Newswise — Bethesda, MD – Retired Navy Captain (Dr.) Ildy M. Katona will step down as chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) in late May, after more than two decades in the position.

School of Medicine Dean Dr. Arthur L. Kellermann made the announcement to the University community March 21, stating that Katona will step down following Commencement, May 20, but will “remain an active member of the School’s teaching faculty.”

Katona, who is board certified in pediatrics, pediatric rheumatology, and allergy-immunology, spent more than 32 years on active duty in the Navy. In 1984, she established a tri-Service pediatric rheumatology network in the Washington, D.C. area that served the children of Department of Defense personnel for the eastern half of the United States and Europe for more than two decades. She was recruited to USU by then-Army Col. (Dr.) Errol R. Alden, second chair of the Department of Pediatrics, in 1985 and with Alden’s support, she successfully integrated the pediatric rheumatology experience into the training programs in general practice, pediatrics, and rheumatology, and taught and trained countless medical students, residents, and fellow physicians in pediatrics and rheumatology.

Katona was later named chair of USU’s Department of Pediatrics by then-Dean Val G. Hemming. Over the next two decades she doubled the department’s size, and worked tirelessly to build its reputation for excellence in clinical and academic military medicine. In 2012, she was recognized by the Uniformed Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, with its Outstanding Service Award. This is the highest lifetime award given to uniformed officers in pediatrics.

In recognition of her academic achievements and dedication and enthusiasm towards teaching, she was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society (Maryland Gamma Chapter) and the prestigious American Pediatric Society. Under her leadership, the Department of Pediatrics' third-year clerkship won the Ambulatory Pediatric Association's national teaching award in 2002 for excellence in educational innovation and standardization.

Katona earned numerous awards for her research efforts towards understanding of cytokine regulation of immune responses. She is an elected member of the American Pediatric Society and a past chair of the Rheumatology Sub-board of the American Board of Pediatrics. She also served a full term on the Pediatric Residency Review Committee of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

“Dr. Katona’s strategic perspectives, inspirational leadership, spirit of teamwork, and trust contributed greatly to her department’s many accomplishments, and provide a firm foundation for its continued success in the future,” said Kellermann. “After stepping down as chair, Dr. Katona will remain as a tenured professor in the Department of Pediatrics. Soon after her transition, she plans to embark on a sabbatical to learn more about the field of Integrative Medicine, a long-standing interest of hers. Upon completion of her sabbatical, she will collaborate with USU colleagues to further enrich our curriculum for trainees of all levels and specialties.”

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About the Uniformed Services University of the Health SciencesThe Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, founded by an act of Congress in 1972, is the nation’s federal health sciences university and the academic heart of the Military Health System. USU students are primarily active duty uniformed officers in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Public Health Service who receive specialized education in tropical and infectious diseases, TBI and PTSD, disaster response and humanitarian assistance, global health, and acute trauma care. A large percentage of the university’s more than 5,500 physician and 1,000 advanced practice nursing alumni are supporting operations around the world, offering their leadership and expertise. USU also has graduate programs in biomedical sciences and public health committed to excellence in research, and in oral biology. The University’s research program covers a wide range of clinical and other topics important to both the military and public health. For more information about USU and its programs, visit