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years, CAMcare's pediatric program was
recognized as being among the best in the
Northeast in terms of immunization rates
and overall quality of care. Subsequently,
Dr. Burke was reassigned to Cape May
and then to Hampton, Virginia, where he
assisted the U.S. Air Force Exceptional
Family Member Program with the care of
military dependent children with special
needs. He completed his 20-year uni-
formed service career as chief of health
services at the U.S. Coast Guard Aca-
demy in New London, Connecticut. At
the same time, he served as a consultant to
care for children and to support families
enrolled in the navy's Exceptional Family
Member Program at what was then
Naval Hospital Groton, in Connecticut.
Dr. Burke received a master of public
health degree at the University of Con-
necticut. His thesis, based on research
done in cooperation with Lawrence
Kaplan, MD, at Newington Children's
Hospital, addressed the care of children
with special needs in the pediatric pri-
mary care setting.
Moving to Rhode Island, Dr. Burke
joined the faculty of Brown Medical
School and the pediatric staff of
Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island in
Pawtucket, to develop the Pediatric
Primary Care Center; later he added the
Primary Care Center for Children with
Special Needs, using a primary care
medical home model. The special-needs
program grew to care for more than
250 children with a wide range of phys-
ical and developmental disorders and
Ten years later, Dr. Burke was recruit-
ed by Hasbro Children's Hospital, in
Providence, to develop a primary care
program similar to the one he had creat-
ed at Memorial. In addition, he joined the
staff in Women and Infants Hospital's
neonatal follow-up program for prema-
turely born infants and those with genet-
ic disorders, birth defects, and develop-
mental risk or disability. Over time, the
Hasbro program grew from 40 patients
to 400. This program also was based on
a medical home approach, providing care
for children with special needs and in-
cluding their healthy siblings. It offered
family support and care coordination as
Also included was involvement with
Hasbro's spina bifida program and its VIP
program for infants and children with
complex medical conditions and those
who were dependent on medical technol-
ogy. Both of these programs grew in
numbers of patients served and their
quality of care, and they received recog-
nition from the Rhode Island Chapter of
the American Academy of Pediatrics,
health care insurers, and community sup-
port organizations. The Spina Crew, the
support group for patients with spina
bifida and their families, was created to
focus on general issues of wellness and
health, the introduction of early mobility
and physical activity, social inclusion,
and recreational activities. These non-
medical activities were intended to im-
prove overall health and social and per-
sonal development, ensure improved
overall personal development, and pro-
vide mutual support by other families fac-
ing similar challenges related to spina
bifida and physical disability.
"Bob Burke takes the patients other
people are afraid to take," says his col-
league Angela Anderson, MD, director of
pediatric pain and palliative care, Hasbro
Children's Hospital, and associate profes-
sor of pediatrics and emergency medi-
60 Robert WoodJohnson
Robert Burke, MD '75, MPH:
A Special Love for Children with Special Needs
--Continued from page 55
Kenny Perez's 5-year-old face lights up whenever
he sees Dr. Burke. "I love Dr. Burke," says Kenny.
"He gave me a big tricycle. It's going to make me
stronger." Adaptive hand tricycles (right) are designed
to build strength and coordination, provide mobility
and recreation for children with limited lower-body
strength, and allow them to do something that
other children do, even if in a different way.