Message from New Department Chair, Dr. Alexander G. Bassuk

Stead Family Department of Pediatrics, 

As I start my day today as Chair and DEO of the Stead Family Department of Pediatrics, I want to reach out to everyone to share my excitement about this role. Our institution has a great tradition to uphold. The Department has been a leader in children's medicine since 1915, when the Carver College of Medicine formally created a Department of Pediatrics, naming Albert Henry Byfield from Michigan as the first Chair - he was also the sole pediatric provider on staff. We have clearly come a long way from that small ward in the old hospital on the east side of the river, to our now beautiful UI Stead Family Children's Hospital. The Department can take pride in continuing the work of our predecessors who set the foundation on which we build our own achievements, just as we will do for future generations through our own efforts in clinical care, research and education.

What we do here matters, not only for Iowa City region, but nationally and internationally. Our Iowa Newborn Screening program in the Division of Medical Genetics and Genomics reads newborn screening tests not only for all of Iowa, but also for North Dakota and Alaska. As many know, we have the only Level 4 NICU in the state, and our Division of Neonatology boasts the only neonatal hemodynamics program in the country, giving extremely pre-term infants a much better chance at survival than the national average. The new Hawkeye Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (Hawk-IDDRC) will integrate basic and clinical research across the lifespan, focusing on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of Intellectual Developmental Disabilities, using a unique model found at only a handful of other institutions in the country, which will make it a magnet for patients and their families. The Division of Cardiology is leading the way in the exploration of 3D-printed cardiac devices. Our residency and fellowship programs continue to bring a diverse array of trainees to the world of medicine, educating them to go out into their communities and be strong advocates for children’s health. These are just some of the many examples of how we work at the intersection of patient care, research, and education. Our approach attracts people from all over the country for services only provided here – all while our primary care clinics continue to provide exceptional care to our local communities and drive the local referral base. Of course, none of this is possible without the support of the nurses, MAs, APPs, dietitians, counselors, social workers, research personnel and administrative staff who make it all happen.

All of these achievements radiated from that original creation of the Department in 1915, just over 100 years ago. What new advances lay ahead in the next 100 years? How can we foster the visions of future generations? How can we assure excellent health care access to all children? How can we apply our priorities of diversity, equity, and inclusion to all aspects of our mission? It is our turn to take the wheel; all of us on our exceptional team will set the course.

Thank you for this opportunity to lead the Department as we collectively explore innovations that lie just beyond the horizon, and continue to bring the best of patient care, research, and education to bear in service to the patients and families we serve.

Alexander G. Bassuk, MD, PhD (he/him/they)
Professor and Chair | University of Iowa Stead Family Department of Pediatrics
Joel and Jay Stead Chair for Leadership in Children’s Medicine | University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine
Physician-in-Chief | University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital

Wednesday, September 1, 2021