Dr. Desmond Runyan is the Executive Director of the Kempe Center at the Children's Hospital of Colorado and Professor of Pediatrics. He is also National Program Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program based at University of North Carolina. He completed his MD degree and pediatrics training at the University of Minnesota. He completed a doctorate in public health and the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at the University of North Carolina. He is board certified in pediatrics and in preventive medicine. Runyan has researched child abuse for over 30 years while maintaining a clinical practice evaluating possible child abuse victims and as a general pediatrics attending at UNC.
Runyan's research has addressed the identification and consequences of child abuse and neglect. In 1989 he designed and secured funding for the longest multi-site prospective study of the consequences of child abuse; LONGSCAN has continued for more than 20 years. This is a prospective study of 1354 children in five states who either were reported for maltreatment or who were judged to be at very high risk of maltreatment. Runyan helped design and conduct the only US study examining the incidence of "shaken baby syndrome.” With funding from the Centers for Disease Control, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the Duke Endowment, Runyan is directing a trial of shaken baby prevention with 600,000 families.
In addition to this domestic research, Runyan has worked with International Clinical Epidemiology Network medical school faculty in Egypt, India, the Philippines, Brazil, and Chile to increase child abuse knowledge among medical schools internationally. He has worked with ISPCAN, WHO, and UNICEF to study of child abuse epidemiology. In collaboration 120 other scientists from 40 countries, he helped develop a new set of instruments to measure child abuse and neglect.