URMC Pediatrician to Receive Top Honor from American Pediatric Society

Jan. 7, 2013
McAnarney helped develop Adolescent Medicine specialty, improve teen pregnancy care

Elizabeth R. “Lissa” McAnarney, M.D., professor and chair emerita of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, will receive the 2013 John Howland Medal from the American Pediatric Society, the highest honor bestowed by the American Pediatric Society. McAnarney earned the award because of her groundbreaking work helping to develop the board-certified subspecialty of Adolescent Medicine, her research examining the best ways to care for pregnant adolescents and her career-long commitment to education and mentorship. She will officially receive the Howland medal and an honorarium in May 2013 at the Pediatric Academic Society meeting in Washington, D.C.

“All over this country, you can see the indelible mark Dr. McAnarney has made on the field of Pediatrics, and more specifically, Adolescent Medicine,” said Mark Taubman, M.D., dean of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. “You can see it in the fact that Adolescent Medicine exists as a subspecialty. You can see it in the way we now treat pregnant adolescents, recognizing that although they are mothers, they still have many of the needs of childhood. And you can see it in the army of advocates her teaching and mentoring have created. We couldn’t be prouder of Dr. McAnarney and her incredible accomplishments.”

McAnarney was elected to the elite status of Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1998 and the Institute of Medicine in 2000. She served as president of the American Pediatric Society (2005-2006); the first woman chair of AMSPDC (American Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs (1999-2001), and the president of the Society for Adolescent Medicine (1983-1985). She was elected to the Society for Pediatric Research in 1981 and the American Pediatric Society in 1984.

McAnarney served on the initial Adolescent Medicine Sub-Board of the American Board of Pediatrics (1991-94), was the editor of the first Textbook of Adolescent Medicine (published in 1992) and served as the Charter Editor for the first Adolescent Medicine Sub-Board Certification Examination 1994. She was the only President of the Society for Adolescent Medicine (SAM) (now the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine) to have served a two-year term, so that she could help the then-young organization create an identity separate from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) while maintaining its strong ties. In recognition of that leadership, she subsequently won the Adolescent Health Award from the AAP and the Outstanding Achievement Award in Adolescent Medicine from SAM.

McAnarney studied with another John Howland Award winner (1990), Julius Richmond, M.D., who at that time was dean of the School of Medicine and chair of the Department of Pediatrics, Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse. While in Syracuse, she was introduced to an early adolescent maternity project through an elective with Richmond that sparked her interest in adolescents and in the clinical and community setting as a laboratory. McAnarney joined the University of Rochester as a fellow in 1968 and served in a unique community and behavioral pediatric program Robert J. Haggerty, M.D., (John Howland Award, 1998) began. Shortly after completing her fellowship in 1972, Haggerty invited her to direct the adolescent program where she remained for 21 years before assuming the chair of the Department of Pediatrics at URMC. Gilbert B. Forbes, M.D., (John Howland Award, 1992), a pediatric endocrinologist and specialist in children’s growth and metabolic diseases, helped shape her mid-and later pediatric research career as he did for many other members of the Department of Pediatrics and the University community.

“Clearly the most influential individual in the field of adolescent medicine over the past 40 years, Dr. McAnarney continues to provide guidance and direction to adolescent medicine as one of the most respected statespersons in the field,” said Nina F. Schor, M.D., Ph.D., The William H. Eilinger Chair of Pediatrics and pediatrician-in-chief of Golisano Children’s Hospital. “At the same time, she has worked diligently to make Rochester a beacon for pediatric care in the region. Without the incredible foundation she built with our community’s support, we would not be building a new children’s hospital right now.”

McAnarney’s local service has been recognized by awards at the highest level, including a Women in Science Faculty Mentoring Award, Rochester Business Alliance Women’s Council Athena Award, and the Boys & Girls Club of Rochester Commitment to Community Award.

The University of Rochester Medical Center has a long history of outstanding pediatric education, research and care. In fact, McAnarney was mentored early in her career by two Howland recipients and University faculty, Robert J. Haggerty, M.D., and Gilbert B. Forbes, M.D.

McAnarney’s career-long focus on improving outcomes for teenage pregnancy fits well at the University of Rochester where the terms “community pediatrics” and “behavioral pediatrics,” and the biopsychosocial model were coined and developed. Her research changed the way providers cared for pregnant teens and their babies by helping to understand the unique needs of pregnant adolescents, which were not considered previously. Nor was teenage pregnancy framed as a pediatric dyad (mother and baby), each with specific and interrelated developmental needs. McAnarney was selected to serve on the Institute of Medicine Committee that wrote Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Reexamining the Guidelines, published in May 2009.

McAnarney was nominated for the award by Richard Kreipe, M.D., the Dr. Elizabeth R. McAnarney Professor in Pediatrics Funded by Roger & Carolyn Friedlander, whom McAnarney has mentored throughout his career as an adolescent medicine specialist and eating disorders expert.

“At all times she role-models the dignity and respect that she shows to all colleagues, patients and families in ways that are sometimes not demonstrated by high-powered leaders in academic pediatrics,” Kreipe said. “She embodies the University of Rochester motto, meliora, to do ever better.”

Faculty in the Department of Pediatrics have had a banner year of national honors. In addition to McAnarney’s award, Chin-To Fong, M.D., geneticist and associate professor of Pediatrics, received the 2012 AAMC Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award; Richard Kreipe, M.D.,  professor of Pediatrics, was recognized for Outstanding Achievement in Adolescent Medicine from the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM); Thomas K. McInerny, M.D., was elected president of the American Academy of Pediatrics; and Nina F. Schor, M.D., Ph.D. was named president-elect of the Child Neurology Society.