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CNS History: Drs. Kenneth Swaiman, N. Paul Rosman, and Dean Timmons

About the Speakers

N. Paul Rosman, MD

N. Paul Rosman, MD

Dr. Rosman is currently Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology at Boston University School of Medicine.  From 1986 until 2004, he was Chief of the Division of Pediatric Neurology at the Floating Hospital for Children, Tufts-New England Medical Center.  In 1987, Dr. Rosman co-founded the Center for Children with Special Needs (CCSN) at Tufts-New England Medical Center and he served as Director of the CCSN until 2004.  Prior to these appointments, Dr. Rosman was Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology and Director of Pediatric Neurology at Boston University School of Medicine, Boston City Hospital (1969-1986).  He has been a Lecturer on Neurology at Harvard Medical School since 1969.  He received his B.Sc. and M.D., C.M. degrees from McGill University.  He did his residency and fellowship training at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York City; Montreal General Hospital; Montreal Neurological Institute; Montreal Children’s Hospital; and the Massachusetts General Hospital. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatrics and a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, with Subspecialty Certification in Child Neurology and with Subspecialty Certification in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities.

Dr. Rosman has more than 25 memberships in national and international professional associations and societies, including Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Neurology, Child Neurology Society, International Child Neurology Association, American Pediatric Society, Society for Pediatric Research, American Neurological Association, and Ecuadorian Society for Pediatrics.  Dr. Rosman has been elected or participated in numerous Society positions: Past President, Child Neurology Society; Examiner, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology; Past Chairman, Scientific Session on Child Neurology, American Academy of Neurology; Past Director, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology; Advisory Board of the International School of Neurosciences (Venice); Honorary Member, Southern Pediatric Neurology Society; Member, Fetal Treatment Program at Tufts University School of Medicine; Past Vice-President, Executive Board of the International Child Neurology Association; and Member, Commission on Post Sports-Related Head Injury, Department of Public Health, Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Dr. Rosman has served as Consultant to the May Institute for Autistic Children and as Professional Advisor to the Institute for Correction of Facial Deformities.  He has served on Editorial Boards for Audio Journal, Learning Disabilities, Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, and Pediatric Neurology.

Dr. Rosman’s awards include: Governor General’s Silver Medal (McGill University); Lieutenant-Governor’s Gold Medal (McGill University); Research Fellowship in Neurology (Harvard Medical School); Special Fellowship in Neuropathology (NIH); Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching (Boston University); Warner-Lambert Company Scholars Award; Hower Award, Child Neurology Society (outstanding world-wide contributions to Child Neurology); Distinguished Faculty Award, Tufts University School of Medicine; Outstanding Achievement Faculty Award, Tufts University; Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award, Tufts University School of Medicine; Oliver Smith Award for Excellence, Compassion and Service, Tufts-New England Medical Center; and Sidney S. Gellis Award for Excellence in Teaching, Department of Pediatrics, Tufts University School of Medicine.  He is listed in Boston’s Super Doctors, Best Doctors in America, and Global Directory of Who’s Who (Top Doctors).  He was the keynote speaker at the 8th International Child Neurology Congress, 25th Anniversary, International Congress of Child Neurology (1998), where he spoke on “The World of Child Neurology – Lessons from our Past, Directions for the Future.”

Dr. Rosman has received 33 research grant awards. 

Dr. Rosman has published 236 articles and book chapters in scientific journals and in well-known textbooks.  He has authored 115 abstracts and brief communications.  He has prepared 17 teaching tapes, including several for the American Academy of Neurology and the American Academy of Pediatrics.  Dr. Rosman has co-authored the textbook, “Pediatric Neurology and Psychiatry – Common Ground.  Behavioral, Cognitive, Affective, and Physical Disorders in Childhood and Adolescence.”.


