Newswise — Dr. Leslie R. Walker-Harding, chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital, has been named chair of the Department of Pediatrics and pediatrician-in-chief at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, and medical director of Penn State Children’s Hospital.

Walker-Harding, who also serves as professor and vice chair of faculty affairs in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, will begin her new role on September 1.

Walker-Harding earned her M.D. from the University of Illinois School of Medicine. She completed her pediatric residency training at the University of Chicago and her adolescent medicine fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco.

“I was drawn to Hershey due to the world class status of both Penn State Children’s Hospital and Penn State College of Medicine,” Walker-Harding said. “I am impressed at how, even in these changing times, Penn State Health has not wavered in fulfilling its mission to improve the lives of children, adolescents and their families from central Pennsylvania and beyond.”

Walker-Harding co-directs the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program at Seattle Children’s Hospital, and her research has been focused on adolescent risk behaviors, from adolescent substance abuse to ADHD to adolescent pregnancy prevention. She has published articles on adolescent substance use prevention and treatment in numerous media venues, and is a nationally recognized speaker on these topics.

“I am very pleased that Dr. Walker-Harding has agreed to become chair of pediatrics,” said Dr. A. Craig Hillemeier, dean of Penn State College of Medicine, chief executive officer of Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, and Penn State’s senior vice president for health affairs. “So many great things have happened with our Children’s Hospital that we are well positioned for a future where we provide outstanding care for children, educate health care providers for children in the most advanced way possible and create new knowledge that will arm these providers with, as yet undiscovered, treatments and hope.”

Walker-Harding will be joined by her husband, Eldridge Harding. Her daughter, Nicole Prothro, is an actress and lives in New York.

Dr. Barbara Ostrov has served as interim chair of the Department of Pediatrics and medical director of the Children’s Hospital since August 2014.

About Penn State Childrens HospitalPenn State Children’s Hospital is the only children’s hospital between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia fully equipped to treat the most severely ill children of central Pennsylvania, with both the highest level neonatal intensive care unit and a Level I pediatric trauma center. Children’s Hospital physicians and nurses provide comprehensive support and specialized care to infants, children, and adolescents every day. Located on the campus of Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pa., the Children’s Hospital focuses on providing first-rate health care to all children, from those with complex heart disease to childhood cancers, allowing patients to receive the full spectrum of highest quality care close to their homes.

Register for reporter access to contact details