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Adeoye named head of new emergency medicine department

First to hold BJC HealthCare Distinguished Professorship of Emergency Medicine

by Julia Evangelou StraitSeptember 8, 2020

University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

Opeolu M. Adeoye, MD, a noted leader and physician-scientist whose research focuses on improving outcomes for patients who have suffered strokes or other injuries to the brain, has been named head of the newly established Department of Emergency Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Adeoye, whose appointment will begin Feb. 1, also will become the inaugural BJC HealthCare Distinguished Professor of Emergency Medicine.

The transition to the Department of Emergency Medicine from a division was driven to address the growing complexity of a specialty that treats patients needing immediate care for often life-threatening conditions. The new department aims to attract and recruit the nation’s top physicians, raise the bar on undergraduate and graduate medical education, and greatly expand clinical research to improve patient care. Its establishment is intended to bring the latest technological innovations and scientific method to how care is delivered at the earliest possible moment of illness or injury.

Adeoye comes to the School of Medicine from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, where he is a professor of emergency medicine and of neurosurgery, and vice chair for research in the Department of Emergency Medicine. He also co-directs the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Stroke Team.

“Dr. Adeoye is an outstanding physician-scientist with a wonderful blend of personal characteristics and leadership instincts that we believe will position him to elevate the clinical, educational and research missions of the School of Medicine and BJC HealthCare in the area of emergency medicine, the prominence and importance of which has been ever more clearly demonstrated by the SARS-CoV-2 crisis,” said David H. Perlmutter, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs, the George and Carol Bauer Dean of the School of Medicine, and the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor.

In his research, Adeoye has focused on how acute-care intervention impacts the outcome of strokes, seizures and traumatic brain injuries. His work also has led to advances in understanding how genes and proteins in the body influence stroke outcomes and, in particular, the role of the inflammatory response in circulating immune cells, including monocytes and other leukocytes. He has extensive experience in designing emergency medicine clinical trials and is the lead principal investigator on a phase 3 multi-arm optimization of stroke thrombolysis trial, and principal investigator of the University of Cincinnati Hub for the Strategies to Innovate Emergency Care Clinical Trials (SIREN) Network.

“We are delighted that Dr. Adeoye will be joining the Washington University and BJC team and are confident his leadership will both establish a strong foundation and advance the growth of this new department,” said Richard J. Liekweg, president and CEO of BJC HealthCare. “We look forward to working with him in this unprecedented time that has underscored the importance of emergency medicine in responding to a global public health crisis.”

Added Perlmutter: “We are excited to recruit this wonderfully talented physician-scientist to our leadership team and to take on the establishment of a new Department of Emergency Medicine here at Washington University and BJC HealthCare. I want to thank Rich Liekweg and BJC HealthCare for their vision in supporting the establishment of this new department and the recruitment of a transformational leader as its department head. Only through our partnership with BJC could we move forward on this profoundly important and timely new venture. Together, we view the establishment of this department as critically important to our missions in this community and to exporting our advances in knowledge and practice around the world.”

Adeoye is a graduate of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He completed his residency in emergency medicine and a fellowship in neurovascular emergencies and neurocritical care at the University of Cincinnati and then joined the faculty there. In the past 12 years, he has taken on several leadership roles, including medical director for telestroke (a program that provides rapid virtual exams for suspected stroke patients), co-medical director of the neurointensive care unit, interim director of neurocritical care and co-director of the University of Cincinnati Stroke Team. In 2018, he became vice chair for research in the Department of Emergency Medicine, leading a team of more than 40 research staff members and overseeing career development of junior faculty. He also holds a master’s degree in clinical and translational research and has been active in entrepreneurship, including as a founder of Sense Diagnostics, a company working on electromagnetic devices for neurological status assessment.

Adeoye has held leadership roles in several societies, including the American College of Emergency Physicians, the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, the American Heart Association and the Neurocritical Care Society. He is on the editorial board of Stroke Journal. Adeoye is a beloved teacher and mentor and has been recognized with honors and awards throughout his career. He also has been active as a volunteer leader in his community, including the Medical Volunteers of the University of Cincinnati and as a volunteer physician for Bernard Mevs Hospital in Haiti.

In announcing the appointment, Perlmutter extended gratitude to Brent Ruoff, MD, for exceptional leadership, guidance and positive philosophy as the director of the Division of Emergency Medicine since 2004.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 1,500 faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is a leader in medical research, teaching and patient care, ranking among the top 10 medical schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.

Julia covers medical news in genomics, cancer, cardiology, developmental biology, otolaryngology, biochemistry & molecular biophysics, and gut microbiome research. In 2022, she won a gold award for excellence in the Robert G. Fenley Writing Awards competition. Given by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the award recognized her coverage of long COVID-19. Before joining Washington University in 2010, she was a freelance writer covering science and medicine. She has a research background with stints in labs focused on bioceramics, human motor control and tissue-engineered heart valves. She is a past Missouri Health Journalism Fellow and a current member of the National Association of Science Writers. She holds a bachelor's degree in engineering science from Iowa State University and a master's degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Minnesota.