A Q&A with Dr. Dennis Davidson
Dr. Dennis Davidson is Chief of the Infant and Toddler Unit at Blythedale Children’s Hospital, a role he assumed in August.
A graduate of the Loyola Stritch School of Medicine in Illinois, Dr. Davidson completed his residency in Pediatrics, as well as fellowships in Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine and Neonatology, at Columbia University.
Dr. Davidson is board certified in Pediatrics and Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. He most recently held the title of Attending Neonatologist and Professor of Pediatrics at Stony Brook School of Medicine/LI Children’s Hospital. Prior to that he served as the Chief of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at Northshore-LIJ.
Dr. Davidson has been the recipient of several awards for outstanding teaching, academic and clinical performance, and is widely published. He has also been involved in a wide range of clinical research and was heavily involved in the development of inhaled nitric oxide to treat babies with severe respiratory disorder or pulmonary hypertension. This drug was approved by the FDA in 1997. He was also an investigator in a study of brain cooling for the treatment of perinatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), a brain injury caused by oxygen deprivation. Brain cooling is widely considered to be the most effective treatment for newborns with HIE.
What drew you to Blythedale?
I grew up a mile from Blythedale. When I was a teenager I would volunteer with teen boys with cerebral palsy. Little did I know I would be coming back all these years later in a different capacity.
What types of patients are you treating on the Infant & Toddler Unit?
We see a wide variety of diagnoses on the Unit, ranging from post-cardiac transplantation, premature infants outgrowing their chronic lung disease, as well as children with neurological disorders. There is a lot of acute care going on here. It’s not just chronic illness we are seeing in these babies.
What are some of the most significant changes or advances you are currently seeing in your field?
I was very involved in the development of a drug to treat babies with severe respiratory disease, as well as a brain cooling protocol to treat infants with HIE. These advances are not silver bullets though; they help, but babies still need additional rehab care. That’s what makes Blythedale special. These babies have only partially had their problems resolved in the NICU, and Blythedale takes it from there. I look forward to bringing neonatal fellows - from Westchester Medical Center and other teaching hospitals - to Blythedale, in order to educate them on complex post-neonatal ICU care.
What makes Blythedale special?
Babies transition from being under the neonatologist’s care in the NICU, to home, where they will be under the care of a pediatrician, who sees children from birth through 18. Our babies need that highly specialized care in the interim, and Blythedale’s team brings a unique perspective to that care. The staff on the frontline at Blythedale is extremely talented, helpful and interactive, and I enjoy working with all disciplines.
Dr. Davidson, and his wife, Diane, divide their time between Tarrytown and Amityville. He tremendously enjoys time spent with family, particularly his two infant granddaughters, and he and his wife enjoy boating and skiing.
About Blythedale Children’s Hospital
As New York’s only freestanding, specialty children’s hospital, Blythedale is dedicated to improving the health and quality of life of children with medical complexity, not only through superb multi-disciplinary patient care, but also through teaching, research, and advocacy programs. Blythedale’s board-certified physicians, nurses, and other clinical staff (social workers, respiratory therapists, clinical pharmacists, Child Life specialists, etc.) and New York State’s largest hospital-based pediatric therapy department work together to provide intensive and innovative multi-disciplinary clinical and therapeutic care to help children achieve their medical and rehabilitative goals for independent living, and return to their communities. Blythedale is also the only Hospital in New York State with its own, on-site public school district.
For more information about Blythedale Children’s Hospital, visit www.blythedale.org.