Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
Department of Pediatrics, 1930
Pediatrics has been taught at the medical school since 1893, when Dr. William A. White provided instruction in childhood diseases. In 1894 Dr. Harold Williams became the first professor of pediatrics. He served through 1899, making use of the pediatric clinics at the Boston Dispensary for student education. Drs. Edmund C. Stowell (1900-1911) and Dr. William R.P. Emerson (1911-1929), his successors, also taught students at the Boston Dispensary. Teaching during this early period was accomplished through didactic lectures and class demonstrations as well as clinics.
In 1930 Dr. Elmer W. Barton became the first head of the newly established Department of Pediatrics when he was appointed professor of pediatrics at the school, physician-in-chief at the Boston Floating Hospital, and chief at the Boston Dispensary's children's clinic. His successor, Dr. James M. Baty, was professor and chairman from 1942 to 1965. During his tenure, the teaching of pediatrics continued to be provided primarily to third- and fourth-year students. In the third year students were exposed to sixty-four hours of lectures as well as clinical demonstrations. They were also assigned to the clinics of the Boston Dispensary and the Boston Floating Hospital for a month. Dr. Baty extended the fourth-year clerkship to include the Charles V. Chapin (Providence, Rhode Island); Malden; and Booth Memorial Hospitals. During these years the department's research was primarily clinically oriented, except for the work of Dr. Richard Wagner, who studied glycogen metabolism in children.
With the arrival of Dr. Sydney S. Gellis, an internationally respected pediatrician, in 1965, a full-time department of pediatrics was established. Under his leadership, the department remained clinically strong and con-tinued to provide an excellent education for students. It also began to develop research programs that focused on the value of the growth hormone for childrenwith hypopituitarism, seizure control, the link between birth defects and chromosomal abnormalities, hepatitis, autism, and jaundice of the newborn. The program was strengthened in the Boston Floating Hospital division of the New England Medical Center as well, for its family participation unit was expanded and improved; a March of Dimes-supported birth defect center was established; divisions of neurology, infectious disease, and urology were introduced, adolescent and intensive care units were developed; and a pediatric trauma center was organized.
Dr. Gellis achieved emeritus status in 1979 and was succeeded by Dr. Richard C. Talamo. When Dr. Talamo's term was cut short by illness in 1981, Dr. Marshall Kreidberg became acting chairman. In 1983 Dr. Jane Schaller was appointed professor and chair of the school and pediatrician-in-chief at the Boston Floating Hospital. Dr. Schaller, who holds an M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School, and trained at the University of Washington in Seattle, is an eminent pediatrician who has achieved national recognition for her work on arthritis in children. As chair of pediatrics she strengthened and expanded the department's clinical, academic, and research activities. She also added new divisions in nephtology, rheumatology, and critical care and has restructured those of general pediatrics, pulmonology, gastroenterology/nutrition, cardiology, neonatology, hematology/oncology, infectious disease, and neurology. Under her aegis, an outstanding residency program has been developed, forty-nine new faculty have been appointed, and a number of innovative programs have been instituted, (including the Boston Perinatal Center, the Affiliated Children's Arthritis Center of New England, the Failure to Thrive Clinic, the Center for Children with Special Needs, the Children's Cancer Center, and the International Adoption Clinic). In 1992 the department ranked second among the school's clinical departments in terms of research activity. Research funding has grown from approximately $600,000 (in 1984) to over $3.5 million.
Under Dr. Schaller's leadership the Department of Pediatrics developed a truly distinguished faculty, many of whom are acknowledged as national leaders in their field. They have published extensively in pediatric and basic science journals and have served on the editorial boards of prestigiousjournals. Faculty members have been elected to the American Pediatric Society and the Society for Pediatric Research. Their 1992 honors include the Humanitarian of the Year Award of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (Dr. Richard Grand) and the Amelia Earhart Award of the Women's Educational Industrial Union (Dr. Schaller). Dr. Schaller was also elected to the Institute of Medicine.
Source: COE, 147-49.