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05-07-2011

Pediatrics Pioneer T. Berry Brazelton Receives Clarkson University Honorary Degree

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/tbrazelton2.jpg.]

Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, professor of pediatrics emeritus at Harvard Medical School and founder of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center at Children's Hospital in Boston, received an honorary doctor of science degree at Clarkson University's 118th Commencement today.

Dr. T. Berry BrazeltonBrazelton is one of the world’s foremost authorities on pediatrics and child development.

The degree was awarded for his "for his role as a leading force behind the pediatric healthcare revolution and for transforming our understanding of child development and caregiving environments, most notably through the development of diagnostic assessment tools and more than 200 scholarly papers and 40 books; and for his advocacy on behalf of children and families, which has shaped public policy.”

In addressing the Class of 2011, Brazelton said, "I started the Brazelton Touchpoint Center in Children’s Hospital in Boston and we use trained professionals to assist underprivileged parents all over the country and to look for and demand the assistance they need to give children the best future they can conceive of. And now, we have 160 sites around the country and we are affecting the lives of nearly 3 million children and families and touchpoints are the way we do it.

"By using these vulnerable times, these touchpoints -- the times you pull back, reorganize and become prepared for the next step -- we can reach out for these vulnerable families at such a time and make a difference to them and their children’s future. And I think all of you are facing one of these touchpoints and I hope you’ll use it.

"You can achieve what you want in your own future if you are willing to set your goals high, to work hard, to be resilient when you need to deal with adversity and you will find out it’s so rewarding when you finally get there."

Author of more than 200 scholarly papers, Brazelton has also written 40 books on pediatrics, child development, and parenting. Translated into more than 20 languages, these include the now classic Infants and Mothers, and the bestselling Touchpoints series.

His groundbreaking Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS) is now used worldwide to recognize the physical and neurological responses of newborns, as well as emotional well being and individual differences. The NBAS has inspired numerous infant assessment tools and more than 1,000 research publications. It continues to transform our understanding and shaping of caregiving environments.
 
A tireless advocate for families with young children, Brazelton has been a leading force behind the pediatric healthcare revolution that opened hospital doors to parents and empowered them to become active participants in their children’s care.

He has frequently appeared before Congressional committees, and played a pivotal role in the enactment of the Family and Medical Leave Act that guarantees three months of maternity leave, and Public Law 99457, which extends the rights and protections of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to young children. In 1989, he was appointed to the National Commission on Children, raising public awareness of the plight of young children living in poverty, and urging the inclusion of their needs and rights in the national political agenda.

In 1993, he founded the Brazelton Touchpoints Center (BTC) at Children’s Hospital, Boston, where he continues to promote strengths-based, family-centered care in pediatric and early education settings around the world.
 
Brazelton holds an undergraduate degree from Princeton University and received his M.D. in 1943 from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. In 1945, he moved to Boston to serve his medical residency at Massachusetts General Hospital before undertaking pediatric training at Children’s Hospital. His interest in child development led to training in child psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and the James Jackson Putnam Children’s Center. He subsequently served as a fellow with Professor Jerome Bruner at the Center for Cognitive Studies at Harvard University. He then combined his interests in primary care pediatrics and child psychiatry and in 1972 established the Child Development Unit, a pediatric training and research center at Children’s Hospital in Boston.
 
He has received numerous awards and honors, including the 2002 Gustav Lienhard Award from the Institute of Medicine. In 1995, Harvard University Medical School established the T. Berry Brazelton Chair in Pediatrics.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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