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GUMC Researcher To Receive “Pioneer for Persons with Disabilities Award” from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Phyllis R. Magrab, educator, scholar, and skilled clinician, recognized as international champion for children with disabilities

Washington, D.C. -- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has selected Phyllis R. Magrab, M.D., director of the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development and professor of pediatrics, as the recipient of its 2008 Pioneer for Persons with Disabilities Award.

“I applaud Dr. Magrab as she is an outstanding advocate, administrator, researcher and clinician who has made major contributions to the disability community,” says the HHS director of the Office on Disability, Margaret Giannini, M.D., F.A.A.P.

The award will be presented by HHS Deputy Secretary Tevi Troy and Giannini at a ceremony honoring the contributions of Magrab and others to the disability community on Monday, Oct. 27, 2008, at 1:00 p.m. the HHS Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Avenue, S.W. in Washington.

Magrab has dedicated her career to improving the quality of life for vulnerable children and their families. For the past 40 years she has provided service, conducted research, and trained future professionals in the care of children with chronic illnesses, disabilities and mental health needs and their families. She has been director of the Center for Child and Human Development at Georgetown, a major research and training and public policy program, since 1975 and also has been chief of pediatric psychology since 1969.

Howard J. Federoff, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president for health sciences and executive dean of the School of Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center says Magrab’s lifelong dedication to children is remarkable. “Dr. Magrab’s tireless dedication to the welfare of children is an inspiration to us all. She is a champion of children and very deserving of this outstanding distinction for her extraordinary contributions. The Georgetown University Medical Center community joins me in congratulating Dr. Magrab.”

“I’m honored to receive this award especially when I stop and reflect on my career,” says Magrab. “Advances for children have happened in inches, but they happened; not that there aren’t new struggles for all our children who have mild or severe differences. We have to keep advocating for inclusive communities and services so that the most vulnerable, whether poor or disabled, can flourish. I still plan to work hard for this"

Magrab is actively involved in global issues related to social exclusion, education and development, and literacy - informing, guiding and developing policy and practice. She is working, on behalf of Georgetown University, with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on its agenda of Education For All (EFA) and with the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on policies for serving at-risk children in their communities. She is especially concerned with social justice issues surrounding global initiatives relating to children and the human rights agenda. In 2006, Magrab was named a UNESCO Chair to honor this work and to establish her continuing role in implementing EFA and the UN/UNESCO literacy agenda.

Magrab is one of the founders of the field of pediatric psychology and her text, Psychological Management of Pediatric Problems, represents one of the first works in the field establishing its academic presence. Magrab has written/edited ten major books as well as numerous articles and chapters that reflect her personal commitment and philosophy of caring

In addition, Magrab has contributed significantly to the field of training clinical psychologists and has served as chairperson of both committees and conferences that have further defined the field. Over the past two decades, Magrab has been actively involved in developing public policy to ensure society’s commitment to children and youth with special needs. She was one of the pioneers in the field of maternal and child health and children’s mental health to establish community-based, family-centered systems of care for children and youth with disabilities, chronic medical conditions and mental health needs. In 1988, she was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the Maternal and Child Health Research Committee.

Magrab has received numerous honors for her work including the Distinguished Contributions Award from the American Psychological Association, Society of Pediatric Psychology in 1985; the Surgeon General’s Award for Distinguished Service in 1988; the Distinguished Service Award from the Division of Clinical Psychology of the American Psychological Association in 1991; and the John C. Mac Queen Award from the Association of Maternal and Child Health in 2002. In 1999, she was honored by Georgetown University for teaching when she received the inaugural Estelle Ramey Medical Women Faculty Award.

About Georgetown University Medical Center
Georgetown University Medical Center is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through our partnership with MedStar Health). Our mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis -- or “care of the whole person.” The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing and Health Studies, both nationally ranked, the world-renowned Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization (BGRO), home to 60 percent of the university’s sponsored research funding.


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