James E. Strain, MD, has been promoted to Distinguished Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics.
This is the highest level of a clinical faculty rank, which is awarded to an outstanding clinician, advocate, and teacher. Dr. Strain will be presented with the promotion on Oct. 1, 2015, at an evening gathering for clinical faculty for a workshop on Cognition in Medicine.
Dr. Strain’s influence on the children of this state, region and nation has been far-reaching.
Dr. Strain was touted by the former chairman of the Department of Pediatrics, C. Henry Kempe, MD, as one of the top pediatric clinicians in the state of Colorado. The late Dr. Henry Silver also commented that “Dr. Strain is undoubtedly one of the most outstanding pediatricians in the United States.”
Dr. Strain played an important role in the activities of the Department of Pediatrics since the late 1940s when he was a resident at Denver Children’s Hospital. After Dr. Strain entered private practice in 1950, he was an attending physician every year on the pediatric wards of Children’s Hospital. He participated in the teaching and mentoring of hundreds students and residents. He served as an advisor to the Chairmen of Pediatrics and was actively involved in departmental activities for years. He was one of the strongest supporters of the University of Colorado (where he obtained his medical degree in 1947) and traveled throughout the state fostering community/University relationships. As Chairman of the Colorado Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and President of the Rocky Mountain Pediatric Society, he was instrumental in initiating a number of programs that had inestimable value to the children of Colorado. He was the pediatric advisor to Governor John Love on the implementation of Title XIX for Medicaid and he was president of the Medical Board at Colorado General Hospital. He was also a consultant to Head Start.
Dr. Strain chaired for many years the Clinical Faculty Affairs Committee in the Department of Pediatrics, which was responsible for putting in place many outreach programs and community training site for trainees in the Department. Dr. Strain was the quintessential teacher and mentored numerous medical and nursing students and residents. From 1982-1986, he was Director of the Genetics Services at Denver’s Children’s Hospital. Dr. Strain was also a member of the distinguished Institutes of Medicine.
Dr. Strain turned his enthusiasm for pediatrics to the national scene. He became Chairman of the Long Range Planning Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a member of the Council of Pediatrics of the American Medical Association. The Long Range Planning Committee’s job was to determine the direction of Pediatrics in the future and the role of the Academy of Pediatrics in changing the system of healthcare.
In the 1980s, Dr. Strain became the President of the American Academy of Pediatrics and in that role he worked hard for legislation to help children with a variety of physical and social challenges. Dr. Strain’s work as the President of the Academy on behalf of the “Baby Doe” cases became internationally recognized.
Dr. Strain’s leadership is historical. In the history of the Academy of Pediatrics there have been 84 presidents and seven executive directors and only one person has fulfilled both of these roles – that individual is Dr. James Strain. Dr. Strain served as President of the Academy from 1982 to 1983, and the Executive Director of the Academy from 1986 to 1993.
Among several AAP honors bestowed upon Dr. Strain are the Clifford Grulle Award (1985), the Abraham Jacobi Award (1994), and the Job Lewis Smith Award (1997). He also received the excellence in Public Service Award from the U.S. Surgeon General in 1998.
While Dr. Stain was the Executive Director of the AAP, he launched the AAP Growth for the Future Campaign to construct the AAP headquarters in Elk Grove Village, Ill. He served as co-chair from 1982 to 1984 of the project and raised $7.2 million for the new building. In addition, he succeeded in helping to advocate for Early and Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment program rules requiring states to have periodic schedules of visits for children in consultation with recognized medical and dental organizations.
Although retired, Dr. Strain is a very familiar face at the American Academy of Pediatrics as he served as a member of the historical archives committee, the council on communications and media, the section on seniors, and the Canadian Pediatric Society. Dr. Strain in his retirement volunteered in the Child Health Clinic at Children’s Hospital Colorado seeing patients and mentoring residents and medical students until just a few years ago.
There are two prestigious awards named for Dr. James Strain – the James E. Strain Award at Children’s Hospital Colorado and the Colorado Chapter of the AAP.