Mabry, MC alumnus and acclaimed pediatric researcher, to receive College's Distinguished Service Award

Mabry, MC alumnus and acclaimed pediatric researcher, to receive College's Distinguished Service Award

Oct. 14, 2010

Dr. C. Charlton Mabry, professor of pediatrics at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, will be presented Maryville College’s Distinguished Service Award during Homecoming festivities scheduled for Oct. 22-23 on the campus.

Mabry, who came to Maryville College from Knoxville’s Central High School in 1947 and earned his bachelor’s degree in 1950, will be presented the award during a ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m., Oct. 23 in the Lawson Auditorium of Fayerweather Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

The Distinguished Service Award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding service within their community, church or chosen profession.

“For nearly 200 years, Maryville College has prepared graduates who are successful and make a difference in the world. The lives of thousands of alumni stand as a testament to this claim, but perhaps few embody it like Dr. C. Charlton Mabry,” said Maryville College President Dr. Tom Bogart. “The work he has done in pediatrics — particularly in endocrinology and metabolism — has been both impressive and imperative.

“Maryville College is proud that his preparation for such a worthwhile career in medicine began here,” the president added.

Mabry is known internationally for his study of maternal phenylketonuria (PKU) syndrome.

PKU is a genetic disorder that is characterized by an inability of the body to utilize the essential amino acid, phenylalanine. The condition leads to mental retardation and seizures, but with early identification, treatment and adherence to a low phenylalanine diet, patients can lead normal lives.

Mabry was instrumental in Kentucky’s newborn screening legislation in 1966 for PKU and later tirelessly lobbied the Kentucky Legislature to require additional tests of all newborns. In 2005, the Kentucky General Assembly passed Senate Bill 24, which approved the expanded screening program for 29 disorders and made its funding permanent.

Today, the state can identify 44 disorders that could cause mental retardation, blindness, deafness, sudden infant death syndrome – disorders that in many cases can be successfully treated through medications and special diets.

Mabry earned his medical degree from Emory University in 1954 and an M.S. from Temple University in 1960. From 1959 until 1961, Mabry was a post-doctoral trainee at the National Institute for Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, Pa. In 1961, he was one of the first eight pediatricians to join the faculty of UK’s new College of Medicine.

Although he officially retired from full-time work in 1996, Mabry has continued to see young patients in the Mabry Metabolic Unit, which was named for him in 2005.

On Oct. 15, the Clark Group will release First Fifty: A Pediatric Story, which Mabry authored with help from wife Barbara Blum Mabry (a Maryville College alumna from the Class of 1952) and Mabry Metabolic Unit assistant Jim Niemi. Published in conjunction with the medical school’s 50-year anniversary, the book looks at the last half century of the university’s department of pediatrics’ efforts to provide the best medical care available anywhere so that sick children of the state would not have to travel across state lines for diagnosis and treatment.

Mabry is expected to talk about the book in a short presentation entitled “Bringing Advanced Care to the Children of Kentucky” following the awarding.

Hardback copies of First Fifty: A Pediatric Story will be on sale following the presentation. The cost of the book is $39.95.

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2016 semester is 1,197.