April 26, 2023

Heerman named chief of General Pediatrics

Bill Heerman, MD, MPH, associate professor of Pediatrics, has been named chief of the Division of General Pediatrics, effective May 1.

Bill Heerman, MD, MPH

Bill Heerman, MD, MPH, associate professor of Pediatrics, has been named chief of the Division of General Pediatrics, effective May 1.

Heerman, who has spent his entire career at Vanderbilt, was selected following a national search led by Kathryn Edwards, MD, who retired at the end of 2022, and S. Todd Callahan, MD, MPH, professor of Pediatrics and director of the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Health.

He fills the role vacated by Shari Barkin, MD. Rebecca Swan, MD, professor of Pediatrics and the William Long Director in Pediatric Medical Education, has been serving as interim division chief since July, 2022.

“I am thrilled that Bill has accepted the role as the next chief of the Division of General Pediatrics. Bill is a national expert in childhood obesity research and is highly regarded throughout the country for his careful approach to scholarship which focuses on personalized behavioral obesity interventions and two-generation solutions to obesity. I am particularly proud that one of our trainees who has grown into an outstanding clinician, educator and researcher is primed to lead the division in its next chapter,” said Steven Webber, MBChB, MRCP, chair of Vanderbilt’s Department of Pediatrics, pediatrician-in-chief at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and James C. Overall Professor.

“I also want thank to Rebecca Swan for her excellent leadership as interim division chief for the past 10 months, and for her enduring commitment to her colleagues and our mission.”

Heerman, a Park Ridge, Illinois, native, earned a Bachelor of Arts in biology from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. Subsequently, he began a nearly two-decade chapter at Vanderbilt, arriving in 2004 to attend Vanderbilt University Medical School (VUSM), and staying to do a residency in internal medicine and pediatrics followed by a fellowship in general pediatrics. He also earned a Master of Public Health from VUSM. He joined the Pediatrics faculty in 2014.

“It is an honor to be asked to lead such a committed team of health care professionals, all united around the common goals of providing high quality pediatric primary care to children, teaching the next generation of pediatric health care providers, and advancing scientific knowledge through cutting edge research, all while advocating for children and their families,” Heerman said.

“The opportunity to step into this new division chief role is especially meaningful, as I have had the great privilege of learning from and collaborating with so many of my colleagues over the last 19 years since I started medical school at Vanderbilt.

“We are especially grateful to Dr. Rebecca Swan for serving as interim division chief this last year. The Division of General Pediatrics has a long legacy of compassionate excellence, and I am excited to help us reach our goals together in this new chapter.”

Heerman is an award-winning teacher and clinician, receiving the Excellence in Patient Experience Award for his clinical care every year since 2017. He has published more than 60 studies and delivered four dozen national and international scholarly lectures, many of which focused on childhood obesity and community-based behavioral interventions.

“Dr. Heerman’s background in research will be critical in supporting the scholarly work of our current faculty as well as recruiting additional physician-scientists,” said Swan, vice chair for Education in the Department of Pediatrics.

“Serving as interim division director these past 10 months has allowed me to fully appreciate how integral our division is to all missions of the department, serving as a patient-centered medical home for a diverse, largely underserved population, foundational education for our residents and students, research that impacts child health and policy and advocacy efforts, locally and beyond.”