HOUSTON, June 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Last night at the 38th annual Jefferson Awards, Mark W. Kline, M.D., physician-in-chief at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston and chair of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, was honored with the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for "Outstanding Community Service Benefiting Local Communities" for his dedication to treating children affected by HIV/AIDS around the world.
Kline was selected by an independent ommunity panel of citizens for The Jefferson Award, also known as the "Nobel Prize for public service," which honors an individual for "outstanding, unique and heroic" personal acts that have made a positive impact on a community, helping hundreds, and in his case, thousands of others in the spirit of public service.
In 1996, while chief of the retrovirology clinic at Texas Children's Hospital, Kline founded the Baylor Internationals AIDS Initiative (BIPAI) to bring the most advanced pediatric HIV/AIDS treatments to children in the developing world. What started out as a single clinic in Romania has grown exponentially over the past 14 years. BIPAI now provides medication and care to roughly 70,000 children and families in eight countries which is more than double the number of HIV-infected children in every medical center in the United States, Canada and Western Europe combined.
"When Texas Children's selected Dr. Kline as our physician-in-chief in 2009 we knew we had chosen an outstanding leader and a phenomenal human being," said Texas Children's President and CEO Mark A. Wallace. "It's extremely gratifying to see him recognized for these qualities on a national stage. We congratulate Dr. Kline on this incredible honor and thank him for his extraordinary work to heal sick children all around the world."
Attended by political leaders, dignitaries, philanthropists and luminaries from the arts and sciences, the Jefferson Awards are presented each year during a special gala ceremony in Washington, D.C. where a broad array of honorees are recognized whose lives, careers and volunteer activities embody the finest examples of public service in a range of human endeavors.
Co-founded in 1973 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft Jr. and Sam Beard, the Jefferson Awards recognizes both the famous and the unknown, individuals and organizations, and the young and old. The awards reflect one of the founding ideals of our nation, that of contributing toward the larger good. As Thomas Jefferson himself wrote, "Private charities as well as contributions to public purposes inproportion to everyone's circumstances are certainly among the duties we owe to society." Past recipients of the award include Lance Armstrong, Hubert Humphrey, Dr. C. Everett Koop, General Colin Powell and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
"The Jefferson Awards are a celebration of that sense of duty to our fellow citizens, our communities and beyond," said Sam Beard, founder and president of the Jefferson Awards. "At this moment in our nation's history, with so many of our citizens burdened by economic challenges and ever-increasing obligations in our daily lives, it is heartening to recognize the abiding spirit of selflessness and care that drives volunteerism, public service and that American ideal of giving back to others. We are proud to shine a deserving spotlight on these extraordinary Jefferson Awards recipients."
About Texas Children's Hospital
Texas Children's Hospital is committed to a community of healthy children by providing the finest pediatric patient care, education and research. Renowned worldwide for its expertise and breakthrough developments in clinical care and research, Texas Children's is nationally ranked in all ten subspecialties in U.S. News & World Report's list of America's Best Children's Hospitals. Texas Children's also operates the nation's largest primary pediatric care network, with more than 40 offices throughout the greater Houston community.
Texas Children's has embarked on a $1.5 billion expansion, Vision 2010, which includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute, a comprehensive obstetrics facility focusing on high-risk births and a community hospital in suburban West Houston. For more information on Texas Children's Hospital, go to www.texaschildrens.org. Get the latest news from Texas Children's Hospital by visiting the online newsroom and on Twitter at twitter.com/texaschildrens.