G. Dean Timmons, MD

G. Dean Timmons, MD

Profile written in October 2009 by Dr. Robert S. Rust on the occasion of Dr. Timmons being presented the CNS Lifetime Achievement Award at the CNS Annual Meeting 38th CNS Annual Meeting in Louisville, KY

Dean Timmons was born in 1931 in a farmhouse in Jasper County, Indiana. His birthweight is unknown—the only available scale was one for weighing chickens. His interest in a career in medicine arose during his junior year in high school. He required surgery and it was during that hospitalization that he came to greatly respect the skill and personal qualities of the surgeon who provided him with such excellent care. Dr. Timmons received his undergraduate degree A.B. in Anatomy and Physiology with distinction from the University of Indiana in 1952. Dr. Timmons remained at Indiana for his medical education. Any thoughts that he may have entertained of a surgical career were displaced when Timmons served as clinical clerk on Dr. Alexander Ross’ neurology service. Timmons was captivated by Ross’ clinical skills, friendliness, and neurological knowledge. He was particularly struck by Ross’ marvelous desire and capacity to teach and be supportive of students, residents, nurses, and other staff members. He was struck by the fact that Ross made all of those he encountered feel “pretty damned important too.” It is not surprising that these humane attributes resonated with Timmons, for these were traits and capacities that he too would manifest throughout his own long career.

Upon receipt of his medical degree in 1956, Dr. Timmons spent (as was the custom in those days) a yearlong Internship. During that year he received a letter from Dr. Ross inviting him to return to Indiana to be trained as a neurologist. The University of Indiana program in those days sustained a well-deserved reputation of excellence in training individuals in the broad spectrum of clinical neurology In addition to such excellent clinicians as Ross and colleague Bill Lamar, Dr. Timmons training was enriched by the systematic teaching of provided by neuropathologist Orville Bailey, whose 18 years at Harvard/Boston Children’s had made him one of the great pioneers of pediatric neuropathology. Dr. Timmons’ neurology residency (1957-1962), was interrupted in order to fulfill by a three year Berry Plan military service obligation (1959-1961). Dr. Timmons served as a Captain and neurologist at Sheppard Air Force Base, Wichita Falls Texas. His purview included neurological as well as psychiatric problems but the latter category occupied most of his time. Much of that time was spent with the inpatient Women’s Psychiatric Facility—among the largest such units in the military medical facilities in the United States at that time. Together with Dr. Glen Shoptaugh, Dr. Timmons also started the first Child Neurology Clinic at the airbase.

Dr. Timmons’ fellowship in child neurology (1962-1964) was enriched by the recent arrival of Director, Dr. Less Drew, from the University of Michigan. Drew’s surpassing skills in interacting with children and in obtaining their history and examination, and his great enjoyment of them, greatly impressed Dr. Timmons, whose own practice of child neurology has exemplified similar capacities. It was further enriched by the presence of Dr. William DeMyer who was at that time hard at work on characterization of brain malformations and on the manner in which “the face predicts the brain.” Timmons’ careerlong interest in the learning and behavioral problems of children was fueled by the distinguished neuropsychologist Ralph Reitan. Timmons learned much but in would outgrow conceptions of “minimal brain dysfunction” and “neurologic soft signs’ as his own considerable and practical experience-based sophistication made him an expert in children’s problems with development, learning and behavior.

Upon completion of training, Dr. Timmons moved to Akron, hanging out his shingle as Ohio’s second child neurologist. At Akron Children’s Hospital he was to remain Chief of Child Neurology from 1964 until 2000.

In 1969 Dr. Timmons become a Diplomat in Child Neurology, receiving certificate #101. He would soon become a board examiner himself. He has subsequently served as Board Examiner more than 80 times. He has proven a mentor and steadying force for generations of individuals who have nervously inaugurated their careers as board examiners. Dr. Timmons quickly became a very busy practitioner as his reputation in Northeast Ohio rapidly grew. As first Director of Child Neurology at Akron Children’s’ Hospital he gradually expanded the service, recruiting “T.K.” Kulasekaran and epileptologist Margaret McBride to join him. Together with metabolic pathologist Joe Potter, neuropathologist Dimitri Agamanolis, and other committed physicians, therapists, educators, and counselors, Akron Children’s became an important center for diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of acute and chronic neurological diseases of children.

Dr. Timmons oversaw the establishment of comprehensive neurodevelopment program, of a comprehensive spasticity clinic and of a multidisciplinary conference to plan and execute the best possible care and rehabilitation for head injured individuals. These initiatives have, over time, been remarkably well supported by the very enlightened administration of Akron Children’s’ a hospital that has manifested enviably smooth function of all other aspects of neurologic care. Always deeply interested in the plight of disabled individuals, Dr. Timmons served as Medical Director of United Cerebral Palsy of Ohio. According to Dr. Timmons, “anyone can take care of an infection, but to take care of chronic illness requires a physician.” Dr. Timmons also served as Consultant to the State Director of Clinics established for handicapped individuals. In this capacity he was responsible for the review of facilities and their therapeutic programs. He served as Statewide Consultant on Education for the Ohio State Medical Society.

