Bringing CNS Members Together to Make Children’s Lives Better


Pat Crumrine, MD

Profile written by Robert S. Rust, MD, MA

Pat Crumrine, MD

Pat Crumrine was born in Marion, Ohio. She attended Marietta College, graduating with a BS. in biology in 1964. She obtained her MD in 1968 from the Medical College of Pennsylvania, followed by internship and residency in pediatrics at the Cleveland Metropolitan Hospital/Hospital of Western Reserve, under he direction of Robert Schwartz, MD. She trained in child neurology in the Columbia Presbyterian program (1971-1974) under the direction of Sid Carter. Her first faculty appointment was in Ray Chun’s program at the University of Wisconsin, during which time she also served in the Department of Neuroscience at the Gunderson Clinic. In 1975, she joined the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh, assuming at that time, in addition to her other duties, Directorship of EEG and of the Pediatric Medical Epilepsy program, leadership roles that she continues to fulfill. In 1984, she joined the Consulting Staff of the Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh. She was awarded a Professorship in Pediatrics in 1997.

Dr. Crumrine’s commitment as a highly respected teacher has included two decades of participation in Pittsburgh’s medical student physical diagnosis courses for both pediatrics and neurology. For 25 years, she participated in teaching neuroscience to medical students. She has served diligently on various university committees, especially as related to ambulatory or intensive care. Throughout her career she has played a major role in the teaching conferences provided to neurology and pediatrics residents, and the teaching of EEG interpretation to neurology residents and epilepsy fellows, as well as EEG technicians. In 2006, she was appointed Director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Child Neurology Residency Program.

Dr. Crumrine has published 44 excellent peer reviewed papers. Where the majority of peer-reviewed medical and scientific papers in the literature are never cited, two-thirds of Dr. Crumrine’s have been well cited, presumably reflecting her choice of difficult etiologic and therapeutic problems for study. Two have been cited more than 100 times, one concerning neonatal convulsions, while another explores the relationship between phenobarbital treatment and major depressive disorders epileptic adolescents. Other highly cited papers concern the etiologic role of Toxicara infection in childhood epilepsy, EEG abnormalities in children with diabetic ketosis, principles of treatment of neonatal seizures, the effect of puberty on the course of epilepsy, epileptic nystagmus, localization of extratemporal epileptic foci with ictal FOG PET, the ketogenic diet, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome., and oculomotor disturbances associated with pediatric epilepsy. She has published 22 chapters in first-line journals or textbooks.

Dr. Crumrine’s research activities started at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in 1963, with studies as Project Director or the effect of radioactive fallout on residents of the Marshall Islands. Related studies ensued at the Hematologic Institute in Freiburg, Germany. Dr. Crumrine has participated in 18 grant supported studies of the efficacy and side-effects of anticonvulsant drugs, and in three NIH-sponsored studies of anti-seizure drug pharmacokinetics, nature and treatment of absence seizures, and the Epilepsy Genome Project. Four individuals that have participated in Dr. Crumrine’s research projects have gone on to enter careers in either in medicine or collegiate education.

Throughout her career, Dr. Crumrine has participated generously to the programs and activities of academic societies. A Charter Member of the CNS, she later served as a member of the Membership and Nominating Committees, Newsletter Editor, Councillor for the Northeast, and Secretary-Treasurer. She has also served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Child Neurology Foundation. Dr. Crumrine has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the ABPN since 2006, Chair of the Board since 201 3. From 2007-2014 she served as a member of the Neurology RRC of the ACGME, including service as Vice-Chair 2009-2010. She has been Liaison of the Neurology RRC to the United Council of Neurology Subspecialties. From 2010-2013 she served as Chair of the Neurology RRC and as Councillor of the Section of Child Neurology of the AAN. Other service to the AAN has included, since 2014, membership on the Task Force for Neurologist Burnout, the Research Committee, and the Member Retention Committee. From 201 0-2014 Dr. Crumrine served as Liaison of the Neurology RRC to the United Council of Neurology Subspecialties. Dr. Crumrine has been member and subsequently Chair of the Executive Committee of the Section on Child Neurology of the AAP. For the EFA she has served as member of eight committees, including the Ad Hoc Committee on Women’s Health Issues, Chair of the Committee on Public and Client Information, the Professional Advisory Board. She has chaired key committees of the AES, American EEG Society, Central EEG Society, Pittsburgh Neuroscience Society, and, since 2011, the American Neurological Association. She served regularly as an Examiner for the ABPB for the past three decades and on the Board of Directors of the Epilepsy Foundation of Western Pennsylvania for over four decades. She has served on numerous editorial boards, including the Journal of Child Neurology, Pediatric Update, Pediatrics in Review.

Dr. Crumrine’s high regard among her peers is evident in her more than 100 invited lectureships, visiting professorships or preceptorships in locales ranging from Pittsburgh to Poland. These have involved a wide variety of subjects, with natural predominance in her primary interest in epilepsy. Dr. Crumrine’s honors have included the Community Service Award of United Way of Pittsburgh, serial inclusion in Best Doctors lists, and the Life-Time Achievement Award of Drexel University SOM Alumni Association. She has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Easter Seal Society.

Longtime colleague and friend, Nina Schor describes Dr. Crumrine as “a true unsung hero of child neurology – the person whom everyone depends upon to get the job done in the professional, training, public and advocacy areas, knowing the job will be done superbly without fanfare or fuss.” Dr. Schor notes that the plethora of activities Dr. Crumrine has chosen to undertake have uniformly involved those organizations “that stand up for what is right and good for children with neurological disorders, particularly those with epilepsy.”

Dr. Crumrine’s young colleague in Pittsburgh, Robert Safier, emphasizes her collegial encouragement and support for those she encounters and the manner in which her “dedication to her patients does not seem to end.” This caring devotion carries on past the childhood of her patients. Similar attention, he has found, is devoted to students and residents, even as they advance in faculty status. She can be counted on to quietly observe those in training while they take histories and examine patients, reserving her gentle and highly valuable suggestions for improvement only after the visit has ended. It seems that such an approach has been taken throughout her career as Dr. Crumrine has observed the professional activities of the many societies and boards of which she has been a member. Throughout her entire career, across the full spectrum of practice and professional settings, Dr. Crumrine’s gently proffered insights have unremittingly resulted in the improvement of what we child neurologists do and how we do it.