Stephen Ludwig, MD

Nomination Letters for Stephen Ludwig, MD

It is my honor and pleasure to nominate Stephen Ludwig, MD for the Ray Helfer Award. I believe this truly is the year to honor the "Lud" (as he is affectionately referred to) as we celebrate the 10 year of the Ray Helfer Society in Philadelphia, PA. This was the site of the first meeting that was, in great part, catalyzed by Steve, one of the visionaries of the Helfer Society. As you know, there are many Helferites who have been privileged to have been trained by Steve and have followed in his passion for this work. His steadfast, humble and progressive leadership has inspired many more physician leaders to understand what it means to be an excellent pediatrician, advocate and teacher.

Steve is a quintessential physician leader, educator and founding father in the area of child abuse pediatrics. His involvement spans to 1974- present when he initiated the SCAN clinical service at CHOP with a subsequent "handing the baton" to Cindy Christian in the early 90s. His career accomplishments tell a story of his weaving of pediatric emergency medicine (a subspecialty that Steve was one of the founding physicians to develop) and child abuse pediatrics (a subspecialty that Steve has been currently serving in a "behind the scenes" fashion to facilitate and pave the way at the ABP, AAP, APA, and other related organizations). And, while Steve may not be front stage in the current sub-specialty endeavors, he remains active as an advocate, supporter, and mentor for this work. Just a couple of weeks ago, in discussions with the RRC regarding the child abuse pediatrics fellowship programs and the PIF status report, Steve's name came up as the person being consulted to assist in some critical questions needing to be addressed prior to the distribution of the draft PIF. His wisdom continues to be highly regarded and valued. Steve's commitment has been unwavering to this work, and to the mission and vision of Helfer.

Steve's academic productivity is superlative with one of the many highlights being the co-editor of the pre-eminent textbook in child maltreatment among many other textbooks he has edited. Steve has provided countless lectures on child abuse topics and has been invited to speak in over 25 states in the U.S. and over ten countries worldwide. Steve has been recognized for his teaching with several Teacher of the Year Awards at CHOP, The Child Advocate Award, Ambulatory Pediatric Association National Teaching Award, the distinguished Armstrong Lecturer at the Ambulatory Pediatric Association in 2005, and mentor awards including the APA Miller Sarkin Mentoring Award in 2006, further demonstrating his expertise as a teacher, mentor and physician leader in this field. In particular, Steve's service as a founding member of the Helfer Society, and his efforts on the Board of Directors and New Subspecialty Committee of the American Board of Pediatrics has demonstrated his leadership and advocacy to bring the members of the Helfer Society to a new era for this important work. And I would be remiss if I did not also describe Steve's leadership as a husband to Zella, his children Susannah, Elisa, and Aubrey, and grandson, Jack. Yes, Steve has accomplished many great things that bestow honor, however, his evident love and devotion to his family is what I most often reflect upon when I think about Steve.

In summary, Dr. Stephen Ludwig has demonstrated a career of excellence and accomplishments that exemplify the honor of the Ray Helfer Award. His efforts to promote education and training, to advocate for improved resources for clinical practice and education, to assist in establishing clinical practice, and to develop collaboration with other professional organizations are epitomized in Steve's career and are evidenced by the current status of the child abuse pediatrics field. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call or write.

Philip V. Scribano, DO, MSCE 

 It is a personal honor to nominate Stephen Ludwig, M.D. for the Ray E. Helfer, M.D. award for his sustained and outstanding achievements in child abuse prevention.  Through his many roles in primary care, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, clinical research, teaching and national advocacy, Steve has raised community and professional consciousness around the special needs of abused children and their families.  His influences have been far reaching- from the high risk child and parents who proudly identify him as their pediatrician to the many pediatricians, surgeons, emergency medicine physicians, nurses, social workers, lawyers, police officers and legislators Steve has educated over the last thirty years.

