William J. Steinbach, M.D., Joins UAMS as Chair of Department of Pediatrics

By Linda Satter

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Steinbach join UAMS as we work with Arkansas Children’s to provide world-class pediatric care and improve the health of children across Arkansas,” said Susan Smyth, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice chancellor and UAMS College of Medicine dean. “Bill brings exceptional leadership experience in pediatric clinical care, education and research – the key areas that together help us ensure a brighter future for Arkansas’ children.”

“I am excited about the energy and expertise Dr. Steinbach brings to this important role,” said Arkansas Children’s President and CEO Marcy Doderer. “We look forward to working together as we fulfill our commitment to improving child health in Arkansas and beyond.”

Steinbach succeeds Frederick “Rick” E. Barr, M.D., who in November assumed a new post as chief executive vice president and chief clinical and academic officer for Arkansas Children’s.

Renee Bornemeier, M.D., a professor of pediatric cardiology, vice chair for faculty affairs in the Department of Pediatrics and assistant dean for faculty affairs in the College of Medicine, will continue to serve as interim chair of the department until Steinbach’s arrival.

“I wanted to be part of a health system that changes children’s lives, and at a university where simply outstanding clinical care propels an intellectual curiosity to think past the next horizon,” Steinbach said.

Steinbach is currently the Samuel L. Katz Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics and a professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology as well as chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Since October, he has also been the interim chief of Duke’s Division of Pediatric Transplant and Cellular Therapy, and since March he has also been vice chair of research for the university’s Department of Pediatrics.

Steinbach founded the Duke Pediatric Immunocompromised Host Program, a multidisciplinary clinical care and research program supporting immunosuppressed children. His molecular, translational and clinical research focuses on the pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment of invasive fungal infections and spans broader efforts with all infections in immunocompromised patients. His laboratory centers on the fungus Apergillus fumigatus, a leading killer in patients with lowered immune systems, and the development of novel antifungal drugs and diagnostic assays.

He has multiple active basic, translational and clinical research grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that he will bring to UAMS.

Steinbach founded and directs the International Pediatric Fungal Network, a NIH-funded global consortium of 55 sites dedicated to investigating pediatric invasive fungal infections through multicenter cooperative studies. He also co-founded and co-chairs the biennial international Advances Against Aspergillosis conference.  He has co-edited four different infectious diseases textbooks and serves on multiple national committees.

His wife, Susan Emmett, M.D., MPH, is an otolaryngologist and also an NIH-funded clinician-scientist. He has a daughter who just graduated from Duke University and will be in Ireland next year as a Mitchell Scholar before attending Harvard Law School, and a son who is a junior at Elon University in North Carolina.

Originally from Wisconsin, Steinbach earned his Bachelor of Science degree in biology in 1994 from the University of Notre Dame and his medical degree in 1998 from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. He completed a pediatrics residency at Stanford University before continuing his training with a pediatric infectious diseases fellowship funded by the NIH through the Pediatric Scientist Development Program at Duke. He joined the faculty at Duke in 2004 as an assistant professor.

In 2016, he received the American Federation for Medical Research Outstanding Investigator Award, given annually to the top translational biomedical researcher in the country under age 45. In 2017, he received the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s Oswald Avery Award as the top adult or pediatric infectious diseases researcher under 45.

About Arkansas Children’s

Arkansas Children’s, Inc. is the only health care system in the state solely dedicated to caring for Arkansas’ more than 700,000 children. The private, nonprofit organization includes two pediatric hospitals, a pediatric research institute and USDA nutrition center, a philanthropic foundation, a nursery alliance, statewide clinics, and many education and outreach programs — all focused on fulfilling a promise to define and deliver unprecedented child health. Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) is a 336-bed, Magnet-recognized facility in Little Rock operating the state’s only Level I pediatric trauma center; the state’s only burn center; the state’s only Level IV neonatal intensive care unit; the state’s only pediatric intensive care unit; the state’s only pediatric surgery program with Level 1 verification from the American College of Surgeons (ACS); the state’s only magnetoencephalography (MEG) system for neurosurgical planning and cutting-edge research; and the state’s only nationally recognized pediatric transport program. Additionally, ACH is nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report in four pediatric subspecialties (2021—2022): Cardiology & Heart Surgery, Nephrology, Pulmonology and Urology. ACH is one of only five hospitals in the nation that have achieved Magnet Status, ACS Level 1 verification and a Beacon award from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. Arkansas Children’s Northwest (ACNW), the first and only pediatric hospital in the Northwest Arkansas region, is a level IV pediatric trauma center. ACNW operates a 24-bed inpatient unit; a surgical unit with five operating rooms; outpatient clinics offering over 20 subspecialties; diagnostic services; imaging capabilities; occupational therapy services; and Northwest Arkansas’ only pediatric emergency department, equipped with 30 exam rooms. Generous philanthropic and volunteer engagement has sustained Arkansas Children’s since it began as an orphanage in 1912, and today ensures the system can deliver on its promise of unprecedented child health. To learn more, visit archildrens.org.

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 main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,275 students, 890 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 12,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube or Instagram.