Head of Kennedy Krieger Institute stepping down after 30 years

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The Kennedy Krieger Institute’s outpatient center. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

The man who’s helped grow the Johns Hopkins-affiliated Kennedy Krieger Institute for the last three decades is stepping down from his post as CEO.

Dr. Gary Goldstein is expected to retire in several months, once the institute specializing in pediatric developmental disabilities appoints a new CEO and president. Goldstein has led the East Baltimore-headquartered institution since 1988.

“It has been a great privilege to lead Kennedy Krieger Institute over the past 30 years,” he said in a statement. “Through our interdisciplinary approach to patient care, research, professional training and special education, we have positively impacted hundreds of thousands of children, young adults and families. We’ve grown to become one of the largest academic institutions in the world serving children with developmental disorders and their families.”

Kennedy Krieger served 24,000 patients in 2017, nearly nine times as many as it did when Goldstein was appointed CEO, and drew $30 million in research funding last year, up from $700,000 in 1987, according to a release. The institute has also expanded its special education programs to three outside campuses around Maryland. It now reaches 550 students annually.

In addition to championing growth, Goldstein also led the institute as it conducted controversial, federally funded research on the efficacy of lead abatement treatments for reducing blood lead levels in children living in East and West Baltimore. The study, which ran from 1993 to 1995, led to a lead-abatement protocol law that the state adopted in 1996, but also resulted in a class-action lawsuit in 2011, with plaintiffs arguing the institute used black children as “guinea pigs” in “contaminated houses.”

The suit ended in cash settlements for some, while other claims were thrown out. Goldstein defended its legacy at the time, saying the research helped end an “epidemic” of lead poisoning in children in Baltimore and inspired a law that “protects families by requiring landlords to make their houses ‘lead safe.'”

Goldstein plans to continue working with the Kennedy Krieger Foundation after he retires. The institute’s board of directors will undertake a national search for his replacement.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
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