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Drs. Arthur and Martha Pappas to be Honored with the 2008 Community Service Award

May 5, 2008
By: WSU News

In recognition of their extraordinary leadership in community improvement in education, medicine, athletics, recreation, and culture Worcester State College will be honoring Arthur Pappas, M.D., and Martha Pappas, Ph.D., with the 2008 Community Service Award at Commencement, Sunday May 18 at 1:00 p.m.   “Their community engagement and philanthropy has touched the lives of thousands,” said Worcester State College President Dr. Janelle Ashley. “They will be truly inspirational honorees for our graduates.”

By philanthropically contributing to the Arthur and Martha Pappas auditorium at University of Massachusetts Medical School, the pediatric unit of the University of Massachusetts Emergency Care wing, and doubling the size of the Auburn High School gymnasium, their efforts have improved the quality of life and education, not only for Auburn residents, but also for all in Central Massachusetts and beyond  “Your steadfast commitment to the health and wellness of children, students, athletes and adults has transformed lives and communities,” added Ashley.

Both honorees were born and raised in Auburn and are graduates of the Auburn public school system.  After graduating from Auburn High School, both went on to college and graduate school and then followed different career paths.  They returned to Auburn and live in the home where Arthur was born. “We came back to the community that gave us our roots,” he said.  “We’ve been truly blessed and we wanted to give back.”

Dr. Martha Pappas taught at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School District, first as an English teacher and then as Department Chair for the Career Exploration Program, an innovative program that placed as many as 600 students a semester in credit-granting alternative off-campus experiences in the larger community.  High school students participated in a wide range of work experiences ranging from legislative assistants at the State House to teaching assistants in elementary and middle schools, one-hour-per-week community service in elderly community housing to full-time semester internships in a wide variety of businesses.

Since returning to live in Auburn, she has been involved in town committees and local organizations.  Perhaps her greatest satisfaction has come from her leadership on the Oversight Committee that designed and proposed a new Department of Recreation and Culture within the town government structure with its own line item in the town budget to support the position of Director of Recreation and Culture.  Now in its third year of operation, the Department of Recreation and Culture has a full program of athletic, fitness, recreational and cultural activities for Auburn children and adults.

Her dedication and commitment to the greater community has contributed significantly to the cultural and educational quality of life in her community.  A graduate of Wellesley College, with her doctorate from Boston University, she readily acknowledges the value of a strong educational background. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation, the Auburn Youth and family Services, the Auburn District Nursing Association, Tower Hill Botanic Garden, the UMass Memorial Foundation, and the Auburn Foundation.  Through her work on these boards she has observed that where there are needs in the community, leaders arise.  She notes that, “Leadership grows from grass roots.  The people who see the needs and can envision a solution to address them—they are our future leaders.”

Dr. Arthur Pappas is best known for his work in pediatric orthopedics and sports medicine, especially in his work with the Boston Red Sox. Prominently displayed in their living room are two paintings of mothers and children, a gift to Dr. Pappas from the mother of a patient he treated as a child.  During the 1970s, before the Iron Curtain fell, a Polish mother of a severely deformed and disabled child was told that the only treatment available was amputation.  She smuggled herself and her child out of Poland into Canada and then to Worcester where she saw Dr. Pappas who was able to save her child’s legs and give her mobility.  Years later, after the Iron Curtain fell, she gave him the paintings by a Polish artist in appreciation.   His eyes well with tears when he recounts this story and that of another girl who called him after her marriage ceremony to tell him that she thought of him as she was able to walk down the aisle on her wedding day.

Dr. Arthur Pappas, MD, serves as vice chancellor for Clinical Affairs for the University of Massachusetts Medical School and vice president for Affiliate Relations for UMass Memorial Medical Center. Multiple donors joined UMass Medical School in establishing the Arthur M. Pappas, MD, Chair in Orthopedics in 2003.  He received the honorary membership award to the National Athletic Trainers Association in 1983 and received the David C. Moyer Award in 1984, awarded by Eastern Athletic Trainer’s Association to a physician who has made significant contributions to Sports Medicine.

For the past ten years, he has been president of the EcoTarium in Worcester and is the recipient of the Worcester District Medical Society’s Dr. A. Jane Fitzpatrick Community Service Award, the Physician Achievement Award from the Arthritis Foundation. In February 2000, he presented the 204th Oration of the Worcester District Medical Society, with the topic of “Healthcare:  Delivery – Delivers.”

As the first professor and chairman Emeritus of the Department of Orthopedics & Physical Rehabilitation and professor of Pediatrics at UMass Memorial Medical Center, he has focused his teaching and patient interests on the orthopedic care of handicapped children and professional and amateur athletes.  He has contributed to scholarship in this area by publishing more than 100 articles and delivering more than 300 lectures.  He served as a committee member of Sports Medicine for the American Academy of Pediatrics and serves as president of the New England Rehabilitation Services of Central Massachusetts and is currently the president of the Board of Directors of Fairlawn Rehabilitation Hospital. He is the chairman of the Board of Trustees at the Massachusetts Hospital School in Canton, Massachusetts, which serves severely handicapped children.

He is the past President of the Orthopedic Section of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Association of Professional Baseball Physicians. He serves as an honorary trustee for Board of Overseers of the Jimmy Fund at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute of Boston and as president of the Board of Directors for Fairlawn Rehabilitation Hospital.

As a pioneer in the field of sports medicine, he served as the medical director for the Boston Red Sox Baseball Organization from 1978 to 2003 and served as past president of the Massachusetts Amateur Sports Foundation, and sponsor of the Bay State Games.

As a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Rochester School of Medicine, he received his orthopedic residency training at Children’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston.  He served as orthopedic surgeon-in-chief at Children’s Hospital and surgeon to the Harvard College Athletic Department.

The Community Service Award is presented annually to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the betterment of society through community service.


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