Inaugural WCAAP Lifetime Achievement Award: Honoring Dr. Edgar Marcuse

Beth Ebel, MD, MSc, MPH, FAAP

Dear pediatric colleagues and community partners,

Many of you have worked alongside Dr. Ed Marcuse professionally and personally, a testament to his 40 years of service as a general pediatrician, as a professor at the University of Washington Schools of Medicine and Public Health, and as medical director at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Dr. Marcuse embodies WCAAP’s values and the values to which we all aspire including:

  • Being a dedicated and effective Advocate, creating widespread, measurable, and lasting impacts on child health and child health equity;
  • Mentoring, collaborating with, and devoting time to others;
  • Demonstrating Longevity of commitment to improving the lives of children, teens, and families;
  • Placing Relationships above all else – building Community and connecting others to make Washington a better place. 

It is our honor to announce the inaugural WCAAP Ed Marcuse Lifetime Achievement Award, of which Dr. Marcuse will be its first recipient this year.

Dr. Marcuse dedicated his career to eliminating vaccine-preventable childhood diseases. His advocacy and service regarding childhood immunizations is rooted in three core principles: 1) health promotion and preventive care are fundamental to pediatric care, 2) child health and equitable access to health is only achieved through confronting poverty and removing socio-economic barriers, and 3) pragmatic policies must integrate knowledge, trust, and acknowledge the intrinsic tensions between protecting public health and respecting individual values.

Pediatricians are reminded daily that there is no “magic wand” to get kids vaccinated. Dr. Marcuse rolled up his sleeves and built coalitions to transform the systems and structures in Washington State, together with committed partners on the WCAAP Vaccine Committee and passionate pediatricians everywhere. He served as a member and Chair of the US National Vaccine Advisory Committee, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice, the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases, and a member of the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on the National Vaccine Plan. Dr. Marcuse “retired” in 2014 but has remained active in vaccine advocacy and service. He served on the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, named by the Governors of California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington to independently review and assess data made available by manufacturers of candidate COVID-19 vaccines as well as review the processes of federal advisory committees and agencies considering approval of these vaccines before their introduction in the United States.

When Washington State’s universal purchase status was threatened in 2010, Dr. Marcuse partnered with the WCAAP and Washington Legislators to create the Washington Vaccine Association (WVA), a nonprofit corporation formed to purchase vaccines for all children at volume rates and deliver them to providers at no cost. Dr. Marcuse helped build a coalition of physicians, legislators, and health carriers by appealing to the common good, highlighting shared visions, and fostering respectful discussions of differences. The state statute ultimately passed and continues to successfully operate, with Dr. Marcuse serving on its board. Last year, Dr. Marcuse led efforts to ensure its ongoing success by championing the WVA’s purchase of Nirsevimab, in partnership with WCAAP pediatricians and parents.

Dr. Marcuse helped found Vax Northwest – a public-private partnership to promote vaccination. Vax Northwest’s goal is to bring people together to foster the development, evaluation, and dissemination of evidence-based or innovative interventions to increase timely vaccination, particularly among infants, children, and teens. Vax Northwest facilitated several research projects and collaborations on vaccine confidence and hesitancy, increasingly important topics in 2024.

Dr. Marcuse’s commitment to advocating for health equity transcends immunizations. He lent strong support to the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, a Seattle-based clinic born in the civil rights era through the model-cities program. This clinic prioritized the delivery of quality pediatric care to historically marginalized communities in Seattle. Dr. Marcuse also helped foster the creation and success of Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Center for Diversity and Health Equity.

Dr. Marcuse has prioritized mentorship for the next generation of child advocates throughout his career. He rarely engaged in an advocacy activity without including trainees and ensuring adequate attention to the growth and development of non-physician healthcare leaders and advocates throughout his career, including nurses and social workers. His kindness, decency, and lovely baritone voice continue to perfuse a remarkable career, and fuel his delight at supporting the next generations of pediatric providers and professionals who care for kids.    

One comment

  1. Pamela LaBorde says:

    Dr Marcuse is kind, passionate, effective, and has contributed so much to our community and my own education. Thank you, Dr Marcuse.

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