April 2014

Injury Expert Dennis Durbin, MD, MSCE to Lead OCTR


Seasoned Children’s Hospital hand and injury researcher Dennis Durbin, MD, MSCE is set to succeed Mary Leonard, MD, MSCE as the director of CHOP Research’s Office of Clinical and Translational Research (OCTR). Currently co-Scientific Director of the Center for Injury Research Prevention (CIRP), Dr. Durbin will assume his new duties in June.

Since 2011, Dr. Leonard has directed the OCTR, which “assists clinical and translational investigators in identifying scientific opportunities and in forging productive collaborations” across CHOP and Penn. After nearly a quarter-century at CHOP and the University of Pennsylvania — having initially joined as a resident and fellow — Dr. Leonard is set to leave Children’s Hospital in June for Stanford University, where she will take on a number of roles: She will act as co-director of Spectrum Child Health, and will be the Founding Director of a new Center for Nutrition and Bone Health in Pediatrics and Medicine. In addition, she will serve as the Associate Division Chief for Research in Nephrology.

“Our loss is clearly Stanford’s gain,” said Philip R. Johnson, MD, the Research Institute’s chief scientific officer and executive vice president. “Mary will be missed not only by her colleagues in the Department of Pediatrics and the CHOP Research Institute, but also by her innumerable collaborators, mentees, friends, and the patients and families she has cared for over these many years.”

Taking the reins from Dr. Leonard will be CIRP’s Dennis Durbin, MD, MSCE. A Professor of Pediatrics at CHOP and Penn, Dr. Durbin is a member of the Division of Emergency Medicine and an Associate Scholar at the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics. An internationally renowned leader in pediatric injury prevention research, Dr. Durbin’s research has been particularly focused on the prevention of motor vehicle occupant injuries to children and the prevention of teen driver crashes.

He served as the co-principal investigator of Partners for Child Passenger Safety, a partnership between CHOP and State Farm Insurance Companies that resulted in the world’s largest child-focused motor vehicle crash surveillance system. Dr. Durbin has also served on various local and national committees including the Committee for Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and has published papers in a number of journals.

Recently, Dr. Durbin was the first author of an editorial published in JAMA Pediatrics commenting on a recent JAMA Pediatrics study that examined the association between cortisol levels in teens and crashes and near crashes. On the CIRP blog, Dr. Durbin commended the cortisol-related research but cautioned that further work “is needed to better characterize the relationship between cortisol reactivity in response to stressors and crash risk in the general population of healthy teens and among those teens who might be at higher crash risk due to preexisting conditions, such as Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.”

Until Dr. Leonard leaves CHOP in June, she and Dr. Durbin will work together to ensure a smooth transition. To learn more about the OCTR and its services, see the Office’s CHOP Research intranet page.

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