Celebrating Naomi Luban’s 50-year career

Naomi L.C. Luban, M.D. in 2022.
Naomi L.C. Luban, M.D. in 2022.Her expertise has helped families over generations.

On Thursday, June 15, 2023, the Children’s National Research and Innovation Campus hosted a special scientific symposium celebrating Naomi Luban, M.D.’s distinguished 50-year career as a physician, researcher and mentor. Luban is currently the vice chair of Academic Affairs, establishing, directing, or co-directing training programs for junior and women faculty. Dr. Luban is additionally the program director of the KL2 and oversees other K awardees' career development awards.

She is also responsible for academic and research education programming, including the development of resident, fellow, junior, and master mentorship programs, grants training seminars and career development initiatives. During her time at Children’s National, Luban has mentored over 30 fellows and junior faculty, most of whom are now in academic positions in pediatric hematology.

Dr. Luban and attendees of the celebration.
Dr. Luban and attendees of the celebration.

Her impact has been felt across the institution for decades. "Naomi was part of the group who actually recruited me from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in 1998 to become chairman of pediatrics at GW and chief academic officer here at Children's National," said Mark Batshaw, M.D., former chief academic officer of Children’s National.

With research interests in blood banking, coagulation testing and hematology assays, her work has had national implications as well, as Paul Ness, M.D., senior director of the Division of Transfusion Medicine and Professor Emeritus of Pathology and Medicine at The Johns Hopkins Hospital explained when he said that Dr. Luban “really was the developer of pediatric transfusion medicine in this country."

Dr. Luban’s mentorship was a particular focus of the event. "A good mentor has patience, strong interpersonal skills, technical expertise, and the ability to share credit. And she really has that and that's a very hard thing to do when you're a mentor," said Cassandra Josephson, M.D., a former mentee of Dr. Luban’s. "She taught me to manage up, always bring an agenda to your meeting, taught me how to advance my priorities, taught me how to advocate and negotiate, make other people receptive to my ideals and ideas" added Laura Tosi, M.D.

The lineup of speakers also included the honoree’s son, Ben Luban, who spoke about how his mother exposed him “to the wonders of medicine.” Guy Young, M.D., then compared Dr. Luban’s influence in his career to that of Steve Jobs’ on personal computing.

Alison Hall, M.D., as associate dean for Research Workforce Development at the George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences spoke from the training aspect, highlight Dr. Luban’s contributions and experience. These contributions were emphasized by Stephen Teach, M.D., M.P.H., who mentioned Dr. Luban’s adherence to excellence – an adherence that has led them both to be responsible for 97% of individuals who go up for promotion at GW from Children’s National to be approved.

Catherine Bollard speaks during Dr. Luban's celebration.
Catherine Bollard speaks during Dr. Luban's celebration.


Catherine Bollard, M.D., M.B.Ch.B., who is the interim chair of Pediatrics and chief academic officer also spoke, describing the panoply of roles Dr. Luban fulfills. “She's formidable. She has high standards. She's a wife, a mother and a grandmother. She's compassionate. She's kind and she's a team player. She's a teacher and consummate mentor and she's resilient. She's a physician scientist, a hematologist and transfusion medicine aficionado. She's a distinguished academic, a coach and a role model.”

“Discovery drives me,” said Dr. Luban when she celebrated 45 years of her career. Half a decade later, the same drive is held intact.

“Naomi’s contributions to CNH over the years are so impressive spanning from helping advance cutting-edge clinical care such as facilitating the initiation of the ECMO and cell therapy programs to training and promoting the next generation of physicians and physician scientists. Her energy, intellect, compassion and selfless dedication is an inspiration to us all,” said Dr. Bollard.

In the words of Dr. Teach, “it's been quite, quite a ride, Doctor Luban.”

Contact: William-Jose Velez Gonzalez | 202-545-2704