The annual award, established in 1964, is given for "outstanding contributions to the field of child development," according to the Academy. Previous winners include Erik Erikson, who formulated one of the most influential theories of emotional development in the late 20th century; Julius Richmond, founding director of Head Start and former Surgeon General of the United States; child analyst Anna Freud; and pediatricians T. Berry Brazelton and Benjamin Spock, whose books on child development are consulted by millions of parents around the world.
Dr. Shonkoff is founding chair of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child and the Samuel F. and Rose B. Gingold Professor of Human Development and Social Policy at Brandeis University's Heller School.
"This is probably the most prestigious award in American pediatrics and recognizes the very significant contributions that pediatricians have made to our understanding of the psychological and social aspects of the development of the child," noted Dr. Julius Richmond, Harvard professor emeritus and 1966 Aldrich Award winner.
The National Scientific Council on the Developing Child is a collaboration of leading scientists in child development and neuroscience. The Council grew out of the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council committee that Dr. Shonkoff chaired and which produced a landmark report entitled, "From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development." The Council's mission is to bring sound and accurate science to bear on public policy affecting the lives of young children.