AAP Member Spotlight

 Crain Lucy Salmon Crain, MD, MPH, FAAP

AAP Section for Senior Members
Executive Committee Member

Lucy Salmon Crain, MD, MPH, FAAP is probably the only member of the American Academy of Pediatrics with the dubious distinction of having been born in Closplint, Kentucky. (Her father worked for a year as the physician for the Blue Diamond Coal Company in Harlan County, and she was born at home to her registered nurse mother and surgeon father, with her nurse midwife grandmother in attendance.) After World War II, the family settled in Madisonville, KY ("The Greatest Little Town on Earth"). Growing up in western Kentucky, the oldest of five children, few thoughts of professions other than medicine were seriously considered. Lucy and her two brothers became physicians, one sister a nurse, and one sister a special education teacher and environmental activist. Lucy enjoyed following her father on rounds and visiting patients in their homes.

Lucy was one of four women in the second graduating class of the Albert Chandler School of Medicine at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. She and her husband, William Crain, also a UK medical student, were wed prior to graduation and moved to Seattle for residency at the University of Washington. In the great Pacific Northwest, they discovered opera, as well as a whole new world of outdoor life, hiking, camping, rafting, and biking, which they continue to enjoy since having moved to northern California in 1969. Prior to that move, at the height of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, Bill was part of the "doctor draft" and inducted into the Army Medical Corps. He was assigned to Korea for an unaccompanied tour of duty. Lucy found a nearby mission hospital in need of a pediatrician, where she taught English and Pediatrics to 18 pediatric residents and helped care for a busy pediatric ward and clinic in Taegu, Korea. Before reassignment to Fort Ord, California, William Crain, Jr. was born in a field hospital in Pusan, Korea. (Will is now an editor at the San Francisco Chronicle and the proud father of an energetic 18-month-old son.)

Lucy entered private practice with established groups in Monterey and Salinas, before moving to San Francisco. She obtained her Masters in Public Health in Maternal and Child Health and Epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley. Her first position in San Francisco was staff physician at Golden Gate Regional Center, an inter-disciplinary diagnostic and service agency for individuals with developmental disabilities, where she obtained career shaping experience. Daughter Sara was born during that time, becoming the only authentic native San Franciscan in the family.

The next 30 years busily flew by at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Crain founded the Pediatric Disabilities & Down Syndrome Clinic and also was clinical director of the Pediatric Clinics, as well as practicing and teaching pediatrics full time. She became actively involved in community activities, serving on the Easter Seals board and developing a health education project in local elementary schools. First serving on a number of AAP committees, both at chapter and national levels, she served as chapter secretary, vice president, and president, followed by district chairperson and a member of the AAP national board of directors, she became increasingly involved with the AAP as well as community service agencies and advocacy groups for people with disabilities. Dr. Crain describes Marty Gershman, MD (another Kentucky expatriate), as her mentor in legislative advocacy, her professional passion, and has continued to be actively involved in health care politics. Just prior to her 2002 retirement from UCSF, she completed a fellowship in Health Policy Research at the UCSF Center on Health Policy Studies, refreshing her epidemiologic and policy review skills. She has just completed her second term as a County Commissioner on the First Five Commission and also is an active member of the San Francisco Medical Society Board of Directors and the California Medical Association Council on Legislation and House of Delegates. She enjoys taking groups of pediatric residents from UCSF and Stanford to the state capitol in Sacramento for a day of meetings with legislators and teaching about effective legislative advocacy.

Dr. Crain continues as voluntary clinical faculty at UCSF, teaching in the pediatric clinic, and serving as director of the acclaimed UCSF CME conference "Update on Developmental Disabilities for Health Professionals", now in its 7th year. She also consults several days per month in the Child Development Clinic at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. In her spare time, she happily chases her 18-month-old grandson, Henry, who resides in San Francisco with his parents and enjoys the company of her daughter, who is a practicing psychotherapist in Lafayette, CA. She and her dermatologist husband, Bill, enjoy less hiking and camping and more opera and symphony activities, as well as gourmet cooking and dinners with friends. Serving as chair of the Senior Section CME program for NCE has been a valuable experience., which she feels privileged to continue.


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