Robert A. Aldrich Endowed Professorship in Birth Defects and Mental Retardation
The Robert A. Aldrich Endowed Professorship in Birth Defects and Mental Retardation was established through several bequests in 1988. Its purpose is to provide support for an internationally recognized leader in birth defects and mental retardation.
The endowment’s namesake, Robert Aldrich, was born in 1917. A pediatrician, Dr. Aldrich was a professor and executive officer of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine from 1956 to 1962. He took a leave of absence to establish and direct the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development from 1962 to 1964.
He returned to UW Medicine from 1964 to 1970. Dr. Aldrich then served as the vice president for health affairs at the University of Colorado from 1970 to 1974 and as professor of pediatrics and preventive medicine from 1970 to 1980. He returned to UW Medicine in 1980 as a clinical professor of pediatrics.
Dr. Aldrich was also a researcher, and his early research in biochemistry focused on porphyrins. His interests broadened to include urban policies for child health and development, and he participated in a number of policy and funding bodies to improve the lives of children. Dr. Aldrich collaborated with Constantinos Doxiadis — an architect, urban planner, public servant and entrepreneur — at the Athens Center for Ekistics in the 1960s and 1970s, served as an advisor to the MacArthur Foundation in 1979 through 1981, and was a member of the Academy of Independent Scholars from 1978 to 1983. Dr. Aldrich passed away in 2001.
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