For her innovative and influential work in FASD diagnosis, intervention, and prevention, NOFAS is pleased to recognize Mary J. O’Connor, PhD, and enshrine her in the NOFAS Tom and Linda Daschle FASD Hall of Fame.
Established in 2005, the Hall of Fame was named for former U.S. Senator Tom Daschle and his wife Linda Hall Daschle as a tribute to their commitment and leadership in the fight to prevent alcohol-related birth defects, and their long-standing support of NOFAS.
The Hall of Fame spotlights individuals living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and the families, advocates, and researchers devoted to preventing and treating the disorder. Dr. O’Connor personifies the purpose of the Hall of Fame as described by Senator Daschle, “Linda and I salute the early pioneers in this field, and the families living with FAS. There should be a Hall of Fame for them. A Hall of heroes that inspires healing, hope and progress. A Hall for anyone willing to commit whatever it takes.”
Dr. O’Connor is a Professor at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the UCLA Geffen School of Medicine in Los Angeles, California. She is Program Director of the UCLA FASD Clinic and the ABC Partial Hospital Program which provide diagnosis and treatment of children with prenatal alcohol exposure and other psychiatric and behavioral problems.
Over the past 25 years, Dr. O’Connor has conducted research on the prevention of alcohol consumption in pregnant women, intervention with children with prenatal alcohol exposure, and medical and allied health education on prevention, diagnosis and treatment. All of her recent work has been on collaborative national initiatives with the long-term goal of developing best practice models to be disseminated on local, state, and national levels. The results of her research have been adopted as national and international models for prevention and intervention. She has served on multiple national task forces and expert panels focusing on the topic of prenatal exposure to alcohol. Dr. O’Connor’s work in the field exemplifies her dedication to children and families who have been touched by the consequences of prenatal exposure to alcohol, and exemplifies the purpose of the Hall of Fame and its members.
She received her PhD from the University of California at Los Angeles and holds a specialty board certification in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, and has taught medical students, psychiatry residents, child psychiatry fellows, and child clinical psychology interns for over 30 years for which she received an Outstanding House Staff Teaching Award. Dr. O’Connor is the Training Director for the Tarjan Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEED), a program designed to train clinical psychology interns and postdoctoral fellows to become leaders in the field of developmental disabilities.