July 23, 2015
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the appointment of two new members to the Child Fatality Review Advisory Team, pediatrician Steven Ajl, MD, and advocate for child-related issues Donna Lawrence.
As members of the Child Fatality Review Advisory Team, these appointees will be charged with reviewing aggregate data on child fatalities and identifying trends and risk factors for injury-related deaths among children in New York City.
“Every child’s life is precious, and the work of the Child Fatality Review Advisory Team is essential to protecting our youngest New Yorkers,” said Mayor de Blasio. “These new appointees to the Advisory Team will bring a wealth of expertise and dedication to a cause that is so important to our families and the future of our city.”>
“The work of the Child Fatality Review Advisory Team is critically important in helping us understand which children are at risk and why,” said Administration for Children’s Services Commissioner Gladys Carrión. “Appointing these two dedicated individuals will only enhance that work.”
“The work of the Child Fatality Review Team is critical to understanding, and ultimately preventing, deaths in children ages one to 12 years old,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “Dr. Steven Ajl and Donna Lawrence have insight and knowledge that will add to the Review Team’s efforts to make targeted recommendations that will keep our youngest New Yorkers out of harm’s way.”
The advisory group, formed in 2005, was established to conduct a comprehensive, multiagency and multidisciplinary review of all child deaths in New York City, including motor vehicle and traffic accidents, residential fires, fatal unintentional injuries sustained in the home, and the socioeconomic conditions, housing quality, and racial disparities in injury-related child deaths. Members of the Advisory Team highlight trends and patterns regarding child fatalities, and make recommendations and help create policies for expanding the City’s child safety efforts.
The Advisory Team meets at least four times per year and is comprised of 11 members, including 6 ex-officio members, or their designees: Commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services, Commissioner of the New York Police Department, the City’s Chief Medical Examiner, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, and Chancellor of the Department of Education. The Public Advocate appoints one member, and the Mayor and the Speaker each appoint two members, one pediatrician and one advocate for child-related issues, to the Advisory Team to serve two-year terms.
Stephen Ajl is a pediatrician with more than 30 years of experience and expertise in child abuse. He is the Director of Pediatric Ambulatory Care and Chairman of the Child Abuse Committee at the Brooklyn Hospital Center. He is also the Medical Director of two Child Advocacy Centers – The Jane Barker Brooklyn Child Advocacy Center and The Staten Island Child Advocacy Center. He has been certified by The American Board of Pediatrics in General Pediatrics and has a sub-specialty board in Child Abuse Pediatrics. He is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the subcommittee on Child Abuse and Neglect. He is also a member of the New York Professional Society on Abuse and Neglect. He received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and is a graduate of Temple University School of Medicine. He worked in Pediatric Residency at New York Hospital-Cornell University School of Medicine.
Donna Lawrence is a dedicated children’s rights advocate, most recently serving as President and CEO of the “I Have a Dream” Foundation. Previously, she served for 12 years as Director of the Children’s Defense Fund of New York, and worked as Director of the Mayor’s Office for Children and Families under Mayor David N. Dinkins. She has also served as an appointed member of numerous task forces related to child services, including the New York State Task Force on Juvenile Justice and the New York City Child Fatality Review Committee. Lawrence received a Bachelor’s in social work from Cornell University, and a Master’s from Columbia University.