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Congratulations, Dr. Foster!

October 02, 2019

When VCU School of Medicine's 21st Annual Faculty Excellence Awards Program was announced, CHoR Physician-in-Chief Dr. Bruce Rubin was eager to support the nomination of Dr. Robin Foster for the Distinguished Clinician Award. Dr. Foster has been tirelessly caring for the state's most vulnerable children for decades, both at CHoR and through community work, advocacy and education. She was honored with the award at a special ceremony last week.

Dr. Rubin authored the following letter of support:

It gives me immense pleasure to support the nomination of Robin Foster, MD for the 2019 MCVP Distinguished Clinician of the Year Award. Robin is Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine. She has served on the faculty at VCU for 25 years and is triple boarded in pediatrics, pediatric emergency medicine , and child abuse and neglect. Robin founded and then led the Pediatric Emergency Department and served as the inaugural medical director and then division chief of pediatric PEM for 20 years. She is also the inaugural and current medical director of the Child Protection Team; which began her first year on faculty. Robin and her dedicated team evaluate more than 850 children each year who are alleged victims of physical abuse, sexual abuse, human trafficking and neglect. Fifteen years ago, she developed a nationally accredited Child Advocacy Center in conjunction with Greater Richmond SCAN which provides multidisciplinary team staffing of child abuse cases in central Virginia. The CPT at CHoR serves a geographic area extending to the southern and western borders of the state; acting on over 100 subpoenas each year to advocate for victims in courts across the Commonwealth. The CPT at CHoR i involved in research, and is one of eight child abuse programs in the country participating in an RO1 for the recognition of abusive head trauma.

Dr. Foster is passionate about serving the medical and social needs of all children and their families, whether it is in the PED or as a child abuse consultant. She brought the early literacy program, Reach Out and Read, to CHoR in 1997 to ensure that culturally and developmentally appropriate books were in the hands of our preschool age children. Her disarming manner of kneeling at the bedside and engaging the parents on their terms facilitates the ability to obtain information about complex social dynamics that significantly impact the health and well-being of the child. She treats every patient and family as if they were her own and instead of minimizing the concerns of parents who seek emergency care for colic or a diaper rash, she recognizes that a trip to the ED can be a cry for help and a chance for meaningful intervention. Since arriving at VCU she has demonstrated a work ethic and enthusiasm that is boundless in terms her availability. She spends her days advocating for children in the clinic or the community and nights and weekends covering the PED. She received the Medical Society of Virginia Salute to Service Award for the Uninsured and Underserved in 2016 and the Child Advocate Award for the Virginia Commonwealth Attorney’s Office and the Spirit of Advocacy Award for CHoR in 2013.  

Dr. Foster is also an expert teacher, invested in the education of students, residents, APPs, nurses and community workers. She is a Project Heart mentor and EPA coach for the medical students and was elected to AOA by the students in 2017. Her resident evaluations from this year include the following quote: “Dr. Foster is a role model for all clinicians. She can somehow both manage a busy department and find time to connect deeply with her patients. She is truly incredible.” She cares about each learner in the clinical environment as a person, not just as a learner, and inspires the passion for health care in all. She was awarded the Virginia Governors Award for EMS for Children in 2015 for her service to and education of the EMS community. She offers lectures and workshops in the recognition of child abuse and neglect at hospitals and community based child welfare agencies throughout the Commonwealth more than two dozen times per year.

Despite a busy clinical practice Dr. Foster serves on many nonprofit boards and Commonwealth committees. She has served on the boards of Prevent Child Abuse Virginia, Richmond CASA, Richmond Midnight Basketball League, Virginia Poverty Law Center, YWCA of Greater Richmond and New Community School. She is a member of the Regional and State Child Fatality Team for Virginia and a member of the Department of Criminal Justice Services Committee for Court Appointed Special Advocates and Children’s Justice Act. She served as the legislative and child abuse chair of the state chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics for a decade and enacted legislation to further protect the safety and rights of children at that time. She also serves on the Board of ImPACT Virginia; a nonprofit dedicated to eliminating human trafficking in Virginia.

Dr. Foster has a long record of distinguished accomplishment at VCU. She is a highly praised and dedicated educator for learners at all levels and has a reputation for redefining clinical excellence for our most vulnerable children by establishing new and innovative programs to improve their care and outcomes. Fay Chelmow, President of ImPACT Virginia summed this well when she wrote, “What makes Robin such an effective advocate is her ability to deliver clinical excellence with bottomless courage, empathy and compassion. She is a physician champion every child deserves”. She is a VCUHS superstar; well deserving of recognition as the 2019 MCVP Distinguished Clinician of the Year.

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