August 28, 2009

Burr honored by Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes

Featured Image

From left, Kevin Churchwell, M.D., Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., Ian Burr, M.D., Jonathan Gitlin, M.D., and Bill Russell, M.D., celebrate the unveiling of Burr's portrait in the boardroom of the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. (photo by Joe Howell)

Burr honored by Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes

The Department of Pediatrics held a reception recently honoring Ian Burr, M.D., at the First Tennessee Theatre at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Jonathan Gitlin, M.D., chair of the Department of Pediatrics, assistant vice chancellor for Maternal and Child Health Affairs and associate dean for Clinical Affairs in the School of Medicine, announced the renaming of the division which Burr led when he joined the faculty at Vanderbilt in 1971. In 1986, Burr moved to the University of Florida to become chairman of pediatrics and returned to Vanderbilt in 1988.

The division will now be known as the Ian M. Burr Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes.

“Long into the future, past you and past me, there will be trainees here working to save the lives of young children in your name,” Gitlin said during the reception.

Born in Victoria, Australia, Burr earned his medial degree from Melbourne University. During his tenure at Vanderbilt, he served as associate vice chancellor for Children’s Services, chair of the Department of Pediatrics and professor of Pediatrics, Emeritus.

He is widely known for his research in the physiology of insulin secretion, metabolic control of glycogen storage disease type I and measures of glycopeptides hormones.

“You set an incredibly high bar for those of us to try to follow,” said Bill Russell, M.D., chief of the Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes.

Burr is author or co-author of more than 100 scholarly articles, and his research has been published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, New England Journal of Medicine and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, among many others. He was elected to the Society for Pediatric Research and the American Pediatric Society and many other professional societies.

Before being named an Emeritus professor in 2006, Burr led the planning of the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Kevin B. Churchwell, M.D., chief executive officer and executive director of Children’s Hospital, lauded Burr for his leadership in that process.

“Ian Burr is the reason why we have carpet on the floor,” Churchwell said. “He was the driving force and strength behind the commitment to build this building. The basis of his decisions was the basis of quality and the needs of our families and patients.”

Burr’s wife, Wendy, and other members of his family, including his son and grandson, attended the event along with many present and past division leaders and faculty members in the Department of Pediatrics.

“This is all a little bit overwhelming,” Burr said. “All of you know that nobody does anything on their own, it takes a lot of folks…It wasn’t just me. A large number of you were part of it, and that’s how this children’s hospital was built.”

During the reception, a portrait of Burr which previously hung in Langford Auditorium was unveiled. The portrait will be moved to the boardroom at Children’s Hospital.