Throughout her 37-year career at the University of Miami, Tiffany M. Field, Ph.D., has been an innovative thinker whose studies on the power of touch have changed the delivery of care to premature babies and expanded understanding of the healing power of human contact to patients of all ages.
Recognizing Dr. Field’s many contributions to research, clinical care and teaching, more than 50 faculty, students and staff members of the Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics gathered at the Mailman Center for Child Development on October 2 for the grand opening of the Tiffany M. Field, Ph.D. Suite for Innovation.
“Today, we are here to inaugurate a dedicated space where faculty and staff can gather to think outside the box and continue a tradition of innovation and leadership, not only here at UM but for the nation,” said Henri R. Ford, M.D., M.H.A., dean and chief academic officer of the Miller School of Medicine.
Located on the fifth floor of the Mailman Center, the new suite includes wall-to-wall whiteboards, furniture on wheels that can be moved to accommodate small group conversations, and an inspiring mini art gallery from children with developmental disabilities.
“Our faculty and staff are always busy with clinical work,” said Dr. Field, who is professor of pediatrics, psychology, and psychiatry, and director of the Touch Research Institute at the Mailman Center. “I hope this suite provides a space for them to relax, and think about the issues that go beyond the day-to-day care we provide to children and families.”
Judy Schaechter, M.D., professor and chair of pediatrics, chief of service at Holtz Children’s Hospital, and the George E. Batchelor Endowed Chair in Child Health, called Dr. Field one of the nation’s original “translational scientists,” citing her pioneering work in the development of mother-child attachment. “Dr. Field led a groundbreaking touch-therapy clinical trial in the neonatal intensive care unit at Holtz Children’s Hospital that led to changes in NICU practices across the world,” she added. “Because of her work on skin-to-skin touch, our infants gain weight faster, go home sooner and have healthier outcomes.”
Dr. Field’s work at the Touch Research Institute has been the source of many studies of the healing benefits for children and mothers experiencing chronic and serious illnesses, added Dr. Schaechter. In 2014, Dr. Field shared a Golden Goose Award from the U.S. Congress, which recognizes work that leads to major breakthroughs in biomedical research and medical treatment.
Academic institutions like the Miller School’s Mailman Center have a special responsibility to provide best-practice services and training for clinicians, and to generate knowledge that will lead to future practices that improve lives, said Daniel Armstrong, Ph.D., director of the Mailman Center and senior associate dean for child health.
“I am confident that our new suite for innovation will be the place where many future great ideas that will improve lives will have their start,” said Dr. Armstrong. “Tiffany’s generosity of spirit, collaboration, mentorship, and resources will serve as a reminder to all of us that having the courage to think and act boldly can make all the difference.”