Physician-in-Chief Joseph W. St. Geme Wins Leadership Award

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Joseph W. St. Geme, MD, Chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Physician-in-Chief at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), has been named the 2020 recipient of the Joseph W. St. Geme, Jr. Leadership Award, an honor that is bestowed by the Federation of Pediatric Organizations (FOPO) and is named after his father, a renowned and celebrated pediatrician. Dr. St. Geme will receive the award during the 2021 Opening General Session of the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting in Vancouver, BC.

FOPO established this award in 1988, shortly after the premature death of Dr. St. Geme’s father, with the intent to recognize a pediatrician who is a role model as a clinician, educator, and/or investigator. Recipients must have a record of broad and sustained contributions to pediatrics that will have a major impact on child health and must have “created a future” within the field of pediatrics. “I am deeply honored to receive this award," said Dr. St. Geme. "My dad inspired me to pursue a career in pediatrics. He died when I was a senior resident, but he has remained a role model for me and has had a profound influence on my career."

Dr. St. Geme has an impressive record of sustained contributions that have advanced child health and the profession of pediatrics. He has held leadership roles with numerous professional organizations, including the American Board of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Pediatric Society, the Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs, the Society for Pediatric Research, the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, the World Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases, and the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Dr. St. Geme is a consummate educator and mentor. He has received teaching and mentoring awards from students, residents, and graduate students and has supported the career development of countless trainees and faculty. He has served as principal investigator on numerous NIH training grants for fellows and NIH institutional career development awards for early-stage faculty. In addition, he helped to establish the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital-Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society Research Conference, which includes a major emphasis on the career development of physician-scientists in pediatric infectious diseases. He is also Co-Chief Editor of Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, the highly regarded textbook that serves as a reference for pediatricians worldwide.

Beyond his role as a mentor and educator, Dr. St. Geme is an award-winning, internationally-renowned scientist who studies the molecular and cellular determinants of bacterial pathogenicity, with a focus on Haemophilus influenzae and Kingella kingae, two model mucosal pathogens that are common causes of pediatric disease. His research group has made fundamental discoveries that have advanced the understanding of bacterial adherence, protein secretion pathways, polysaccharide synthesis pathways, virulence regulation, and evasion of innate immunity, with an impact on the development of molecular diagnostics, new vaccines, and novel antimicrobials.

“Dr. St. Geme is an impressive physician-scientist and educator and a remarkable colleague at CHOP, where he has shown tremendous leadership and achievement,” said Madeline Bell, CHOP President and CEO. “We congratulate him on this well-deserved award.”

FOPO comprises seven national pediatric associations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Board of Pediatrics, the American Pediatric Society, the Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs, the Association of Pediatric Program Directors, and the Society for Pediatric Research.

Contact: Emily DiTomo, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 267-426-6063 or