Undergraduate Degree

  • Stanford University , 1978 , Stanford , CA

Graduate Degree

  • Harvard University School of Public Health , 1983 , Boston , MA

Medical School

  • Harvard Medical School , 1983 , Boston , MA


  • Boston Children's Hospital , 1984 , Boston , MA


  • Boston Children's Hospital , 1987 , Boston , MA


Joint Program in Neonatology
  • Boston Children's Hospital , 1990 , Boston , MA

Philosophy of Care

In the Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) our philosophy is to ensure that every patient receives the best care for the best possible outcomes. We consider our “patient” to be the baby and the family; we are constantly striving to serve the needs of both. This requires a team based approach with all members being essential. Newborns are the smallest and, at times, among the sickest patients receiving health care. Safe, high quality, family-centered care for these vulnerable patients requires collaboration among knowledgeable, highly skilled clinicians. I’m very privileged to be a member of the team, providing this care while training a promising generation of future physician leaders and contributing to research that will benefit future patients and populations.


DeWayne Pursley, MD, MPH, is chief of the Department of Neonatology and director of the Klarman Family Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School (HMS). An elected member of the American Pediatric Society, Dr. Pursley’s interests include NICU resource allocation and utilization, and racial and social disparities in infant outcomes.  He is a member of the NIH Advisory Council for Child Health and Human Development and the board of directors of both the American Board of Pediatrics, where he was the past chair of its Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Sub-board, and the National Perinatal Information Center. He is a founding member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) NICU Verification Program, and in the past has served as chair of the AAP Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Section, co-chair of the AAP Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, and president of the AAP Massachusetts Chapter. He also recently led an AAP project to examine resource overuse in newborn medicine and serves on the steering committee for the Vermont-Oxford Network Newborn Intensive Collaborative for Quality project on antibiotic stewardship. A recipient of the HMS Dean’s Community Service Award, Dr. Pursley has also been recognized with the March of Dimes Massachusetts Chapter Franklin Delano Roosevelt Award, the Excellence in Mentoring Award from the HMS Office of Recruitment and Multicultural Affairs, and the HMS Harold Amos Faculty Diversity Award.


  • American Board of Pediatrics, General Pediatrics
  • American Board of Pediatrics, Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine


