strong advocate for prevention measures, including vaccinations, nutrition, school health initiatives, and programs to end health disparities and improve access to care.

Schaechter founded the Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Miami in 2000, and in 2012 she was elected president of the national Injury Free Coalition for Kids composed of hospital-based, community-oriented programs in 40 cities across the U.S. She was also elected to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention.

Schaechter has studied firearms as a public health issue for nearly two decades. In 1998 she established Not One More, an advocacy group dedicated to the premise that “Not one more child should die by gun violence,” and she led the legal battle against the 2011 Florida law that prohibits physicians from asking patients about guns in their homes. In 2015, she co-authored a Pediatrics commentary, “Prevent Youth Assault by Assaulting Firearm Violence,” which calls on physicians to practice primary prevention of firearm violence and to advance societal norms changes to improve child health and safety. Her current research examines the reporting of pediatric unintentional firearm injury by the media and law enforcement.

Armstrong is a local, state, national, and international leader in child health research, education, and child health policy. In his 30-year career at the Miller School of Medicine, Armstrong has been an innovative leader in research on childhood chronic illness and neurodevelopmental disabilities.

“Long before it was in vogue, Dr. Armstrong was a leader in team science and multi-center clinical research,” wrote Howell. “His research includes a number of seminal publications, including a conceptual paper describing a neurodevelopmental model for understanding outcomes in children with chronic illness that has provided a foundation for the work of investigators in childhood chronic illness.”

A faculty member since 1985, Armstrong’s early career focus was on pain assessment and management in children with cancer or sickle cell disease. One of his early studies on decision-making by physicians and nurses on treatment of pain in children with sickle cell episodes is a classic, still cited nearly 25 years after its publication. Through the years, his primary research focus has been on neurodevelopment in children treated for brain tumors, leukemia, sickle cell disease, and HIV/AIDS. His studies have been supported by more than $30 million in extramural federal and foundation grants and contracts, and he received the second Micah Batchelor Award for Excellence in Children’s Health Research in 2005.

Armstrong was appointed director of the Mailman Center in 1999, and was named interim Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs in 2014. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Florida Association of Children’s Hospitals, and he is the president-elect of that organization. Armstrong also serves as chair of the Florida Biomedical Research Advisory Council, responsible for overseeing $20 million of state grant funding for cancer and tobacco-related disease. He was responsible for developing the State Biomedical Research Strategic Plan and co-leading the implementation of the Florida Cancer Centers of Excellence program. Armstrong also serves on the national Board of Directors of the American Cancer Society.

Both Schaechter and Armstrong will become official members of APS on January 1, 2016, joining other Miller School faculty members, including Howell, Carolyn Abitbol, M.D., professor of pediatrics; Eduardo Bancalari, M.D., professor of pediatrics, obstetrics & gynecology; Emmalee Bandstra, M.D., professor of pediatrics, obstetrics & gynecology; Tracie L. Miller, M.D., professor of pediatrics; Gwendolyn B. Scott, M.D., professor of pediatrics; and Ilene Sosenko, M.D., professor of pediatrics. In addition, Charles R. Bauer, M.D., professor of pediatrics, and Henry Gelband, M.D., professor emeritus of pediatrics, are both emeritus members of APS.

Since its founding 127 years ago, the APS has been dedicated to the advancement of child health through promotion of pediatric research, recognition of achievement, and cultivation of excellence in pediatrics through advocacy, scholarship, education and leadership development.

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