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Our History

Dr. Julius B. Richmond

Dr. Julius B. Richmond, a pediatrician whose work on cognitive development in poor children led to his being the first national director of Project Head Start.

The Department of Pediatrics has had a long- standing commitment to medical education and residency training. Our program received its original accreditation on 2/1/1937 making us over 80 years young! We continue to grow and adapt to a changing environment to best suit the needs of our patients and trainees. 


The first full time Chair of the Department, Dr. Julius B Richmond, served from 1953 to 1970. He recruited an outstanding faculty during his tenure. Early emphasis in his career was on learning about the care of children in the context of their developmental level. In 1965 he was appointed as the first director of the national Head Start program, and the initial sites for this program were opened here in Syracuse.

Subspecialty care was enhanced during the tenure of Dr. Frank Oski from 1972 to 1984. He recruited pediatric specialists in Hematology, Pulmonary Disease, Infectious Diseases, and Neonatology. A dedicated Pediatric Intensive Care Unit was built during this period, which serves as the only such unit in the entire region.

Continued expansion of the department took place in the subsequent decade under the chairmanships of Drs. Warren Grupe (1986-1991) and Howard Weinberger (1993-1999) They emphasized the importance of general pediatrics knowledge and skills in residency training, regardless of a resident’s future plans. Initial discussions took place in the community to develop a Children's Hospital during that period. Dr. Weinberger is a long-standing member of the faculty, and he is responsible for three significant clinical contributions to our hospital and to our area: the establishment of what is now the CNY Poison Center, creation of the CNY Lead Resource Center, and opened one of the nation’s first continuity clinics in the 1960s.

Dr. Welch became the chair in 2001 and it was under his direction that faculty expanded greatly to represent nearly every pediatric subspecialty. Early on in his tenure he prioritized the creation of a children’s hospital here in Syracuse. In 2009, Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital at University Hospital opened its doors. This new facility consolidated in one setting all inpatient services for children in Central New York and now provides an ideal setting for the harmony of patient care and medical education.

Dr. Gregory Connors

 Gregory P. Conners, MD, MPH, MBA
Chair, Department of Pediatrics

Our current chair, Dr. Gregory Conners, joined the department in 2019. His professional interests include the clinical practice of pediatric emergency medicine, as well as pediatric leadership, faculty development, and quality improvement as scholarship. He has experience with helping strong clinicians use their clinical interest and expertise to generate scholarship.

There have been many changes in technology and medicine since 1871, when just six staff members treated over 200 children. But what has not changed is our commitment to caring for sick and injured children, our excellence in teaching and research, and our continual advocacy for resident education. Our rich history can be seen in the wisdom and passion of our staff and practitioners, in the eagerness and camaraderie of our residents, and in the community support of our beautiful state-of-the-art children's hospital.