University of Iowa Health Care leaders announced the selection of Raphael Hirsch, MD, as the new head of the Department of Pediatrics and physician-in-chief of UI Children's Hospital.
Hirsch will begin his duties on July 1. He succeeds Thomas Scholz, MD, who has served as interim head of the department and physician-in-chief of UI Children's Hospital since October 2010. Scholz will continue in the position until Hirsch's arrival.
"We thank Dr. Scholz for his leadership during this time of transition. He continued the important clinical and research work of the department and has been instrumental in planning the new UI Children's Hospital," said Jean Robillard, MD, UI vice president for medical affairs.
Hirsch is currently chief of the Division of Pediatric Rheumatology at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where he is also the Aldo V. Londino Professor of Pediatrics and vice chair for faculty development in pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Under his direction, the division grew from a one-physician program in 2002 to one of the largest and most comprehensive programs in the United States, with six full-time faculty members and the nation's only National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded training grant in pediatric rheumatology.
At Pittsburgh, Hirsch leads a NIH-funded research program focused on answering fundamental questions about arthritis. His areas of expertise include gene transfer and modulation of immune responses in autoimmune diseases. Hirsch is board-certified in pediatric rheumatology. He is a member of several national professional groups including the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American College of Rheumatology, where he also serves on the board of directors.
"Dr. Hirsch is an outstanding physician and scientist," says Paul Rothman, MD, dean of the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine. "We are extremely pleased that he has agreed to bring his expertise in patient care, research, and education to the University of Iowa."
Prior to his service at Pittsburgh, Hirsch was on the faculty of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Before that he was a medical staff fellow at the National Cancer Institute, focusing his research on modulation of T-cell function in transplantation and autoimmunity. He completed a pediatric rheumatology fellowship at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC.
"Dr. Hirsch is a perfect fit for this important leadership position," says Kenneth Kates, CEO of UI Hospitals and Clinics. "I am confident that he will carry on our proud tradition of outstanding service to Iowa children and their families."
Hirsch earned a bachelor's degree in biology from Northwestern University, Chicago, and a medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He completed his pediatric residency at the University of Minnesota from 1983 to 1986, where he also served as chief resident.