January 26, 2006 - Sonya Oppenheimer Chair Established At Cincinnati Children's

Thursday, January 26, 2006

CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center has established the Sonya Oppenheimer Chair in the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

The Chair was created through a donation from the Cincinnati Center for Developmental Disorders Foundation and matching funds from Cincinnati Children's. The Chair will be held by the director of research for the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and was named to honor Sonya Oppenheimer, MD, who retired as division director in July 2005. A director of research is currently being recruited.

"Dr. Oppenheimer has contributed more than three and a half decades of outstanding clinical service to children with disabilities and their families in this region and has helped to establish the hospital's reputation as one of the leading centers for interdisciplinary training in the care of children with developmental disorders," said David Schonfeld, MD, Thelma and Jack Rubinstein Professor of Pediatrics and current director of the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. "I am very appreciative of the CCDD Foundation's generosity which allowed for the establishment of this chair and the opportunity to formally acknowledge Dr. Oppenheimer's long-standing contribution to Cincinnati Children's and the field."

Dr. Oppenheimer has been committed to the field of developmental disabilities her entire professional career. A nationally recognized expert in spina bifida, she joined the Cincinnati Children's faculty in 1969. A nationally recognized expert in spina bifida, she has directed the Myelomeningocele Program since 1971. She also has an interest in cerebral palsy, high-risk infants and early intervention.

Dr. Oppenheimer has organized and chaired three international conferences on spina bifida and given more than 50 presentations on the subject throughout the United States. She has been project director on numerous federal grants. She has published two textbooks on spina bifida to help the general public better understand the disability and recently completed a technical, scientific text.

For many years, Dr. Oppenheimer has directed the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) Program at Cincinnati Children's. LEND training programs were developed by the Health Resources and Services Administration's Maternal and Child Health Bureau to improve the health status of infants, children and adolescents with, or at risk for, neurodevelopmental and related disabilities and their families.

Dr. Oppenheimer has served on the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Children with Disabilities and chaired the Ohio AAP Committee on Children with Disabilities. She has chaired the Ohio Department of Health's Committee for Children with Myelomeningocele and served as the Governor-appointed pediatrician on the State Early Intervention Council.

She became only the second director of the Cincinnati Center for Developmental Disorders in 1997, when Jack Rubinstein, MD, retired. Dr. Oppenheimer was honored as a "Woman of the Year" by The Cincinnati Enquirer in 1982 and received the Recognition Award of the Cincinnati Pediatric Society in 1994.

Dr. Oppenheimer attended Radcliff College Boston, Mather College Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and earned her medical degree from Case Western Reserve University. She had a developmental fellowship at Case Western Reserve University under the direction of Benjamin Spock, MD, and John Kennell, MD.

Cincinnati Children's is a 423-bed institution devoted to bringing the world the joy of healthier kids. Cincinnati Children's is dedicated to transforming the way health care is delivered by providing care that is timely, efficient, effective, family-centered, equitable and safe. It ranks third nationally among all pediatric centers in research grants from the National Institutes of Health. The Cincinnati Children's vision is to be the leader in improving child health.

Contact Information

Jim Feuer,, 513-636-4656