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Rogers named director of child psychiatry division

Recognized for work on brain development in premature babies

by Jim DrydenAugust 10, 2022

Washington University School of Medicine

Cynthia E. Rogers, MD, has been named the new Blanche F. Ittleson Professor of Psychiatry and director of the William Greenleaf Eliot Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Her appointment was announced by Eric J. Lenze, MD, the Wallace and Lucille Renard Professor and head of the Department of Psychiatry. She began in her new role Aug. 1.

“Dr. Rogers is a nationally renowned leader in the study of infant and child brain development and how it is influenced by factors such as poverty and mental illness in the family,” Lenze said. “She also is an outstanding clinical leader who created innovative services that help thousands of families in St. Louis.”

“I am very honored to lead one of the top divisions of child psychiatry in the country,” Rogers said. “I look forward to working with our partners at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine to further our commitment to the children of our community by expanding clinical services through growth and collaboration with community partners, while also continuing our excellence in conducting field-defining research as well as training the next generation of child psychiatrists.”

As division director, Rogers will oversee the School of Medicine’s clinical and research efforts in child and adolescent psychiatry. She also will become the child-psychiatrist-in-chief at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Rogers directs the Perinatal Behavioral Health Service in the Department of Psychiatry. She also is director of the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Neonatal ICU Behavioral Health Clinic, where she provides care for children born prematurely who go on to develop psychiatric issues. She serves as an associate director of the Washington University Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Center (IDDRC). She also formerly served as an associate director of the Washington University Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Equity.

Her research has focused on studies of the social determinants of health on brain development in infants. She also has conducted brain-imaging studies on newborns to identify patterns of connections between regions of the brain and whether those patterns predict the likelihood of babies developing excessive sadness, shyness, nervousness or separation anxiety. Further, she is one of the principal investigators of the Healthy Brain and Child Development Study, which is attempting to identify differences in the brains of newborns whose mothers have mental health issues, live in poverty, use drugs or live with other stressors compared with newborns whose mothers are not exposed to such stress factors.

Rogers is beginning a three-year term as an Emerging Leaders in Health and Medicine scholar, a program that involves 10 scholars chosen by the National Academy of Medicine to address topics shaping the future of health and medicine.

She has been selected twice, in 2014 and 2018, to receive the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry’s Outstanding Mentor Award. She also, in 2012 and 2019, received the Klingenstein Third Generation Foundation Award for Research in Depression or Suicide. In 2019, she received the St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund Dr. John M. Anderson Excellence in Mental Health Award.

She is an author on more than 60 peer-reviewed scientific papers, and she serves on the editorial boards of the journal Biological Psychiatry and is deputy editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Rogers is a member of the latter academy, of the Society for Neuroscience and of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.

Rogers earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1998 from Harvard College. She worked as a research assistant in a post-traumatic stress disorder program in San Francisco before enrolling at Washington University School of Medicine, where she earned her medical degree in 2005. She also completed a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry before joining the faculty in 2010.

Rogers succeeds John N. Constantino, MD, who has joined the Emory School of Medicine faculty as chief of behavioral and mental health care at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

About Washington University School of Medicine

WashU Medicine is a global leader in academic medicine, including biomedical research, patient care and educational programs with 2,700 faculty. Its National Institutes of Health (NIH) research funding portfolio is the fourth largest among U.S. medical schools, has grown 54% in the last five years, and, 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 1,790 faculty physicians practicing at over 60 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.

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.