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Boston Medical Center Pediatrician Honored for Dedication to Ending Hunger in Children, Families

November 24, 2014

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Jenny Eriksen Leary
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(Boston) – Nov. 25, 2014 – Boston Medical Center (BMC)’s Deborah Frank, MD, founder and director of BMC’s Grow Clinic, was honored at the hospital’s 21st annual Food For Thought fundraiser at the Mandarin Oriental Boston on Nov. 24. Frank, who is a nationally recognized pioneer in children’s health, has been a passionate advocate for children and families locally and nationally during her 30 years as a pediatrician at BMC. Proceeds from the event will support BMC’s Grow Clinic and its Grow Partner Programs, including the Preventive Food Pantry, Demonstration Kitchen and the Child Witness to Violence Program.

In 1984, Frank identified food insecurity in children as a growing problem in the community. As a result, she established The Grow Clinic for Children at BMC, where she and her dedicated team continue to treat the youngest and most vulnerable patients who suffer from failure to thrive. Research has shown that failure to thrive may lead to lasting physical and developmental deficits, learning and emotional disorders, and difficulty fighting off infection. With its innovative, proactive model of coordinated medical care, nutritional counseling, social work and patient advocacy, the Grow Clinic cares for approximately 250 patients and their families, receives 150 new referrals and conducts more than 700 home visits each year.

“We are thrilled to recognize Dr. Frank – a pioneer in children’s health, a protector of Boston’s youth and a legend at BMC,” said Kate Walsh, BMC’s president and CEO. “Dr. Frank’s dedication has saved countless lives and her passion has inspired us all.”
Over the last three decades, the Grow Clinic has cared for thousands for children. The volume of patients continues to increase as families become susceptible to life’s challenges, including homelessness and food insecurity. Dr. Frank fights tirelessly, ensuring that her patients receive the care and necessities many of us take for granted, including access to safe homes, proper health care and healthy food.

“Dr. Frank understood the long-term impact of food insecurity in children early in her career, well before others made the connection between hunger and health,” said Catherine D'Amato, president and CEO of the Greater Boston Food Bank. “Her innovative approach to patient care, which emphasizes nutritious food as the foundation of good health, is now a model for medical professionals across the country. The Greater Boston Food Bank is proud to partner with Dr. Frank and BMC’s Grow Clinic and Preventive Food Pantry.”

Frank also is founder and principal investigator of Children’s HealthWatch as well as the Professor of Child Health and Well-Being in the department of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine.

Dr. Frank founded Children’s HealthWatch in 1998, an organization focused on improving the safety and well-being of children by informing policies that address and alleviate economic hardships. Since then, Dr. Frank has become a national authority on hunger, frequently advocating in front of Congress as the voice of children’s health rights.

(Photo courtesy of Atlantic Photo)