Research Horizons


Porter Returns Home to Lead Emergency Medicine

Stephen Porter, MD, MPH, MSc, has a pragmatic outlook on life, which has helped him immensely in his career as a pediatrician specializing in emergency medicine. It will doubtless come in handy as he assumes the role of director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s, effective June 1.

“The late tennis player, Arthur Ashe, used to say, ‘Start where you are, use what you have and do what you can,’” Porter explains. “That’s pretty much my life philosophy. It helps take something very big and stressful and boil it down to a more manageable size. It reminds you to look outside yourself at your teammates and know you’re not expected to do your work alone.”


Porter grew up in the Cincinnati suburb of Terrace Park and attended Washington University in St. Louis. He earned his MD from the UC College of Medicine in 1993, an MPH in clinical effectiveness from the Harvard School of Public Health, and an MSc in human factors/information design from the McCallum School of Business at Bentley University in Massachusetts.

Porter completed his residency in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a fellowship in pediatric emergency medicine at Boston Children’s. He served on the faculty there and at Harvard for 15 years until 2010, when he was hired to direct the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Porter was attracted to emergency medicine because, “it puts you in the thick of it. The ED is the open door of the hospital to the community at large. You have no idea what’s going to be coming through that door at any given time,” he says. “And every eight hours, there’s a different group of people working together. Every time I worked a shift, I would meet a new learner with whom I’d have to forge a new mentoring connection.”


He is looking forward to working at Cincinnati Children’s. “As a native son, I’ve always kept my eye on it,” he says. “I was impressed with the quality improvement efforts, with the early adoption of the Pursuing Perfection initiative. Even from hundreds of miles away, the excellence here has been very clear – the spirit of collaboration, of improvement and clinical excellence. Academic medicine tends to happen in silos, with individuals pursuing their own successes. It’s different here.”

Porter succeeds Richard Ruddy, MD, who served as division director for 24 years.