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Lawrence Rhein named chair of pediatrics

UMass Medical School Communications

June 13, 2019
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Lawrence Rhein, MD, MPH

Lawrence M. Rhein, MD, MPH, has been named chair of the Department of Pediatrics, according to an announcement by Terence R. Flotte, MD, the Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor of Medical Education, executive deputy chancellor, provost and dean of the School of Medicine, and Eric Dickson, MD, president and CEO of UMass Memorial Health Care. 

Dr. Rhein most recently served as chief of the Division of Neonatology at UMass Memorial Medical Center and associate professor at UMass Medical School. His clinical interests include neonatal-perinatal medicine and pediatric pulmonology. Rhein will lead the academic and clinical pediatrics department functions for the academic medical center formed by UMass Memorial Medical Center and UMass Medical School. 

He holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard University, a graduate degree from Harvard School of Public Health, and his medical degree from University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He completed dual fellowships in neonatology and pediatric pulmonology at Boston Children’s Hospital, where he founded the Center for Healthy Infant Lung Development, one of the largest programs in New England dedicated to the care of newborns with lung disease. Because of his expertise in newborn lung disease, Rhein developed several clinical innovations, including screening and weaning protocols for infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia; infant car seat challenge screening; assessments of infant pulmonary function; management for infants with apnea; and the only diaphragmatic pacing program in New England.

His portfolio includes research in both the laboratory and clinical arenas. His investigations into the role of airway proteinase inhibitors earned the SPR Fellows Basic Science Research Award, and his work in the role of Fe receptors in Pseudomonal infection won an award from the Respiratory Disease Young Investigator's Forum. After transitioning to clinical/translational research, he studied the care of children with bronchopulmonary dysplasia and follow-up of newborns with other lung diseases. One of his early papers describing underrecognized prevalence of pulmonary hypertension in premature infants has changed screening patterns. He has published more than 30 papers in professional journals including Pediatrics,JAMA-Pediatrics,Journal of Adolescent Health, American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, Journal of Pediatrics, Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal andJournal of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine.

He served on the faculty of Harvard Medical School for more than a decade in the department of pediatrics and was awarded the Daniel Federman Teaching Award. He founded the annual Boston Children’s Hospital Memorial Service; to date more than 2,000 family members of patients have returned to attend this program. He also founded the Home Oxygen Parent Exchange (HOPE) Network, a monthly support group for families of infants on home oxygen or home ventilators, serving hundreds of families since its inception. 

Rhein’s plans for the Department of Pediatrics include continuing to provide outstanding family-centered clinical care to the children and families of Central Massachusetts, while also promoting the organization as a desired destination for research and trainee education. He plans to address clinical vacancies to create a well-qualified pediatric workforce for Massachusetts and the rest of the country. He will work with key partners from other disciplines to export lifesaving innovations and grow the Children’s Medical Center.

Drs. Dickson and Flotte also thanked Scot Bateman, MD, vice chair and professor of pediatrics and chief of pediatric critical care, for filling the role of interim chair over the past year.