Research Horizons


Centennial Celebration of the B.K. Rachford Department of Pediatrics

In August 1920, Cincinnati philanthropist and hospital benefactor Mary Emery, donated $250,000 to the University of Cincinnati (more than $3.3 million in today’s dollars) to support the College of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics.

With her offer, she requested that the department “shall forever be known as the B.K. Rachford Department of Pediatrics” to honor her longtime friend and college faculty member, Benjamin Knox Rachford, MD.

Benjamin Rachford, MD

Rachford, the first ever Cincinnati physician to limit his medical practice to pediatrics and chair of the college’s Department of Pediatrics from 1901 until 1920, was also an 1882 graduate of the Medical College of Ohio.

The UC Board of Trustees formally accepted Emery’s gift on Oct. 25, 1920 and, although the name has been infrequently used since then, the department became the B.K. Rachford Department of Pediatrics. This gift created the eighth endowed chair at the UC College of Medicine, and Kenneth Blackfan, MD, was chosen as the first Rachford Chair.

The establishment of the Rachford Chair was a forerunner to a formal affiliation between the UC College of Medicine and Cincinnati Children’s. By 1925, UC and Children’s Hospital, today known as Cincinnati Children’s, would affiliate.

This agreement has provided the foundation for Cincinnati Children’s work and administration over the past 100 years. The college’s pediatrics department would be comprised of the physicians and researchers at Cincinnati Children’s, who would hold UC academic appointments.

The agreement also designated that the Rachford Chair “shall prepare rules and regulations for the government and general conduct of the Medical Staff, and shall also prepare regulations pertaining to the medical policy of the institution.” It also noted that the Rachford Chair shall “be responsible for the correlation of all teaching and research in The Children’s Hospital.”

Since 1920, nine people have served as B.K. Rachford Chairs
  1. Kenneth Blackfan, MD (1920-1923)
  2. Albert Graeme Mitchell, MD (1924-1941)
  3. Ashley Weech, MD (1941-1963)
  4. Edward L. Pratt, MD (1963-1979)
  5. William K. Schubert, MD (1979-1993)
  6. Tom Boat, MD (1993-2007)
  7. Arnold Strauss, MD (2007-2017)
  8. Margaret “Peggy” Hostetter, MD (2017-2020)
  9. Tina Cheng, MD, MPH (2020-present)
Read more about the B.K. Rachford Department of Pediatrics in Inspire Magazine.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the B.K. Rachford Department of Pediatrics and commemorate its century-long partnership with the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati Children’s will be hosting a virtual celebration on June 8, 2021, from 8 am to 12:30 pm.

This symposium will honor the department’s rich history and major accomplishments as well as explore its future possibilities and role in the next 100 years of pediatric research, education, and innovation.

All are welcome to attend. The occasion will feature celebrated faculty, staff, and alumni addressing the following:

  • Pediatric Grand Rounds: Improving Child Health: The first 100 years of the B.K. Rachford Department of Pediatrics, The Past Informs the Future
  • Community Highlights: Evolution of interactions with the community
  • Research Highlights: History and spectrum of research
  • Clinical Highlights: History and key moments of the clinical system



In support of improving patient care, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

CME: This activity has been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit.