By Mary Prenon
Seattle King County REALTORS® (SKCR) plans to honor pediatric physician Dr. Benjamin S. Danielson with the 2021 Seattle-King County First Citizen Award at a banquet at the Seattle Art Museum on October 28. The celebration will be presented by SKCR in partnership with John L. Scott Real Estate and Windermere Real Estate.
The former medical director of the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, known by his patients as “Dr. Ben,” will be recognized for his continued advocacy and activism for the health and well-being of children and families with low incomes. In announcing this year’s recipient, event co-chair and Realtor Cindy Silverstein also noted Danielson’s leadership on social justice and his lifelong commitment to community service.
“Dr. Danielson is a community hero and individual without peers,” said Dr. Constance W. Rice, president of Very Strategic Group, a University of Washington Regent and member of the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic. Rice, who was honored as the 1993 First Citizen, applauded this year’s award recipient for devoting more than 30 years of his life to serving the neediest and most vulnerable within the community. “He consistently speaks truth to the powerful by changing the healthcare landscape.”
Danielson served as senior medical director of the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic from 1999-2020. While there, he founded the Washington Medical-Legal Partnership, a nonprofit organization that helps people from underserved communities understand and secure their legal rights regarding safe housing, adequate schooling, medical needs, and more.
Earlier this year, Danielson joined the University of Washington School of Medicine, where he will practice as a pediatrician part time, serve as a clinical professor of pediatrics, and help develop a new program to advance health equity.
Danielson, who himself was in foster care as a baby, credits the single woman who raised him with fostering his interest in science. In 1986, he graduated with a BA/BS degree in ethology from Harvard University, and then continued his studies at UW Medicine, earning his medical degree in 1992. Five years later, he was certified in pediatrics by the American Board of Pediatrics. His noted that his childhood experience and involvement in Big Brothers Big Sisters inspired him to pursue a career in pediatrics.
The Seattle-King County First Citizen Award salutes “giving back” to the local community. Past recipients include those from both the public and private sectors, ranging from humanitarian groups, corporations, charitable, health and educational institutions, to various arts, environmental and civic organizations.
Since its inception in 1939, the First Citizen Award, believed to be this region’s oldest such recognition, continues to celebrate community leadership, volunteerism, and public service. Tickets for the event may be purchased at firstcitizenevent.org.