The Kempe Center and Kempe Foundation are pleased to announce Kathryn Wells, MD, as the new executive director of the center. A board certified specialist in child abuse pediatrics, Wells has dedicated her career to protecting children and families and building communities where children have the opportunity to thrive.
“In my experience, child abuse and neglect can’t be solved by one person or profession,” said Wells. “In this role, I hope to build on the tremendous reputation and history of the Kempe Center as a leader in preventing and treating child abuse and neglect. We hope to build and strengthen the community partnerships we have with the state of Colorado and counties around the state. In doing so, I hope Colorado will be a model for the rest of the country.”
For nearly 50 years, the Kempe Center has strived to improve the care and well being of all children by strengthening families, communities and the systems that serve them. Through clinical service, research, education and training, the Center supports innovation in systems and communities that work with vulnerable children, youth and families.
Wells will also be serving as the section head for child abuse and associate professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. The center is located on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, and is supported by the CU School of Medicine and the Kempe Foundation. It also works in partnership with Children’s Hospital Colorado to run the Kempe Child Protection Team, a multidisciplinary team made up of professionals from medicine, pediatrics, mental health and hospital social work to evaluate, diagnose and treat suspected victims of child abuse and neglect.
Prior to taking this position, Wells was the medical director of the Denver Health Clinic at the Family Crisis Center and an attending physician at Denver Health and with the Kempe Child Protection Team at Children’s Hospital Colorado. She also did clinical research at the Kempe Center and served as an Outreach Liaison with ECHO Colorado.
Wells is originally from Montana where she went to college at Carroll College in Helena. She then earned her medical degree from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., where she also completed a pediatric residency at Creighton/University of NE combined program. She practiced general pediatrics for five years in Caldwell, Idaho, before coming to Colorado in 2001.
Wells follows Desmond Runyan, MD, in this position. Runyan retired from the Kempe Center in 2018.