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Dr. C. Henry Kempe
Born April 6, 1922
Breslau, Germany
Died March 8, 1984
Hanauma Bay, HI
Other names Karl Heinz Kempe
Occupation Pediatrician and virologist
Known for Wrote The Battered Child Syndrome in 1962. Founded The Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect.

Dr. C. Henry Kempe (birth name Karl Heinz Kempe, b. 1922, Breslau, Germany - d. 1984, Hanauma Bay, Hawaii) was a pediatrician and the first to identify and recognize child abuse in the medical community.

In 1962, Dr. Kempe and Dr. Brandt F. Steele published the paper, "The Battered Child Syndrome."[1][2] Publishing this paper led to the identification and recognition of child abuse within the medical community.

Dr. Kempe received two nominations for the Nobel Prize. The first nomination was for his work in developing a safer smallpox vaccine. The second nomination was recognition for his contribution to the prevention and treatment of child abuse. Due to the efforts of Dr. Kempe, abuse reporting laws exist in all 50 states. His efforts also led to the passage of the 1972 Colorado law requiring legal counsel for the child in all cases of suspected abuse.[3]

Early life

Born into a Jewish family in Germany during the rise of the Nazi party, Dr. Kempe fled Germany as a teenager and came to the United States of America. He learned a new language, completed high school and college, and eventually became a physician. Specializing in the study of virology, he helped eradicate smallpox through the development of a safer vaccine.

Dr. Kempe became the youngest chairman of the pediatrics department at the University of Colorado. During his tenure, he began to recognize the prevalence of non-accidental injuries to children. He demanded a better diagnostic investigation of the unexplained and life-threatening injuries observed in children at four different hospital emergency rooms: shattered bones, inflicted burns, and brain damage.

His research led to the publication of "The Battered Child Syndrome."[3]

Kempe Center

Dr. Kempe founded The Kempe Center in 1972 to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect.[4]

In 1976, The Kempe Foundation was established to spearhead fundraising, awareness and advocacy efforts for children.

The Kempe Center and The Kempe Foundation are currently located at The Gary Pavilion at Children's Hospital (Aurora, Colorado).

The C. Henry Kempe Award

First awarded in 1985, The Kempe Award is presented to professionals and philanthropists who have contributed substantially to the community on behalf of children and who have creatively fought the war against child abuse. The award is given every two years by ISPCAN, The International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect,[5] to an outstanding young professional or organization working in any discipline in the field of child abuse and neglect.

See also


  1. C. Henry Kempe and Ray E. Helfer, editors: The Battered Child. 1st edition, 1968. 2nd edition, Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1974. 3rd edition, 1980. 5th edition by M. E. Helfer, R. Kempe, and R. Krugman, 1997.
  2. C. H. Kempe, Frederic N. Silverman, Brandt F. Steele, William Droegemuller, Henry K. Silver: "The Battered Child Syndrome." Journal of the American Medical Association, 1962, 181: 17-24. Tardieu's syndrome. Also called Caffey-Kempe syndrome.
  3. 3.0 3.1 A Good Knight for Children: C. Henry Kempe's Quest to Protect The Abused Child by Annie Kempe., Inc. 2007.
  4. The Kempe Center

External links


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