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In more than a dozen books designed for parents, Heidi Murkoff has guided a generation of families through pregnancy and the early childhood years.
Created in 1983 to fill a void that Murkoff discovered as she searched for a practical, reliable guide during her own pregnancy, What to Expect When You’re Expecting has become the “pregnancy bible,” with more than 17 million copies now in print.
With subsequent books for adults covering topics from preconception to babysitting and kid’s volumes explaining what to expect at the dentist or when a sibling is on the way, Murkoff has become the go-to voice of modern parenting. A popular website (WhatToExpect.com), brings the What to Expect expertise to a wide online community. In addition, Murkoff’s What to Expect Foundation has extended her reach and influence, with health literacy programs and parenting resources designed for underserved families.
The evening honors Murkoff as the recipient of the 2012 John P. McGovern Award, which recognizes individuals in the behavioral sciences and other professions whose work has made outstanding contributions to the understanding of the family in America. Administered by The Smithsonian Associates, the prize originated with late John P. McGovern, a celebrated allergist and humanitarian who made a gift to the Smithsonian for this purpose in 1988. Appropriately in the case of this year’s recipient, McGovern was a pediatrician before shifting his specialty to allergies.
In an interview, Murkoff discusses her work as an author and family health information advocate in a social, medical, and communications landscape that is vastly different from that of previous generations.