Mary Ehlenbach, MD, Initial Recipient of the O’Connor Family Professorship in Pediatrics

Congratulations to Mary Ehlenbach, MD (Associate Professor, Division of Hospital Medicine), who was appointed as the initial recipient of the O’Connor Family Professorship in Pediatrics. The professorship was initiated by Richard O’Connor, MD (retired Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics), to advance and support ambulatory pediatric health care delivery with an emphasis on the care of children with chronic conditions.

Mary Ehlenbach, MD
Mary Ehlenbach, MD

In addition to her duties as associate professor in the Division of Hospital Medicine, Ehlenbach (pictured left) is the medical director of the Pediatric Complex Care Program at American Family Children’s Hospital (AFCH).  Ehlenbach led the development of the Pediatric Complex Care Program at AFCH in 2014 and was site principal investigator for a multimillion-dollar, three-year Health Care Innovation Award funded by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in collaboration with State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. 

“It is humbling to be selected as the inaugural recipient of the O’Connor Family Professorship in Pediatrics,” remarked Ehlenbach at the news of her appointment. “Serving patients and families in the Pediatric Complex Care Program has brought great professional fulfillment and provided many sources of inspiration.”

Since 2017, the Pediatric Complex Care Program at AFCH has been a robust interprofessional team that provides medical co-management and care coordination for hundreds of children with medical complexity, filling a unique niche for this new and growing population. 

“I am grateful to the Department of Pediatrics for supporting the Pediatric Complex Care team’s growth and development over the last several years,” stated Ehlenbach. “The generous support of the O’Connor Family will allow new innovations in the care of children with medical complexity to be made possible.”

About Richard O’Connor, MD
Richard O’Connor, MD, received his medical degree from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health in 1967. In the 1970s and 80s, he was a general pediatrician with the Wausau Medical Center, a multispecialty group practice in northern Wisconsin. While in practice, O’Connor was made Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin Department of Pediatrics and was Chair of Pediatrics at Wausau Hospital.  

In 1987 he began a medical management career as the lead medical director for Physicians Health Services, and later went to work for United Healthcare as a senior medical director. Following his retirement from consulting in 2007, O’Connor volunteered his time with The Mediation Center in Savannah, GA, and supervised medical students at outreach clinics in San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala. He was also the president of the Board of Directors of Voice of Children Ministries, Inc., which provided funds for the education and care of needy children in the Igbo states of Nigeria. O’Connor passed away this September.