Hamvas named James P. Keating, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics

Aaron Hamvas, M.D., a renowned pediatrician in newborn medicine and a leading authority on a lethal infant lung disease, has been appointed the first James P. Keating, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics.

Hamvas is medical director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and of Nursery Services at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. He treats newborns with life-threatening infections, debilitating physical defects and immature organs.

The professorship is named in honor of James P. Keating, M.D., the W. McKim Marriott Professor of Pediatrics and a pioneer in the field of pediatric gastroenterology. For more than 35 years, Keating has taught hundreds of residents at the medical school as director and now co-director of the pediatric residency program. He began practicing pediatrics in 1968 at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

“James Keating has brought great energy, humor, passion and creativity to his pediatric residents,” Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton said. “It is only fitting that Aaron Hamvas, who possesses these same traits, serve as the inaugural holder of this professorship.”

Wrighton and Larry J. Shapiro, M.D., executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, jointly announced the appointment.

“This professorship also allows us to recognize Dr. Hamvas’ outstanding work, his research into the genetics of newborn respiratory distress and his clinical work in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit,” Shapiro said.

Hamvas earned an undergraduate degree cum laude from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., and a medical degree from WUSTL in 1981.

After completing a residency at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in 1984, Hamvas was a primary-care pediatrician at People’s Clinic Inc. in St. Louis, as well as an instructor in clinical pediatrics at the School of Medicine.

Hamvas then completed a fellowship in newborn medicine at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in 1990 and was named an instructor. He was promoted to professor in 2002.

Keating has known Hamvas as a student, resident and colleague for more than 25 years.

“At all times he is a caring, just and inspiring teacher and an irreplaceable partner in the work of our department, hospital and school,” Keating said. “He is a man of integrity, humility and compassion. My family and I are thrilled and proud that he has accepted the role of the first holder of this new professorship.”

Keating earned an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and a medical degree from Harvard Medical School. He was a resident in pediatrics at Boston City Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital and served in the U.S. Navy as a physician in Quang Tri Provincial Hospital in Vietnam. He later earned a master’s degree in epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Keating was named professor of pediatrics at the School of Medicine in 1978. He established the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition within the Department of Pediatrics, serving as its director until 1992. He also served as director of the pediatric intensive care unit from 1980-1992 and developed the Division of Medical Diagnostics in 1992.