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Several pictures of doctors who are featured on the Local Legends web site

MEET LOCAL LEGEND: Jean E. Shelton, M.D.

Picture of Jean E. Shelton
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Jean E. Shelton, M.D.

“I try to help children and give them the ability to do something they couldn't do before. When you can do that, you change their world.”


J. Randy Forbes



When Jean Shelton first came to the Norfolk, Virginia region in 1975 she planned a career as a pediatrician. But she saw an immediate need to treat children with neurological problems and applied, instead, to the Ambulatory Care Unit at Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters (CHKD) in Norfolk. It was the beginning of a commitment to treating and rehabilitating children that has spanned 30 years and won Shelton wide praise for the breadth and scope of her programs, and the compassion and dedication with which she serves children and their families.

"She has built and expanded a series of programs for neurologically impaired children that would not otherwise be here," Evan R. Farmer, M.D. and Dean and Provost, Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) says. "Dr. Shelton's commitment to medical service in our community has been so extensive and exceptional that whole medical agencies and treatment programs owe their historic development and, sometimes, their very existence to her consultation and leadership."

As professor and chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at EVMS and director of rehabilitation at CHKD, Shelton has directed and coordinated services for children that include pediatric neuropsychology, and physical, occupational, and speech therapies. She began her career with a residency in pediatrics at the CHKD, in 1975, followed by a second residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at EVMS in 1989. Staying on at both the hospital and medical school, she has built a career notable for its innovative programs.

For example, she led development of CHKD's Acute Rehabilitation Unit, as well as a free-standing pediatric Neurodevelopment Center. She also helped develop the Norfolk region's first lead poisoning screening and neonatal follow-up programs, as well as dysphagia (difficulty swallowing that often leads to malnourishment), traumatic brain Injury, and Dorsal Rhizotomy programs (surgical procedures used to alleviate spastic cerebral palsy).

Nominated as a Local Legend of Medicine by Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-VA-4), Shelton has won praise for her clinical accomplishments as well as her teaching skills. In addition to her responsibilities as a department head at EVMS, she staffs the spina bifida clinic, the neuro-oncology clinic, the muscular dystrophy clinic, the sickle cell stroke clinic, and is a consultant to a program for autistic children.

In 1985 she received the CHKD House Staff Award for Teaching Excellence, and in 1995, the Dean's Faculty Achievement Award in Clinical Service. She was awarded the Lydia Myers Endowed Professorship in 2001, and received the Pediatric Faculty Recognition Award in 2002. She continues to mentor medical residents.

She has produced multiple publications and research presentations, and is a manuscript reviewer for the journal The Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. A colleague has written of Shelton that "her heart is even larger than her patient load, and her clinical competencies more extensive than the very long list of agencies she serves."



Appointed Instructor of Pediatrics, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk


Appointed Chair, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk


Appointed Medical Director, Acute Rehabilitation Unit, Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters, Norfolk


Lydia Meyers Professor, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk




University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Memphis, TN


Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

Sub Specialty

(Also Board Certified in Pediatrics)