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(Class of '70) Dr. Margaret DeJong - Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

The Winner of the 2014 Judy Elder Alumna Award is Dr. Margaret DeJong '70

Dr. Margaret DeJong ’70 grew up in Montreal and attended The Study along with her four sisters: Daphne ’72, Katherine ‘Kate’ ’74, Sandra ’76 and Jocelyn ’79.

After graduating from The Study, Margaret went to Atlantic College for two years, an international sixth form college in Wales with a strong ideological commitment to enlightened leadership and community service. She returned to Montreal to complete a Bachelor of Arts and then a medical degree at McGill University. She did her clinical internship in Upper New York State at a Cornell University Hospital, before moving to Toronto, where she completed a four-year residency in Psychiatry and a diploma in Child Psychiatry. She became Chief Resident in Child Psychiatry at the University of Toronto in her final year of training, and then won a Detweiler Fellowship award, granted by the Royal College of Psychiatry, to enable her to train abroad. She did an Advanced Family Therapy training at the Tavistock clinic in London, subsequently deciding to remain in London and establish her career there. She married and had two sons, working part time in a community clinic associated with St George’s Hospital. Margaret became very interested in the psychological problems of children with medical problems while working at the Royal Marsden Hospital in a unit for children with cancer. Her family therapy background also led to an interest in working with families where there was a history of maltreatment or neglect. In 2007 she took up a full time post at Great Ormond St Hospital where she continued to develop both these interests.

Today, Margaret has without doubt distinguished herself in her chosen field of endeavour as one of the most eminent child and adolescent psychiatrists in the UK, specializing in psychological trauma and child maltreatment.  She is Head of the Department of Child and Adolescent Mental Health at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, one of the world's leading children's centres as well as an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Child Health at University College London. 

In 2012, Margaret was named by The Times in London as one of the top 100 children's doctors in the UK, and specific reference is made to her leadership. "She leads a renowned team treating the complex needs of children in care or adopted from care, and performs extensive research in this area, as well as providing expert evidence in courts.  Her other role is in supporting medically ill children in the hospital who have psychiatric complications as part of their illness." Margaret deals with the very worst cases of child maltreatment and trauma in the UK and is one the most highly sought after expert witnesses in this field.

Margaret's courage to break new ground is evidenced by her research and on-going work on child abuse and neglect, outlined in her extensive list of publications, and most resoundingly by her clinical role at the very forefront of dealing with these issues. Her current research includes the mental health needs of children adopted from care.

Both as a devoted mentor, clinical supervisor and a Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Child Health, Margaret witnesses her commitment to teach and inspire practitioners and leaders in her field. She has always been active in teaching and was formerly the joint training director on the Great Ormond Street Hospital/Royal London training scheme, remaining currently as an advisor on the training committee.

Margaret’s stellar career has included on-going learning, and most importantly, a demonstrable and formidable contribution to one of the most difficult and disturbing issues in her field, and in our society.