Matthew J. Bizzarro, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics and medical director of Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), is the 2016 recipient of the David J. Leffell Prize for Clinical Excellence. The prize is given to individuals who demonstrate the highest level of clinical expertise, commitment to teaching, and compassion for patients.

At a ceremony at the Sterling Hall of Medicine, Bizzarro said, “It was difficult to think I’ve been singled out given the quality of the [neonatology] group. I would challenge anyone to find a better group of clinicians.”

After attending medical school at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Bizzarro completed his residency at New York University Medical Center and joined Yale as a fellow in 2002.

Bizzarro said at the ceremony that he felt drawn to pediatrics and critical care as a medical student but discovered his true passion in caring for sick newborns at Yale. “Watching babies you’ve spent months taking care of go home with their families is an overwhelming feeling,” he said.

The Leffell Prize was created in 2008 with a gift from David J. Leffell, M.D., the David P. Smith Professor of Dermatology and professor of surgery, and his wife, Cindy, in honor of Leffell’s 30th Yale College reunion. It includes a monetary award and a framed citation to be displayed in the Sterling Hall of Medicine.