News Release

Friday, April 06, 2007

Contact: George Stinnett, CHKD, (757) 668-7043 or

Governor’s Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect Awards Certificate of Appreciation to CHKD Physician

HAMPTON ROADS, Va.—Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters forensic pediatrician Suzanne Starling, M.D., was awarded a 2007 Certificate of Appreciation by the Governor’s Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect during the Child Abuse Prevention Month Conference in Richmond on April 2.

Dr. Starling, who also is medical director of CHKD’s regional child abuse program, was recognized for her outstanding and selfless service in child abuse and neglect prevention, intervention and treatment on behalf of Virginia’s children.

The citation accompanying the award described her service and contribution thusly: “After graduating from East Carolina University medical school and completing her pediatric residency in South Carolina, Dr. Suzanne Starling became a fellow of child abuse and neglect and a member of the child advocacy and protection team at Children’s Hospital in Denver, Colo. Subsequently, she was an advocate for abused and neglected children in Tennessee before joining Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters as medical director of the child abuse program. During her career, she has treated thousands of children who suffered at the hands of adults, provided expert testimony in countless court cases and served on numerous investigative and multidisciplinary teams addressing child abuse and neglect cases and victims. She founded the forensic pediatric fellowship program at CHKD and serves on the American Board of Pediatrics’ subboard of child abuse pediatrics, which is working to establish the qualifications and training to make child abuse pediatrics an accredited subspecialty. Dr. Starling also serves on the state’s Child Fatality Review Team. Her work to raise the standards for child abuse pediatrics, requiring better trained and qualified physicians is a driving force. The leadership Dr. Starling continues to demonstrate in both medical and legal circles is a model of excellence for those who serve the most fragile and vulnerable children of the Commonwealth.”

In a letter accompanying the nomination for the award, CHKD president and CEO Jim Dahling said: “Dr. Starling unselfishly dedicates her life to caring for the young, fragile children who need her and extends herself to other pediatricians who want to work in the very specialized, and unfortunately very necessary, field of child abuse. She is passionate about helping children regain their childhood, and the Child Abuse Program at CHKD is a model children’s advocacy center in large part because of her work.”

In addition to Dr. Starling’s roles outlined above, she serves as the division chief, division of forensic pediatrics, Eastern Virginia Medical School. She is a founding member of the Helfer Society (honor society for physician specialists in child abuse) and is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, where she was recently elected chair of the section on child abuse and neglect. Dr. Starling is a frequent lecturer on child abuse and neglect and an author and editor for several publications including Pediatrics, JAMA and the Child Abuse Medical Quarterly.

The Child Abuse Program at CHKD is the only one of its kind in Hampton Roads and serves as the regional referral center for coordination of child abuse services and programs. It offers a multi-disciplinary approach to care, involving all agencies that are involved in case investigation and protection of the child. This approach speeds up the investigative process, precludes the child from having to repeat his or her story several times to multiple people and collects accurate and unbiased information that can be used in civil and criminal proceedings against alleged perpetrators.

The program offers a variety of medical and mental health services to help abused and neglected children begin healing, and its facility offers a safe, nurturing environment. The program works to ensure the best possible outcome for each child. Last year, program staff provided services that helped more than 1,000 children.

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