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Championing the cause for children's health and safety

In an effort to promote pediatric safety, Madeline Joseph, MD, professor and chief of pediatric emergency medicine at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville, spoke out against gun violence — voicing encouragement for the student-activist survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. Through a video message, Joseph expressed her support for their goal of increasing safety in schools.

“We are so proud of you for standing up and making a difference in this world,” Joseph said.

In connection with this issue, Joseph attended the 2018 Mental Health Summit for the Florida Association of District School Superintendents to help encourage the development of strategies and collaboration between schools, and state and community organizations to address mental health challenges in Florida’s public schools. Celeste Philip, MD, MPH, the surgeon general and secretary of the Florida Department of Health, invited Joseph to attend the event.

Joseph, president of the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the immediate past chair of the pediatric committee of the American College of Emergency Physicians, has been an advocate for children throughout her 20-year career in pediatric emergency medicine. Over the last two years, Joseph led the Florida Chapter to improve the care of children through quality improvement, education and advocacy initiatives.

Quality Improvement

Many of Joseph’s colleagues, friends and family know she is on a mission to improve the health and well-being of children and adolescents.

Joseph was a subject-matter expert on pediatric readiness at the 2018 Emergency Medical Services for Children Innovation and Improvement Center conference May 1, in Austin, Texas. Her participation was part of the new EMSC IIC national pediatric readiness quality collaborative. The goal is to assist emergency departments with a low volume of pediatric patients to be prepared for an increase in emergent care for children over the next two years.

Joseph’s notable projects include working with the Department of Homeland Security and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to educate physicians on pediatric trauma topics.

DHS awarded the American College of Emergency Physicians a grant of $1 million to educate children on disaster preparedness. Joseph was chosen to chair the three-year project. Experts from more than 20 organizations participated, resulting in an interactive, web-based learning game called Disaster Heroes.

Working with the CDC, Joseph helped to develop clinical guidelines for the acute diagnosis and management of mild traumatic brain injury among children and adolescents.


Joseph looks for ways to be at the forefront of innovation and research in her field. Through her service on national committees, Joseph participated in developing guidelines and policies to impact pediatric emergent care.

In addition to being professor and chief of pediatric emergency medicine at UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville, Joseph is the assistant chair of pediatric emergency medicine quality initiatives and the division chief of pediatric bariatrics. Treating patients and instructing upcoming pediatric emergency medicine specialists requires continued certification and training.


Advocating for children in Florida as a physician and as the president of FCAAP, Joseph recognized that severe obesity was negatively impacting the health of children and adolescents nationwide and in our community. Joseph identified the need for a multidisciplinary team in Northeast Florida to help children with severe obesity.

“I knew the potentially devastating outcome of their health if nothing was done,” Joseph said.

She became a diplomat of the American Board of Obesity Medicine and started the UF Health Pediatric Weight Management Center, offering patients and families her expertise, combined with the services of a psychologist, a dietitian and consulting specialists as needed. Under Joseph’s leadership as medical director, the program now ranks in the top three in the country and first in the 150-patient-volume category.

“I often tell residents, fellows and my own three children that you have two choices — complain about a problem and nothing happens or become part of the solution,” Joseph said.

Joseph continues to support new solutions for the safety and health care challenges faced by children. Her next goal is shaping the future direction of pediatric emergency medicine to reduce health outcome gaps at the upcoming Society for Academic Emergency Medicine conference.

“Medicine must move forward to stay ahead of the health needs of our younger population,” Joseph said. “I’m proud to be a part of promoting safety and better health care for future generations.”

For the media

Media contact

Dan Leveton
Media Relations Manager (904) 244-3268