A headshot of Dr. Ronald Kleinman
Ronald E. Kleinman, MD, Physician-in-Chief of MGfC

Capping more than four decades of outstanding service to children, adolescents and teenagers both locally and nationally, Ronald E. Kleinman, MD, Physician-in-Chief of Mass General for Children (MGfC), has been named the 2022 recipient of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Murray Davidson Award. The award, established in 1989, recognizes an outstanding clinician, educator and scientist who has made significant contributions to gastroenterology care for children.

“Dr. Kleinman has been widely recognized as a ‘founding figure" in the field of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition, and there is no one who has done more with greater humility. Dr. Kleinman's contributions have been extraordinary over a prolonged period of time,” says Mitch Cohen, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP Section on Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. “His research into caloric intake and school performance was among the first to show a direct link between malnutrition and poor academic performance. He has been an educator, clinician, researcher, advocate and leader for our field and all of pediatrics.”

Kleinman, also chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Charles Wilder Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, first arrived at Mass General in 1977 as a clinical and research fellow in Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. In his tenure at the hospital, Kleinman has unfailingly provided exceptional patient care and expertly guided hundreds of young physicians and scientists to advance clinical care and research in pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition. He has made significant contributions to public policy making and research in his chosen fields of research and clinical care.

Throughout his illustrious career, Kleinman has dedicated his research to improving the lives of children and families through a focus on the developing gut immune system, nutrition in infancy and early childhood and the effects of food insecurity on children’s health and development. He has served as a strong advocate and leader in developing public policy in these areas.

“It is impossible to overestimate the positive impact that Ron Kleinman’s contributions and commitment have had on improving the nutrition and the lives of children and adolescents have been through his work as teacher, researcher and leading contributor to dietary guidelines and policy changes,” said Alessio Fasano, MD, chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at MGfC. “Dr. Kleinman is a pioneering pediatrician who recognized decades ago that all children have the right not just to enough food, but to food of a high nutritional quality.”

In addition to his academic and clinical work, he has served as the chair of the Board of Directors of Project Bread in Boston and is currently the Board Chair of the Global Child Nutrition Foundation. Both nonprofit organizations are focused on supporting food and nutrition security for children and their families. Kleinman has served as the chair of the AAP’s Committee on Nutrition and is the editor of multiple editions of Pediatric Nutrition, an evidence-based textbook of nutrition for infants, children and adolescents, including current practices and policies recommended by the AAP’s Committee on Nutrition.

He has helped to formulate school nutrition guidelines among other efforts focused on maternal and child and adolescent health, and served as vice chair of the 2020-2025 U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Kleinman is a founder and past president of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. In 2011, Kleinman received the Children’s Champion Award from the Nelson Mandela’s Children Fund.

His professional affiliations have included the American Gastroenterological Association; the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease; the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition; the Society for Pediatric Research; and the American Pediatric Society. As an author or editor of more than 200 peer-reviewed publications, reviews, chapters, monographs, editorials and textbooks, he has served as a member of multiple committees of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, a member of the Medical Advisory Group on Diet and Nutrition Guidelines in Cancer for the American Cancer Society and as a member of the National Cholesterol Advisory Committees and currently serves on the BOND-KIDS project of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.