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Moira Szilagyi, MD, PhD, FAAP

Clinical Practice

  • 2015

    • Pediatrician. Department of Health Services, Clinical faculty, Olive View/UCLA Medical Center. Provide clinical services for children involved with child welfare, including those in foster care, at the Children’s Clinic (the HUB). [Current commitment: 20% time]

  • 1990-2014

    • Medical Director, Starlight Pediatrics (formerly known as Foster Care Pediatrics), Monroe County Department of Health, Rochester, NY. [75% time]

  • 1994-2014

    • Preceptor, Pediatric Illness and Continuity Clinics, Pediatric Practice at Strong, Golisano Children’s Hospital, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York [10% effort]

  • 1992-1994

    • Founder and Co-director, REACH Program, the regional referral center for medical evaluation of suspected child abuse and neglect, Department of Pediatrics, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York.

  • 1990-1992

    • Primary Care Pediatrician, Twelve Corners Pediatrics, Rochester NY (Suburban private practice). [30% time]

  • 1990-1992

    • Primary Care Pediatrician, Children’s Center (Juvenile Offender Detention), Monroe County Department of Health, Rochester, NY. [10% time] 


American Academy of Pediatrics


Elected Positions Held

  • I have served on multiple AAP groups.


  • 2017-: Past Chair, Council on Foster Care, Adoption and Kinship Care (4-yrs)

  • 2011-2017: Chair, Executive Committee of the AAP Council on Foster Care, Adoption and Kinship Care (merged functions of the Committee and Section into the Council in 2011).  

  • 2010-2011: Chair, Executive Committee of the AAP Section on Adoption and Foster Care 

  • 2008-2010: Member of Executive Committee of the AAP Section on Adoption and Foster Care (after AAP CECADC split to create this Section and the Committee on Early Childhood.)

  • 2001-2008: Member, Executive Committee of the AAP Committee on Early Childhood, Adoption and Dependent Care (CECADC: included foster care and adoption).

  • 2000-2002: Member of Steering Committee, Provisional Section on Adoption

Appointed Positions Held



  • 2006-2010: Vice-chair, AAP Task Force on Foster Care

  • 2005-2006: Vice-Chair, AAP Healthy Foster Care America (planning group)

  • 2003-2005: Member, Steering Committee, AAP Healthy Foster Care America



  • 1995-2005: Chair, American Academy of Pediatrics District II, New York State, Task Force on Foster Care Health Care



  • 1995-2005: Chair, Committee on Early Childhood, Adoption and Dependent Care, American Academy of Pediatrics, NYS District II, Chapter I.


Academic Positions

  • 12/2014- Professor, Health Services Track, Department of Pediatrics, University of California Los Angeles, Mattel Children’s Hospital

  • 09/2015- Section Chief, Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Program, University of California, Los Angeles  

  • 08/2018- Interim Division Chief, Division of General Pediatrics, University of California, Los Angeles

  • 2012-2014 Professor of Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York

  • 2003- 2012 Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York

  • 1998-2003 Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York

  • 1990-1998 Clinical Instructor in Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York

Community Involvement


  • 2015Foster Care Counts (501C3 that raises funds to support college bound foster care alumni, access to normalizing activities for children in foster care, and multiple events for foster, kinship and adoptive families in Los Angeles County), Los Angeles, CA. Volunteer.



  • 2018

    • Casey Family Foundation 21st Century Child Welfare System, Steering Committee

    • Sesame Street in Communities.  I was on a panel of 6 experts and foster parents who advised SSC regarding the development of a new character who is in foster care, her adjustment to foster care, the impact of this experience on both the child and foster parents, how resource parents help children adjust to foster care and visitation. 


Legislative Experience

  • I work closely with the AAP Legislative Office in Washington DC by providing content expertise on pending legislation, speaking with the Government Accounting Office when they are investigating child welfare issues, and with DHHS when they are developing regulations to come into compliance with legislation. A more complete list of legislation I have advised about is in my UCLA CV.  In 1990s, I testified before Congress regarding use of experimental medications to treat HIV infection in children in foster care on behalf of the AAP

  • Media Experience: Some.  The AAP refers reporters to me when child welfare-related issues arise.  I have been interviewed by NPR and a variety of reporters representing print media. 



  • 1970-1974 Ford Foundation Scholar.

  • 1974 Summa Cum Laude, Valedictorian, Siena College. 

  • 1975-1978 National Research Service Award (NCHSR, DHHS). 

  • 1979-1980 Elon Huntington Hooker Fellowship.

  • 1988-1989 House-officer of the Year, Rochester Pediatric Society. 

  •   1988-1989 Burroughs-Welcome Award, Leadership in Residency.

  • 1992 National Association of Counties, Award for Foster Care Pediatrics

  • 1998-1999 Outstanding Clinical Faculty Teaching Award. Awarded by the Pediatric House-Staff at the University of Rochester.

