Health + Behavior

UCLA Pediatrician Honored For Service To Los Angeles Children By Alliance For Children's Rights


The Alliance for Children's Rights recently honored UCLA pediatrician Dr. Robert F. Morris (Pasadena) with its first 2000 Francis M. Wheat Community Service Award for his commitment and service to children in Los Angeles.

The Alliance for Children's Rights provides free legal representation and social services referrals to children in poverty. The Francis M. Wheat Community Services Award is named after The Alliance's founder, Frank Wheat, who dedicated his life to grass-roots efforts that directly affected the lives of children in need. Through The Alliance's Health Care Partnership for Children — which matches medically needy children with physicians willing to provide them with continuous, quality care — Morris has offered primary medical care to all the children at the Boys Town of Los Angeles group foster home.

Morris, UCLA professor of pediatrics and associate director of UCLA's Adolescent Medicine Program at the Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA, was recognized for his long-time commitment to providing care to disadvantaged children and adolescents. He devotes a great deal of time to the care of disabled and chronically ill children, who suffer from many medical and orthopedic problems.

"Dr. Morris has played a crucial role in the development and implementation of The Alliance's Health Care Partnership for Children," said Andrew Bridge, CEO and general counsel. "In addition to helping design the partnership, Dr. Morris provides primary medical care to the children at the Boys Town of Los Angeles group foster home. His involvement with the Boys Town children has gone above and beyond the normal call of duty."

Committed to improving these children's lives and concerned with their well-being on more than just a medical level, Morris has visited with the boys in their home and become a familiar part of their lives. As the children's primary-care provider and working closely with the group home staff, Morris has developed an ongoing relationship with the children, which makes him better able to diagnose their needs.

In one case, Morris diagnosed a young boy's birth defect that had been overlooked for seven years and had created many social and emotional problems for the boy. Under Morris' care, the birth defect was corrected by another UCLA pediatric specialist, and the boy now enjoys better health and a more stable living environment.

Additionally, Morris has helped develop many programs for underserved and neglected children and adolescents. He worked to establish school-linked clinics for the Belmont cluster of the Los Angeles Unified School District, and began an adolescent clinic at Orthopaedic Hospital.

Morris serves on national committees that aim to improve the care of incarcerated youth, including the juvenile committee for the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, which accredits detention facilities and works to improve the overall living conditions for adolescents in correctional facilities. He also works directly with institutions to improve the care of detained adolescents.



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