Hawkins named chief of hepatobiliary-pancreatic and GI surgery


William Hawkins, MD, a noted pancreatic cancer surgeon, has been named chief of the Section of Hepatobiliary-Pancreatic and Gastrointestinal Surgery, and the Neidorff Family and Robert C. Packman Professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The professorship is named for donors Michael and Noémi Neidorff and honoree Robert C. Packman, MD.

Larry J. Shapiro, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, lauded Hawkins for his research and clinical work.

“Dr. Hawkins and the very talented team in his section have achieved so much for patients and will continue to build on that work for the betterment of patients in St. Louis and worldwide,” Shapiro said. “I’m pleased he will lead the section and that he is being honored for his dedication to improving the lives of others through such important work.”

Hawkins joined the faculty in 2004. In 10 years of clinical practice, he has treated cancers of the pancreas, liver and stomach, and benign and malignant diseases of the bile ducts. His research focus is novel therapies for pancreatic cancer, including drug development and immunology.

“I am honored and humbled at the opportunity to serve as the chief of the section and to be named the Neidorff Family and Robert C. Packman Professor of Surgery,” Hawkins said. “There is a long history of exceptional patient care, education and research in the division. Dr. Packman made exceptional contributions to education, and the Neidorff family continually demonstrates commitment to community through its leadership and generosity. This is an opportunity to grow this division in a way that lives up to the ideals demonstrated by Dr. Packman, the Neidorff family and the previous leaders of the division.”

Hawkins recently received a Washington University Bear Cub grant to develop and potentially commercialize a drug that will serve as a platform for delivering chemotherapy to patients with pancreatic cancer. He holds a number of patents for this technology. His lab is supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Hawkins is a member of the Upper Gastrointestinal Focus Group at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. The group determines which clinical trials will most benefit patients. He is also a governor of the American College of Surgeons, representing the state of Missouri, and is a member of the Society for Clinical Surgery and the American Surgical Association.

He will take over the Hepatobiliary-Pancreatic Fellowship program at the School of Medicine.

Hawkins grew up on Long Island, N.Y., and earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at State University of New York at Stony Brook and his medical degree at the university’s medical school. He completed his surgery residency at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and a research fellowship in surgery and a fellowship in surgical oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

Hawkins succeeds David Linehan, MD, who had served as section chief since 2007. Linehan is now chair of the surgery department at the University of Rochester School of Medicine in New York.

About Michael and Noémi Neidorff

Michael Neidorff is chairman, president and CEO of Centene Corp., which operates Medicaid health plans in 20 states and serves nearly 2.9 million members. In addition to offering cost-effective coverage solutions to underinsured and uninsured individuals, Centene contracts with other health-care and commercial organizations to provide specialty services, including behavioral health care, care-management software, correctional systems health care, in-home health services, life and health management, managed vision care, pharmacy benefits management and specialty pharmacy and telehealth services.

Noémi Neidorff is an active leader in the arts community, serving on The Kennedy Center’s International Committee on the Arts; on the boards of Artist Presentation Society, Saint Louis Art Museum and Missouri Historical Society; and on the executive committees of St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Manhattan School of Music. She is chairman of the Radio Arts Foundation’s Advocacy Council and has played a significant role in bringing a new radio station, RAF-STL, to the region, with the mission of bringing classical music back on the air and promoting all of the arts.

About Robert C. Packman, MD

Robert C. Packman, MD, is senior vice president of medical affairs for Centene Corp. He previously served as a professor of clinical medicine for more than 35 years at the School of Medicine. During this time, he served as coursemaster for the senior student elective in ambulatory medicine, as a part-time faculty representative to the executive faculty, and as president of the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Medical Staff Association. He chaired the Barnes Hospital Medical Records Committee for five years, served on the School of Medicine admissions committee for eight years and chaired the Barnes Hospital Pharmacy and Therapeutic Committee for more than 30 years.

When he was chief resident at Barnes Hospital, Packman, along with co-chief resident J. Russell Little, MD, created a pocket-sized outline on therapeutics for senior medical students to improve patient care. Their 1962 Manual of Medical Therapeutics was published by Little, Brown and Co. Packman edited two subsequent editions of the manual, known today as The Washington Manual of Medical Therapeutics. The guide is revised every two to three years by Washington University faculty and chief residents, has been translated into 12 languages and continues to be one of the best-selling medical textbooks worldwide.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient-care institutions in the nation, currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.