WellStar Health System Chief Pediatric Officer Avril Beckford, M.D., was awarded the prestigious Georgia Hospital Heroes Physician Hero Award at the Georgia Hospital Association’s (GHA) Annual Meeting on Nov. 11. Dr. Beckford, who was one of only 10 individuals statewide to receive the award, was recognized for the transformative work she has done for pediatric care.
Dr. Beckford has practiced pediatric care for nearly 30 years. She joined WellStar in 1995 and founded the Pediatric and Adolescent Center of Cobb that same year. In 2014, she was instrumental in the opening of the WellStar Pediatric Center in Kennesaw. Under her leadership, pediatric services at WellStar have grown greatly over the years and include 16 primary care offices, neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in two hospitals, pediatric outpatient surgery and pediatric emergency departments. Patients across five county service areas have access to high-quality, pediatric-specific care thanks to Dr. Beckford. Not only has she helped expand pediatric locations, but she also ensures all pediatric services have competent and specially trained pediatricians as well as proper equipment designed for children.
Dr. Beckford treats pediatric patients, but she also recognizes that their parents need care and attention as well. Through trusting and friendly relationships with parents, Dr. Beckford shares advice and can offer any support that may be needed during times of distress. Additionally, co-workers and colleagues often note the special way Dr. Beckford treats patients and parents, whether she is delivering happy or difficult news.
Dr. Beckford also dedicates countless hours to the community. She is a past president of the Georgia Chapter of the Academy of Pediatrics and has served on many other volunteer Boards, including Camp Kudzu (a camp for children with juvenile diabetes) and chair of the Cobb Area Pediatric Society.
“Dr. Beckford is extremely committed to providing children with the specialized care they need,” said GHA President Earl Rogers. “Her efforts in expanding these services so they are accessible to more members of the community are remarkable. She is most deserving of this award.”