Rick Barr, M.D., Joins UAMS as Chair of Department of Pediatrics

By ChaseYavondaC

“Dr. Barr epitomizes the leader we have been seeking to take our already strong Department of Pediatrics to the next level as we continue to work with our partners at Arkansas Children’s in pursuit of better health for the children of Arkansas,” said Pope L. Moseley, M.D., dean of the College of Medicine and executive vice chancellor at UAMS.

“It’s a pleasure for us to welcome Dr. Barr to such an important role in championing children,” said Arkansas Children’s President & CEO Marcy Doderer. “We look forward to collaborating to change the story for Arkansas, making it the safest and healthiest state to be a child. Our physician partners will have a fine leader and families will find a true advocate in Dr. Barr.”

Barr succeeds Richard F. Jacobs, M.D., who retired June 30 after 35 years of service on the faculty at UAMS and Arkansas Children’s, including 11 years as chair of the Department of Pediatrics. Steve Schexnayder, M.D., professor and chief of the Critical Care Medicine Section, will continue serving as interim chair until Barr’s arrival.

Barr called Jacobs a leader in the field and said he considers Jacobs a mentor.

“I’m very excited to be joining the team,” Barr said. “I have a lot of respect for the faculty there and the team Dr. Jacobs has built – it’s a fabulous opportunity to serve the Department of Pediatrics, UAMS, and Arkansas Children’s – the whole organization. I see myself as stepping into this role as part of a highly functioning team, and I hope to contribute to that team while also being part of something bigger than UAMS and Arkansas Children’s — improving the health of children in Arkansas.”

Barr, a pediatric critical care specialist, is currently the Suzan B. Thames endowed professor, chair of the Department of Pediatrics and senior associate dean for Graduate Medical Education at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. He is also physician-in-chief at Children’s of Mississippi/Batson Children’s Hospital, where he has served since 2011.

Moseley said Barr is an accomplished physician-scientist with extensive clinical leadership experience and an exceptionally strong background in research.

“He understands how crucial research is to improving the health and health care of Arkansas’ children,” Moseley said. “A key area of research expansion for us and our faculty colleagues in the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute will be in data-driven population health research. Additionally, Dr. Barr has shown proven results at improving access to high-quality pediatric care. Under his leadership, Children’s of Mississippi greatly expanded its reach throughout the state, and he nearly doubled the number of Department of Pediatrics faculty.”

Barr is also principal investigator for the Mississippi Pediatric Clinical Trials Center, one of 17 sites in the IDeA States Pediatric Clinical Trials Network, the National Institutes of Health initiative being overseen by the Data Coordinating and Operations Center established through a $41.8 million grant to UAMS in September.

“My background is in clinical and translational research, but I have more recently focused on indicators of population health, which includes social determinants of health and many of these are not necessarily medical,” Barr said. “To address the whole picture of health, it requires building statewide collaborations with other physicians. UAMS and Arkansas Children’s have made significant advancements in this area, and I am ready to pursue the next steps. We will need to expand partnerships with people outside the medical profession, including those in education, social services, government, and other fields to have a positive impact on child health. I’ve built those kind of connections in Mississippi and I think they’ll be even better in Arkansas.”

Barr previously served on the faculty at Vanderbilt University from 1995 to 2010. He was chief of the Division of Pediatric Critical Care from 2007 to 2010. He also served as co-director of Vanderbilt University Master’s in Clinical Investigation Program, a component of Vanderbilt’s National Institutes of Health Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA). In 2010-2011 he was an endowed professor of Pediatric Critical Care and director of the Clinical and Translational Research Center, a CTSA-funded program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the University of Cincinnati.

Barr received his undergraduate degree in animal and veterinary science at West Virginia University in 1984 and his medical degree from the University of Virginia in 1988. He completed his residency in pediatrics at Vanderbilt. Barr continued his training with a clinical fellowship in pediatric critical care at the University of California San Francisco, where he was also a research fellow in the Cardiovascular Research Institute. While on the faculty at Vanderbilt in 2002 he obtained a Master’s of Science in clinical investigation.


UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a northwest Arkansas regional campus; a statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 2,870 students, 799 medical residents and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including about 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS and its regional campuses throughout the state, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.


Arkansas Children’s, Inc. is the only health system in the state solely dedicated to caring for children, which allows the organization to uniquely shape the landscape of pediatric care in Arkansas. The system includes a 359-bed hospital in Little Rock with the state’s only pediatric Level 1 trauma center, burn center, Level 4 neonatal intensive care and pediatric intensive care, and research institute as well as a nationally recognized transport service. It is one of the 25 largest children’s hospitals in the United States and is nationally ranked by U.S. News World & Report in pediatric cardiology and heart surgery, neonatology, pulmonology and urology. A sister campus is under development in Northwest Arkansas and will bring 233,613 square feet of inpatient beds, emergency care, clinic rooms and diagnostic services to children in that corner of the state. Arkansas Children’s also blankets the state with outreach programs that include telemedicine, mobile health, and school-based health solutions. A private not-for-profit, Arkansas Children’s boasts an internationally renowned reputation for medical breakthroughs and intensive treatments, unique surgical procedures and forward-thinking research and is committed to providing every child with access to the best care available, regardless of location or resources. Founded as an orphanage, Arkansas Children’s has championed children by making them better today and healthier tomorrow for more than 100 years. For more info, visit archildrens.org.