  • 2003 Child Advocacy Award, New York Chapter of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners. 

  • 2003 Ruth A. Lawrence Faculty Service Award. Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong, University of Rochester Medical Center. 

  • 2003 Making a Difference Award. “For your special gifts of healing, compassion and never-ending commitment to and advocacy for children in foster care.” Awarded by Department of Health and Human Services, Monroe County, NY.

  • 2004 Pediatric Links with the Community Advocacy & Education Award.

  • 2004 Millie and Richard Brock Pediatric Award. New York Academy of   Medicine. September 19, 2005.

  • 2007 Health Care Achievement Award. Rochester Business Journal. 2007 Award of Merit. Rochester Academy of Medicine.

  • 2007 American Professional Society on Abused Children.  Front-line Service Award. 

  • 2007 Calvin C.J. Sia Community Pediatrics Medical Home Leadership and Advocacy Award. Presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Community Pediatrics. October 28, 2007.

  • 2009 W. Burt Richardson Lifetime Achievement Award, Federation of Social Workers.  

  • 2011 Dr. David Satcher Community Health Improvement Award, Senior Faculty Category. University of Rochester Medical Center. Awarded for work in reducing health disparities and addressing priority community health needs, especially for children in foster care.

  • 2016 Academic Pediatric Association 2016 Public Policy and Advocacy Award. 

  • 2017- The Best Doctors in America

  • 2019 Peter Shapiro Term Chair for Enhancing Children’s Developmental and Behavioral Health in Pediatrics.


Major Career Interests



  • Development of integrated care medical home and optimizing primary care, Starlight Pediatrics, in Rochester NY; integration of evidence-based practices into care.

  • Use of Quality Improvement and strategic planning methodologies to improve health and mental health care and developmental-behavioral services for children involved with child welfare.

  • Revitalization & expansion of Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Program at UCLA.  Hired 3 faculty, 2 psychologists.  Re-instituted DBP Fellowship program.  CDC funding for Legacy (evidence-based parenting) program. 



  • Federal Advocacy: Since 1995, national work with AAP legislative office on multiple major pieces of federal legislation related to child welfare;

    • Families First Services & Prevention Act of 2018

    • Affordable Care Act amendment to expand Medicaid eligibility to Foster Care Alumni to age 26 years and across state lines.  

    • Fostering Connections to Success and Promoting Adoption Act, 2008

    • Multiple re-authorizations of the Child Abuse Treatment and Prevention Act

    • Chafee Foster Care Independence Act, 1999

    • Adoption and Safe Families Act, 1997


  • AAP Policy Statements: Authored both versions of the Health Issues for Children in Foster and Kinship Care (most recent, 2015 and accompanying technical report); and am co-authoring upcoming statements on trauma-informed care (along with the clinical report) and developmental issues of children in foster care.


  • State Advocacy: Outreach to CA Health Director and Surgeon General in September 2019 re importance of pediatric resources and safety issues for families before implementing mandatory ACEs screening in January 2020. 


Developmental and Mental Health Screening and Assessment

I was P.I. of grant-funded projects to assess the feasibility of using developmental screening to test the recommended that all children in foster care under age 6 years should have a full developmental evaluation to identify children in foster care who needed/did not need further evaluation.  We screened children at entry to care and each WCC visit from 4 months to 6 years of age and found we could identify a small subset who did not need full evaluation, but that developmental trajectories for some children shifted over time in care, especially with disruptions in placement.

I was also P.I. of several grant-funded projects to assess the feasibility of using validated mental health screeners for children aged 18 months to 18 years in foster care. We compared several screeners and found a brief screener to be as reliable as a lengthier screener as long as both child and caregiver report were used for adolescents. 


Maltreatment and ACEs and Mental Health Outcomes

With funding from the National Children’s Study, I led a project exploring the trends in the diagnosis of emotional disturbance and multiple forms of maltreatment over a decade as numbers of children in foster care declined.


Interventions to Transform Care

With CDC funding, I investigated the implementation of evidence-based mental health services, developmental screening, and parenting education into an integrated-care medical home and visitation center for children in foster care.


Education and Training

With SAMHSA funding, I lead and am evaluating a multi-site project to educate pediatricians about Pediatric Trauma and Resilience using an ECHO-based curriculum.


With CDC grant funding, I lead the Legacy for Children Training and Technical Assistance Center.  UCLA recruits and trains staff of early childcare and education settings (Early Head Start, Early Intervention, childcare) using our evidence-based UCLA Legacy for Children curriculum to provide parent education to low income mothers of children under 3 years.


With Funding from the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, we are engaged in a multi-site project to identify children with or at high-risk of CP early in the first year of life because studies show that intensive therapy during this time improves motor outcomes.

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