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Department of Pediatrics names 2 new vice chairs

Newland named vice chair of community health, strategic planning; Pruitt, vice chair of outpatient health

by Kristina SauerweinMarch 9, 2022

Washington University School of Medicine

The Department of Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has named pediatricians Jason Newland, MD, and Cassandra “Casey” M. Pruitt, MD, to the newly created roles of vice chair of community health and strategic planning, and vice chair of outpatient health, respectively. The physicians treat patients at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

A professor of pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Newland aims to use his new role as vice chair of community health and strategic planning to help strengthen collaborations with pediatricians practicing in the St. Louis region whose patients may benefit from Washington University’s specialized medical services. Newland also will build upon relationships between the Department of Pediatrics and St. Louis Children’s Hospital to improve and continue to develop collaborations to better serve children throughout Missouri and Illinois. For example, during the pandemic, Newland and colleagues maintained a listserv and provided educational webinars to aid pediatric clinicians in managing the rapidly emerging and changing information related to COVID-19. Efforts such as these will be continued and expanded to other areas of pediatrics.

Newland has been leading COVID-19 research efforts evaluating the rate of community transmissions in schools, the impact of routine school-based SARS-CoV-2 testing, and the effectiveness and safety of COVID-19 vaccines for children. He also has spearheaded the development of national guidelines for treating children with severe COVID-19.

Newland is co-founder of the Sharing Antimicrobial Reports for Pediatric Stewardship Collaborative, comprised of more than 70 children’s hospitals and focused on establishing best practices for the use of antimicrobials in hospitalized children.

A professor of pediatrics in the Division of Academic Pediatrics, Pruitt’s new role as vice chair of outpatient health has positioned her as medical director for Washington University’s pediatric subspecialty clinical spaces. These include Memorial Hospital Shiloh in Illinois, Northwest HealthCare in Florissant and the Children’s Specialty Care Centers in west and south St. Louis County. She aims to work alongside outpatient clinical teams to improve the overall experience for patients and their families. This includes leveraging technology to enhance clinical workflows, and partnering with pediatric faculty and St. Louis Children’s leadership to improve services offered at all jointly operated facilities, including the Children’s Specialty Care Centers.

Pruitt has worked as a pediatric hospitalist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and as medical director for pediatrics at Progress West Hospital. In 2019, Pruitt created the Complex Care Clinic at Washington University to serve children with complicated medical conditions. She has been a leader for quality improvement projects with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the BJC HealthCare’s Center for Clinical Excellence.

Additionally, Pruitt has been involved in residency and faculty development, leading efforts to establish an educational curriculum for the medical school’s pediatric hospitalist medicine division. She also serves as associate program director for the St. Louis Children’s Hospital/Washington University pediatric residency program, with an emphasis on primary care training and the outpatient practice experience.

“Drs. Pruitt and Newland are national leaders in their fields who exemplify the highest level of professional expertise and dedication as well as remarkable leadership skills,” said Gary A. Silverman, MD, PhD, the Harriet B. Spoehrer Professor and head of the Department of Pediatrics. “Washington University will benefit greatly from their contributions.”

The newly created roles expand upon those initiated by Mark E. Lowe, MD, PhD, the Harvey R. Colten Professor of Pediatric Science. Lowe was the Department of Pediatrics’ vice chair of clinical affairs and strategic planning before his recent appointment as interim vice chancellor for research at Washington University and interim associate dean for research at the School of Medicine.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 1,700 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, and currently is No. 4 in research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.

Kristina covers pediatrics, surgery, medical education and student life. In 2020, she received a gold Robert G. Fenley Writing Award for general staff writing from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and in 2019, she received the silver award. Kristina is an author and former reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Los Angeles Times, where she was part of a team of journalists that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2004 for breaking news. Additionally, she covered the 2014 Ferguson unrest for TIME magazine and, for eight years, wrote a popular parenting column for