Title/s: Adjunct Professor
Distinguished Scholar in Residence
Specialty Area: Children’s Health Law and Policy
Dr. Elster received his undergraduate degree from Tulane University and his medical education from the University of Texas Medical Branch. After completing an internship and residency in pediatrics at the University of New Mexico, he served in the military at Madigan Army Medical Center where he received a Medal of Commendation for his work in adolescent medicine, and the Odgen Bruton award from the Military Section of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Elster completed an adolescent medicine fellowship program at the University of Rochester, and then served for 9 years on the faculty at the University of Utah where he started both a medical clinic in a juvenile correctional facility, and an innovative comprehensive program for pregnant teens, parenting teens and their infants, and young fathers. This program was a medicine-public health collaboration between the medical center and the Utah Department of Health. His work at Utah was funded by numerous federal grants, and a Clinical Scholars Award from the WT Grant Foundation. Dr. Elster spent 1 year as a visiting researcher at the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development before accepting a position, in 1988, at the American Medical Association (AMA) to develop a new initiative on adolescent health.
For ten years Dr. Elster directed the Department of Adolescent Health and was responsible for developing, testing, and implementing the AMA Guidelines for Adolescent Preventive Services (GAPS) initiative. This work helped define the content and practice of clinical preventive services for teens between 11 and 21 years of age. He initiated, and for 20 years, led the AMA National Coalition on Adolescent Health, and continues to provide leadership for this initiative that is now sponsored by the American College of Preventive Medicine.
In 1999, after serving one year as Acting Vice President of Science, Technology, and Public Health, Dr. Elster was ask to develop a new Division on Medicine and Public Health. In this position he was responsible for developing and managing programs related to medicine-public health collaboration, youth and domestic violence, low health literacy, child and adolescent health, aging and community health, obesity and health disparities. Under his direction the AMA signed historic memorandum of understanding with both the Department of Health and Human Services and the Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation to reduce racial/ethnic disparities. In 2004 he was instrumental in forming a partnership between the AMA, the National Medical Association, and the National Hispanic Medical Association to convene the Commission to Eliminate Health Care Disparities.
Dr. Elster is past president of the Society for Adolescent Medicine, and remains active nationally. He currently holds a faculty appointment at Northwestern University School of Medicine where he teaches in the MPH program, and is a member of the Scientific Panel of the Richmond Center for Excellence, an organization housed at the American Academy of Pediatrics to address second hand smoke and its effect on children. Dr. Elster has authored many scientific papers and several books, and has been a visiting professor both nationally and internationally. In 2009 he received a Master of Jurisprudence, with a focus on child and family law, from Loyola University. In 2008 Dr. Elster retired from the AMA after 20 years of service.
Children’s Health Law and Policy