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Leonard to lead pediatric otolaryngology division

Division cares for children with all types of ear, nose and throat conditions

by Julia Evangelou StraitMarch 11, 2022

Washington University School of Medicine

David S. Leonard, MD, an associate professor of otolaryngology, has been selected to lead the Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He also will serve as vice chair for pediatric otolaryngology and otolaryngologist-in-chief at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. His new appointments began March 1.

Pediatric otolaryngologists in the division focus on the care of children from birth to age 18 with all types of ear, nose and throat conditions, including breathing disorders, laryngeal and tracheal abnormalities, hearing loss, ear infections, speech and language disorders, swallowing disorders, birth defects, cochlear implants and tumors of the head and neck.

“I am pleased to announce that Dr. Leonard will be serving in this role, leading the pediatric otolaryngology division in our department,” said Craig A. Buchman, MD, the Lindburg Professor and head of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. “He is an outstanding choice for this position with his leadership in the field and experience caring for our pediatric patients. I have full confidence in Dr. Leonard’s ability to lead the division to even greater heights in the years to come.”

Leonard’s areas of expertise in pediatric otolaryngology include treating and managing patients with airway abnormalities, congenital conditions of the ear, nose and throat and neoplastic lesions — including cancerous tumors — of the head and neck. He sees patients at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and at St. Louis Children’s Specialty Care Centers at several locations in St. Louis County.

“I’m honored to take on this role leading the Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology,” Leonard said. “I look forward to working with the outstanding faculty and staff in the division and the Department of Otolaryngology as we work to continue and build upon our legacy of excellence in research, teaching and patient care.”

After earning his bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in 1995, Leonard went on to earn his medical degree from the National University of Ireland, University College Dublin School of Medicine in 2000. He continued his training, completing a residency in 2008 in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery as part of the Irish Higher Surgical Training Scheme in Dublin and a fellowship in pediatric otolaryngology in 2009 at Harvard Medical School. He then earned a master’s degree in health policy and management in 2010 from the Harvard School of Public Health. Afterward, Leonard returned to Ireland to continue his training in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery as part of the Irish Higher Surgical Training Scheme in Dublin. He joined the faculty of Washington University School of Medicine in 2012.

Leonard’s position was previously held by Keiko Hirose, MD, a professor of otolaryngology, who had led the division and served in these roles since 2008.

“I thank Dr. Hirose for her many years of service in these positions,” Buchman said. She will continue her work as an active faculty member in the division, pursuing efforts in clinical care and research.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 1,700 faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is a leader in medical research, teaching and patient care, and currently is No. 4 in research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.

Julia covers medical news in genomics, cancer, cardiology, developmental biology, otolaryngology, biochemistry & molecular biophysics, and gut microbiome research. In 2022, she won a gold award for excellence in the Robert G. Fenley Writing Awards competition. Given by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the award recognized her coverage of long COVID-19. Before joining Washington University in 2010, she was a freelance writer covering science and medicine. She has a research background with stints in labs focused on bioceramics, human motor control and tissue-engineered heart valves. She is a past Missouri Health Journalism Fellow and a current member of the National Association of Science Writers. She holds a bachelor's degree in engineering science from Iowa State University and a master's degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Minnesota.