April 14, 2000

Strauss named chair of Department of Pediatrics

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Dr. Arnold Strauss

Strauss named chair of Department of Pediatrics

A new leader has been identified to oversee Vanderbilt's mission to provide the region's children with the highest quality of care available.

Dr. Arnold W. Strauss, Alumni Endowed Professor of Pediatrics and director of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been named James C. Overall Professor and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics, Pediatrician-in-Chief and Director of Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.

Strauss, 55, is an internationally known expert in the field of pediatric cardiology research as well as a highly regarded clinician consistently ranked among the nation's best. He will assume the position Aug. 1.

"Dr. Strauss was the overwhelming choice of all those involved in the selection," said Dr. Harry R. Jacobson, vice-chancellor for Health Affairs. "He will bring scope, maturity, a strong background in clinical care, a solid record of achievement in research science and academics and a good business and managerial sense."

Strauss succeeds Dr. Ian M. Burr as chair.

"The Department of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt has a rich history of excellent leadership, and we believe Dr. Strauss is the right person to continue that tradition and lead our Pediatrics efforts into the future," said Dr. John E. Chapman, dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Burr, now associate vice chancellor for Children's Services, agrees.

"Dr. Strauss is a proven leader and an innovator in the field of Pediatrics," Burr said. "The department is indeed fortunate to have a physician, scientist and educator of his caliber as its next leader."

Strauss was identified as the leading candidate following an intense national search spearheaded by Dr. Eric G. Neilson, Hugh J. Morgan Professor and Chair of Medicine.

Dr. Thomas P. Graham Jr., interim chair of Pediatrics and Ann and Monroe Carell Jr. Family Professor of Pediatric Cardiology, said Strauss will bolster the department.

"I am delighted with the appointment of Dr. Strauss as chair of Pediatrics. He is an internationally renowned pediatric cardiologist with an extremely successful research program. He will bring a new era of research focus to the Department of Pediatric Cardiology as well as the entire Department of Pediatrics," Graham said. "We are looking forward to major advancements in children's health care and research to be forthcoming from Vanderbilt in the next decade. Dr. Strauss will very ably carry on the proud tradition of his outstanding predecessors — Drs. Amos Christie, David Karzon and Ian Burr."

Strauss has spent his entire graduate, post-graduate and professional career at Washington University. He received his B.A. in 1966 and his M.D. from Washington University School of Medicine in 1970.

He served as an intern, resident and fellow and received his first academic appointment there in 1977. He has served as director of the division of Pediatric Cardiology since 1981 and was named Alumni Endowed Professor of Pediatrics in 1998.

Strauss has received numerous awards for his teaching and research at Washington University including the E. Mead Johnson Award for Excellence in Pediatric Research in 1991 and the Alumni Faculty Award from the Washington University Medical Center Alumni Association in 1995. He has also been included in The Best Doctors in America for the past six years and was chosen as one of the "Country's Best Heart Doctors" by Good Housekeeping in 1996.

His research interests include molecular genetics of cardiac energy supply, fatty-acid oxidation disorders and genetic causes of cardiomyopathy.

Strauss said he looks forward to taking on the challenges and opportunities presented by the move to Vanderbilt, particularly as the medical center embarks on building a new, free-standing Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.

"It's a very exciting time for me and my wife, Patricia. Vanderbilt is a great university. During our trips to Nashville, I have been impressed by how friendly people are. Vanderbilt's Department of Pediatrics is a great traditional department. There are many opportunities for the future."

Leaving Washington University is a difficult decision, he said.

"I have a lot of loyalty to Wash. U. I'm leaving behind a lot of friends and fine colleagues. But coming to Vanderbilt is a real opportunity to do something with a bigger picture."