Mary Leonard appointed chair of pediatrics at Stanford Medicine

The clinical research expert will lead the Department of Pediatrics and serve as physician-in-chief of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and Stanford Children’s Health.

- By Erin Digitale

Mary Leonard

Mary Leonard, MD, MSCE, professor of pediatrics and of medicine, has been appointed chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the Stanford University School of Medicine and physician-in-chief at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and Stanford Children’s Health.

Leonard will take over July 1 from Hugh O’Brodovich, MD, professor of pediatrics, who is retiring after holding the position since 2007.

“This is an exceptionally exciting time for Stanford pediatrics,” Leonard said. “The growth of our clinical and research programs and the new initiatives in precision health are providing us with unprecedented opportunities to shape the future of pediatrics. The house staff, faculty and patients inspire me in my work every day, and it will be an honor and privilege to advocate on their behalf.”

A 1989 graduate of the School of Medicine, Leonard returned to Stanford in 2014 after spending 25 years at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania, first as a resident and fellow and then as a faculty member.

“Dr. Leonard is an energetic, collaborative physician, researcher and mentor who cares deeply about improving the health and well-being of children everywhere,” said Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine. “She is committed to Stanford Medicine’s vision of proactive and personalized health care and has been at the forefront of efforts to integrate precision health approaches and skills into our training programs.”

Studying lifelong bone health

“Dr. Leonard invariably receives high praise from colleagues and trainees for her thoughtful leadership and inspiring vision for the future of pediatric research, education and patient care,” said Christopher Dawes, president and CEO of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and Stanford Children’s Health. “I’m very pleased to welcome her to the role of physician-in-chief of our hospital and network.”

At the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Leonard directed the Office of Clinical and Translational Research and was a senior scholar in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, where she developed strong track records as a researcher and a mentor to other scientists. Her research has focused on the effects of chronic diseases on nutrition, physical function and bone health throughout life.

In 2015, after returning to Stanford, Leonard was appointed associate dean of maternal and child health research, a position in which she directed the transdisciplinary child and maternal health research and training initiatives of the Stanford Child Health Research Institute. She also helped build interfaces between Stanford’s pediatric and adult medical research to facilitate scientific investigations across the life span.

“Dr. Leonard is a distinguished investigator, an expert clinician and a respected mentor who embodies the academic and integrated mission of Stanford Medicine,” Minor said. “We are excited that she is embarking on this new role.”

Leonard is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the Society for Pediatric Research.

About Stanford Medicine

Stanford Medicine is an integrated academic health system comprising the Stanford School of Medicine and adult and pediatric health care delivery systems. Together, they harness the full potential of biomedicine through collaborative research, education and clinical care for patients. For more information, please visit

2024 ISSUE 1

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