Press Releases

UW Medicine and Seattle Children’s Appoint New Department of Pediatrics Chair, Associate Dean and Senior Vice President, Chief Academic Officer

Dr. Leslie R. Walker-Harding to assume position in February 2019

UW Medicine and Seattle Children’s today announced that Dr. Leslie R. Walker-Harding has been named chair of the University of Washington School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, associate dean for the University of Washington School of Medicine and senior vice president/chief academic officer for Seattle Children’s. Walker-Harding will assume her new position on Feb. 15, 2019.

Walker-Harding is currently a professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, as well as medical director and pediatrician-in-chief at Penn State Children’s Hospital, both located in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Walker-Harding’s appointment marks her return to Seattle, UW Medicine and Seattle Children’s. From 2007 to 2016, she held several faculty appointments in the University of Washington School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics and in the UW School of Public Health as an affiliate faculty member for Maternal and Child Health. Before leaving Seattle for Pennsylvania, she was a vice chair of the Department of Pediatrics and director of the University of Washington Leadership Education in Adolescent Health, a Health Resources & Administration (HRSA)-funded, interdisciplinary training program.

She also held positions at Seattle Children’s as co-director of the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program and as division chief of Adolescent Medicine.

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Walker-Harding back to Seattle and UW Medicine,” said Dr. Paul Ramsey, CEO of UW Medicine and dean of the UW School of Medicine. “She has great leadership experience in a number of areas such as adolescent substance abuse and cultural competency and equity—areas of medicine that are very important to UW Medicine and Seattle Children’s and a critical focus for our community.”

In addition to overseeing the Department of Pediatrics, Walker-Harding will also serve as a member of the senior leadership team at Seattle Children’s. She will work closely with Seattle Children’s leadership and the UW School of Medicine to develop, implement and evaluate residency, fellowship and training programs that support Seattle Children’s Hospital and the Seattle Children’s Research Institute. She also will be responsible for designing programs to further integrate research into the hospital setting.

“We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Walker-Harding back to Seattle Children’s in her new role,” said Dr. Jeff Sperring, chief executive officer of Seattle Children’s. “As the head of our Division of Adolescent Medicine for more than nine years, Dr. Walker-Harding was an incredible leader who diligently worked to address some of the most pressing issues facing young people today. We are thrilled she will be rejoining the Seattle Children’s team in a larger role where she will be instrumental in helping us achieve our mission of providing hope, care and cures to help every child live the healthiest and most fulfilling life possible.”

Walker-Harding currently serves on a number of national boards and committees, including the American Pediatric Society’s Council and the Society’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion (CODI), which she chairs. She is also appointed to the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Substance Use and Prevention. She is widely published on a number of pediatric and adolescent topics, and she is a sought-after speaker.

“I am humbled and thrilled to be returning to UW Medicine and Seattle Children’s,” said Walker-Harding. “I am excited to partner with the incredible clinicians, researchers, educators and communities in the Seattle area and greater region that we serve. We are all dedicated to the health and well-being of children. I believe that together we can have a lasting impact on the lives of children in the Northwest and around the globe.”

Walker-Harding received her medical degree from the University Of Illinois School Of Medicine in Rockford, Illinois. Her Pediatric residency was at the University of Chicago Wyler Children’s Hospital, and her Adolescent Medicine Fellowship was completed at the University of California, San Francisco. She is married to Eldridge Harding and has one daughter, Nicole Prothro, who lives in New York. Walker-Harding loves spending time hiking and exploring the outdoors, traveling and she most enjoys watching her husband and daughter sing and perform.  

About UW Medicine

UW Medicine is one of the top-rated academic medical systems in the world. With a mission to improve the health of the public, UW Medicine educates the next generation of physicians and scientists, leads one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive biomedical research programs, and provides outstanding care to patients from across the globe. UW Medicine has approximately 28,000 employees, 4,500 students and trainees, and UW Medicine faculty receive more than $1 billion of research funding per year.

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About Seattle Children’s

Seattle Children’s mission is to provide hope, care and cures to help every child live the healthiest and most fulfilling life possible. Together, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Research Institute and Foundation deliver superior patient care, identify new discoveries and treatments through pediatric research, and raise funds to create better futures for patients.

Ranked as one of the top children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s serves as the pediatric and adolescent academic medical center for Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho – the largest region of any children’s hospital in the country. As one of the nation’s top five pediatric research centers, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is internationally recognized for its work in neurosciences, immunology, cancer, infectious disease, injury prevention and much more. Seattle Children’s Foundation, along with Seattle Children’s Guild Association – the largest all volunteer fundraising network for any hospital in the country – works with our generous community to raise funds for lifesaving care and research.

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