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Dr. Judy Schaechter Receives ‘Women that Shine’ Award from League of Women Voters

Judy Schaechter, M.D., M.B.A., chair of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics and the George E. Batchelor Endowed Chair in Pediatrics, has received a “Women that Shine” award from the League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County.

Dr. Judy Schaechter, left, accepts her award from Susan Windmiller, president of the Miami-Dade League of Women Voters.

Schaechter, who is also chief of service at Holtz Children’s Hospital at UM/Jackson Memorial Medical Center, was honored for her career advocating for improvements in childhood safety, violence prevention, and programs to end health disparities and expand access to pediatric care.

“We applaud you, and recognize that your achievements are a result of hard work, dedication, and perseverance, combined with your leadership to make our community a better place for others, today and into the future,” said Susan Windmiller, president of the Miami-Dade League of Women Voters.

In accepting the award, which was presented at an event on March 17, Schaechter told the audience, “My work focuses on child health and safety, most notably firearm injury prevention. I started in this area over 20 years ago, when as a resident responding to a trauma call, I worked to save two 14-year-olds who had shot each other during an argument over a girl.

“We tried everything, but we were not successful,” Schaechter said. “When I went to see the families, one of the boys’ mothers told me that if there had been no guns, the boys would have been friends again tomorrow. That’s when I knew that firearm injury was ‘America’s most preventable disease.’ ”

What Schaechter didn’t know was that a law passed in 2011, known as the Physician Gag Law, would ban potentially life-saving conversations, making it illegal for doctors to ask young patients or their family members about the presence of guns in their homes. Schaechter, the founder of the Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Miami, led the legal battle against the gag law.

“One year ago, the Physician Gag Law was finally overturned for its violation of the First Amendment,” Schaechter said. “The legal battle took six years. I remain grateful to everyone who helped us do the right thing — to protect free speech and the lives of children and their families.”

In 2012 she was elected president of the national Injury Free Coalition for Kids, composed of hospital-based, community-oriented programs across the U.S. She was also elected to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention.

The “Women that Shine” award, created in honor of Women’s History Month, celebrated Schaechter’s work as senior advisor to the Florida Children’s Movement, gubernatorial appointee to the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet, and board member of The Children’s Trust, where as chair of the Health Committee she led the creation of HealthConnect, launching health teams in 170 schools.

“It means a lot to me that this recognition comes from the League of Women Voters, an organization that stands up for people’s rights and encourages courageous activism,” Schaechter said in accepting the award. “Thank you, LWV, for this honor. We shine together.”





Tags: Dr. Judy Schaechter, League of Women Voters, Women that Shine award