Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian Physician Receives Kendig Award for Outstanding Achievement in Pediatric Pulmonology

Nov 4, 2003


Pediatric pulmonologist Dr. Robert B. Mellins of Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian and Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons has been honored by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) with the Edwin L. Kendig, Jr. Award for outstanding achievement in his field.

"Dr. Mellins is a dynamic physician who continues to give his heart and soul to the pediatric pulmonology world and to the care of his patients," said Dr. Susan Millard, Award chairperson of the AAP Section on Pediatric Pulmonology.

Dr. Mellins, co-director of the Edsall-Wood Center, the site of basic and clinical research in asthma at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and professor of pediatrics at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, is part of a team who developed the Open Airways for Schools Program. For the last 16 years, this nationwide program, delivered by the American Lung Association® has taught children with asthma about the disease and ways to manage their condition. The program has been a success; a study published in the Health Education Quarterly found that children participating in the program have better grades, better asthma management skills, a greater degree of confidence, and communicate more with their parents. Additionally, the children were less likely to miss school or be hospitalized because of their asthma. Open Airways for Schools is offered in all New York City public elementary schools by school nurses.

Dr. Mellins graduated from Columbia College and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. After a year of internship in pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Hospital, he entered the military, where, as part of the U.S. Public Health Service, he directed the first Poison Control Center in Chicago. After completing his military service, Dr. Mellins finished his pediatric training at New York Hospital (now NewYork Weill Cornell Medical Center) and Babies Hospital (now Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian). Following four years of private pediatrics practice, he returned to Columbia University Medical Center as a fellow in pulmonary disease. In 1972, he joined Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian, where he formed the Pediatric Pulmonary Division, and served as division director until 1998. Dr. Mellins has been the principal investigator for two National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) demonstration and Education Research Projects that focus on asthma interventions for inner city children.

Dr. Mellins served as president of the American Lung Association® of New York, the American Thoracic Society, and the Fleischner Society. He has written more than 170 scientific articles related to lung disease and has co-edited the book Basic Mechanisms of Pediatric Respiratory Disease. Dr. Mellins serves on the boards of a number of organizations including the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, which seeks to foster humanism in medicine, and the L.A. Jones Foundation, which helps disadvantaged teenagers realize their potential.

Dr. Mellins' honors and awards include membership in the American Pediatric Society; First Prize, New England Journal of Medicine Essay Competition; a National Institutes of Health Career Development Award; the Columbia University Stevens Triennial Award for Research; the Medical Education Award for Lay Education from the American Academy of Pediatrics; the Will Ross Medal from the American Lung Association; the American Thoracic Society Distinguished Achievement Award; and the 2000 Award for Public Health Partnership from the New York City Department of Health. Additionally he was the 2001 Life and Breath Honoree from the American Lung Association® of New York.

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