History

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Our history

1920–1952 The very roots of child neurology began at Boston Children's Hospital with the appointment in 1920 of Dr. Bronson Crothers to lead the newly established Neurology Service at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Crothers was the first to establish the relationship of obstetrical trauma to brachial plexus palsies and to spinal cord injury and he demonstrated the feasibility of preventing these disorders. In 1929, Dr. Crothers received the first dedicated space for child neurology in a Children’s Hospital in the United States when “Ward 9” in the then newly-created Bader Building was developed as a multidisciplinary unit for children with diseases of the nervous system. In the 1930’s and 1940’s, Dr. Crothers made landmark contributions into the causes, classification, and management of cerebral palsy.

In 1944, Dr. William Lennox developed the Seizure Unit, the first comprehensive pediatric epilepsy unit in the world. Since it founding, the program has remained at the forefront of pediatric epilepsy under Drs. Cesare Lombroso and Gregory Holmes and today under the leadership of Dr. Blaise Bourgeois.

1952–1962 Dr. Randolph Byers assumed the leadership of Neurology. Like his predecessor, Dr. Byers’ accomplishments were groundbreaking. He was the first to link environmental lead exposure to long term cognitive and learning disorders in children. His studies on kernicterus, spinal muscular atrophty, inflammatory disorders of the central nervous system, and other pediatric neurological disorders form the basis for much of our current clinical understanding.

1962–1990 An independent Department of Neurology was established at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, the first Department of Neurology devoted to children in the United States. In 1963, Dr. Charles Barlow became the Department Chief and recipient of the Bronson Crothers Chair.

During Dr. Barlow’s subsequent 27-year tenure, a program in basic neuroscience and a NIH- sponsored Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Center were established as a major component of the Enders Pediatric Research Building. Dr. Barlow’s accomplishments in child neurology included, especially, contributions to the understanding of headache in children. The Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center was established as a major component of the Enders Pediatric Research Building.

1990–2005 Dr. Joseph Volpe succeeded Dr. Barlow as Bronson Crothers Professor of Harvard Medical School and Neurologist-in-Chief at Boston Children's Hospital. During his tenure, Dr. Basil Darras was appointed as the Training Program Director while the size and scope of the Child Neurology Residency Training Program was substantially increased. Dr. Volpe fostered the development of subspecialty clinical programs, with particular emphasis on Fetal/Neonatal Neurology. His tenure was notable for the recruitment of 20 new faculty, including Dr. Michael Greenberg, who led the Division of Neuroscience.

2005–Present Dr. Scott Pomeroy succeeded Dr. Volpe as Bronson Crothers Professor and Neurologist-in-Chief in 2005. His tenure has been marked by continued growth of the Boston Children's Hospital Neurology Residency Training Program, a commitment to translational neuroscience, growing support of high quality clinical neuroscience research and the development of several exciting new subspecialty clinical programs.

The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO
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