Dr. David Schonfeld is a developmental-behavioral pediatrician. He is the pediatrician-in-chief and director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is a member the American Academy of Pediatrics Disaster Preparedness Advisory Council, a member of the the Sandy Hook Commission in Connecticut, and has served as a commissioner for the National Commission on Children and Disasters.
Dr. Schonfeld established the School Crisis Response Program in 1991, which provided training to tens of thousands of school-related personnel in school systems throughout the country and abroad, and provided technical assistance in hundreds of school crisis events. He consulted to the New York City Department of Education to provide training to and technical assistance in the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001. This included the training of approximately 1,000 district and school-level crisis teams. In 2005, Dr. Schonfeld was awarded funding by the September 11 Children’s Fund and the National Philanthropic Trust to establish a National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement; the center is now supported through generous support of the New York Life Foundation. The National Center promotes an appreciation of the role schools can serve to support students, staff, and families at times of crisis and loss. This includes serving as a resource for information, training materials, consultation, and technical assistance. Dr. Schonfeld has provided consultation and training on school crisis and pediatric bereavement in the aftermath of a number of school crisis events and disasters within the United States and abroad including: school and community shootings in Newtown, CT, Aurora, CO and Chardon, OH; flooding from Hurricanes Sandy in New York City and New Jersey, Katrina in New Orleans and Ike in Galveston; tornadoes in Joplin, MO and Alabama; and the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan, China.
Dr. Schonfeld has authored articles, book chapters, and a handbook on school crisis preparedness. In 2010 he published a book for teachers on supporting the grieving student entitled The Grieving Student: A Teacher’s Guide, published by Brookes Publishing.