Warner named director of newborn medicine division

Barbara B. Warner, MD, a physician-scientist noted for her commitment to critically ill infants, has been named director of the Division of Newborn Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

“Dr. Warner is steady, skilled and compassionate in her care of, perhaps, the most fragile of patients — infants struggling for life in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU),” said Gary A. Silverman, MD, PhD, the Harriet B. Spoehrer Professor and head of the Department of Pediatrics. “She is tireless in her efforts. She is highly respected by her peers and beloved and trusted by parents.”

A professor of pediatrics, Warner treats patients in the new Women & Infants Center in Barnes-Jewish Parkview Tower, which connects labor and delivery at Barnes-Jewish Hospital to the expanded NICU at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Warner is known nationally for studies — many funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) — on the role of the gut microbiome in infant health and disease. As a co-investigator for the Human Microbiome Project, she also researches the preterm microbiome in infants with necrotizing enterocolitis, an intestinal illness that can cause death.

Warner succeeds F. Sessions Cole, MD, the Park J. White MD Professor of Pediatrics who served as the division’s director since 1986. Cole is the assistant vice chancellor for children’s health and the executive vice chair of pediatrics, among other leadership and research roles.

“I am honored to take the reins from Dr. Cole, who was responsible for developing a successful and respected newborn medicine program,” said Warner, co-medical director of the Fetal Care Center at the Women & Infants Center. “Newborn medicine often serves as a gateway for families into the medical care system. It is an enormous privilege and responsibility to care for these patients and their families.

“With Washington University’s support, we are uniquely positioned to push the boundaries of patient care through basic science and clinical research,” she added. “Our faculty and staff are committed to improving child health in the hospital as well as in our community.”

A native of Cleveland, Warner earned a medical degree in 1985 from the University of Cincinnati. She completed her residency in 1988 and her fellowship training in 1991 at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

In 1994, Warner began her career in academic medicine at the University of Cincinnati, where she rose to associate professor of clinical pediatrics in 2003. That same year, she also became the director of neonatal pediatrics at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati.

In 2007, Warner joined the faculty at Washington University. In addition to her other roles, Warner is the School of Medicine’s associate program director of the Newborn Medicine Fellowship.

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