October 8, 2004

Baldwin named chief of Pediatric Cardiology

Featured Image

Scott Baldwin, M.D.

Baldwin named chief
of Pediatric Cardiology

by Jessica Howard

Scott Baldwin, M.D., has been named chief of the division of Pediatric Cardiology in the department of Pediatrics and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

His appointment was announced Oct. 2 during a dinner at the Country Music Hall of Fame for the former chief, Thomas P. Graham Jr., M.D., who stepped down after 33 years of service. The dinner was the conclusion of a weekend-long symposium in Graham’s honor.

Graham, who built the division as its first and only chief until now, will still play a vital role in the division and will continue his focus on improving the care and management of adults with congenital heart disease.

“Tom Graham is one of the most prominent leaders in the field of pediatric cardiology and one of the central figures of our subspecialty,” Baldwin said. “I have some big shoes to fill. He is really a spectacular clinician and mentor.”

Baldwin, who joined Vanderbilt in 2002, has served as the Katrina Overall McDonald Professor of Pediatrics and professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, working as vice chair for Laboratory Sciences in Pediatrics.

“I am really excited about this opportunity,” Baldwin said. “I ‘inherit’ a superb group of colleagues both in Pediatric Cardiology and Pediatric Cardiac Surgery. I hope we can continue the excellence in clinical care and introduce new molecular therapies for treatment of congenital heart diseases, based on our understanding of the genetic etiology. While continuing to make advancements in non-invasive diagnosis and in catheter-based therapies, we need to focus on training the next generation of academic pediatric cardiologists.

“We will also have to work closely with Dr. [John] Byrne, the new chair of Cardiac Surgery and Dr. Doug Vaughn, director of the division of Cardiovascular Medicine, to make the transition for children with congenital heart disease who become adults more seamless,” he said.

Baldwin’s new post comes right before a change of location for the division. The division will move to the fifth floor of the Children’s Doctors’ Office Tower at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in December, creating a complete new pediatric heart center which will include pediatric cardiac surgery, pediatric intensive care and pediatric cardiac anesthesia, Baldwin said.

At Vanderbilt, Baldwin has developed and trained physician-scientists in pediatric laboratory-based research at Children’s Hospital.

His research focuses on pediatric heart development and valve development and is particularly interested in the factors that regulate valve formation as well as development of the lungs.

“Scott is certainly one of the two or three most well-known laboratory investigators in Pediatric Cardiology. We now have the cadre of physicians to be one of the best Pediatric Cardiology research institutions in the country,” said Arnold W. Strauss, M.D., James C. Overall Professor and Chair of the department of Pediatrics.

“By combining extraordinary bench research into the processes that cause congenital heart defects and other cardiac disorders in children with our outstanding clinical care team, Vanderbilt has become a leading center nationally”

As part of his new position, Baldwin hopes to increase community outreach, an effort that he began to address as this year’s president of the Nashville Chapter of the American Heart Association.

Baldwin, like his predecessor, also has set goals to increase financial support for the treatment of congenital heart disease. As part of Graham’s long-standing commitment in that area, Graham’s children presented a check during the honorary dinner to set up the Thomas P. Graham Jr. Fund for Pediatric Cardiology.

Before joining Vanderbilt, Baldwin worked for more than a decade at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as a clinical cardiologist and co-director of cardiovascular research. Baldwin received his medical degree at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.