Speaking in measured tones of compassion and dignity at her induction into the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame, Maureen Black, PhD, MA, of the University of Maryland (UM) School of Medicine said "the challenge for all of us is to marshal the enthusiasm and strengths" of two groups of women "to make a happier, healthier life for all of us."
She told an overflow audience at the event March 7 in Annapolis, Md., that both groups of women, the young professionals of the future and the young women of "limited opportunities," have many commonalities that are tapped by programs at the University. "They are [both] guided by their passion for their children, passion for life, and for their care of humanity," she said.
Black is the School of Medicine's John A. Scholl, MD, and Mary Louise Scholl, MD, Endowed Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health and founder/director of the Growth and Nutrition Clinic, a multidisciplinary clinic that provides services to children with poor growth and feeding problems from throughout the state.
Jay A. Perman, MD, president of the University of Maryland, said, "Our youngest, most disadvantaged citizens have a tireless advocate in our state of Maryland, Dr. Maureen Black. She has dedicated her life's work to improving the nutritional care of women and children in need. And I can think of no one more deserving of this honor."
Perman presented an introduction of an impressive list of Black's accomplishments in the United States and abroad. However, Black dedicated her remarks to honor Women's History Month with comparing the giving nature of women in both groups. She said the group of women in professional roles, who balance career and family, and strive to make our nation and the world a safer, friendlier place for all of us, "are a strong force, will lead us well, make us proud, and take care of us in our old age." She added, "I have the honor of working with many of these women at the University of Maryland in health care and I can tell you we are in for a treat."
Black said the second group "are just as strong, but their opportunities are limited often by their fate of being born into low-income circumstances with limited opportunities for education or professional advancement. In the cycle of life, they become mothers of vulnerable children. As a pediatric psychologist, I work with many of these families in downtown Baltimore and globally."
Following her undergraduate training in mathematics at Pennsylvania State University, Black worked as a systems analyst for IBM in New York, Philadelphia, London, and Los Angeles. She obtained an MA from the University of Southern California and a PhD in psychology from Emory University in Atlanta. For several years, she lived in Bangladesh and Peru,, where she worked with undernourished children, prior to moving to Maryland where she joined the Department of Pediatrics at the School of Medicine.
In addition to providing clinical services through the Growth and Nutrition Clinic, she oversees postdoctoral training in nutrition and psychology, mentors junior faculty, conducts research related to children's growth and development, and is an organizer of the Women in Medicine and Science, which helps recruit, retain, and promote women in academic women and science.
She is also an adjunct professor in the Center for Human Nutrition at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Department of Psychology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Black has been president of two divisions of the American Psychological Association, chair of the Maryland WIC Advisory Committee, chair of the Child Health Foundation, a founding member of the Global Child Development Group, and has served on committees for several professional societies, UNICEF, WHO, and the Institute of Medicine.
She resides in Anne Arundel County with her husband, Robert E. Black, MD, MPH, chair of the Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. They have two daughters: Shaunti Taylor of Columbia, Md. and Maresa Weems of Newton, Mass.
Established in 1985 by the Maryland Commission for Women and the Women Legislators of Maryland, the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame seeks to honor Maryland women who have made unique and lasting contributions to the economic, political, cultural, and social life of the state and to provide visible models of achievement for tomorrow's female leaders.