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Cox named Wise Endowed Chair in Pediatric Anesthesiology

Noted for his talents as educator, collaborator, clinician

by Jim DrydenOctober 16, 2018

St. Louis Children's Hospital Foundation

Thomas E. Cox, MD, an innovative educator and noted mentor and anesthesiologist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been named the inaugural Rudolph L. and Mary Frances Wise Endowed Chair in Pediatric Anesthesiology.

Cox, a professor and vice chairman of education in the Department of Anesthesiology, director of the Division of Pediatric Anesthesiology, and anesthesiologist-in-chief at St. Louis Children’s Hospital (SLCH), was installed by Alex S. Evers, MD, the Henry E. Mallinckrodt Professor and head of the Department of Anesthesiology, and SLCH president Joan Magruder. The chair is funded by the estate of Rudolph L. and Mary Frances Wise.

“Tom Cox has developed unique and highly successful education programs for physician-scientists in anesthesiology and has fostered a superb culture of scholarly, clinical excellence in pediatric anesthesiology,” said Evers. “He is a role model for accomplishment as a clinician and an educator.”

Cox joined the faculty at Washington University in 2000, rose to the rank of professor in 2013 and became chief of pediatric anesthesiology in 2016. In three separate academic years, he has been selected by anesthesia residents for the department’s outstanding teacher award. Cox also has developed innovative training programs to train and nurture the careers of the next generation of clinician-scientists and leaders in anesthesiology.

He also has created a global health initiative in which the department collaborates with international teaching institutions to create joint education programs. To support this initiative, Cox established the Jennifer Cole Endowment — named for a fellow anesthesiologist who died tragically in a bicycle accident in 2011 — to support students, residents, fellows and faculty who travel to partner international teaching institutions.

“One of our most important academic missions is the stewardship of our next generation of physician-scientists and educators,” Cox said. “The cornerstone of this mission will be mentorship and a continued focus on the development of innovative training programs.”

Cox has lectured around the world and is a member of several professional organizations, including the Association of University Anesthesiologists, the Society of Pediatric Anesthesiology, the American Society of Anesthesiologists and the International Anesthesia Research Society.

He earned his bachelor’s degree at Johns Hopkins University and his medical degree from the University of Virginia. He completed a residency in anesthesiology at Oregon Health & Science University Hospital before spending a decade in private practice, serving as president of the Cape Anesthesia Group in Cape Girardeau, Mo. He then became a fellow in pediatric anesthesiology at Washington University with the goal of pursuing a career as a pediatric anesthesiologist and medical educator.

Rudolph “Rudy” Wise began working for his family business — Wise Safety and Environmental — just before World War II, selling cigars and work gloves to men seeking employment at the height of the Depression. After the war, he started selling work gloves to several large employers, including General Motors, Union Electric and Monsanto. Following his father’s death in the 1950s, Wise took the reins at the company.

Rudy and Mary Frances Wise were married in 1966, and although they never had children, they wanted to leave a legacy. They donated generously to a number of local charities, including SLCH and Washington University.

“While it’s hard to predict future changes in the field of pediatric anesthesia, with this legacy gift from Rudy and Mary Frances Wise, Dr. Cox will help usher in a new era of technology and innovative practice,” Magruder said. “His appointment as the Endowed Chair in Pediatric Anesthesiology will ensure St. Louis Children’s Hospital remains on the leading edge in providing anesthesiology to children, while sustaining quality of care for our young patients.”

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.

Jim retired from Washington University in 2023. While at WashU, Jim covered psychiatry and neuroscience, pain and opioid research, orthopedics, diabetes, obesity, nutrition and aging. He formerly worked at KWMU (now St. Louis Public Radio) as a reporter and anchor, and his stories from the Midwest also were broadcast on NPR. Jim hosted the School of Medicine's Show Me the Science podcast, which highlights the outstanding research, education and clinical care underway at the School of Medicine. He has a bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.