David J. Schonfeld, MD, a world-renowned expert in school crisis and bereavement, has been appointed chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Drexel University College of Medicine. He is also the pediatrician-in-chief at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children.
Dr. Schonfeld's worldwide reputation and expertise extends from pediatric bereavement to pediatric AIDS education and cancer prevention. His expertise in crisis response and bereavement has made him a sought-after authority in the U.S., as well as in Asia, Europe, and elsewhere in the world.
He is the founder and director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement, which specializes in providing information and support to children and schools after crises, like a shooting or natural disaster. "Since children spend half of their waking hours in school, a school is the ideal location to provide support," he says. "The center provides tools that schools need to help students heal."
Dr. Schonfeld provided pediatric bereavement and school crisis consultation in the aftermath of Hurricanes Sandy, Katrina, and Ike, as well as after the shootings in Aurora, Colorado and recently in Newtown, Connecticut. Because of his work in Newtown, Schonfeld has been named to the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission which will make recommendations on school safety, mental health, and gun violence prevention.
"I am very pleased to welcome Dr. Schonfeld as our new chair of pediatrics," said Daniel V. Schidlow, MD, Annenberg Dean and senior vice president of medical affairs at Drexel University College of Medicine. "He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, as well as a significant track record as a researcher and program builder. We look forward to Dr. Schonfeld's role in strengthening the academic and educational relationships between St. Christopher's, Drexel University and the College of Medicine, and igniting exciting new collaborations between our institutions."
Prior to joining St. Christopher's, Dr. Schonfeld was the Thelma and Jack Rubinstein Professor of Pediatrics and former director of the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics (2005-2012) at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. He was a member of the National Commission on Children and Disasters and is the author of The Grieving Student: A Teacher's Guide. In addition to contributing to numerous articles and books on school crisis disaster and bereavement, he served as president of the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, as chair of the Committee on Pediatric Research of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and on the AAP's Disaster Preparedness Advisory Council.
Dr. Schonfeld received his bachelor of arts and medical degrees from Boston University. He completed his pediatric residency at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and a developmental-behavioral pediatrics fellowship at the University of Maryland. After his fellowship, Dr. Schonfeld joined the faculty at Yale, where he worked for 16 years and conducted research in the New Haven public school system.