Publications powered by Harvard Catalyst Profiles

  1. The impact of antenatal cannabis use on the neonate: Time for open engagement? Pediatr Res. 2021 Sep; 90(3):503-505. View abstract
  2. Racial and ethnic disparities in adult COVID-19 and the future impact on child health. Pediatr Res. 2021 04; 89(5):1052-1054. View abstract
  3. Economics at the frontline: Tools and tips for busy clinicians. Semin Perinatol. 2021 Apr; 45(3):151396. View abstract
  4. Choosing wisely for the other 80%: What we need to know about the more mature newborn and NICU care. Semin Perinatol. 2021 Apr; 45(3):151395. View abstract
  5. "Organizational solutions: calling the question" APS racism series: at the intersection of equity, science, and social justice. Pediatr Res. 2020 11; 88(5):702-703. View abstract
  6. Glucose concentrations in enterally fed preterm infants. J Perinatol. 2020 12; 40(12):1834-1840. View abstract
  7. Quantifying the Where and How Long of Newborn Care. Pediatrics. 2020 08; 146(2). View abstract
  8. Using Neonatal Intensive Care Units More Wisely for At-Risk Newborns and Their Families. JAMA Netw Open. 2020 06 01; 3(6):e205693. View abstract
  9. Caring for Newborns Born to Mothers With COVID-19: More Questions Than Answers. Pediatrics. 2020 08; 146(2). View abstract
  10. Health Equity and the Social Determinants: Putting Newborn Health in Context. Pediatrics. 2020 06; 145(6). View abstract
  11. Preventing long-term respiratory morbidity in preterm neonates: is there a path forward? Pediatr Res. 2020 01; 87(1):9-10. View abstract
  12. A Collaborative Multicenter QI Initiative to Improve Antibiotic Stewardship in Newborns. Pediatrics. 2019 12; 144(6). View abstract
  13. The color of health: how racism, segregation, and inequality affect the health and well-being of preterm infants and their families. Pediatr Res. 2020 01; 87(2):227-234. View abstract
  14. Cell-based therapies in neonates: the emerging role of regulatory science. Pediatr Res. 2019 08; 86(2):145-146. View abstract
  15. Preparing for Discharge From the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Pediatrics. 2019 06; 143(6). View abstract
  16. Racial disparities in preterm birth in USA: a biosensor of physical and social environmental exposures. Arch Dis Child. 2019 10; 104(10):931-935. View abstract
  17. Adherence of Newborn-Specific Antibiotic Stewardship Programs to CDC Recommendations. Pediatrics. 2018 12; 142(6). View abstract
  18. NICU Admissions After a Policy to Eliminate Elective Early Term Deliveries Before 39 Weeks' Gestation. Hosp Pediatr. 2018 11; 8(11):686-692. View abstract
  19. New Resources and Strategies to Advance the AAP's Values of Diversity, Inclusion, and Health Equity. Pediatrics. 2018 04; 141(4). View abstract
  20. Value-based care: the preference of outcome over prediction. J Pediatr. 2018 05; 196:330-331. View abstract
  21. Bending the arc for the extremely low gestational age newborn. Pediatr Res. 2018 04; 83(4):751-753. View abstract
  22. Development of a verification program for NICU levels of care. Acta Paediatrica. 2017; 106:27. View abstract
  23. Improving Value in Neonatal Intensive Care. Clin Perinatol. 2017 09; 44(3):617-625. View abstract
  24. Evidence, Quality, and Waste: Solving the Value Equation in Neonatology. Pediatrics. 2016 Mar; 137(3):e20150312. View abstract
  25. Choosing Wisely in Newborn Medicine: Five Opportunities to Increase Value. Pediatrics. 2015 Aug; 136(2):e482-9. View abstract
  26. Improvement in Perinatal HIV Status Documentation in a Massachusetts Birth Hospital, 2009-2013. Pediatrics. 2015 Jul; 136(1):e234-41. View abstract
  27. The OHRP and SUPPORT. N Engl J Med. 2013 Jun 20; 368(25):e36. View abstract
  28. Neonatal intensive care unit discharge preparation, family readiness and infant outcomes: connecting the dots. J Perinatol. 2013 Jun; 33(6):415-21. View abstract
  29. Building collaborative teams in neonatal intensive care. BMJ Qual Saf. 2013 May; 22(5):374-82. View abstract
  30. Neonatal intensive care unit discharge preparedness: primary care implications. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2012 May; 51(5):454-61. View abstract
  31. The impact of maternal characteristics on the moderately premature infant: an antenatal maternal transport clinical prediction rule. J Perinatol. 2012 Jul; 32(7):532-8. View abstract
  32. A survey of infection control practices for influenza in mother and newborn units in US hospitals. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2011 Jun; 204(6 Suppl 1):S77-83. View abstract
  33. Preparing for influenza after 2009 H1N1: special considerations for pregnant women and newborns. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2011 Jun; 204(6 Suppl 1):S13-20. View abstract
  34. NIH Consensus Development Conference statement: inhaled nitric-oxide therapy for premature infants. Pediatrics. 2011 Feb; 127(2):363-9. View abstract
