Driving Pediatric Breakthroughs

Naomi Luban, M.D.


Five decades of leadership and mentorship

For five decades, Naomi Luban, M.D., has been setting an example as a leader and mentor in ways that have left an indelible mark in our institution and beyond. A distinguished physician and scientist, she has been an integral part of Children’s National Hospital for over 30 years and, during that time, helped advance the careers of so many others. She has held numerous leadership roles, including chair of the Institutional Review Board, medical director of the Office of Protection of Human Subjects and Vice Chair for Academic Affairs, a position she currently holds. In this role, she has been instrumental in establishing, directing and co-directing training programs for medical students, residents, fellows and junior faculty with specialized programs to advance women faculty.

Dr. Luban’s contributions over her 50-year career extend beyond her administrative roles. She has published more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles, more than 40 book chapters and has edited seven textbooks on pediatric transfusion medicine. Her clinical interests are focused on transfusion indications and risks, sickle cell disease, the immunology of transfusion and inherited platelet disorders and hemophilia. She has also mentored over 30 fellows and junior faculty, most of whom are now in academic positions in pediatric hematology and transfusion medicine.

At Children’s alone, Dr. Luban’s accomplishments include being honored by the AABB for her work in pediatric hematology and transfusion medicine research, serving as Chair of the Institutional Review Board and being named recipient of the prestigious American Red Cross’s Graham A. Jamieson Memorial Lectureship. Most recently, she was honored with the esteemed Jacobi Medal and Award from Mount Sinai for her lifetime scholarly accomplishments. A recent podcast and video showcased Dr. Luban’s dedication to the fields of pediatrics and pediatric hematology and founding the field of pediatric transfusion medicine.

A leader in fostering opportunities for growth and leadership

Naomi Luban and WATCH program participants
Naomi Luban, M.D., and W@TCH program participants.

One of Dr. Luban’s significant contributions to Children’s National is her leadership in the Women (Physicians and Scientists) @ Children’s Hospital (W@TCH) program. Established in 1999, W@TCH was designed to foster opportunities for growth and leadership of female faculty at a time when women were underrepresented in leadership positions. Over the years, the program has expanded to include all faculty, residents and fellows, regardless of their gender.

W@TCH offers a variety of programming, including quarterly Brown Bag lunches and short workshops, where both internal and invited speakers cover topics such as promoting equity, managing up, resilience and wellness and maximizing the use of social media. The program also sponsors a competition for one junior faculty person to attend the A.A.M.C. Women in Medicine annual conference and hosts events to honor faculty accomplishments.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, W@TCH held a series of electronic Town Halls to better inform hospital leadership of faculty concerns related to transparency, equity and work-life balance. The solutions generated from these Town Halls facilitated emergency childcare options, furthered development of the provider wellness program and increased transparency in workforce assignments and salary adjustments.

Dr. Luban’s leadership in the W@TCH program has been instrumental in promoting gender equity and fostering a supportive and inclusive environment at Children’s National. Her dedication to mentorship and her commitment to excellence have been recognized and celebrated throughout her career.

As we look forward to the future, Dr. Luban’s leadership and the W@TCH program will continue to play a crucial role in shaping the culture at Children’s National. Their commitment to promoting equity, fostering growth and supporting the well-being of all faculty, residents and fellows will undoubtedly continue to significantly impact the institution and the broader medical community.