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History | Overview

The history of neurology at Boston Children’s Hospital

1920–1952: The very roots of child neurology began at Boston Children’s Hospital with the appointment of Dr. Bronson Crothers to lead the newly established Neurology Service. In 1929, “Ward 9” in the newly created Bader Building opened as the first dedicated space for child neurology at a U.S. children’s hospital. In the 1930s and 1940s, Dr. Crothers made landmark contributions into the causes, classification, and management of cerebral palsy.

1944: Dr. William Lennox developed the Seizure Unit, the first comprehensive pediatric epilepsy unit in the world. Since its 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. Philip Pearl. In 1951, Dr. William Lennox won the Lasker Award for his research in epilepsy.

Dr. Randolph Byers

1952–1962: Dr. Randolph Byers assumed the leadership of Neurology. Among his groundbreaking accomplishments, he was the first to link environmental lead exposure to long-term cognitive and learning disorders in children. His studies on kernicterus, spinal muscular atrophy, inflammatory disorders of the central nervous system, and other pediatric neurological disorders form the basis for much of our clinical understanding today.

Dr. Charles Barlow of Boston Children's Hospital.

1962–1990: An independent Department of Neurology — the first devoted to children in the U.S. — was established at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. In 1963, Dr. Charles Barlow became the department Chief. During his 27-year tenure, a program in basic neuroscience and what is now called the NIH-sponsored Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC) were established at the hospital. Dr. Barlow’s accomplishments in child neurology included, especially, contributions to the understanding of headache in children.

1990–2005: Dr. Joseph Volpe was appointed Neurologist-in-Chief in 1990. During his tenure, the size and scope of the Child Neurology Residency Training Program grew substantially, and Dr. Basil Darras became the Training Program Director. 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.

Dr. Scott Pomeroy

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.

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