Sarasota, FL, October 29, 2013 --(PR.com
)-- Longtime Sarasota child development and parenting specialist Diane Weiss, MS, was named the 2013 recipient of the Lawton Chiles Award.
Presented annually by the Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota, the Lawton Chiles Award is bestowed upon an individual whose contributions to prenatal and early child health in Sarasota County are characterized by exceptional commitment, wisdom, leadership, and vision. This year’s award was announced at the organization’s annual meeting Sept. 26 at Sarasota’s Laurel Oak Country Club.
“Just like her father before her, Diane was chosen to receive this award because of her lifelong dedication and service to local families,” said Jennifer Highland, MPH, CEO of Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County, Inc. “With her father’s vision so clearly before her, she has been deeply invested in making Sarasota County a safe, nurturing place for all parents and young children.”
The daughter of the late Norman Goldstein, MD, a beloved pediatrician who received the same award from Healthy Start in 2000, Diane shared his empathy and desire to support and strengthen families. After earning bachelor's and master's degrees from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University in special education and psychology, she created Small Steps, Sarasota's first comprehensive early childhood parenting program in 1985. In 1993, she co-founded the not-for-profit Forty Carrots Family Center, and over the next 16 years, helped develop Forty Carrots’ innovative parenting education programs and extend their reach to thousands of the community’s most vulnerable families.
After leaving Forty Carrots in 2009, Diane launched Parenting Works, a unique consultation practice offering individualized support and education for those living and working with children of all ages, birth through teens. She is a national trainer and consultant for Florida State University’s Center for Prevention and Early Intervention Policy, and serves as Chair of the recent Cyesis Community Advocacy Group, advocating for the needs of teen parents and their children in the Sarasota County Schools.
In June 2013, she joined her husband Sarasota Pediatrician Robert Weiss in taking on the challenge of bringing the Pediatric Patient Medical Home model to Sarasota. Weiss Pediatric Care, which opened in April, offers families a new practice model where education and communication partner with the medical needs of children to foster a more complete and effective family centered approach to health care.
“I feel very humbled to be named a recipient of this award,” Diane said. It is doubly heartfelt because I was with my dad when he received the same award in 2000. From my earliest memory to the day he died in 2009, he selflessly gave of his time to support struggling parents and their children – and to this day, he continues to be my role model and inspiration.”