Dr. Marilyn Bull, one of the nation’s preeminent medical experts in transporting students with disabilities, was recognized by the White House and the U.S. Department of Transportation earlier this month as one of this year's Champions of Change in transportation.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx awarded the professor of pediatrics at Indiana State University School of Medicine and neurodevelopmental pediatrician at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health for her work toward improving transportation and safety conditions for special needs students. She also co-developed the “Safe Travel for All Children” curriculum, which is used for training officials in child passenger safety – specifically in transporting students with special healthcare needs – and is implemented both nationally and internationally.
The award was presented during a White House ceremony on Oct. 13 as part of President Obama’s Champions of Change program. It annually recognizes outstanding innovators, educators and organizers who make a difference in their local and global communities. This year’s theme, Beyond Traffic: Innovators in Transportation, intends “to underscore the progress transportation innovators are making to address the country’s future transportation needs,” wrote White House representative Katharine Gallogly on whitehouse.gov.
Dr. Bull has focused her pediatrics practice and teaching career on providing special healthcare needs students with safe and accessible transportation, especially in her advocacy with the NHTSA, American Academy of Pediatrics and Safe Kids Worldwide. In 1981 she founded the Automotive Safety Program at Riley Hospital, which “would become one of the most comprehensive transportation resources for children in our state and nationally and internationally for children with special needs,” Bull said. Transportation challenges like the “ever increasing rate of highway deaths” is at the forefront of her work, and she is dedicated to “making certain that every child, including children with disabilities, is as safe as possible in the family car, school bus and ambulance,” she added.
Over the years, Dr. Bull has also lent her expert views to the TSD Conference curriculum and continues to advise organizers on topics, such as the administering of rescue medication on school buses. While Dr. Bull won’t be able to attend the upcoming TSD Conference in Louisville, she continues to work with staff to introduce associates at Riley Children’s Hospital to contribute to the agenda.
Meanwhile, school bus safety has remained a prominent subject in the news throughout October, with continued debate about required usage of surveillance cameras and seat belts, and National School Bus Safety Week. This made the White House’s recognition of Dr. Bull’s work toward transportation safety a timely occasion.
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