UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital pediatrician named president-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics

Dr. Moira Szilagyi
Dr. Moira Szilagyi

LOS ANGELES (June 18, 2020) – Moira Szilagyi, MD, PhD, a nationally-known expert in childhood trauma and resilience and professor of pediatrics at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital, has been voted president-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Szilagyi, who is currently interim chief of general pediatrics and section chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, begins her three-year AAP term in January 2021.

"Dr. Szilagyi is a dedicated pediatrician and a national advocate for children’s health, especially for those who live with adversities," said Sherin Devaskar, MD, physician-in-chief of UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital and holder of UCLA's Mattel Executive Endowed Chair in the department of pediatrics. "Her commitment to addressing health care disparities and inequities among children who have experienced foster care, poverty, racism and other trauma will benefit children here and around the world."

A pediatrician who also treats patients in Los Angeles County's foster care system, Szilagyi joined UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital in 2014. Prior to that, she was at the University of Rochester for more than 20 years where she was professor of pediatrics and medical director of Starlight Pediatrics, an integrated care medical home for children in foster care.

"My work at UCLA and throughout my career has focused on developing health care delivery programs and advocating to improve the outcomes of vulnerable children," said Szilagyi. "As president of AAP, my focus will be on supporting the vital work of the family-centered pediatric medical home, promoting trauma- and resilience-informed care, which includes focus on the mental health of children."

Active in the academy for more than 20 years, Szilagyi has chaired its national Council on Foster Care, Adoption and Kinship Care, authored several AAP policy statements on child welfare issues, and worked closely with its legislative office on federal advocacy. Szilagyi is also principal investigator of a joint UCLA-UMASS-AAP educational training program to help pediatricians integrate trauma-informed care into practice.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 69,000 primary care pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists dedicated to the health and well-being of all infants, children and adolescents.

Since the U.S. News rankings began in 2007, UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital pediatric specialty departments have been consistently ranked among the nation's best. The hospital, located within Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, and its support programs, aim to provide sophisticated, compassionate care to critically ill children. In addition to UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital, UCLA Health provides general and specialty pediatric services at more than 40 community clinics throughout Southern California.

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