Bringing CNS Members Together to Make Children’s Lives Better


Monica Lemmon, MD

Profile written by Mohamad A. Mikati MD

This year’s Philip R. Dodge Young Investigator Award recipient is Dr. Monica Lemmon.

Dr. Lemmon obtained her Bachelor’s degree from Duke University, and her M.D. degree from Harvard University. She then completed her residency in Pediatric Neurology and her fellowship in Neonatal Neurology at Johns Hopkins. She joined us on the Pediatric Neurology Faculty at Duke University in 2015 as Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (Pediatric Neurology) and was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in 2020.

Dr. Lemmon’s research work is leading the development of a novel field of pediatric neurology clinical research namely, decision making and its ethics. She also has been a thought leader in ethics response to COVID pandemic. Dr. Lemmon has performed research and published on topics related to decision-making and communication, in such journals as JAMA Neurology, JAMA Pediatrics, Neurology, and Pediatrics. She has presented original research at national meetings of the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) and Child Neurology Society (CNS). Dr. Lemmon has identified a major gap in the literature surrounding how we understand, measure, and improve decision making for critically ill infants. Her work is truly unique; there are no other child neurologists with a focus in these areas. Dr. Lemmon’s work is timely and is meeting the growing interest in measures of shared decision-making and the development of decision support tools applicable to pediatric neurology populations. She has forged relationships with collaborators within the Duke Division of Pediatric Neurology and collaborators at the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, Duke School of Nursing, Department of Population Health Sciences, and School of Medicine. The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic introduced new challenges for early career researchers, especially for those with caregiving needs. Dr. Lemmon embraced these challenges, using her unique skillset to make urgent contributions to the pandemic response. She published 15 articles in 2020 alone, including four that directly address the impact of COVID-19 on research infrastructure and the care of high-risk infants and families. One of these papers, published in JAMA Pediatrics, outlines key considerations for resource allocation protocols involving children and neonates. Dr. Lemmon’s thought leadership on key, urgent issues in child neurology underscores why she was uniquely deserving of the Dodge Young Investigator Award.

 Dr. Lemmon successfully competed for funding through the National Palliative Care Research Center, and was awarded a K12 through the NINDS Child Neurologist Career Development Program. More recently, she began her K23, funded through NINDS on its first submission. Dr. Lemmon has been a very productive early-career researcher. She also has held many leadership positions including the following: membership on the Medical Advisory Board, Hope for Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, the American Academy of Neurology, Child Neurology Society, and Society for Pediatric Research. More importantly, she is a founding member of the Newborn Brain Society, a reviewer for leading journals and a very much sought-after speaker in her field. She is a regularly invited lecturer in different medical centers across the country. Dr. Lemmon’s achievements and cutting edge contributions have been recognized by her multiple honors and awards including the Frank L. Coulson, Jr. Award for Clinical Excellence; Omolara A. Olaniyan Fellow Appreciation Award; Guy M. McKhann Award for Teaching Excellence; Osler Attending, Johns Hopkins Hospital; membership in the Society for Pediatric Research; and, most recently, with the Philip R. Dodge Young Investigator Award. She also has been a leading mentor for resident, fellows and medical students and an excellent clinician who is invariably receives the top reviews from patients and trainees alike.

It is very rare that one could find such a remarkable pediatric neurologist at such an early career stage who has shown such exceptional productivity, and outstanding abilities as a clinical scientist, educator and pathfinder. Her research combines cutting edge clinical approaches into the process of decision making and its ethics as well as in depth understanding of the underlying clinical science and unmatched insights and thoughtfulness. She surely will continue have a major, growing and lasting impact on the field of Pediatric Neurology.