May 29, 2012

Message from the Vice Chancellor: New Chair Named for the Department of Pediatrics

Steven Webber

Steven Webber

I am delighted to announce that Steven A. Webber, MBChB, MRCP, Peter and Ada Rossin Chair in Pediatric Cardiology, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, has accepted our offer to become the James C. Overall professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and pediatrician-in-chief at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. Dr. Webber, identified through a national search, will join Vanderbilt near the end of August.

Dr. Webber joins an outstanding leadership team already in place at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, and at a vital time for the Department of Pediatrics and our institution as we address rapid changes occurring to health care delivery while advancing our central missions of discovery, education and patient care.

Steve was chosen for his vision, leadership style and ability to bring further momentum to the tremendous impact the faculty of the Department of Pediatrics, the administration and staff of Children’s Hospital have on our region and on the national and international stage. This month’s opening of the hospital’s new 33-bed expansion will help drive strategic programmatic growth as new discoveries are sought that will lead to new cures for childhood diseases.

At Pittsburgh, Steve's clinical leadership has also included co-direction of the Heart Center at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC which sees more than 15,000 patients each year in 15 locations. Since 1995 he has served as medical director of the Children’s Hospital Pediatric Heart and Heart-Lung Transplant Program.

Steve graduated from the University of Bristol Medical School, U.K., in 1983, and underwent residency training in internal medicine and pediatrics in the U.K. at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, Leicester Royal Infirmary, University Hospital-Nottingham and John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, and at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C. He underwent fellowship training at the University of British Columbia Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. He joined the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh in 1994.

Steve’s clinical expertise involves the care of children and young adults with end-stage heart failure, including those undergoing mechanical support and thoracic transplantation. His research interests include post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorders, understanding the genetic contributions to graft and patient outcomes and the role of alloantibodies in determining graft outcomes after pediatric thoracic transplantation.

He has been the principal investigator and program director for a National Institutes of Health-National Heart Lung and Blood Institute SCCOR (Specialized Center in Clinically Oriented Research) Program in Pediatric Heart Development and Disease entitled “Optimizing Outcome after Pediatric Heart Transplantation.” He is currently principal investigator for a National Institutes of Health-National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Clinical Trials in Organ Transplantation in Children research consortium.

Dr. Webber is the author of more than 160 peer-reviewed publications. He serves as co-editor (and editor-elect) of the journal Pediatric Transplantation, and is co-editor of two textbooks: "Pediatric Solid Organ Transplantation" and "Post-Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disorders."

He is the recipient of the 2012 American Society of Transplantation Clinical Science Established Investigator Award. In addition, he has served as president of both the Pediatric Heart Transplant Study and the International Pediatric Transplant Association. He currently serves as co-chair (chair elect) of the Thoracic Committee of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). He also serves on the board of directors of the American Society of Transplantation, and previously served on the board of directors of the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation.

I want to express my sincere gratitude to Nancy Brown, M.D., chair of the Department of Medicine, for leading a distinguished search committee, and to David Raiford, M.D., associate vice chancellor for Health Affairs and senior associate dean for Clinical Affairs, for staffing the committee. I also want to express my sincere appreciation to the search committee members: R. Daniel Beauchamp, M.D., John Brock III, M.D., Andre Churchwell, M.D., Elisabeth Dykens, Ph.D., Luke Gregory, F.A.C.H.E., Jonathan Haines, Ph.D., Katherine Hartmann, M.D., Ph.D., Susan Hernandez, M.B.A., R.N., Kevin Johnson, M.D., Howard Jones III, M.D., Robert Mallard, M.D., Linda Norman, D.S.N., R.N., Scott Rodgers, M.D., and Anne Marie Tharpe, Ph.D.

I would also like to acknowledge the important contributions of Dr. Meg Rush, Chief of Staff for the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, for her tremendous efforts as our acting chair of Pediatrics. Meg’s leadership during the past year has been extraordinary, and we are all most grateful for her superb management of the department during this time of transition.

Steve will play a central role in the Medical Center’s leadership, representing not only the Department of Pediatrics, but as a valued colleague and mentor throughout the University and the community.

He will be joined in Nashville by his wife, Elizabeth, and daughter Katie, 15. The Webber’s elder daughter, Hannah, 20, attends the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Please join me as we welcome Steve into this vital role on our leadership team and welcome his family into the Vanderbilt community.

Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs
Dean of the School of Medicine