  35. NIH consensus development conference: Inhaled nitric oxide therapy for premature infants. NIH Consens State Sci Statements. 2010 Oct 29; 27(5):1-34. View abstract
  36. Network analysis of team structure in the neonatal intensive care unit. Pediatrics. 2010 Jun; 125(6):e1460-7. View abstract
  37. Are families prepared for discharge from the NICU? J Perinatol. 2009 Sep; 29(9):623-9. View abstract
  38. Manual of Neonatal Surgical Care. Gastrointestinal Obstruction. 2009. View abstract
  39. Developmental characteristics of preterm infants. Pediatr Rev. 2008 Feb; 29(2):67-8. View abstract
  40. Incidence of hypertriglyceridemia in critically ill neonates receiving lipid injectable emulsions in glass versus plastic containers: a retrospective analysis. J Pediatr. 2008 Feb; 152(2):232-6. View abstract
  41. Resuscitation and ventilation strategies for extremely preterm infants: a comparison study between two neonatal centers in Boston and Stockholm. Acta Paediatr. 2007 Jan; 96(1):10-6; discussion 8-9. View abstract
  42. Taeusch HW, Ballard RA, Gleason CA, Avery ME, eds. Avery's Diseases of the Newborn. Implications of the Human Genome Project on Neonatal Care. 2004. View abstract
  43. Manual of Neonatal Surgical Care. Gastrointestinal Obstruction. 2003. View abstract
  44. Yearbook of Medical Informatics. Baby CareLink: Using the Internet and Telemedicine to Improve Care for High Risk Infants. 2002; 399-405. View abstract
  45. Journal of Perinatology. Re: A Critical Review of Cost Reduction in Neonatal Intensive Care: The ethics of cost reduction. (Letter). 2002; 22(4):336-37. View abstract
  46. Variations in prevalence of hypotension, hypertension, and vasopressor use in NICUs. J Perinatol. 2001 Jul-Aug; 21(5):272-8. View abstract
  47. A critical review of cost reduction in neonatal intensive care. I. The structure of costs. J Perinatol. 2001 Mar; 21(2):107-15. View abstract
  48. A critical review of cost reduction in neonatal intensive care. II. Strategies for reduction. J Perinatol. 2001 Mar; 21(2):121-7. View abstract
  49. Relationship of race and severity of neonatal illness. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2001 Mar; 184(4):668-72. View abstract
  50. Baby CareLink: using the internet and telemedicine to improve care for high-risk infants. Pediatrics. 2000 Dec; 106(6):1318-24. View abstract
  51. Declining severity adjusted mortality: evidence of improving neonatal intensive care. Pediatrics. 1998 Oct; 102(4 Pt 1):893-9. View abstract
  52. Variation among neonatal intensive care units in narcotic administration. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1998 Sep; 152(9):844-51. View abstract
  53. Infertility and Reproductive Clinics of North America. The Special Challenge of the Multiple Gestation Newborn. 1998; 9(3):461-474. View abstract
  54. Early deaths in Chicago and New England. Pediatrics. 1997 May; 99(5):753-4. View abstract
  55. Variability in transfer practices among NICUs: Implications for health services research. Pediatric Research. 1996; 39(4):1580. View abstract
  56. Lower illness severity among black infants reflects physiological advantage among moderately low-birth-weight infants. Pediatric Research. 1995; 37(4):A270. View abstract
  57. Guidelines for neonatal coombs testing - low compliance and clinical utility. Pediatric Research. 1995; 37(4):A258. View abstract
  58. Graef JW, ed. Manual of Pediatric Therapeutics. Management of the Sick Newborn. 1993; 137-194. View abstract
  59. Graef JW, ed. Manual of Pediatric Therapeutics. Management of the Normal Newborn. 1993; 122-136. View abstract
  60. Clinical determinants of the racial disparity in very low birth weight. N Engl J Med. 1992 Oct 01; 327(14):969-73. View abstract
  61. Infant mortality as a social mirror. N Engl J Med. 1992 Jun 04; 326(23):1558-60. View abstract
  62. Cloherty JP, Stark AR, eds. Manual of Neonatal Care. Identifying the High Risk Newborn and Evaluating Gestational Age, Prematurity, Postmaturity, Large-For-Gestational Age and Small-For-Gestational Age Infants. 1991; 85-103. View abstract
  63. Cloherty JP, Start AR, eds. Manual of Neonatal Care. Multiple Gestation. 1991; 104-108. View abstract
  64. Multiple causation of racial disparities in VLBW- a 2-site population-based study. Pediatric Research. 1990; 27(4):247. View abstract
  65. The etiology of elevated black normal birth-weight (NBW) neonatal mortality in a total population with high access to tertiary care. Pediatric Research. 1990; 27(4):A253. View abstract
  66. Unsuspected hepatic injury in the neonate--diagnosis by ultrasonography. Pediatr Radiol. 1990; 20(5):320-2. View abstract
  67. Buka SL, Peck MG, Gardner JD, eds. Better Health for Children: Action for the Eighties. Medical/Curative Services. 1982; 80-82. View abstract