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Remembering Former Pediatrics Chair

Dr Patrick BrophyPatrick Brophy, MD

Patrick Brophy, MD, former chair of the department of Pediatrics and physician-in-chief of Golisano Children’s Hospital, passed away last weekend after a long battle with lymphoma.

Brophy, who had accepted a position in early 2023 to serve as the provincial head of Child Health and Pediatrics for the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, led GCH for more than five years. He is remembered by colleagues for his generous and upbeat personality, his unwavering commitment to providing the highest quality of care for children, and his effective leadership in advancing GCH as one of the top children’s hospitals in the state.

“Pat was a formidable force who channeled his enthusiasm and positive energy into building a reinvigorated Golisano Children’s Hospital. Today GCH is recognized as the undisputed pediatric referral center for all of upstate New York,” said Mark Taubman, MD, CEO of URMC and dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. “Personally, I admired his courage as he battled his disease, always staying focused on the future, and working hard to achieve the goals he outlined for GCH. Pat’s legacy and spirit will always shine brightly at URMC.”

“It’s impossible to fully capture and honor the impact that Pat had on all of us in the five years he led GCH. His warm personality, sense of humor, and dedication to supporting our faculty and staff made all of our days brighter,” said Jill Halterman, MD, MPH, interim chair of the department of Pediatrics. “Pat never hesitated from his core mission of helping each child reach their full potential. Behind his jovial personality was a man who fiercely advocated for providing the best care to every child.”

Brophy joined GCH and the department of Pediatrics in 2018. He previously served at the University of Iowa for more than a decade, where he was the Jean E. Robillard, M.D. Chair in Pediatric Nephrology and a professor in the university’s Carver College of Medicine.

Shortly after his arrival at GCH, Brophy secured widespread commitment for the formulation of a strategic plan focused on patient care, research, education, culture, digital health, population health, and community outreach. The plan launched in January of 2020, but was interrupted with the arrival of the COVID crisis several months later. Brophy and his leadership team effectively pivoted to maintain comprehensive pediatric services to the Finger Lakes community. As a result, children in the region were able to maintain their routine immunizations and wellness visits in 2020, when many other health systems struggled.

Despite the challenges of COVID, the department of Pediatrics and GCH achieved their strategic goals under Brophy’s leadership. The department recruited 61 new faculty members and launched several programs, including a regional cardiology partnership between GCH and Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital in Syracuse and Oishei Hospital in Buffalo, as well as a new division of Breastfeeding and Lactation.

The department of Pediatrics research enterprise also grew during Brophy’s tenure. Federal funding of pediatric research and publication output increased by 10 percent in the last year alone, and the department was able to secure federal support for a ‘rising stars’ program to train young researchers. Researchers in the department have also emerged as national leaders in infectious disease, allergies, and lactation. GCH researchers led trials for multiple pediatric COVID vaccines, and a study published in 2021 about the COVID mRNA vaccine’s interaction with breast milk was one of the top-ten most talked about articles in the prestigious JAMA Pediatrics publication in the past year.

In addition to research and patient care, Brophy helped expand GCH’s community outreach efforts and devoted resources to promoting equity and inclusion in both the clinical and educational areas. Brophy led engagement in initiatives with over 70 community partners across the continuum from prenatal to young adulthood, including organizing collaborative efforts to secure more than $25 million in new public funding to improve the lives of children. Thanks to an investment in quality improvement (QI) initiatives, GCH clinical teams have also solicited community feedback to provide more equitable treatment for under-served populations faced with long-term stays in the hospital.

Perhaps the most significant accomplishment under Brophy’s tenure was the implementation of successful, multi-tiered investments to address the pediatric behavioral health crises. These resources include a new Behavioral Health & Wellness Center, expansion of the Mobile Crisis Team and school partnerships, and the recent announcement of the region’s first pediatric walk-in behavioral health center. Thanks to these programs and facilities, the number of emergency room visits for pediatric behavioral health has held steady during the past years, despite a sharp increase nationally.

A memorial service will be held for Dr. Brophy on Thursday, Oct. 12 at 1 p.m. at the Irondequoit Country Club. Instead of flowers, the Brophy family requests consideration of donations to Golisano Children’s Hospital, Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital, or Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.