Charles Silberstein, M.D., M.Sc.

"What drew me to the Institute was the team approach to the management of each and every patient."

View full interview to learn more about Dr. Silberstein's fond memories of working with Dr. Winthrop Phelps and the many patients he's continued to treat throughout their lifespans.


Dr. Silberstein is a retired associate professor of orthopedic surgery at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He continues to serve as attending orthopedic surgeon at the Kennedy-Krieger Institute.

Dr. Silberstein was introduced to the Institute as a young physician invited to attend monthly steering committee meetings by Dr. Winthrop Phelps, founder of the Children's Rehabilitation Institute, predecessor of the Kennedy Krieger Institute. Silberstein joined the staff of the Institute in 1967, when it moved to its present location adjacent to Johns Hopkins Hospital.

"What drew me to the Institute was the team approach to the management of each and every patient," says Dr. Silberstein. "Everybody had an equal degree of input into what was expected of each patient and what was expected of each discipline in taking each patient through their day to day therapies."

Early on, he was struck by the fact that Dr. Phelps kept a folder on each patient that was composed not only of medical records, "each and every birthday card, Christmas card, Easter card, every bit of communication he had with a child or their family," he says. "It's another indicator of how attached he became to them and how he was able to perceive the needs of patients and their families."

Dr. Silberstein shares his mentor's close personal connection with the children he has treated. "My wife and I lost our third child due to prematurity," he says. "Throughout the years, I became convinced that had that child survived, we would certainly have had a child with significant developmental disabilities." The experience has helped him draw closer to the families of his patients, he says, and to empathize with many of the issues they face.

"It's probably why when people ask me when I'm going to retire, I say 'I don't know what the word means,'" he notes. "I'm still at it."

Visit patientcare.kennedykrieger.org to learn more about the Institute's diagnostic and treatment programs.

Silberstein-Harryman Endowment Factsheet (PDF)

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