Pediatrician, Harvard house master Palfrey is honored with AMA volunteerism award
From Boston Medical Center, June 9: Sean Palfrey, a pediatrician at Boston Medical Center and longtime Harvard house master, has been named a recipient of an American Medical Association Foundation 2015 Excellence in Medicine Award. At the foundation’s June 5 donor reception in Chicago, Palfrey was presented the Jack B. McConnell, MD, Award for Excellence in Volunteerism honoring a senior physician’s commitment to volunteer medical care provided to those without proper access.
Palfrey, also a professor of pediatrics and community health sciences at Boston University School of Medicine and Boston University School of Public Health, has cared for pediatric patients at the medical center for more than 25 years, and in addition to treating children’s immediate medical issues, writes prescriptions for The Medical Center’s Food Pantry if a patient or family needs help putting food on the table and helps make sure that they have a safe place to live.
As an advocate, Palfrey strives to protect children from lead poisoning, infectious diseases and gun violence. He’s been a pioneer in raising awareness of the importance of vaccinations, and founded the Immunization Initiative of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics in the early 1990s, as well as in protecting children from violence related to guns in homes.
Palfrey – a graduate of Harvard College – and his wife Judy Palfrey, also a pediatrician, have served as house masters fat Harvard University’s Adams House home or 16 years. (He is also a photographer and writer of fiction.) They oversee the community in which 460 Harvard students live, study, sleep and play.
“We teach, mentor, support, eat, play, learn and celebrate with them their successes and failures. We write their college letters of recommendation and hand them their Harvard diplomas at graduation. Our students are many of our closest and dearest friends we have both while they are living in Adams House and over the years after,” Palfrey said.
Each year, the AMA Foundation Excellence in Medicine Awards program recognizes physicians who exemplify the medical profession’s highest values: leadership, community service and dedication to treating underserved patients. Palfrey’s award includes a $2,500 grant that will be presented to the Judy and Sean Palfrey Advocacy Fund.