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Four Pediatricians Appointed to National Advisory Committee on Children and Disasters

8/7/2014 New committee will advise HHS on protecting children during disasters

Washington, DC – The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) congratulates four pediatricians appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Children and Disasters, which will convene a leading group of diverse public health, science and medical experts for its first public meeting tomorrow in Washington, DC. The AAP commends Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Nicole Lurie, MD, MSPH, for selecting these pediatric disaster preparedness leaders to serve on the key national advisory committee.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the 15 committee members selected from across the country to provide advice and consultation to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell on comprehensive planning and policies to address the health needs of children in preparation for, in response to and in recovery from disasters and other public health emergencies.  

The following pediatricians were selected for the committee from a competitive group of more than 80 nominees:

  • Michael Anderson, MD, FAAP, vice president and chief medical officer at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Scott Needle, MD, FAAP, primary care pediatrician for the Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida, Naples, Fla., and disaster coordinator for the AAP Florida chapter
  • Sarah Park, MD, FAAP, Hawaii state epidemiologist and chief of the Hawaii Disease Outbreak Control Division, Honolulu
  • Jeffrey Upperman, MD, FAAP, associate professor of surgery at the University of Southern California and attending pediatric surgeon and associate chief of pediatric surgery at the Children's Hospital Los Angeles

In addition, the Academy recognizes the following pediatricians appointed to the committee from their roles within the federal government, where they have long championed policies and priorities to improve children's health:

  • Diane Murphy, MD, a pediatrician and director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Office of Pediatric Therapeutics
  • Georgina Peacock, MD, medical officer and developmental-behavioral pediatrician with the HHS Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Anne Zajicek, MD, pediatrician and chief of the Obstetric and Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics Branch in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

"Dr. Lurie and the Department of Health and Human Services have assembled an all-star team. The disaster preparedness expertise and understanding of children's health that each of these pediatricians bring to the table is extraordinary," said Steven Krug, MD, FAAP, Chair of AAP's Disaster Preparedness Advisory Council. "Combined with the knowledge of their highly-esteemed colleagues, the committee should prove to be invaluable in providing critical guidance on protecting our children when disaster strikes."

The National Advisory Committee was a top priority for the AAP during congressional consideration of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act (PAHPRA) and was a recommendation of the National Commission on Children and Disasters. The Academy applauds Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) for her leadership in championing this provision of PAHPRA. The National Advisory Committee is uniquely positioned to provide expert guidance and advice to federal agencies on ensuring current disaster preparedness and response programs are meeting the needs of children, including children with special health care needs.

"Whether it be during a natural disaster or an act of terrorism, our children have important physical, physiological, developmental differences from adults that must be anticipated," said AAP President James M. Perrin, MD, FAAP. "The Academy is honored to be represented by several pediatricians on the National Advisory Committee on Children and Disasters, which will play a pivotal role in improving protections for our children at times when they are often at their most vulnerable."

A committee chairperson will be named during the committee's meeting on Friday, August 8, and a full list of committee members can be found here


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 62,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.