For the last four decades, Ronald E. Kleinman, MD, has been a steadfast and passionate voice at Massachusetts General Hospital, advocating for the hospital’s youngest patients. His leadership has served to strengthen MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC), the department’s research portfolio, educational opportunities and created a robust infrastructure that has made MGHfC a leader locally and nationally.
Though stepping down from his role as chief of Pediatrics and Physician-in-Chief of the MGHfC, children will continue to benefit from his clinical work and research contributions. In recognition of the imprint he has made in the Mass General community and around the world, a collection of MGHfC supporters and friends has established the Ronald E. Kleinman, MD, Endowed Chair in Pediatrics. This endowed fund will be a named position within the Department of Pediatrics to be held by a faculty member, honoring this individual as a pivotal leader within the Department.
"An MGH Endowed Chair is one of the highest honors that MGH can bestow upon a physician. It enables recipients to take bold and innovative steps in research, education and patient care - something Dr. Kleinman has done throughout his impressive career at MGHfC," said David F. M. Brown, MD, president of Massachusetts General Hospital. "Under Dr. Kleinman’s leadership, pediatric care at Mass General has grown tremendously, but his role as a caregiver and mentor truly set him apart. I'm looking forward to seeing how the incumbents of his named MGH Chair help shape the future of pediatric care here at MGH and around the world."
Since arriving at the Mass General for his fellowship in 1977, Kleinman has become a trailblazer in the field of child health and nutrition. He helped to define the specialty by co-authoring more than 100 papers, peer-reviewed publications, chapters and monographs and co-authoring of four textbooks. Kleinman is a founder and a former president of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity and has served as vice chair of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines 2020 Advisory Committee, helping to formulate school nutrition policies and efforts focused on adolescent health and maternal and child health.
“Dr. Kleinman has devoted his career to being an advocate for improving nutrition security and equity among low-income children and families. He was instrumental for his work in developing one of the first national efforts to raise awareness of the high prevalence of food insecurity, screen children for food insecurity and match families with resources including food vouchers and enrollment in SNAP,” says Elsie Taveras, MD, chief community health equity officer for Mass General Brigham and executive director of the Kraft Center for Community Health. “His work both locally and internationally to advance the field has improved the lives of the most vulnerable children."
Kleinman drove the clinical and research expansion of Mass General Pediatrics. The system now supports families in 18 community locations throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire. He recruited highly sought-after experts in a range of specialties and added divisions and programs in such areas as palliative care; global health; sleep; diversity and inclusion; and newborn follow-up while supporting the department’s research portfolio, which has increased nearly threefold during his tenure. Pediatric allergy, mucosal immunology and neonatology have led MGHfC’s growth expenditures.
Philanthropic donations for MGHfC and the Lurie Center for Autism since 2008 have risen dramatically, totaling more than $212 million and currently average approximately $17 million annually.
"Ron's leadership has made MGHfC the premier pediatric hospital that it is. He has kept the best interests of our young patients and their families always at the center, and he has been a fantastic partner in supporting our pediatric surgical services. He will be a very hard act to follow, but I trust the first Kleinman chair appointee will continue Ron’s passion for improving clinical care for children, adolescents and teens,” says Allan Goldstein, MD, surgeon-in-chief of MGHfC.
Made possible through the generosity of over 30 donors, the Ronald E. Kleinman, MD, Endowed Chair in Pediatrics is the latest and now, long-lasting watermark on MassGeneral Hospital for Children’s future.