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Cindy Christian, MD

The Ray E. Helfer Society Awards Dr. Cindy Christian Its Highest Honor

Cindy ChristianCindy Christian, MD, a child abuse pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, was presented with the 2013 Ray E. Helfer Award at the society’s Annual Meeting in April. The Helfer Society is an honorary association of child abuse physicians from across America and around the world who are leaders in the field of child maltreatment. Annually, the society selects a member for recognition of his or her distinguished contributions in the field. This year the winner of the award was Dr. Christian, an outstanding clinician, researcher, teacher and advocate. She is the Chair of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Professor of Pediatrics at The Perelman School of Medicine at The University of Pennsylvania. Her work as a member of many institutional, city, state and national committees and task forces has done much to improve society’s response to child abuse and neglect. She has published and lectured widely on a variety of topics, notably abusive head trauma, biomechanics of injury, bone fractures, sexual abuse and poisoning and has also made significant additions to the knowledge base of child maltreatment prevention. She developed and then brought to individual doctors’ offices an educational program to help “front line” health care providers recognize and respond effectively to child abuse and neglect cases. She co-edited, with Dr. Robert Reece, the 3rd edition of the classic text Child Abuse: Medical Diagnosis and Management. Colleagues at all levels know that she brings enthusiasm, cheerfulness and optimism to her work.

Dr. Ray Helfer was a pioneer in the field at a time when child abuse was commonly unrecognized or ignored. He researched the root causes of abuse and neglect and taught extensively on how to recognize, address and prevent child maltreatment. His approach to this medical and societal problem was to involve multidisciplinary teams of medical, mental health and social service professionals.  Cases of child abuse and neglect are now routinely handled in this way. He wrote several books including “The Battered Child” (University of Chicago, 1968) and “Helping the Battered Child and His Family” (Lippincott, 1972), which are considered classics on the subject. of Chair, Child Abuse and Neglect.