September 14, 2010

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


I am pleased to announce that Michael DeBaun, M.D., M.P.H., the Ferring Family Chair in Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has joined Vanderbilt as professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and as the vice chair for Clinical Affairs within the Department of Pediatrics.

In his new role as vice chair for Clinical Affairs in the Department of Pediatrics, Dr. DeBaun will work with Jonathan Gitlin, M.D., James C. Overall Professor and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics, to provide infrastructure support for Pediatrics faculty working to advance clinical and translational research.

Dr. DeBaun’s research has focused on the serious complications experienced by children with sickle cell disease. In 2004, Michael was selected to lead the first NIH-sponsored international clinical trial in sickle cell disease, the Silent Cerebral Infarct Multi-Center Trial. This trial to determine the safety and efficacy of blood transfusion therapy to prevent silent stroke in sickle cell patients is still under way and will conclude in 2012.

Other hematology research conducted by Dr. DeBaun has focused on determining the epidemiology and genetics for asthma in children with sickle cell anemia. In a multi-center collaboration, his research has developed the first longitudinal cohort of children with sickle cell anemia who are evaluated with repeat pulmonary function tests. In oncology, Michael’s research has focused on the epidemiology and optimal management of Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome.

Dr. DeBaun, a native of St. Louis, graduated medical school from Stanford University, where he also obtained a master’s degree in Health Services Research. He also holds a master’s degree in Public Health from The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health. During his tenure with the Washington University School of Medicine, he authored nearly 150 publications and has been the recipient of numerous professional distinctions, including selection into the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2009.

Please join Dr. Gitlin and me as we welcome Dr. DeBaun into this vital new role within the Department of Pediatrics.

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