HOP Faculty Member Receives Local Hero Award from AAP

Lindsay Thompson, M.D., M.S., received the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP’s) 2017 Local Hero Award, which recognizes recipients for their outstanding community action and advocacy for children in local communities. Thompson, associate professor of pediatrics and health policy at UF and assistant director of clinical research at UF’s Institute for Child Health Policy (ICHP), is one of only two pediatricians in the United States and Canada to receive the award.

The AAP is the professional organization representing some 64,000 pediatricians and child health specialists nationwide. The group selects award recipients from its members via a competitive nominations process that includes letters of support from individuals who are familiar with the nominees’ work in community pediatrics.

Nominator Erik W. Black, Ph.D., associate professor of pediatrics and education in the Division of General Pediatrics at UF, cited Thompson’s capacity as continuity clinic preceptor and faculty leader at UF, her role as assistant director of research at ICHP, and her work with the University of Florida Early Learning Coalition as examples of her exceptional community involvement. Thompson provides guidance and expertise to the Early Learning Coalition as the group considers statewide initiatives related to early childhood education in Florida.

“She is a practitioner who understands and role-models the value of community resources, interprofessional approaches to problem-solving and partnership while balancing a dynamic, diverse work life for future pediatricians, researchers and child advocates,” Black wrote.

Gainesville Attorney Daniel Glassman, whose children were patients of Thompson’s for 11 years, commended Thompson for her dedication to improving children’s health through community involvement, engagement and advocacy.

“Whether it is helping with school-age children exercising before school, helping fund-raise for cancer and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, or providing examinations for school sports, I have never seen any physician give so much of herself to her community,” Glassman wrote in a letter nominating her for the award.

Nominators praised Thompson for being an outstanding pediatrician, as well.

“My wife, who was the mother of my two children, passed away in 2008 from brain cancer,” Glassman wrote. “From the moment of diagnosis, Dr. Thompson made sure that my children, aged 5 and 8, not only received necessary well checks, but also ensured that their emotional and psychological treatment was constantly evaluated and made a focal point of their care.  Based on large part on the kindness and care that Dr. Thompson provided, ten years later, my daughter is graduating near the top of her class and just received admission to the University of Florida.  My son is a thriving high school student and athlete.”

Stephanie Staras, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy, wrote, “Dr. Thompson is amazing with my two living children. She delights in their accomplishments, knowledgably discusses their ailments, and truly loves them.”

Black pointed out that Thompson also is widely respected as an educator and mentor for medical students and residents at UF.

“Lindsay is a consummate teacher; it is a natural extension of her,” Black wrote.  “She has had a tremendous impact on our community in Alachua County, Florida and an extraordinarily positive impact on innumerate students, residents, fellows and colleagues. I can’t count the number of medical students and residents who idolize her. She is who they think about when they look forward ten to twenty years and think about what is possible.”

Staras wrote, “I am certain there is no better person to have trained 30 residents. These doctors bring [Thompson’s] same joy, compassion, knowledge and grace into the community. I know because I have recruited them to participate in my studies and they can’t wait to tell me that Lindsay trained them.”

Thompson will accept the award at the 2017 AAP National Conference and Exhibition in Chicago on Saturday, September 16.

“I am humbled and honored to have been recognized by the American Academy of Pediatrics,” Thompson said. “What I most appreciate is how students, peers and colleagues came together to support me for this nomination. That in itself made me feel overwhelmed and supported.”