Thomas Jefferson University

Portrait: Clara Callahan, MD


Clara Callahan, MD, (b. 1951) is a Professor of Pediatrics and the Lillian H. Brent Dean of Students and Admissions. She graduated from Wayne State University Detroit in 1973, cum laude, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology. She graduated from the Medical College of Pennsylvania Hospital in 1977, the winner of the pediatrics and child psychiatry awards.

She was a resident in pediatrics at Medical College of Pennsylvania Hospital and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. She was the first Charles E. Culpepper Fellow in Ambulatory Pediatrics at Jefferson. Dr. Callahan joined the Jefferson faculty as Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in 1984. She has also been pediatric consult at Wills Eye Hospital in 1984. 

Dr. Clara Callahan’s impact on Jefferson students as Administrator, Advisor and Teacher has been significant.  She became Assistant Dean for Student Affairs in 1987, was promoted to Clinical Professor of Pediatrics in 1991 and then to Associate Dean for Student Affairs in 1992. She became the Dean for Admissions in 1999.

Dr. Callahan has been clinical preceptor for freshman students, taught a ten-week seminar on ethical issues in medicine for sophomore students and held a teaching conference on nutrition and immunizations for third-year students. Given Dr. Callahan’s long-time involvement with medical students, it is not surprising that much of her research centers on the performance of students in medical school and beyond. 

She has served as the Chair of Pediatric Bioethics Committee, and served on task forces for student life, on the joint Delaware-JMC program and primary care. She was a member of the visiting faculty in Japan sponsored by the Noguchi Medical Research Institute and the Japan-North America Medical Exchange Foundation in 1994. She won the pediatric residents’ award for Excellence in Teaching in 1987. She retired as the Dean of Students and Admissions in July 2021.