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People with dwarfism are often stereotyped in popular media and culture. Yet our own voices are rarely heard; the full breadth of our contributions is rarely acknowledged. That’s why we embarked upon the RGA Dwarfism Role Models project – to amplify the voices of figureheads in our communities. In this installment, we had a chance to speak with the psychiatrist Dr Judith Badner, MD.

Please introduce yourself: who are you and where are you from?

I am Judith Badner, MD. I grew up near Washington, DC., but I’ve lived in Chicago for many years. I’ve also lived in Boston and Pittsburgh.

And what do you do?

I’m a psychiatrist at Rush University. I work in a clinic, seeing a wide range of psychiatric conditions with a sub-specialty in adult autism. I’ve worked as a researcher in psychiatric genetics for many years, but grant funding has become very difficult to obtain so I’m a pure clinician now.

Do you enjoy it?


How did you end up doing it?

I went to medical school, with the idea of specializing in clinical genetics and treating people with dwarfism. However, psychiatry really fascinated me, and there was starting to be a lot of work in psychiatric genetics. So, I decided to train in psychiatry with a fellowship in psychiatric genetics.

If you were 21 again, would you do something different?

No, I’ve been very happy with my choices.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Making a difference in people’s lives.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever done?

Making 20 dresses for a play in one week!

What are the best and worst aspects about being small?

Best – learning to deal with adversity at a young age; being unique. 

Worst – the ridicule, inaccessible environments, the surgeries.

If you could pass on one piece of advice to your teenage self what would that be?

It gets better.

Which living person do you most admire and why?

Can’t think of a person I admire above all others.

How do you like to pass the time, outside of work?

Reading, computer games, bicycling.

What’s your favourite book?

Lord of the Rings.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Making a positive difference in so many people’s lives.

When your time comes, how would you like to be remembered?

She tried to help people, and she had a wicked sense of humour.

One thought on “Role models in the dwarfism community: Dr Judith Badner, MD”

  1. I am a mother of 2 children with restricted height. My height is 4’10 my grandparents are both under 5 foot. My parents bit 5’6 and 5’8. I am the shortest in my family when growing up but I was told I had crohns disease and it has restricted my growth as my siblings are between 5’5,. To 5’10. My husband is 5’1 we didn’t expect giants gif kids but anything similar to us would have been great. We have a son 12 who has not grown for 3 years at a physical a little while ago he was 4’5 it seems his bones are fused or something like that but he won’t grow no more. Then comes our other son who is 10 he is slightly taller 4’6 his physical came back as there is a bit more growth to come. After he reaches 14 that will be it. They say he could reach 4’8 at the highest or stay the same. Lastly is our daughter who is 9 now and she is already 4’8. We have explained about their short height and they are really sad about it. All their friends are way taller. For them they don’t understand their sister being taller than them. She has been tested and the doctor Says that he is hopeful for her to reach at least 5 foot. We know nothing can be done apparently my husband carries a gene that as affected them. I just put it down to short parents we are however trying to adapt our kitchen and bedroom to make it easier. We feel having stools at school wouldnt be any different to home. I want them to feel better at home.

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