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Obituary: Thomas J. Sullivan, Fairfax Pediatrician and Tireless Children's Health Care Advocate

Sullivan was a pediatrician at Inova Fairfax Hospital, and a tireless advocate for children's health care.

Obituary: Thomas J. Sullivan, Fairfax Pediatrician and Tireless Children's Health Care Advocate

By William Rees, MD

On Sunday, Jan. 19 the beloved and universally respected Thomas J. Sullivan was fatally injured when hit by a vehicle while walking to church.

Tom's boundless energy and enthusiasm, coupled with a "can-do" attitude made him a fearless advocate for every child. Recognized statewide and nationally for his devotion to the wellness and safety of all children, Tom served as President of the Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in 2001 and 2002. In 2006, the Washington Family Magazine named him as a "Doctor of Excellence."

As an active Virginia Chapter-AAP leader, Tom served as the Pediatric Research Office Setting (PROS) Coordinator, developing one of the larger PROS state groups in the nation. Additionally, he founded the Pediatric Education Foundation of Virginia, which made available grant funds for private pediatric practices. Through the Foundation, collaborative partnerships were developed to support an Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) care model for pediatric offices. As a champion of the ADHD model, Tom worked closely with 12 practices around the state.

Tom and his practice served as a pilot for the Medical Home Collaborative that modeled pediatric practice teams to improve the health care for children with special health care needs. He served on the State Child Fatality Review Team, which looked closely at patterns of child injury.

Additionally, Tom advocated the Bright Futures model for pediatric care and assisted in the development of the Bright Futures model for the Virginia Department of Health.

He also served on the mental health task force for the Virginia Chapter that focused on maternal depression. He was a member of the Virginia Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Learning Collaborative, sponsored by the National Initiative of Children's Healthcare Quality (NICHQ) to identify infants who fail initial hearing screening.

Virginia, its pediatricians and, most importantly, its children, are in a better place, thanks to the advocacy of Dr. Thomas J. Sullivan, MD, FAAP.

We will miss him so much; he was our hero, a child's best friend, and our mentor.  


William "Biff" Rees, MD

President, Virginia Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics

Send obituaries to Fairfax City Patch at jennifer.vanderkleut@patch.com.


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