William O. Walker, Jr.


Department of Primary Appointment:
School of Medicine
Chief, Division of Developmental Medicine; Robert A. Aldrich Professor of Pediatrics
Location: Other Location
Research Interests:
Developmental Disabilities
Spina Bifida
Office Phone


1975: BS (Biology), Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
1979: MD, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana
Postgraduate Training
1979-1980 Internship (Pediatrics) William Beaumont Army Medical Center, El Paso, Texas
1980-1982 Residency (Pediatrics) William Beaumont Army Medical Center, El Paso, Texas
1985-1987 Fellowship (Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics) William Beaumont Army Medical Center, El Paso, Texas


William O. Walker, Jr. M.D., is currently the Robert A. Aldrich Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. He is the Chief, Division of Developmental Medicine, Seattle Children’s Hospital (SCH). Dr. Walker has over 30 years of experience including numerous activities within community, educational and medical settings as a clinician, administrator, educator and researcher across the spectrum of developmental disabilities. A major focus of this work has been on the training of pediatric specialists and subspecialists. He has worked to emphasize the importance of identification and collaboration across agencies to successfully delivery ambulatory and community based health care support and to improve the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.
His particular research interest is the impact of neural tube defects (spina bifida) and their effect on continence, technology use, quality of life, participation, employment and educational success utilizing the ICF framework in this patient population.
Dr. Walker has been an invited speaker to regional, national and international meetings related to the clinical, academic and programmatic aspects of developmental disability care and his research in spina bifida.

"I take a "whole child" and a "whole family" view with every visit. Though I can't necessarily explain why a child has a disability, I can help solve practical concerns families have about caring for their child right now. I rarely "cure" or "fix" the disorder, but I can promise the family that I am in it with them for the long haul. I carry around a bag of bells and blocks and crayons, I draw on whiteboards and play tic-tac-toe and I give high (and low) fives multiple times every day and no one thinks that is odd at all. I laugh and cry with the patients and their families and am grateful that I can do both."

Representative publications, projects, and/or deployments

1993-1998 Member, Department of Defense/Department of Health and Human Services Task Force on Children with Special Health Care Needs and Disabilities

1997 “A” Proficiency Designator, The Surgeon General, Army Medical Department

2000 BG George J. Brown Mentor’s Cube, Madigan Army Medical Center

2005 Outstanding Teacher Award, University of Washington Pediatric Residency Program

2007 Invited Participant, Transition Summit sponsored by National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 17 – 18 September 2007, Atlanta, GA.

2011-Present Chair, Steering Committee, Management of Meningomyelocele Study (MoMS) II, NICHD, George Washington University

2011 Robert A. Aldrich Endowed Professorship in Birth Defects and Mental Retardation


Walker W, LaGrone R, Atkinson A. Psychosocial Screening in Pediatric Practice: Identifying High-Risk Children. J Dev Behav Pediatrics 1989; 10 (3): 134-138 (PMID: 2745720)

Davis BE, Shurtleff DB, Walker WO, Seidel KD, Duguay S. Acquisition of Autonomy Skills in Adolescents with Myelomeningocele. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology 2006; 48: 253-258. (PMID 16542511)

Walker W. Primary care providers and medical homes for individuals with spina bifida. Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine 2009; 1: 337-3444. (PMID 21791785)

Glew GM, Frey KS, Walker WO. Bullying Update: Are We Making Any Progress? Pediatrics in Review 2010; 31: e68-74. (PMID 20810698)

Walker WO. Discrepancies in Health Care Funding for Individuals with Special Needs. Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine 2010; 3: 159-162. (PMID 21791846)

Shurtleff DB, Walker WO, Duguay S, Peterson D, Cardenas DD. “Obesity and Myelomeningocele: Anthropometric Measures” Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine 2010; 33(4): 410-419.

Bjornson K, Kobayashi A, Zhou C, Walker W. “Relationship of Therapy to Post-Secondary Education and Employment in Young Adults with Physical Disabilities”. Pediatric Physical Therapy 2011; 23: 179-186. (PMID 21552083)

Cohen AR, Couto J, Cummings JJ, Johnson A, Joseph G, Kaufman BA, Litman RS, Menard MK, Moldenhauer JS, Pringle KC, Schwartz MZ, Walker WO, Warf BC, Wax JR, for the Maternal-Fetal Management Task Force. Position Statement on fetal mylemeningocele repair. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 2014; 210(2): 107-111. (PMID 24055581)

Sawin KJ, Liu T, Ward E, Thibadeau J, Schechter MS, Soe MM, Walker W. The National Spina Bifida Patient Registry: Profile of a Large Cohort of Participants from the First 10 Clinics. J Pediatrics. 2015 166(2): 444-450. PMID 25444012 (PMC4535790)

Smith K, Neville-Jan A, Freeman KA, Adams E, Mizokawa S, Dudgeon BJ, Merkens MJ, Walker WO. The Effectiveness of Bowel and Bladder Interventions in Children with Spina Bifida. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology. 2016; 58 (9): 979-988. PMID 26992042