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Fellows in the News: Dr. Chaves-Gnecco named Pennsylvania Pediatrician of the Year, and more :

August 2, 2019

Amy L. Belisle, M.D., M.B.A., FAAP, of Yarmouth, Maine, was named chief pediatrician and chief child health officer of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

She will work with partners throughout the state to improve the health of Maine’s children. Dr. Belisle’s new role is part of a broader goal to boost support for children in Maine.

An Air Force veteran and AAP Maine Chapter board member, she most recently was senior medical director and director of child health quality improvement at Quality Counts. Dr. Belisle has led efforts to advance care for infants exposed to substances and created a child health improvement partnership to increase vaccination and developmental screening rates.

Diego G. Chaves-Gnecco, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, of Wexford, Pa., was named Pediatrician of the Year by the AAP Pennsylvania Chapter.

He is director and founder of Salud Para Niños, the first bilingual, bicultural clinic in the area. The program has expanded to offer primary care for children, free and mobile clinics and literacy and other prevention programs.

He is a developmental behavioral pediatrician and associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.


Mona Hanna-Attisha, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, of West Bloomfield, Mich., received the Humanism in Healthcare Award from the Vilcek Foundation and Arnold P. Gold Foundation. The inaugural award recognizes foreign-born health care professionals who embody humanism and scientific excellence.

Born in the U.K. to parents of Iraqi descent, Dr. Hanna-Attisha brought attention to the impact of lead contamination in the public water supply on the children of Flint, Mich.

She is associate professor of pediatrics at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and director of the Michigan State University — Hurley Children's Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative.

Thomas G. Keens, M.D., FAAP, of Los Angeles, received the Pediatric Founder’s Award from the American Thoracic Society.

Professor of pediatrics, physiology and biophysics at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, Dr. Keens is Pediatric Pulmonology Fellowship program director at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. He also is vice chair of Children’s Hospital Institute of Medical Education and chair of the Committee on Clinical Investigations at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

He is an expert on respiratory and pulmonary disorders in children and chair of the California Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Advisory Council.

Sara Van Driest, M.D., Ph.D., FAAP, of Nashville, Tenn., received the Early Investigator Award from the American Society of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

Dr. Van Driest is assistant professor of pediatrics and medicine at Vanderbilt University. Her work focuses on using clinically generated data sets to inform precision medicine for pediatrics, including using electronic health records and DNA sequences to predict and improve children’s response to medications.

Joseph L. Wright, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, of Upper Marlboro, Md., was named interim president and CEO of UM Capital Region Health. He will continue in his roles as senior vice president and chief medical officer.

He is professor of pediatrics and health policy and management at the University of Maryland Schools of Medicine and Public Health, respectively.

Dr. Wright is chair of the AAP Task Force on Addressing Bias and Discrimination and Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine.

Fellows in the News acknowledges AAP members' national and prominent awards, honors and appointments. Submit biographical sketch, academic titles, memberships in AAP groups and a high-resolution photo to Trisha Korioth at; phone 630-626-6791. Publication is at the discretion ofAAP News.

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