Press Release

May 18, 2011


State Public Health Director Recognizes Dr. Steven Lelyveld and Cassandra O’Brien, RN for Excellence in Pediatric Care

Ron W. Lee, MD Excellence in Pediatric Care Awards -
Lifetime Achievement

CHICAGO, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and The Illinois Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) program honored Dr. Steven Lelyveld and Cassandra O’Brien, RN with a special pediatric care award today for their contributions to childhood care. The Ron W. Lee, M.D. – Excellence in Pediatric Care Awards are given annually by IDPH and EMSC to recognize those dedicated to pediatric emergency care and childhood injury prevention initiatives. Individuals or organizations can be nominated in one of three award categories - Lifetime Achievement, Clinical Excellence and Community Service.

“I have the honor today to present the Ron W. Lee, MD – Excellence in Pediatric Care Award for Lifetime Achievement to a physician and a nurse who are both exceedingly committed to children. With more than 30 years of experience as a pediatric emergency physician, Dr. Lelyveld has been a strong advocate for the needs of children. He is a dedicated and highly regarded physician who goes above and beyond by continually striving to promote excellence in pediatric care,” said Dr. Damon T. Arnold, Illinois Department of Public Health director.

“Cassandra O’Brien has devoted her career to caring for and advocating for children. Cassandra’s peers describe her as a role model, an expert in her field, and a strong advocate for pediatrics. I would like to thank both Dr. Lelyveld and Cassandra O’Brien for their dedication to the quality of care of pediatric patients.”

Dr. Steven Lelyveld is currently the director of the University of Chicago Occupational Medicine Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics. In addition to his more than 30 years of clinical practice as a pediatric emergency physician, he has also served in a leadership capacity as either the chief or director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Evanston Hospital, Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center, and the University of Chicago Children’s Hospital. Dr. Lelyveld also maintains an active role in his professional medical organizations. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics as well as a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians. In 1998, he served as secretary for the Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics. He was further recognized by his peers by being elected and serving as President from 2002 to 2004.

“Dr. Steven Lelyveld has dedicated his career to promoting and improving the delivery of care to the ill or injured pediatric patient,” said Dr. Ira Blumen, Emergency Medicine Professor, University of Chicago. “Through his clinical practice, leadership, teaching and publications, he has clearly had a positive change in the way practitioners have cared for children for decades, and how we will care for our children for years to come.“

Cassandra O’Brien, RN is currently the Pediatric EMS Coordinator, American Heart Association Training Center Director, Course Director for the ENPC, TNCC and ECRN courses at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital. She is also a continuing education Instructor for the Chicago Fire Department and performs quality review of pediatric runs that are transported by the Chicago Fire Department to Chicago hospitals. Last year, Cassandra was selected by the U.S. Department of Defense as an ENPC, TNCC and ABLS Instructor. She contributed personal time to travel to military bases both nationally and internationally to teach these courses to military personnel. In addition, Cassandra dedicates her time to pediatric disaster preparedness. She has developed specific response plans and conducted disaster drills that ensure the inclusion of pediatric victims and also lends her expertise in pediatric disaster preparedness to the Chicago Hospital Pediatric Subcommittee and the State Pediatric Workgroup.

“Cassie O’Brien has worked with the most fragile of patients, all while providing the expertise that only a highly qualified certified pediatric nurse could provide. She cares for the child as if each and every one of them was one of her own,” said Mary Otting, RN, EMS Coordinator Children’s Memorial Hospital. “She has oriented other nurses with this same attitude and assisted in instilling in other staff the knowledge necessary to advocate for this small population.”

The Ron W. Lee, M.D. Excellence in Pediatric Care awards are presented each May. Dr. Lee was the director of emergency medicine at Loyola University Medical Center and was instrumental in establishing and fostering the EMSC program in Illinois. He passed away in 1998.

The Illinois EMSC program is a collaborative effort of the Illinois Department of Public Health and Loyola University Medical Center. It was established in 1994 to ensure the emergency medical care needs of children are adequately addressed.

Additional Excellence in Pediatric Care Awards will be announced and presented later this month.

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Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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