Nationally recognized pediatrician to join Penn State Children’s Hospital

Dr. Leslie R. Walker-Harding has been named medical director for Penn State Children’s Hospital and chairwoman of the pediatrics department at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. - (Photo / Submitted)

A nationally recognized doctor will join Derry Township-based Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center as chairwoman of its pediatrics department.

Dr. Leslie R. Walker-Harding will join the department as chairwoman and pediatrician-in-chief, as well as medical director for Penn State Children’s Hospital.

Walker-Harding will start in her new role on September 1, and she comes to Hershey Medical Center from Seattle Children’s Hospital, where she served as chief of the division of adolescent medicine, according to a news release.

Her experience in Seattle includes research focused on adolescent risk behaviors, from substance abuse to attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder to pregnancy prevention. She has published many articles on the subjects and is a nationally recognized speaker.

She earned her medical degree from the University of Illinois School of Medicine and completed her pediatric residency training at the University of Chicago. She also did an adolescent medicine fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco.

Walker-Harding is replacing Dr. Barbara Ostrov, who has served as interim chairwoman of the Department of Pediatrics and medical director of the children’s hospital since August 2014.

Ostrov, who has been with Hershey Medical Center since 1991, will remain in a leadership role within the health system, according to Scott Gilbert, spokesman for Hershey Medical Center.

Hershey Medical Center is positioned to advance its pediatric care with this new hire as well as its recent completion of a pediatric emergency department, which draws on the resources of the region’s only children’s hospital.

The health system opened its free-standing children’s hospital in February 2013.

Walker-Harding was drawn to Hershey Medical Center because of its world class status at both the Children’s Hospital and the Penn State College of Medicine.

“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 said.

Lenay Ruhl

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