Dr. Timmons was among the small group of individuals who met in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1973 to attempt to realize Ken Swaiman’s vision of a national organization of child neurologists. Many senior child neurologists had expressed doubts as to the need for a Child Neurology Society and concern was expressed as to how they might be attracted. A practical “man of action,” Dean Timmons convinced wealthy Akron businessman John B. Hower to fund a named lectureship first awarded to Douglas Buchanan and thereafter to a long distinguished stream of senior neurologists who came to devote their efforts to the young society. Dr. Timmons’ further service to the Society has included serving as Chair of the Awards, Private Practice, and Community Care Committees. He has been an active participant in the AAN Practice Committee and was Secretary-Treasurer of the Child Neurology Section of the AAN.

Dr. Timmons has published eleven papers. Six concern heritable metabolic diseases. One considers patientphysician communication problems, one learning disorders, one the objective measurement of severity of hyperactivity and one the treatment of hyperactivity. Dr. Timmons lectured on neurological diseases at the Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine for 15 years. During 45 years at Akron Children’s’ Hospital he has tirelessly educated residents. He has continued to demonstrate not only how to diagnose and treat, but how to be a physician. He has exemplified as Alex Ross and others did for him, that “to become a physician is to become something more than a diagnostician or a pill passer.” His medical students and residents have learned from him the art of listening, of skillfulness in patient interactions and examination, and how to work hard and devotedly while at the same time balancing the demands of life.

Dr. Timmons’ first marriage resulted in the birth of four daughters. The eldest is a psychologist, the next oldest has been an actress in movies and in Broadway plays, the next oldest received her Doctorate in trans-cultural adult education and is head of education for an engineering firm. The youngest is currently a graduate student in social work. Dr. Timmons second wife, Beverly has expertise in early childhood education and holds the rank of Professor in Early Childhood Education at Kent State University. Recently the couple has collaborated in development of a program that aims to prepare teachers to recognize and safely manage seizures in the classroom. It also aims to improve communication between the parents, teachers, and physicians of children with epilepsy. Thus they hope to demystify the disorder, eliminating the unhelpful fright that the sight or report of a seizure in the classroom might provoke in teachers or in classmates and their parents.

The Timmons share a love of travel, bicycling, and have recently taken up fly-fishing. Dean is hoping to be able to ride his bicycle 100 miles on his upcoming 80th birthday.


Kenneth F. Swaiman, MD

Kenneth F. Swaiman, MD

Dr. Kenneth F. Swaiman is an internationally known child neurologist and Emeritus Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School where he was the director of the Division of Child Neurology for several decades. He also served as Interim Head of the Department of Neurology. During his tenure, he was involved training nearly 100 pediatric neurologists from the United States and Canada, as well as many other countries.

Dr. Swaiman was the Chairman of the organizing committee and first President of the Child Neurology Society (CNS). He received the Hower award, the highest award of that society, and the Founder’s Award at its 25th Anniversary meeting in 1981, as well as The Lifetime Achievement Award for Neurologic Education by the American Academy of Neurology. Dr. Swaiman chaired organizing committee of the Professors of Child Neurology and served as its first President.  He was also founded and served as first President of the Child Neurology Foundation. He was a member of the organizing committee of the International Child Neurology Association (ICNA), has served on many National Institutes of Health Study Sections, and has been visiting professor and lecturer at medical schools in the United States and throughout the world, including Canada, South America, Asia, Mexico, Europe, and Africa.

Dr. Swaiman has been the editor and a primary contributor to the textbook titled Practice of Pediatric Neurology (two editions) and Pediatric Neurology: Principles and Practice (five editions). He is the founding editor and immediate past Editor-in-Chief of Pediatric Neurology, an international journal devoted to the basic and clinical aspects of the diagnosis of children with neurologic impairment. He has served as a member of the Editorial Boards of the Annals of Neurology, Brain and Development, Neuropediatrics, and the Chinese Journal of Pediatrics.

Dr. Swaiman’s investigative endeavors have included research into brain energy metabolism, the effect of malnutrition on the developing brain, and the metabolic effects of iron and other metals on brain function. He has been particularly involved in studies of Neurodegeneration with Brain Iron Accumulation (NBIA) and other childhood movement disorders.

(Profile redacted from Child Neurology Foundation website: www.childneurologyfoundation.org)