Philadelphia, Pa., November 11, 2009 — Ruth A. Lawrence, MD, professor of pediatrics and obstetrics/gynecology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, is the winner of the 2009 Martha May Eliot Award honoring exceptional achievements in the field of maternal and child health.
“Through her deeds, advocacy, teaching, research and writing she has had a profound and enduring impact on professionals, the lay public and ultimately the health of innumerable children nationally and internationally,” said Ann Dozier, RN, PhD, associate professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center, in a letter nominating Lawrence for the award. “For over 50 years Dr. Lawrence has been and continues to be a tireless advocate for the health and well-being of children.”
Lawrence currently is working on the seventh edition of her now-classic book “Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession.” She is known as a leader both in clinical toxicology and infant nutrition and is a well-known clinician, educator and researcher.
Since 1995, Lawrence has served as medical director of the Institute of Human Lactation at the University of New York at Albany’s School of Public Health and in 1985 founded the Breastfeeding and Human Lactation Study Center at the Breastfeeding and Human Lactation Study Center at the University of Rochester, where she also is medical director. In 1954 she founded the Finger Lakes Regional Poison Control Center, which is now the Ruth A. Lawrence Drug and Poison Information Center, where she serves as medical director. Since 1952 she was appointed, successively, as associate resident, instructor and clinical instructor, senior instructor, assistant professor, associate professor and professor of pediatrics and obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Rochester.
Lawrence serves as editor-in-chief of Breastfeeding Medicine and on the editorial board for the journal Birth. She serves on a Food and Drug Administration Advisory Panel, the March of Dimes Board of Directors, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding Executive Committee, is a member of the Medical Nutrition Council of the American Society for Nutrition and is on the Expert Roster of the European Union Project Prevention of Obesity in Europe.
Lawrence organized and chaired the U.S. Surgeon General’s Workshop on Breastfeeding and Human Lactation in 1984 and has continued to be a strong voice in the national effort to support breastfeeding.
“She is a sterling role model for individuals seeking to better the health of children and families,” said Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y.
Among her many awards, Lawrence was recognized as one of America’s Top Pediatricians by the Consumers’ Research Council of America and elected a fellow of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology and the Albert David Kaiser Medal from the Rochester Academy of Medicine.
“She is a brilliant leader and extremely tireless worker,” said colleague Richard J. Schanler, MD, associate chairman of the Department of Pediatrics and chief of neonatal-perinatal medicine at Schneider Children’s Hospital at North Shore. “She is legendary.”