Cotting Community Partner Honoree: Dr. Elizabeth Harstad

Dr. Elizabeth Harstad, Cotting Community Partner Honoree, 2021.

For the past 12 years, Dr. Elizabeth Harstad has been an invaluable resource and friend to Cotting School, putting in countless hours for the community, especially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Harstad is a developmental-behavioral pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital and as a part of that role she has been the Medical Director at Cotting for over 9 years. She loves getting to be a part of the developmental journey of children and enjoys getting to know children and their families over time.

Over 12 years ago, Dr. Harstad was assigned to work weekly at Cotting to provide medical consultation as a first year developmental-behavioral pediatrics fellow at Boston Children’s Hospital. She has continued to devote time to Cotting ever since and has fallen in love with the community: “Cotting is such a special place. I love the can-do attitude of students and staff and the dedication of all those who work at/with Cotting.” As the Medical Director, Dr. Harstad provides consultations about a range of medical issues; while this has always been a vitally important task, there were an unprecedented number of issues that arose in the past year due to the pandemic. Dr. Harstad worked together with Cotting faculty and administration to ensure the safety of students and staff, while still striving to provide excellent learning experiences.

Harstad and Cotting team members often have to communicate in the evenings and/or weekends, as medical issues do not wait for school time hours; she provides a crucial role in this communication. During the midst of the pandemic, Cotting is in a challenging yet interesting position in that our students are in significant need of as much learning time as possible, but some students may be at a heightened risk of impact from COVID-19 exposure.

Dr. Harstad helped lead the way forward- working collaboratively within Cotting, the community, and beyond- to navigate these demanding and unprecedented times. Dr. Harstad states, “it has been remarkable to watch how the Cotting Community has come together to implement new protocols, ensure safety, and continue to provide great education for the students.  I am proud and humbled to be part of the process.”

A sincere congratulations and heartfelt thank you to Dr. Elizabeth Harstad, whom we are proud and grateful to have at Cotting School, not only as a crucial member of the team, but as a friend. Dr. Harstad has played an integral role in ensuring Cotting students safety, and it is incalculable how much she has impacted our community. Congratulations again to the 2021 Cotting Community Partner Honoree: Dr. Elizabeth Harstad!

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