Darold Treffert, MD, receives society’s highest honor

Shelly Haberman
Dr Treffert

MADISON - The Wisconsin Medical Society Board of Directors recognized the contributions of Darold Treffert, MD, by awarding him with its highest honor - the 2019 Director’s Award - during its Annual Meeting on April 6 in Madison. Doctor Treffert, a past Society president and board chair, is a world-renowned expert on autism and savant syndrome.

“We are grateful to Dr. Treffert for his longstanding involvement,” says Society CEO Clyde “Bud” Chumbley, MD, MBA. “At the same time, his impact on medicine extends much further than his commitment to the Society, and it is for his groundbreaking research, education and public outreach regarding autism, savant syndrome and hyperlexia that his legacy is truly second to none and one to be recognized and admired.”

Doctor Treffert has studied autism and savant syndrome for over 50 years, serving as a consultant for the Academy-award winning movie “Rain Man” and appearing on CNN, the Today Show, Dateline, 60 Minutes, Oprah, The Discovery Channel and more. He has written two awarding-winning books on savant syndrome and shared his expertise in over 50 national and international publications. Extraordinary People: Understanding Savant Syndrome, now translated into 10 languages, was the first work to comprehensively summarize this condition.

In 2016, Dr. Treffert and Agnesian HealthCare opened the Treffert Center as a place for individuals, families and communities worldwide to explore the potential of the 

human mind, focusing on strengths rather than limitations. The Center also seeks to preserve, make available and expand Dr. Treffert’s legacy as an internationally respected researcher in autism, savant syndrome, hyperlexia and other related conditions. The Center features the Treffert Library, Treffert Academy and the Agnesian Autism, Behavior and Communication Center.

Doctor Treffert has also been instrumental in developing Treffert Way School for Exceptional Minds, which is scheduled to open in the North Fond du Lac School District in Fall of 2019.

The Director’s Award, established in 1928, is granted only on occasion to those who have served with outstanding distinction the art and science of medicine, their fellow physicians and the public.

With physician members statewide dedicated to the best interests of their patients, the Wisconsin Medical Society is the largest association of medical doctors in Wisconsin and a trusted source for health policy leadership since 1841.



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