Rune Simeonsson, professor of school psychology and early childhood education, will be honored this fall with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Disability Section of the American Public Health Association.
Simeonsson, who joined the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Education in 1976 and also holds an appointment as a fellow at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, has devoted his career to teaching and research in child development, special education and public health, particularly the developmental and psychological characteristics of children and youth with chronic conditions and disabilities.
One of his major accomplishments is in the area of assessment and classification of disability among children and youth. He was a major force behind the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, Children and Youth Version (ICF-CY), which is a coding system for identifying health and functioning issues related to body systems/structures, activities, and participation in youth with and without disabilities.
Simeonsson has published six books, authored 169 peer-reviewed journal articles, and has made more than 250 national and international presentations across six continents and 45 different countries. More than half of these presentations were invited papers.
Simeonsson also has received more than $20 million in federal funding from the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Education.
In addition to his research, Simeonsson has trained dozens of doctoral students who have gone on to successful academic careers or public health jobs with a much deeper perspective of disability.
Simeonsson will be presented the award at the APHA annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 31.
The award is presented to a person who, over the course of his or her career, has made a major contribution to the improvement of health and quality of life for people with disabilities through research, teaching, or advocacy. Past award winners have been nationally and/or internationally recognized as major contributors to the disability and public health fields.