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Pruitt named director of academic pediatrics division

Recognized for developing, leading growth of clinical programs

by Marta WegorzewskaApril 4, 2024

Washington University School of Medicine

Cassandra M. Pruitt, MD, a professor of pediatrics, has been named director of the Division of Academic Pediatrics in the Department of Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. She had served as interim director since July 2022.

The academic pediatrics division is home to the university’s Complex Care Clinic, which offers primary care to children with complex medical needs, and the General Academic Pediatrics Clinic, which provides a range of services, including well-child visits, immunizations and same-day visits for illness and other concerns. The division also offers physicians who specialize in developmental and behavioral pediatrics, which includes medical and psychosocial aspects; and physicians who specialize in pediatric physical medicine and rehabilitation, including musculoskeletal and neurologic conditions.

The division also houses the community pediatrics section, which provides a connection between community physicians to university specialists and St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Beginning in 2019, Pruitt led the development and growth of the clinics and services in her role as medical director for the Complex Care Clinic and the General Academic Pediatrics Clinic. In her new role, Pruitt will continue to oversee development of the entire division in the Department of Pediatrics.

“Dr. Pruitt brings a wealth of administrative, educational and clinical experience to this role,” said Gary A. Silverman, MD, PhD, the Harriet B. Spoehrer Professor and head of the Department of Pediatrics. “She is a dynamic leader who has already made significant contributions to the expansion and influence of the academic pediatrics division. With her extensive experience in leading the development of clinical programs, she is well-positioned to spearhead and propel the success of new initiatives.”

A member of the School of Medicine faculty since 2010, Pruitt has worked as a pediatric hospitalist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. As medical director for pediatrics at Progress West Hospital for eight years, she led the development of the pediatric hospitalist program and spearheaded improvements in clinical protocols and standardization of care for various medical conditions affecting newborns and patients being seen in the emergency room. She also has been a leader in quality-improvement projects with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the BJC HealthCare Center for Clinical Excellence.

In her role as vice chair of outpatient health in the Department of Pediatrics, she serves as medical director for Washington University’s pediatric subspecialty clinical spaces. These include Memorial Hospital Shiloh in Shiloh, Ill.; Northwest HealthCare in Florissant, Mo.; and the Specialty Care Centers in west and south St. Louis County. She sees patients at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Pruitt earned her bachelor’s degree from Emory University in Atlanta and her medical degree from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine in Lubbock, Texas. She completed her residency in pediatrics at the University of Texas Medical Branch Children’s Hospital in Galveston, Texas, where she also served as chief resident.

About Washington University School of Medicine

WashU Medicine is a global leader in academic medicine, including biomedical research, patient care and educational programs with 2,900 faculty. Its National Institutes of Health (NIH) research funding portfolio is the second largest among U.S. medical schools and has grown 56% in the last seven years. Together with institutional investment, WashU Medicine commits well over $1 billion annually to basic and clinical research innovation and training. Its faculty practice is consistently within the top five in the country, with more than 1,900 faculty physicians practicing at 130 locations and who are also the medical staffs of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals of BJC HealthCare. WashU Medicine has a storied history in MD/PhD training, recently dedicated $100 million to scholarships and curriculum renewal for its medical students, and is home to top-notch training programs in every medical subspecialty as well as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and audiology and communications sciences.

Marta covers pathology & immunology, cell biology & physiology, pediatrics, radiology, gastroenterology, rheumatology, and technology management, among other topics. She holds a bachelor's degree in biology from Georgetown University and a PhD in immunology from the University of California, San Francisco. She did her postdoctoral work in Washington University’s Department of Pathology & Immunology. Marta joined WashU Medicine Marketing & Communications in 2023 after working as a science writer in the Department of Biology on the Danforth Campus for five years.