Dr. Moira Szilagyi, an expert on childhood trauma and resilience and a professor of pediatrics at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, has received the 2021 Thomas F. Tonniges MD, FAAP, Lifetime Achievement Award for Advocacy on Behalf of Vulnerable Children from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The award recognizes a pediatrician or other professional who has made significant contributions over the course of their career to supporting vulnerable children, including those in foster and kinship care and those who have been adopted.

Szilagyi, a UCLA pediatrician who also treats patients in the Los Angeles County foster care system, serves as division chief of developmental behavioral pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, where she is the Peter Shapiro Professor for Enhancing Children’s Developmental and Behavioral Health.  

She is currently president-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics and will begin her term as president in January 2022.

Prior to joining UCLA in 2014, Szilagyi was a professor of pediatrics at the University of Rochester for more than 20 years and medical director of Starlight Pediatrics, an integrated-care medical home for children in foster care.

She speaks widely on foster care and childhood trauma and is the co-author of the recently published book “Childhood Trauma and Resilience: A Practical Guide,” as well as several American Academy of Pediatrics policy statements and clinical and technical reports. She also works closely with the academy’s Washington office on legislation related to equity, diversity and the care of vulnerable children, collaborates with mental health and child welfare services to integrate evidence-based interventions into pediatric care, and has led a federally funded multisite project with the academy and the University of Massachusetts to educate pediatricians about trauma-informed care.

The lifetime achievement award was presented by the academy’s Council on Foster Care, Adoption and Kinship Care.

Szilagyi is also an active member of the Academic Pediatric Association.