AURORA, Colo. – Des Runyan, MD, has been named the new director of The Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect. A professor of social medicine and pediatrics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Runyan’s expertise in child abuse has been recognized nationally and internationally.

 The announcement comes during National Child Abuse Prevention Month and at a time when abuse in Colorado is on the rise. Runyan will lead an institution that is well-known in Colorado and throughout the world for its work on behalf of children. The Kempe Center is located adjacent to The Children’s Hospital on the Anschutz Medical Campus.

“My goal is to nurture what we have while helping the center explore new territory,” Runyan said. “For example, we have a good understanding of the risk factors leading to abuse. The next step is to design, test and expand approaches to preventing abuse in the first place.

“I envision The Kempe Center as a place that produces nationally and even internationally prominent research to address the causes and consequences of child abuse and its prevention. I also see it as a beacon for effective treatment. And Kempe, in partnership with a great children’s hospital and a great university, needs to build specialized mental health services to match its research and medical expertise.”

Runyan’s expertise includes helping children recover not only from physical abuse but from what that abuse does to their mental health.

Nearly 800,000 children are reported as having been abused or neglected in this country each year, including more than 11,000 kids in Colorado.

“He is a national leader in child abuse and neglect,” Stephen Daniels, chairman of the University of Colorado School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics, said of Runyan. “His outstanding record of achievement and sense of mission show that he will be a great addition here.”

Runyan received his MD and his MPH from the University of Minnesota, and a DrPH from the University of North Carolina School of Public Health.  He was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar. Along with his UNC post he is national program director of the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program.

Medical school Dean Richard Krugman said that, as a former director of The Kempe Center, he is especially glad to see Runyan, “a wonderful physician-scholar,” in that role.

“We proudly welcome Dr. Runyan as head of The Kempe Center,” said Jim Shmerling, president and CEO of The Children’s Hospital. “Under his leadership, we anticipate even greater advances in the prevention and treatment of abuse in children. Dr. Runyan’s international reputation will undoubtedly bring greater attention to this crucial prevention effort.”

The Kempe Center is an academic section of the Department of Pediatrics of the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Founded in 1972 by former pediatrics department Chairman C. Henry Kempe, the center next year will celebrate 40 years of leadership in the field of child abuse and neglect.

Runyan, who starts his new job in August, will serve as a professor of pediatrics in the medical school. His wife, Carol, will be a professor in the Colorado School of Public Health and will work closely on injury prevention efforts with the CHAI Program (Children’s Health Advocacy Institute)  at The Children’s Hospital.

Faculty at the University of Colorado School of Medicine work to advance science and improve care. These faculty members include physicians, educators and scientists at University of Colorado Hospital, The Children’s Hospital, Denver Health, National Jewish Health, the Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The school is located on the Anschutz Medical Campus, one of four campuses in the University of Colorado system. To learn more about the medical school’s care, education, research and community engagement, please visit its web site. For additional news and information, please visit the University of Colorado newsroom.

Contact: Dan Meyers, 303-724-5377, [email protected]

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