UGA’s Cordero to receive AAP award for contributions to the field of pediatric disabilities

University of Georgia professor José F. Cordero has been selected to receive the 2021 Arnold J. Capute award from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on Children with Disabilities.

The Capute Award recognizes a physician who has made notable contributions to the health and well-being of children with disabilities through service and/or advocacy at the local, state or national level.

An international leader in infant and maternal health, Cordero will be honored for his “extensive career and contributions to the field of disabilities” at the AAP’s annual meeting in October.

Cordero is the Gordhan and Jinx Patel Distinguished Professor of Public Health and head of the department of epidemiology and biostatistics in UGA’s College of Public Health, where he mentors graduate researchers in infectious disease studies and infant and maternal health.

Originally trained as a pediatrician, he served for 27 years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), holding leadership positions, including Assistant Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service and Deputy Director of CDC’s National Immunization Program where he worked to increase immunization coverage among young children from communities of color. In 2001, Cordero became the founding director of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.

During his tenure, he led efforts to expand programs on birth defects and developmental disabilities. Among them, identifying nutritional deficiencies of infant formula, advocating for nutrient fortification in corn and flour to prevent neural tube defects in Hispanic children, promoting child immunizations in the U.S. to eliminate measles, mumps and rubella, and championing early diagnosis for children with autism.

Cordero currently co-directs the Puerto Rico Test site for Exploring Contamination Threats (PROTECT) Center as well as the Center for Research on Early Childhood Exposure and Development (CRECE), both of which examine the environmental factors associated with preterm births and other adverse pregnancy outcomes and childhood neurodevelopmental outcomes.

“Dr. Cordero has spent his career focused on improving the health and well-being of children, and that work has improved the lives of countless children with disabilities and their families. It is only fitting that he be the recipient of such a prestigious award,” said Marsha Davis, dean of the UGA College of Public Health.

Arnold J. Capute, MD, MPH, was considered by many to be the father of developmental pediatrics. He participated in the training of more practicing developmental pediatricians than any other physician and was instrumental in the recognition of neurodevelopmental disabilities as a subspecialty of pediatrics.

The award will be presented at the 2021 AAP National Conference & Exhibition on Saturday, October 9.

– Lauren Baggett

Posted on October 8, 2021.