March 1, 2002

Baldwin appointed vice chair of Laboratory Sciences in Pediatrics

Featured Image

Baldwin appointed vice chair of Laboratory Sciences in Pediatrics

A nationally known pediatric researcher has joined Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital as professor and vice chair for Laboratory Sciences in Pediatrics.

Dr. H. Scott Baldwin joins the Vanderbilt faculty after more than 10 years with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where he was a clinical cardiologist and co-director of cardiovascular research. At CHOP he researched molecular and genetic etiology of congenital heart disease.

Baldwin will be focusing on developing and training physician-scientists in pediatric laboratory-based research at VCH. He brings with him three National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants.

In addition to research, Baldwin will spend approximately 20 percent of his time on patient care and providing consultations on pediatric cardiac cases.

His appointment follows a commitment by Children’s Hospital Director Dr. Arnold Strauss, James C. Overall Professor and Chair of Pediatrics, to build a strong clinical-based research component in Pediatrics.

It was that commitment, along with Strauss’s “impeccable reputation and integrity,” that attracted Baldwin to Vanderbilt.

“Dr. Strauss is one of the main reasons I came,” Baldwin said. “There’s no doubt that he is the leading scientist in the nation in pediatric cardiology. When he asked me to join him at Vanderbilt and help develop pediatric physician scientists, I just couldn’t say no. Also, having a new Children’s Hospital and research space didn’t hurt.”

Baldwin’s research focuses on pediatric heart development and the contribution of endothelial cells to the pattern of the heart muscle. He currently has three research projects examining different aspects of heart development and is particularly interested in the factors that regulate valve formation.

“We know that pediatric heart disease is an epidemic, affecting almost 1 in 100 children,” he explained, “but we don’t know much about what causes these defects. By focusing on the developmental stages, we may be able to identify specific genes that prevent the heart from forming correctly.”

Moving Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital into the mainstream of research will take a commitment of time, money and resources, components that Baldwin says are part of Vanderbilt’s tradition.

“Clinical care has always been excellent, but there is also a rich history of research here,” Baldwin said. “We need to build on Vanderbilt’s desire to continue to be a major academic medical center. There is a lot of institutional support from the top down to commit resources to research. We also need to be aggressive in identifying sources of funding and alert faculty members of potential funding opportunities.

“We will research all levels of funding, public and private. Children are not just little adults, and I think the research community is realizing that and are funding more and more proposals for pediatric research.”

Baldwin, who recently moved to Brentwood with his wife and three children, is also committed to the development of more pediatric physician-scientists. To accomplish this he will work to foster liaisons between the Basic Science and Pediatrics departments.

“Vanderbilt has phenomenal groups of basic scientists,” he said. “Pediatric research needs to benefit from more interaction with these talented individuals.”