The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Establishes Louise Schnaufer Endowed Chair in Pediatric Surgery

Published on in CHOP News

During a ceremony held Sept. 30, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) announced the establishment of the Louise Schnaufer Endowed Chair in Pediatric Surgery. Holly L. Hedrick, MD, an attending surgeon in the Division of General, Thoracic and Fetal Surgery at CHOP was named as the inaugural chair holder.

The late Louise Schnaufer, MD, was a pioneering pediatric surgeon who came to CHOP in 1971 as chief surgical assistant for C. Everett Koop, MD, and serve her pediatric patients until her retirement in 2002. Dr. Schnaufer was internationally known for her contributions to pediatric surgery, specifically for her work separating conjoined twins, expertise in surgically treating biliary atresia, and her dedication to surgical education. Dr. Schnaufer died in 2011.

Dr. Adzick and Dr. Hedrick“So much of what we teach is one-on-one in the operating room, and it was where Louise was absolutely masterful,” said N. Scott Adzick, MD, CHOP’s Surgeon-in-Chief who worked with Dr. Schnaufer during the latter years of her career. “This endowed chair recognizes her remarkable care to thousands of young patients and their families, her gifted hands, her outstanding teaching of aspiring young pediatric surgeons, her compassion, her dedication, and her wonderful generosity to CHOP.”

Dr. Hedrick, also a well-known pediatric surgeon, specifically for her work within CHOP’s Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment and for her own experience separating conjoined twins, was trained by Dr. Schnaufer while completing her fellowship at CHOP. Today, Dr. Hedrick is the surgical director of the Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) Program, co-director of the Neonatal Surgical Team and director of the Pulmonary Hypoplasia Program, as well as an investigator in CHOP’s Center for Fetal Research and an Associate Professor of Surgery at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

“Just like Louise, Holly exemplifies the same characteristics of a master surgeon: maturity of judgment, dexterity of hand, attention to detail, devotion to teaching, and serenity in crisis,” said Dr. Adzick. “I’m confident that Holly will carry on Louise’s legacy as not only a pioneering pediatric surgeon, but also as an advocate for our young patients, as a teacher to the next generation of surgeons, and as an innovator that will help our field advance and address the many surgical problems yet to be solved.”

Endowments at CHOP provide guaranteed funding to a wide array of essential work, from specific areas of research to vital patient care and social, emotional and financial support for families in need. This new Louise Schnaufer Endowed Chair in Pediatric Surgery will allow Dr. Hedrick the opportunity to enhance and grow CHOP’s unique Pulmonary Hypoplasia Program (PHP). Founded by Dr. Hedrick in 2004, the Program is a comprehensive, interdisciplinary program that provides care and long-term follow-up for children born with conditions that can restrict lung development. The PHP is the first program of its kind to follow patients with the full range of conditions that cause small lungs.

Born in Maryland, Dr. Schnaufer earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology in 1947 from Wellesley College and a medical degree from the former Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (MCP) in 1951. She completed her internship and residency at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, where she was also the hospital’s first female chief surgical resident. In the early ’60s, she helped establish the first pediatric surgical unit at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Dr. Schnaufer continued her postgraduate training in pediatric surgery at CHOP, studying with Dr. Koop. Dr. Schnaufer made tremendous contributions to the care of children through her surgical expertise, innovation and passion for teaching aspiring young pediatric surgeons.

Dr. Schnaufer’s teaching contributions earned her significant recognition by her peers. In 1993, she was given the residents’ faculty teaching award by the University of Pennsylvania, and in 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics bestowed on her its Arnold M. Salzberg Award, which recognizes outstanding mentorship of pediatric surgical trainees.

In 1995, still actively seeing patients and mentoring younger surgeons at 70 years old, Dr. Schnaufer made a very generous gift which created the Louise Schnaufer Endowed Fellowship in Pediatric Surgery at CHOP.

“While her teaching affected a generation of pediatric surgeons and benefited all the children they would go on to treat, Louise ensured her impact at CHOP would extend beyond the people she could teach directly,” said Dr. Adzick. “The creation of this new Louise Schnaufer Endowed Chair in Pediatric Surgery is an extension of her generosity, coupled with the hospital’s commitment to honoring her legacy and further advancing surgical care for children.”

Watch a video of the ceremony »