On April 12, 2016, Dr. Karyn Purvis passed away at the age of 66. As the director of the Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University, her contributions to child development research and trauma-informed care had a tremendous impact on many around the world. She was a great friend to Methodist Children’s Home and her loss is felt by many in our ministry.
Methodist Children’s Home partnered with TCU’s Institute in 2010 to implement trauma-informed research into its every day care. Dr. Purvis and Dr. David Cross worked closely with MCH executive management and staff to train and mentor them as they learned valuable tools to help children who have experienced trauma.
Dr. Purvis was a child development expert, an advocate for children, an author and highly respected developmental psychologist. She was also a mother of three boys and grandmother to nine at the time of her death.
She won several awards during her career including the Heroes in Healthcare Award in 2006 along with Dr. Cross, awarded by the Dallas Business Journal; the T. Berry Brazelton, M.D. Infant Mental Health Advocacy Award; the James Hammerstein Award to honor those who have displayed outstanding dedication to children in need; and received the title of Distinguished Fellow in Adoption and Child Development from the National Council on Adoption.
“If I have planted, and farmed the soil well, those who come after me, and after them and after them, will be wiser and more well-equipped and more able to continue our mission, which is not rhetoric for our Institute, “ Dr. Purvis once said. “We truly are learning to change the world for children.’’
Tim Brown, MCH president/CEO, said Dr. Purvis’s legacy as a gifted “child whisperer” will leave an indelible mark on MCH.
“Methodist Children’s Home, along with countless families and colleagues around the world, was blessed by the leadership of Dr. Karyn Purvis. Her passion for working more effectively with ’children from hard places in life’ inspired and energized us all. Those who were blessed to know her personally certainly loved her deeply, respected her for all she was, and we are grateful for all she taught us about ourselves.“
Brown noted that her legacy will live on at MCH in many ways through the training she pioneered, but also through the approach MCH is taking to provide the ideal environment for youth to live and grow.
“Many of the elements incorporated into our new campus home, such as a sensory room, LED lighting, common spaces, and even color selections came about because of our work with Dr. Purvis,“ he explained.
“As we continue to learn more about how to use the knowledge she shared for healing and good, I will personally miss her friendship, presence, depth of passion and ongoing encouragement to do more for children and families,“ Brown said. “We are better people, a better ministry, and more capable of offering lasting hope and healing because of the gifts and insights that she shared with us.“