Steve's involvement with abused and neglected children began in the early 1970s, when he became a member of the newly formed multidisciplinary child abuse team at Philadelphia General Hospital.  During Steve's early career, he developed a multidisciplinary primary care clinic for high risk children and families, and coordinated an interdisciplinary course at The University of Pennsylvania addressing the needs of abused and neglected children and their families.  Steve brought the multidisciplinary team to The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in 1974, where it actively continues today, providing direct patient care, faculty education and research. The multidisciplinary approach was the basis for Steve's first academic publication, which appeared in the first volume of Child Abuse and Neglect.  Since that time, Steve has written over 40 papers on the subject of child abuse and neglect, many of which provide the standards by which the rest of us work.  Did you know he was the first to publish the term “shaken baby syndrome” in his review back in the mid 1980s? He is the co-editor of Child Abuse: Medical Diagnosis and Management (2001), has written many chapters on child abuse, has lectured world-wide on the problems facing abused and neglected children and their families and has been an active member of the Child Abuse and Neglect section of the AAP, serving on the Executive board in past years.  His approach to child abuse is insightful, which is reflected in his teachings.  For example, Steve spoke on the topic of emotional abuse at the 1995 AAP Spring meeting.  His focus was not only on the emotionally impoverished child but on the emotionally overindulged as well.  Steve organized five National Conferences on Child Abuse, which serve as a forum for physician education in child abuse and neglect.

Throughout his career, Steve has served as a valuable child advocate and resource to Pennsylvania. He has provided outreach to SCAN, Inc., a well known social service agency in Philadelphia, and has received the Child Advocate Award from Philadelphia's Support Center for Child Advocates.  Steve established Pennsylvania's Medical-Legal Advisory Board on Child Abuse, a multidisciplinary group of professionals who serve as a statewide resource for investigators, prosecutors and legislators. This board, started by Steve more than 20 years ago, still meets quarterly, and has been responsible for assisting prosecutors and child welfare agencies in protection many children and bringing scores of adults to justice for crimes committed against children.
Steve has encouraged and launched the careers of a dozen or more physicians who remain active in the care of abused children, in part by establishing one of the few fellowships in Child Abuse and Neglect at CHOP. Drs. Jan Paradise, Alex Levin, Cindy Christian, , Rebecca Socolar, Dave Rubin, Phil Scribano, Wendy Lane, to name a few, were all trained by Steve.

Personally, Steve has been instrumental in my career in the field. It was at the end of my residency, when I was contemplating my next move, that Steve and I discussed my options.  Steve had started the child abuse program at CHOP more than a decade before I arrived, but by the late 80s, needed someone to help with the service.  After a few discussions, I agreed to a one year fellowship in child abuse, which I am still completing!  Through the years, I have turned to Steve for guidance with countless issues related to child abuse, and know that I will get an honest opinion about facts and staunch support about ethical issues. I also rely on Steve’s guidance for the “big picture” view.  Almost 10 years ago, Steve and I were discussing the state of child abuse work around the country- a field that was relatively young and was not organized in any way nationally.  We discussed how Steve and his colleagues in pediatric emergency medicine were able to organize the specialty when it was first starting, and we decided to try to do the same for child abuse.  We gathered a few colleagues and organized the first meeting of child abuse physicians from around the country.  As you know, the meeting was an incredible success, and has sustained itself as the Ray Helfer society.  Without Steve’s leadership, I am quite sure the field would not be where it is today, and subspecialty status would still be a distant goal.
In addition to his work in abuse, Steve is an international leader and is considered the father of pediatric emergency medicine.  Through this work he has integrated child abuse curriculum into Emergency Medicine and has taught countless numbers of emergency medicine physicians about abuse. 

Steve represents the best of what medicine has to offer; he recognized a need to help abused and neglected children early in his career, and since that time, despite his extraordinary accomplishments, has remained committed to increasing the awareness of all physicians to the problem of child abuse.  He is a valued practitioner, community activist, teacher, motivator, and leader, and is greatly deserving of this recognition by his peers. \

Cindy Christian, MD