History of the Division of Child Neurology

Founded in the early 20th century by renowned neurologist Dr. Bernard Sachs (Tay-Sachs disease), the Division of Child Neurology at The Neurological Institute of New York/Columbia University Medical Center was the first service in the nation focused solely on the distinct neurological needs of children and their developing nervous systems. This newborn discipline was later formalized at Columbia, under the directorship of Dr. Sidney Carter, whose efforts led to the establishment of formal training guidelines and subspecialty certification for neurologists with special competence in child neurology. Current and long-time faculty member Dr. Darryl C. De Vivo succeeded Dr. Carter as chief of the Division of Child Neurology and the first Sidney Carter Professor, and is widely-recognized as one of the most eminent pediatric neurologists in the world. Dr. De Vivo introduced a new era of laboratory-based investigation and related clinical research to the field of Child Neurology and, in 1991, established The Colleen Giblin Research Laboratories for Pediatric Neurology at Columbia, which remains the core research facility of our Child Neurology program today. Under Dr. De Vivo’s direction, an NIH-funded institutional training grant provides support for career development of pediatric neuroscientists.

Another current and long-time faculty member, Dr. Arnold P. Gold, further imbued the discipline of child neurology, and the practice of pediatric medicine as a whole, with the ideals of humanistic medicine. Dr. Gold and his wife, educator Dr. Sandra Gold, formed the internationally-renowned Arnold P. Gold Foundation, and are credited with the establishment of the auspicious White Coat Ceremony, now practiced at medical schools across the nation.