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Children's National Karen Summar Receives Prestigious Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation Public Policy Fellowship

Dr. Summar to study public policy and advocacy for intellectually disabled

Washington, DC – Karen Summar, MD, MS, director of the Down Syndrome Clinic at Children’s National Medical Center, recently received a Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation Public Policy Fellowship, a prestigious opportunity in the public policy arena. Dr. Summar is one of only three individuals selected this year for the fellowship and is this year’s only physician.

The Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation Public Policy Fellowship brings promising professionals from a variety of backgrounds to Washington, DC for a year to learn public policy developments that support individuals with intellectual disabilities, their families, and community.

“My hope is to come away from the Kennedy Foundation Fellowship a stronger advocate for the patients and families I see in our clinic,” said Dr. Summar. “Advocacy is an important part of our mission at Children’s National, where caring for children and families is more than clinical – it includes ensuring opportunities for a full life.”

Dr. Summar will be working on the Energy and Commerce Committee of the United States House of Representatives. Her priority is to learn the policy implications of health care delivery and finance. In addition, Dr. Summar will be working directly with the office of Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), who serves on the Health Subcommittee of Energy and Commerce, on a number of issues related to intellectual disability, in particular Down syndrome.

“With this kind of exposure to the workings of the legislative process, I hope to support children and families across the country who look to national organizations such as the National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Education, and all children’s hospitals – including Children’s National – to help them navigate their complex needs,” continued Dr. Summar.

Educated and trained at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center and Vanderbilt University Medical Center, with a focus in developmental pediatrics, Dr. Summar came to Children’s National in 2010. She is highly regarded in her field and currently sits on the government advisory committee and clinical advisory committee for the National Down Syndrome Society. Before Children’s National, she served as director of the Jane and Richard Thomas Center for Down Syndrome at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the Down Syndrome Clinic at the Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

The Children’s National Down Syndrome Clinic is housed within the Division of Genetics and Metabolism. Dr. Summar co-directs the clinic with Dr. Kenneth Rosenbaum. Together they see more than 300 patients with Down syndrome per year and provide comprehensive, coordinated health care for these individuals.

Contact: Emily Dammeyer or Emily Hartman, Public Relations, 202-476-4500.

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