The Distinguished Academic Achievement Award is presented to a UVM alumnus in recognition of outstanding scientific or academic achievement. In the fall 2019, MCS alumna Dr. Paige Terrien Church will be the recipient of this tremendous honor. As the Director of the Neonatal Follow-Up Program and Spina Bifida Program at the University of Toronto, Dr. Church is known for her incredible and outspoken advocacy for children starting life in the NICU and their families. Rather than focusing on traditional neonatal outcomes and surveillance, she has focused on a service model with an emphasis on the outcomes of fun, parental empowerment, and function. With a special and personal interest in spina bifida, Dr. Church seeks to provide the best care for her patients with spina bifida via meaningful and open conversations reflecting insight from her own struggles with spina bifida. In recent years, she has researched and identified a “preterm behavioral phenotype,” that is increasingly used to identify and describe preterm infants and increase awareness of this phenotype in the community. She assesses and advocates for her patients in the long-term, following them through their preschool and early schooling years. Dr. Church was the first pediatrician awarded dual certification in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine and Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics by the American Board of Pediatrics. As a teacher in her clinic, she is widely recognized and many students want to be under her mentorship. Involved in major research at Sunnybrook, she is either principal investigator or site principal investigator in six ongoing studies, which have attracted “in excess of $2.5 million in funding.”
Dr. Church graduated from Mater Christi School as did her siblings, Courtney Terrien Kagan ’83 and Dr. Christopher Terrien ’90. Their mother Pat Terrien served on the Board of Trustees of Mater Christi School.