"What people don't get is a good picture of Rod that he is one of the strongest advocates for children that I think I know anywhere and he does that in a way that is really important." Dr. Armstrong said Dr. Howell supported the efforts of congress and kept in touch with "influential lawmakers so that they know that there are people out there who support them who are also huge advocates for children," Dr. Armstrong said.
"I asked him one time why he put some much time and energy into that and he said 'It's really simple. Children can't vote. And they need people who can vote to stand up for them.' And that's really been a picture that Rod does behind the scenes but is incredibly effectively on behalf of kids."
Dr. Armstrong is not the only one who has been affected by Dr. Howell's commitment to children. Dr. Michele Lloyd-Puryear, M.D., Ph.D, worked with Dr. Howell on The Secretary's Advisory Committee on Hereditary Disorders in Newborns and Children and said, "Dr. Howell was very good at bringing differing opinions together and forming a consensus."
In the United States today, nearly 95 percent of the 4.1 million children born each year are screened for some 30 genetic disorders through the government-funded program. Dr. Lloyd-Puryear credits Dr. Howell's work on The Secretary's Advisory Committee on Hereditary Disorders in Newborns and Children and the work of the ACMG for accomplishing that.
"No matter if you're rich or poor, if you can pay or not, if you have insurance or not, it gets paid for. Dr. Howell did that. I once asked him about screening for something and doing in it in a clinical setting and he said that if you do that then it won't be universal and there will be kids left out of it, and that was always where he began," she said.
"That was the principle he acted on, what was right for a child. That always impressed me. H
|Contact: Kathy Beal|
American College of Medical Genetics