Rochester Physician Receives Prestigious National Pediatrics Award

May 04, 1998

Robert J. Haggerty, M.D., professor of pediatrics, emeritus, at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, received the The American Pediatric Society's (APS) highest honor at its Annual Meeting on Saturday, May 2 in New Orleans. The former pediatrician-in-chief, professor and chairman of pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center resides in Rochester, New York.

The John Howland Award is considered to be the most prestigious in the field of pediatrics, honoring individuals who through their contributions to research and teaching have added to the advancement of pediatrics and to improvement of child health.

In nominating Haggerty for the award, Joel Alpert, M.D., professor of pediatrics and public health at Boston University, said, "I cannot think of another pediatrician whose career has touched every aspect of pediatric practice, research, education and service. He is the Joe DiMaggio of pediatrics," he wrote. "Perhaps his greatest contributions to pediatrics are the bridges he has built between practicing and academic communities in Boston and Rochester, as well as nationally at the American Academy of Pediatrics and internationally through the International Pediatric Association."

Haggerty received his B.A. from Cornell University and his M.D. from Cornell University Medical College. He served a Mixed Medical Internship at Strong Memorial Hospital, University of Rochester and completed a residency in pediatrics at the Boston Children's Hospital Medical Center where he was chief resident in pediatrics. He joined the Harvard faculty in 1955 where he was the first Medical Director of the Harvard Family Health Care Program. At Harvard, he was a Markle Scholar in Academic Medicine. He develop the Boston Poison Information Center, the third such center in the nation.

In 1961-62, Haggerty was a Commonwealth Fund Fellow in Social Pediatrics at St. Mary's Hospital and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He returned to Children's and Harvard, continuing as the medical director of the Family Health Care Program, where he provided imaginative direction to this pioneering venture in primary care pediatrics.

In addition to his tenure at Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital in Boston, Haggerty spent more than a decade at the School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC). He interned at URMC's Strong Memorial Hospital and spent from 1964 to 1975 as pediatrician-in-chief, professor and chairman of the Department of Pediatrics. While here, he developed a community-based program which brought the University worldwide recognition as a center of excellence in ambulatory pediatrics.

With a deep concern for the plight of underserved children, Haggerty was instrumental in founding Rochester's Anthony Jordan Health Center, Oak Orchard Health Center and Threshold Center for Alternative Youth Services during the 1960s. "Dr. Haggerty recognized the great opportunity in the mid-1960s to work with the community to develop health care centers so that every child in the Rochester community would have 'a medical home'," said Elizabeth R. McAnarney, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at URMC. "He grasped the opportunity to develop this community as a laboratory for community pediatrics and much of the reputation that Rochester now enjoys is a result of his creativity."

In 1975, Haggerty returned to Boston to become the Roger Irving Lee Professor of Public Health at Harvard School of Public Health and professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. From 1978-88 he was senior program consultant and director of the General Pediatric Academic Development Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In 1980, Haggerty became president of the William T. Grant Foundation, which supports research on ways to improve the mental health of school-age children. In 1992, Haggerty returned once again to the University of Rochester and Children's Hospital at Strong as professor emeritus of pediatrics.

Haggerty currently edits several major pediatric journals and serves as executive director of the International Pediatric Association. He is the author of more than 120 original papers; editor or author of three books; and author of nearly 200 book chapters, editorials, and abstracts. He has lectured extensively in his field.

The Howland award was named after the first chairman of a department of pediatrics established in the United States (at Johns Hopkins in 1912). John Howland stressed the scientific investigation of the causes for and treatment of diseases of infants and children. He and his colleagues made significant contributions to the rapid decline in the mortality and morbidity of children from those diseases, beginning in the 1920s and continuing thereafter during the balance of the first half of this century.

For Media Inquiries:
Teri D'Agostino
(585) 275-3676
Email Teri D'Agostino