University of Massachusetts Amherst

Search Google Appliance



From time to time, the Rudd Adoption Research Program has honored outstanding contributors to the field of adoption through its Lifetime Achievement Awards. The awards have been presented at our annual conferences, a time to celebrate progress and commit to next steps.

  • Susan Livingston Smith and Jeanne Howard, Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in the Application of Adoption Research (2015)

Dr. Jeanne Howard has been conducting research on adoption issues for almost 40 years, much of it through a rich partnership with her friend and colleague Susan Smith. Her work has focused primarily on the post-adoption needs of families who have adopted children and youth from foster care. Susan Livingston Smith has been a leading researcher in the field of post-adoption services for the past 20 years. Throughout her career she has successfully translated research on adoption and foster care so that it can be widely used by social workers, psychologists and other professionals in their work with adopted children, adoptive parents and birth parents. Smith and Howard were both awarded the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Adoption 2002 Excellence Award for applied scholarship and research and the 2006 Angel in Adoption Award.

  • Joyce Maguire Pavao, Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Adoption Education and Practice (2016)

Joyce Maguire Pavao, Ed.D., LCSW, LMFT, is the Founder and CEO of the Center for Family Connections, Adoption Resource Center, Pre/Post Adoption Consulting Team, and Family Connections Training Institute, all in Cambridge Massachusetts. She has received numerous recognitions honoring her work with individuals, couples, and families with adoption-related issues, foster care issues, guardianship and kinship, as well as complex families formed through reproductive technology, single parent families, gay and lesbian families, and families through remarriage. Throughout her career, she has made lasting contributions to the public understanding of adoption and adoption-competent practice.

  • Dana Johnson, Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Adoption Research and Practice (2018)

Dana Johnson, M.D. is a professor of pediatrics and member of the Divisions of Neonatology and Global Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School, where he co-founded the International Adoption Program in 1986. His research interests include the effects of early institutionalization on growth and development and the outcomes of internationally adopted children. Johnson is an invited speaker worldwide, serves on the editorial boards of Adoption Quarterly and Adoptive Families Magazine and has authored over 200 scholarly works. He received the Distinguished Service Award from Joint Council for International Children’s Services, Friend of Children Award from the North American Council on Adoptable Children and the Harry Holt Award from Holt International. He serves on the boards of directors of Joint Council on International Children’s Services, Half The Sky Foundation, SPOON Foundation, and National Council for Adoption.

  • Susan Soonkeum Cox, Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Adoption Policy and Advocacy (2020)

Susan Cox has been an adoption and child welfare advocate for more than 25 years.  Adopted from Korea in 1956, her life experience as an early international adoptee gives her a unique and personal perspective.Susan’s current and past board memberships include: Child Welfare League of America Adoption Advisory; The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute Ethics Committee; Women’s Campaign International; Oregon Korea Foundation; International Concerns Committee for Children; the Center for Family Connections; North American Council on Adoptable Children; the USAID Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid; The White House Council on Women in the America’s; the Joint Council on International Children’s Services and the Oregon Commission on Asian & Pacific Islander Affairs.  In 2002, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption presented Susan with an “Angel in Adoption” award.  She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities in 2010 by Northwest Christian University and in 2016 she was inducted into the National Council for Adoption Hall of Fame.