Katona to Step Down as Pediatrics Chair

Katona to Step Down as Pediatrics Chair

Dr. Ildy KatonaRetired Navy Captain (Dr.) Ildy M. Katona will step down as chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) in late May, after more than two decades in the position. 

School of Medicine Dean Dr. Arthur L. Kellermann made the announcement to the University community March 21, stating that Katona will step down following Commencement, but will remain on the faculty.    

Katona, who is board certified in pediatrics, pediatric rheumatology, and allergy-immunology, spent more than 32 years on active duty in the Navy.  In 1984, she established a tri-Service pediatric rheumatology network in the Washington, D.C. area that served the children of Department of Defense personnel for the eastern half of the United States and Europe for more than two decades.  She was recruited to USU by then-Army Col. (Dr.) Errol R. Alden, second chair of the Department of Pediatrics, in 1985 and with Alden’s support, she successfully integrated the pediatric rheumatology experience into the training programs in general practice, pediatrics, and rheumatology, and taught and trained countless medical students, residents, and fellow physicians in pediatrics and rheumatology.

Katona was later named chair of USU’s Department of Pediatrics by then-Dean Val G. Hemming.  Over the next two decades she doubled the department’s size, and worked tirelessly to build its reputation for excellence in clinical and academic military medicine. In 2012, she was recognized by the Uniformed Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, with its Outstanding Service Award. This is the highest lifetime award given to uniformed officers in pediatrics.

In recognition of her academic achievements and dedication and enthusiasm towards teaching, she was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society (Maryland Gamma Chapter) and the prestigious American Pediatric Society. Under her leadership, the Department of Pediatrics' third-year clerkship won the Ambulatory Pediatric Association's national teaching award in 2002 for excellence in educational innovation and standardization.  

Katona earned numerous awards for her research efforts towards understanding of cytokine regulation of immune responses.  She is an elected member of the American Pediatric Society and a past chair of the Rheumatology Sub-board of the American Board of Pediatrics. She also served a full term on the Pediatric Residency Review Committee of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

“Dr. Katona’s strategic perspectives, inspirational leadership, spirit of teamwork, and trust contributed greatly to her department’s many accomplishments, and provide a firm foundation for its continued success in the future,” said Kellermann.  “After stepping down as chair, Dr. Katona will remain as a tenured professor in the Department of Pediatrics. Soon after her transition, she plans to embark on a sabbatical to learn more about the field of Integrative Medicine, a long-standing interest of hers. Upon completion of her sabbatical, she will collaborate with USU colleagues to further enrich our curriculum for trainees of all levels and specialties.”

By Sharon Holland

Courtesy photo