A woman has been named chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the Medical School and physician-in-chief of the Children's Hospital Medical Center.
On June 1, 1974, Dr. Mary Ellen Avery will become Rotch Professor of Pediatrics, the first woman to head a major department at the Medical School and the first woman to serve as a clinical chief at Children's.
Avery's appointment was announced yesterday by Dr. Robert H. Ebert, dean of the Medical School, and by Dr. Leonard W. Cronkhite Jr., president of the Children's Hospital Medical Center.
She will succeed Dr. Charles A. Janeway, who will step down from the joint positions of chairman and physician-in-chief, but will continue as professor of Pediatrics at the Med School.
Avery is currently chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the McGill Medical School and physician-in-chief of the Montreal Children's Hospital.
But she is not new to the Boston medical circle or the Harvard Medical School.
She served as a research fellow under Dr. Clement Smith, professor of Pediatrics emeritus at the Boston Hospital for Women, and she was affiliated with the laboratory for neo-natal research and the nurseries of the Lying-In Division.
Avery also collaborated with Dr. Jeremiah Mead '43, professor of Physiology, on research into pulmonary surfactant in the developing lungs of animals.
She is regarded as an expert in the field of lung disorders in the newborn infant.
Avery co-authored Diseases of the Newborn with Dr. Alexander J. Schaffer, and she is currently a member of the editorial board of the American Review of Respiratory Disease.
Born in Camden, N.J., she received her B.A. from Wheaton College summa cum laude and her M.D. from the Johns Hopkins Medical School.