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Heidi M. Feldman

Academic Appointments

  • Ballinger-Swindells Endowed Professor in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics

Contact Information

  • Clinical Offices
    Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Program 730 Welch Rd Palo Alto, CA 94304
    Tel Work (650) 725-8995 Fax (650) 724-6500
  • Academic Offices
    Personal Information
    Email Tel (650) 723-5711
    Alternate Contact
    Meghan Stawitcke Administrative Assistant Tel Work 723-5711

Professional Overview

Clinical Focus

  • Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics
  • Pediatrics

Academic Appointments

Administrative Appointments

  • Medical Director, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatric Programs at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital (2006 - present)

Honors and Awards

  • C. Anderson Aldrich Award, American Academy of Pediatrics (2012)
  • Honor Roll for Teaching, Core Pediatric Clerkship, Stanford University (2008, 2009, 2011, 2012)
  • Service Above Self Award, San Andreas Regional Center, California (2010)
  • Best Doctors in America, Best Doctors (2009, 2012, 2013, 2014)
  • Ballinger-Swindells Endowed Professorship in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine (2006 - present)
  • Academy of Master Educators, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (2006)
View All 17honors and awards of Heidi Feldman

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Board Member, President of the Board, Abilities United (2009 - present)
  • Executive Committee and Steering Committee, DBPNet: A research network in developmental-behavioral pediatrics (2010 - present)

Professional Education

Board Certification: Pediatrics, American Board of Pediatrics (1985)
Residency: University of California San Diego CA (06/1982)
Internship: University of California San Diego CA (06/1980)
Fellowship: Children's Hospital Boston MA (06/1984)
Board Certification: Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, American Board of Pediatrics (2002)
Fellowship: Children's Hospital Boston MA (06/1983)
View All 9



Prior Year Coursescourses of Heidi Feldman

Graduate and Fellowship Program Affiliations

  • Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics (Fellowship Program)

Scientific Focus

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

I am a developmental-behavioral pediatrician. I became interested in the development of language as a graduate student in developmental psychology. Language development in young children becomes central to their abilities to learn, acquire information, communicate, and participate fully in the human social experience. As a pediatrician, I became aware that many clinical conditions put language learning at risk. Over the years I have studied the outcomes of several important clinical conditions.

Chronic ear infections are associated with conductive hearing loss that may alter access to the verbal environment. I was part of an interdisciplinary team that investigated the long-term developmental consequences of otitis media with effusion. This research has documented that early placement of tympanostomy tubes restores normal hearing but does not confer any developmental advantages over watchful waiting in children with chronic middle ear effusions. Because the design of the study was a randomized clinical trial, the strong implication is that middle ear effusion does not cause developmental compromise in speech, language, cognition, or reading. The results have major clinical significance and have been cited in the revisions of practice guidelines for management of otitis media with effusion.

Early focal injuries to the left hemisphere damage what have been considered classic language areas of the brain. Children with such injuries learn to understand and speak competently during the preschool years, though some show mild to moderate developmental delays. Differences between children with left and right hemisphere damage are minimal even though the hemispheres seem to function very differently in adults. Children with focal injuries continue to perform only mildly below the level of their age-matched peers into school age, though both groups show improvements in performance at least through at 12 years. Functional magnetic resonance imaging document increased right hemisphere activation during language processing after focal left hemisphere injury. These studies provide an insight into the mechanisms of plasticity in the neural systems of language development.

My current research focuses on language and cognition after prematurity. A substantial proportion of children born prematurely have injury to the white matter of the brain. The study seeks to determine if the integrity of white matter tracks can explain developmental outcomes after prematurity. Results to date have found that some aspects of language function after prematurity seem to be explained by general intellectual function and other aspects, including linguistic speed and memory and reading comprehension, are explained in part by the degree of prematurity. We have found that the degree of white matter injury in various locations correlates with reading comprehension and also with memory, executive functions, and behavioral characteristics. Through case studies we have begun to find examples of injury to specific white matter tracts that link language areas in healthy adults. We have found that alternative pathways seem to carry language information from posterior to anterior language processing regions.

I am also extremely interested in improving the delivery of health care to children with developmental and behavioral disorders. To this end, I have been involved in studies that apply the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF), to care coordination and long-term planning for young adults with developmental disorders who transitioning into adult health care systems. The ICF may also prove a valuable tool within the medical home for children with developmental disorders. I am now working on the development of a family-owned mobile platform for health record keeping to improve care coordination for children with complex care needs.


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