By Alan Burns
The accomplishments and impact of a long-time pediatrician and collaborator were memorialized this past fall at the Social Science Research Center (SSRC). The Family and Children Research Unit (FCRU) at the SSRC established the Margaret A. and Robert E. Greenberg Scholarship Award for undergraduate or graduate students who demonstrate an interest in improving the health and well-being of children, with a particular focus upon impoverished children. Students who receive the award will also have the opportunity to work with and be mentored by researchers at MSU’s Social Science Research Center on a child health research project.
Robert “Bob” Greenberg was well known for his work in the field of pediatrics and endocrinology, as well as his work on equity child health and child rights. Greenberg was a graduate of both Stanford and the University of California, San Francisco, and would later go on to develop the pediatric program at the Charles Drew/Martin Luther King Medical Center in Los Angeles and chair the Department of Pediatrics at the University of New Mexico.
In 1985, Greenberg helped organize the New Mexico Voices for Children, a statewide child advocacy organization, and continued to serve as chair or on the board until 2006. He also spent time serving as the chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) Council on Pediatric Research, during which time he helped develop the Center for Child Health Research (CCHR). This, in turn lead to the collaboration between Dr. Linda Southward of the SSRC and Dr. Greenberg to create the Collaborating Centers for Child and Family Health Research in early 2001.
“Almost twenty years ago, I had a tremendous honor of being selected as one of 50 child health leaders across
the country at the launch of AAP’s Center for Child Health Research,” said Southward. “We met with, listened and learned from some of the country’s leading experts on a wide array of child health topics.”
“For me, one of the most knowledgeable and approachable individuals in attendance was Bob Greenberg. As
chair of the CCHR, it was clear that having his ‘buy-in’ to having a research partnership with the SSRC was key. Dr. Greenberg was keen on including research with children in rural settings, in early care and education settings, as well as the impact of second-hand smoke on young children,” she continued.
“Within 18 months of our first meeting, a research partnership was established. We had no idea two decades ago about the amazing cascade of research
projects that would result from establishing the research partnership between the AAP and SSRC,” Southward said.
Maggie Greenberg was very much an advocate in her own right, having done tremendous work in public health and community engagement. She also influenced numerous nursing students whom she taught at the University of New Mexico.
The SSRC presented the inaugural award in 2017 to two students that were planning on pursuing work in the medical field: Hasna Khandekar and Nia Sims. Khandekar is currently perusing her medical degree at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi, while Sims graduated in May 2018 and is also continuing her education through graduate studies.
Southward stated that she sees this scholarship benefiting the medical field and preserving the lasting impact that the Greenberg’s had on the nation’s children.
“The personal friendships of both Maggie and Bob Greenberg have been some of my most cherished ones and they are deeply missed—on a multitude of levels. Both of these individuals’ impact continues to live on through their mentorship and their work with individuals across the globe. We at the SSRC are indeed, fortunate to have established of the scholarship in their memory,” Southward concluded.