Dr. Frederick C. Green, 89

Dr. Frederick C. Green, children's health advocate, dies

Dr. Frederick C. Green, in 1981 photo, led a push to remove lead paint in schools and public housing in the District.
Dr. Frederick C. Green, in 1981 photo, led a push to remove lead paint in schools and public housing in the District. (Larry Morris/the Washington Post)
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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Dr. Frederick C. Green, 89, a children's health advocate who served as vice president of Children's National Medical Center and was a professor of pediatrics at George Washington University's medical school, died Feb. 18 at the Washington Home and Community Hospices. He had Parkinson's disease.

At Children's, where he worked for more than 10 years until retiring in 1985, Dr. Green established an office for child health advocacy and sounded an early alarm about the dangers of lead poisoning in the District. National Zoo officials, heeding those warnings, spent a quarter million dollars to remove lead paint from monkey cages, but the D.C. Council would not adopt legislation requiring similar measures in schools and public housing. Dr. Green led a push to reverse that decision, and in 1977, the council authorized $1.1 million for lead paint removal.

The District was also grappling in the late 1970s with the highest infant mortality rate of any major U.S. city. It was the city's "number one health problem," said then newly elected Mayor Marion Barry, who convened a blue-ribbon panel to oversee an overhaul of infant health services. Dr. Green chaired that panel, whose recommendations contributed to a significant drop in the death rate, from 27.3 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1977 to 20.3 five years later.

Frederick Chapman Green was a native of Fort Wayne, Ind. He graduated in 1942 from Indiana University in Bloomington and received a medical degree there in 1944. He served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during World War II and the Korean War, rising to the rank of captain.

Dr. Green operated a private practice for 20 years in New York before coming to Washington in 1971 to work in the U.S. Children's Bureau at the former Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

Dr. Green was a past president of Prevent Child Abuse America and received numerous awards for his efforts. He was appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1979 to serve as commissioner for the International Year of the Child.

Survivors include his wife of 62 years, the former Lucille Ingram of Riverdale Park; and two children, Frederick Green Jr. of Phoenix and Sharman Green of the District.

-- Emma Brown


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