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Dr. Lucey brought many firsts to Pediatrics, AAP, profession :

January 10, 2018

A pioneering neonatologist, editor, mentor and advocate for children whose name was at the top of the Pediatrics masthead for more than three decades, Jerold F. Lucey, M.D., FAAP, opened many doors for the AAP journal and the field of pediatrics.

Dr. Lucey, of Burlington, Vt., and Osprey, Fla., died at age 91 on Dec. 10.

His accomplishments spanned beyond 34 years of Pediatrics’ successes while he was the longest-serving editor in chief and beyond the lifesaving advances in neonatology he uncovered as a researcher.

Dr. Lucey’s work helped introduce the use of phototherapy for jaundice in the U.S., as well transcutaneous oxygen monitoring and artificial surfactant treatment.

After a sabbatical in the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit in Oxford, England, in the 1980s, he established the Vermont Oxford Network, a research and trials network that links over 1,200 neonatal intensive care nurseries around the world.

A snapshot of his life and career highlights are captured in a 2002 AAP Oral History by Lawrence M. Gartner, M.D., FAAP (

“If you just looked at his achievements as a neonatologist or his achievements as an editor or his achievements as an advocate for children, each of those would say he’s a remarkable man. When they all come from the same person, it makes him an extraordinary individual,” said Lewis R. First, M.D., FAAP, Pediatrics editor who Dr. Lucey recruited as a Pediatrics editorial board member.

Dr. Lucey also was “incredibly humble and real,” Dr. First said. “He answered his own phones, and his door was always open for someone to come in and sit down and talk with him about anything and everything.”

Over 34 years, Dr. Lucey took Pediatrics to the top as the most-cited pediatric peer-reviewed journal. It remains in the top 100 journals of all time out of 20,000 registered medical journals and is translated into multiple languages. Pediatrics also was the first pediatric journal online.

“It has never been a job; it’s been an honor and a privilege to be the editor-in-chief of Pediatrics,” Dr. Lucey wrote before he retired on Jan. 1, 2009 (

For 50-plus years, Dr. Lucey worked at the University of Vermont (UVM) Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine and Medical Center. As UVM’s second pediatric hire, he helped pediatrics Chair James McKay, M.D., FAAP, expand the department and established Vermont’s first neonatal unit. Dr. Lucey was Harry Wallace Professor of Neonatology, and in 2008, UVM created a professorship in neonatology in his name. In 2011, he was named the UVM University Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics.

Dr. Lucey served in the Navy and attended Dartmouth College. He earned his medical degree from NYU Medical School and completed an internship at Bellevue Hospital and Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. His residency was at Babies Hospital and research fellowship at Harvard Medical School and Children’s Medical Center.

He served as chair of the AAP Committee on Fetus and Newborn and was a member of the Section on Perinatal Pediatrics.

Dr. Lucey earned numerous honors, including the Clifford G. Grulee Award (1981), Virginia Apgar Award (1993), Lifetime Achievement Award (1997) and Neonatal Education Award (1997) from the Academy; the Alfred I. duPont Award for Excellence in Children’s Health Care from the Nemours Foundation (2007); American Pediatric Society John Howland Award (2009); National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (IOM) Senior Membership (2000) and IOM Gustav O. Lienhard Award (2011).

Dr. Lucey loved chocolate chip cookies, the Celtics basketball team, current events and most of all, his family. He is survived by his wife, Ingela, four children, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

“He really prided himself on being a teacher, mentor, friend to so many of us who carry his pediatric legacy forward,” Dr. First said. “He’s in every one of us who had the pleasure to know and work with him each and every day.”

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