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Carolyn Abitbol, M.D. ('67)

Professor of Pediatrics
Clinical Director of Pediatric Dialysis

Photo: Carolyn Abitbol, M.D.

Ordering a pizza may seem rather ordinary, unless you're a child unable to eat pizza due to a medical condition. Carolyn Abitbol knows firsthand the joy that first pizza can bring, and she also knows firsthand the joy and satisfaction of making it possible. A professor of pediatrics and the director of pediatric dialysis at the University of Miami School of Medicine, Carolyn says, "Medicine is a passion that I can't put aside." Her passion started at Madison, where she was the student body president her senior year and one of the first thesis honors students in the chemistry department. She went on to receive her M.D. from the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Her career took off at Emory University in Atlanta, where she did a research project regarding amino acid patterns in low birth weight infants. "I love babies and wanted to help them." And she did. She went on to a fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco, in pediatric nephrology. At the time, dialysis treatment was beginning to be made available to treat kidney failure in children. When one of Carolyn's young patients received one of the first pediatric kidney transplants in the country, "she asked us to 'send out for a pizza,'" says Carolyn -- "she had not been able to eat pizza her entire life." It was a proud moment for this medical researcher who has continued to garner professional accolades while saving the lives of children. Today, Carolyn works at one of the largest pediatric dialysis centers in the country and has published over 57 peer-reviewed articles. She also is the principal investigator on a number of ongoing research projects.

"Philosophically, I believe one person alone can't make a difference for a better world -- we have to work together to change and right the wrongs. For me, I want to help medicine advance and ensure that children have access to health care. Mostly, I want to see continued progress in the HIV epidemic and work towards eliminating the racial disparities in health care -- at least in this country."