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New Appointments

Durbin Named Chief Scientific Officer

Dennis R. Durbin

Dennis R. Durbin, MD, MSCE, was named chief scientific officer at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. In this role, he oversees the operations of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s and provides broad faculty development support to the nearly 150 faculty conducting a broad portfolio of research.

Dr. Durbin is an internationally recognized injury epidemiologist whose research has focused on the prevention of motor vehicle occupant injuries to children and the prevention of teen driver crashes. He has over two decades of experience with traffic safety research and developing the evidence base for child and adolescent traffic safety interventions, and extensive experience translating research findings into policy and practice. He has served on the Committee for Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), during which time he was the lead author on the AAP’s revised policy statement on child passenger safety.

Olivia Thomas Named Chief Diversity and Health Equity Officer

Olivia W. Thomas

Olivia W. Thomas, MD, was appointed the position of chief diversity and health equity officer at Nationwide Children’s. Dr. Thomas began caring for patients in Primary Care and then served as section chief of Ambulatory Pediatrics and a clinical professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Her new role focuses on staff diversification within areas where women, men and minorities are most under-represented compared to the hospital's patient population and community. The hospital's goal is to identify and eliminate any health disparities in patient care due to socioeconomic class, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or other social determinants.

Kemper Named Chief of Ambulatory Pediatrics

Alex R. Kemper

Alex R. Kemper, MD, MPH, MS, was appointed division chief of Ambulatory Pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s and a professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. A distinguished physician-scientist with expertise in newborn screening and other preventive health strategies, he is also deputy editor of Pediatrics, the premier journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Kemper previously served as a professor of Pediatrics at Duke University Medical Center. A prolific scientific writer, Dr. Kemper has authored more than 125 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and commentaries, and has received more than $12 million in external grant funding during his career thus far. He currently is chair of the Evidence Review Group for the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children, a member of the United States Preventive Services Task Force, and co-director of the Academic Pediatric Association Research Scholars Program.

Townsend Named Chief of Dentistry

Janice A. Townsend

Janice A. Townsend, DDS, MS, was appointed chief of Dentistry at Nationwide Children’s and chair of the Division of Pediatric Dentistry at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry. Dr. Townsend has been published on a number of topics including dental education, pain management after dental procedures, and dentistry for special needs children. Before joining Nationwide Children’s, Dr. Townsend was the chair of Pediatric Dentistry at the Louisiana State University Health Science Center School of Dentistry in New Orleans. While in New Orleans, Dr. Townsend was named “Woman of the Year” in 2017 by New Orleans CityBusiness, and named to New Orleans’ “Top Dentists” list since 2013.

Levitt Named Chief of Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction

Marc A. Levitt

Marc A. Levitt, MD, was named chief of Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. An internationally known colorectal surgeon, Dr. Levitt joined Nationwide Children’s in 2013 to lead the new Center for Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction, which is now the Section of Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction. Dr. Levitt has published more than 120 manuscripts and 60 book chapters, and delivered more than 300 national/international and more than 100 local/regional presentations of his work. He has been an invited visiting professor all over the world. Dr. Levitt has trained numerous clinical fellows, research fellows and students in his career. He has directed numerous colorectal training courses attended by established surgeons and surgical trainees from all over the world. He dedicates much of his free time to mission trips around the world where he trains surgeons in his complex surgical techniques.

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