Message from the Chair

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Mark W. Kline, M.D., Chair / Physician-in-Chief, Department of Pediatrics

Dear Colleagues,

You’ve probably seen some of those nostalgic pictures of kindly doctors tending to children. Painted by noted American artist Norman Rockwell between the 1920s and the 1950s, the pictures of white male physicians represented the medical profession in the United States at the time. As late as 1965, women constituted less than 10 percent of U.S. physicians. In 1978, minorities accounted for just 13 percent of U.S. physicians.

Today, 31 percent of U.S. physicians are women. The proportion of minorities has doubled to 26 percent of American physicians. Our Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine exceeds today’s national picture, with women making up more than half of the faculty and about 70 percent of residents. Forty percent of our first-year pediatric residents are either Hispanic or African-American. Today, the Department of Pediatrics very much resembles the incredible diversity of our wonderful city, Houston. 

Pediatrics has a new face here at Baylor and Texas Children’s Hospital.

The face of pediatrics is new not only in terms of greater gender and ethnic diversity, but also in the diversification of our clinical programs and expanded definition of community, the innovative approaches of our educational programs and the trailblazing work of our researchers. For example:

•     The Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative at Texas Children’s Hospital was founded in 1996 as a small health-professional training program in Romania. Now, BIPAI encompasses a network of state-of-the-art children’s centers of excellence in Romania and across southern and East Africa, with more than 300,000 HIV-infected children in care. We are using the models of care we developed to treat and prevent pediatric HIV/AIDS as a blueprint to tackle a multitude of other medical conditions that continue to rob children worldwide of their health, including cancer, sickle cell disease, tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases.

•     Our principal investigators are conducting more than 1,000 clinical, basic science and translational research projects at any given moment. And our new Center for Human Immunobiology hosts amazing research that may lead directly to new treatments or cures for some of the most vexing medical conditions children and families can face.

•     The pediatric residency program continues to attract some of the country’s most gifted candidates. Nearly 1,000 U.S. medical school graduates applied for the 43 positions in our general pediatric and pediatric global health residency programs last year. I am awed and inspired by the accomplished, dedicated and passionate residents who join us for training each year.

At Baylor and Texas Children’s, we witness an abundance of brilliance, breakthroughs and compassionate care on any given day. I hope that you will explore the amazing opportunities that exist here. When you are done, I think you will agree with me when I say that Baylor and Texas Children’s is the best place in the world to be a pediatrician.

Best wishes,

Mark W. Kline, M.D.

Chair
Department of Pediatrics J.S. Abercrombie Professor
Ralph D. Feigin Chair
Baylor College of Medicine
mkline@bcm.edu

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