June 9, 2016

Children’s Hospital physicians honored by Tennessee pediatrics society

The Tennessee Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics has awarded top accolades to two physicians at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt for their commitment to children, families and the practice of pediatrics.

The Tennessee Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (TNAAP) has awarded top accolades to two physicians at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt for their commitment to children, families and the practice of pediatrics.

William F. Walsh, chief of Nurseries at Children’s Hospital and professor of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt, was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, Stephen Patrick, assistant professor of Pediatrics and Health Policy in the Division of Neonatology with Children’s Hospital, has received the Early Career Physician of the Year Award.

William F. Walsh, M.D.
William F. Walsh, M.D.

Walsh earned his undergraduate degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado. He went on to obtain his medical degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio, after which he did his internship, residency and fellowship at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base, also in San Antonio.

“It is an honor to serve the children of Tennessee. I have been blessed to be able to provide whatever care needed to ill newborns throughout the state regardless of the severity of their illness or ability to pay,” Walsh said.

“I have worked with incredible partners at Monroe Carell Jr Children’s Hospital and with caring colleagues across the entire state to improve perinatal care and newborn outcomes, including partnerships with the cardiologists developing newborn screening for heart disease, obstetricians making fetal surgery a reality, Tennessee Department of Health decreasing genetic deaths, and each of the five neonatal regional centers establishing ECMO for the severely ill term baby and working with the March of Dimes to decrease prematurity. Even better I have had the honor of helping to educate and train the next generation. We have a ways to go to make Tennessee No. 1 in children’s health but we are moving the needle.”

Walsh has devoted his life to the care of infants in Neonatology at Vanderbilt, where he has worked since 1992 and helped grow the Level IV neonatal intensive care unit as chief of service. He also coordinates the practice of a team of 28 attending neonatologists and 10 neonatology fellows. His list of service on committees, achievements, honors and research is extensive.

Susan Guttentag, M.D., Julia Carell Stadler Professor of Pediatrics, and director of the Division of Neonatology, has high praise for Walsh.

“Dr. Walsh has been an advocate for mothers and babies throughout his career.  He is a master clinician and a true scholar,” said Guttentag. “Just one of many initiatives that he spearheaded was the screening of newborns for cyanotic congenital heart disease that has saved many young Tennessee lives.  I can’t think of a more deserving pediatrician for this award.”

Stephen Patrick, M.D., MPH
Stephen Patrick, M.D., MPH

Patrick, who came to Vanderbilt in 2013, has focused his career on improving public health systems to optimize maternal and child health. He is a health services researcher with a focus on Medicaid policy, eliminating health care-associated infections, substance-exposed infants and neonatal abstinence syndrome.

“I am honored to be recognized by TNAAP,” said Patrick. “TNAAP exemplifies what it means to be a pediatrician through advocacy and service to our state’s children. I am proud to be part of such a wonderful organization.”

Patrick is a former Senior Science Policy Advisor to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. He also serves on the scientific advisory committee and is co-author of the improvement toolkit for an international effort to improve care delivered to infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome and their families through the Vermont Oxford Network. He is a graduate of the University of Florida, Florida State University College of Medicine, Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Michigan, and is a former Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar.

“Dr. Patrick is a true rising star in pediatrics,” Guttentag said. “He has been able to focus media attention on the problem of drug exposure during pregnancy in a way that has mobilized communities and government in positive, not punitive, ways.  I am sure that constructive ways in which he uses public health data to understand such a complex problem will be a blueprint that will help us improve the health of mothers and babies for years to come. His passion, drive, and determination are truly admirable.”

Walsh and Patrick will be honored at an awards reception on Friday, Sept. 16, at the Cool Springs Marriott in Franklin, Tennessee. The TNAAP Excellence in Pediatrics Receptions and Annual Awards recognize and honor pediatricians and community members who have made exceptional contributions to children’s health advocacy in Tennessee.