F. Sessions Cole, MD
F. Sessions Cole, III, MD, is the Park J. White, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Children’s Health, Vice Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics, and Director of the Division of Newborn Medicine atWashington University School of Medicine. He is also Chief Medical Officer at St. Louis Children’sHospital.
Colleagues widely recognize Cole as the driving force behind the success of St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s newborn unit. He has recruited top talent, developed a first-rate fellowship program and created a new standard for the care of critically ill newborns. The hospital’s neonatal unit now has 70 beds with plans for continued growth.
Cole is also known for his remarkable dedication as a clinician, researcher and educator. He has been recognized by his peers in Best Doctors in America and America’s Top Doctors, chosen as the recipient of numerous teaching awards by his medical students and residents, and is a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded investigator whose research has provided a better understanding of the genetic basis of inherited lung disease in infancy including surfactant protein-B deficiency. His findings have made him one of the world’s leading authorities on the genetic causes of respiratory distress in newborns.
As an educator, he has influenced more than 2000 Washington University School of Medicine students and 500 pediatric residents through his clinical scholarship and teaching. He devotes many evenings and weekends to hosting students in the neonatal intensive care unit, and created the Student Teaching AIDS to Students (STATS) program at the School of Medicine, which now includes nearly every first-year student. In addition, he has joined forces with the March of Dimes in Missouri to reduce premature delivery and educate women on increasing folate intake to reduce neural tube defects. A frequent visitor to the state capitol, he is a tireless advocate for children. In 2012, Gov. Jay Nixon appointed him to the Missouri Task Force on Prematurity.
Cole received his bachelor’s degree from Amherst College in 1969 and graduated from Yale Medical School in 1973. He completed his internship and residency at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School and served as a General Medical Officer in the United States Public Health Service.
He was a fellow in neonatology at The Joint Program in Neonatology/Harvard Medical School (Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Beth Israel Hospital) before becoming Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School in 1982. In 1986, he joined the Washington University School of Medicine as Associate Professor and Director of the Division of Newborn Medicine. He was promoted to professor in 1989 and named vice chairman of the department in 1995.
The Washington University Medical Center Alumni Association is pleased to present its Distinguished Service Award to Dr. Cole.