Dolores B. Njoku, MD, a noted clinician, researcher and mentor, has been named the director of pediatric anesthesiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and anesthesiologist-in-chief at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. With the post, she will become the new Rudolph L. and Mary Frances Wise Endowed Chair in Pediatric Anesthesiology. She also has been appointed a vice chair in the Department of Anesthesiology.
In addition to providing anesthesia and critical care services for pediatric patients, Njoku, who begins her new position July 1, researches liver injury mediated by the immune system and related to drugs such as anti-seizure medications and antibiotics. The goal of her research is to uncover pieces of immune system proteins that may trigger autoimmune reactions in the liver and to identify molecular pathways that may be involved.
“We welcome Dr. Njoku to Washington University and to St. Louis Children’s Hospital with great enthusiasm,” said Michael S. Avidan, MBBCh, the Dr. Seymour and Rose T. Brown Professor and head of the Department of Anesthesiology. “We are excited about her taking the helm in pediatric anesthesiology and working with us toward our goals of excellence in clinical care, training new leaders in the field and building a collaborative, diverse, equitable and inclusive culture.”
Njoku comes from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where she has been an associate professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine, of pediatrics and of pathology. A faculty member there since 1997, she also served as program director of pediatric anesthesiology.
From 2007-18, she directed the pediatric anesthesiology fellowship program at Johns Hopkins University Hospital, where she trained more than 60 fellows. Njoku also served as program director for the Pediatric Anesthesiology Fellows Advanced Boot Camp there, an initiative she developed in 2013.
“I look forward to my new role at Washington University and St. Louis Children’s Hospital,” Njoku said. “In this new position, I hope to continue building research and education platforms, as well as diverse collaborations that involve multi-disciplinary teams to advance science, provide the highest level of care and expand opportunities for outstanding trainees.”
Njoku also serves as secretary of the Association of University Anesthesiologists, a premier international academic society. She also serves on the board of directors and chairs the grants management committee of the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research, the primary foundation supported by the American Society of Anesthesiologists. And she is a director of the maintenance of certification in anesthesiology program for the Society for Pediatric Anesthesiology.
Njoku graduated from the University of Dallas with a degree in biochemistry before earning her medical degree from the University of Mississippi. She completed her residency at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, where she served as one of the chief residents in pediatrics, followed by a five-year training fellowship in the combined pediatric anesthesiology/pediatric critical care program at Johns Hopkins.
Njoku replaces Thomas Cox, MD, who retired in July. Kelly L. Chilson, MD, an associate professor of anesthesiology, has served as interim division director since Cox’s retirement.
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