Boston doctor honored at White House for groundbreaking work in pediatrics

A 94-year-old Boston doctor, author, and professor is receiving a 2012 Citizens Medal from President Obama at the White House today for his groundbreaking work in pediatrics.

Dr. T. Berry Brazelton developed the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale, used around the world to assess newborns’ physical and psychological responsiveness, as well as emotional well-being and individual differences.

“In his research and his tireless advocacy on behalf of families with young children, T. Berry has been a towering figure in pediatrics. His breakthroughs in detecting physical and neurological responses of newborns created a roadmap for pediatricians leading to improved care and attention to the emotional well-being of countless children,” said Dr. James Mandell, chief executive of Boston Children’s Hospital.”

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Among his many achievements, Brazelton is a clinical professor of pediatrics emeritus at Harvard Medical School, founded the Child Development Unit at Boston Children’s Hospital, and has written a number of successful books on child care and parenting. In 1993, he founded the Brazelton Touchpoints Center at Boston Children’s, where he still advocates strengths-based and family-centered care.

“It is my distinguished honor to award these individuals the 2012 Citizens Medal for their commitment to public service,” Obama said. “Their selflessness and courage inspire us all to look for opportunities to better serve our communities and our country.”

The Citizens Medal is the nation’s second-highest civilian honor, established in 1969, and recognizes American citizens who have performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or fellow citizens.

Over 6,000 public nominations for the award were submitted for the president’s consideration. Among the 18 he chose, six were the teachers and administrators killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

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