The entrance to the American Family Children's Hospital

Leadership Profile: Chair, Department of Pediatrics

The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health invites applications and nominations for the position of chair of the Department of Pediatrics.

The Opportunity

The Department of Pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health promotes and enhances the health of children through outstanding clinical care, exemplary education of pediatric trainees, performance of cutting-edge research and vigorous advocacy.

A key feature of the department is its institutional setting within a top-tier university and the nation’s first School of Medicine and Public Health. The department’s 200 faculty, numerous staff and residents and fellows cover 16 subspecialty divisions. The department provides world-class care for children through a variety of specialized clinical programs and a comprehensive children’s cancer center, pediatric asthma center and pediatric heart program.

Clinical care is provided chiefly at the renowned American Family Children’s Hospital. Care is also provided at UnityPoint Health-Meriter Hospital, SSM Health’s St. Mary’s Hospital and Waisman Center clinics focused on medical genetics and developmental, neuromotor and autism care; five primary care clinics; and multiple outreach clinics in Wisconsin and Illinois.

The department’s research spans basic, translational and clinical areas that aim to generate new knowledge to improve the health of children. Investigators focus on newborn screening, obesity and diabetes, upper respiratory infections, asthma and allergic diseases, cancer, children with medical complexity, brain injury, global health, immunizations, social media and digital health, and more.

Over the last 15 years, the department has experienced expansive growth — more than doubling its faculty and growing extramural research funding by more than 300 percent — and is well poised to continue to expand the boundaries of excellence.

Its education programs meet the needs of learners at all levels: undergraduates, medical students, residents, fellows, postgraduate trainees and practicing healthcare professionals. Advocacy and outreach are imbued throughout the department, including in the residency curriculum. The department believes children are the world’s most precious resource and this ethos powers its positive culture where people and ideas thrive.

The chair will be an innovative and strong leader and a highly respected individual in the field of pediatrics. They will possess a commitment to diversity and inclusion and will advance the department’s culture of teamwork and collaboration, positioning the department to be a community and institutional leader.

Organization Overview


Since 1848, this campus has been a catalyst for the extraordinary. As a public land-grant university and one of the most prolific research institutions in the world, UW–Madison is home to those who are driven by a desire to both explore new worlds and to apply new ideas to real-world problems.

With a total annual budget of over $3.7 billion, including more than $1.52 billion in annual research expenditures, UW–Madison has been in the top 10 in national research spending every year since 1972. The campus is home to more than 25,000 faculty and staff and 50,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree students. Members of the student body represent all 50 states and 116 countries. The university was ranked the number two public university in Washington Monthly’s 2023 College Guide and Rankings and is ranked 12th among public institutions in U.S. News & World Report’s 2023–24 rankings of best colleges.

The Wisconsin Idea — the principle that the university should improve people’s lives beyond the classroom — has been guiding the efforts of UW–Madison Badgers for more than a century. The university has been dedicated to studying poverty and social inequity for 50 years, is consistently ranked among the top large schools for producing Peace Corps volunteers and boasts 20 Nobel Prize winners among its faculty and alumni.

For me, the Wisconsin Idea is the clear vision for what a public university is and should be. I want to celebrate it as a national and even global model for why public universities matter. It’s my goal to keep our teaching, research, and outreach missions strong, to support our students, and to make the university a more diverse and inclusive place to live, learn, and work.

– Jennifer L. Mnookin, Chancellor

School of Medicine and Public Health

The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) is recognized as an international, national, and statewide leader in education, research, and service. Founded in 1907, it transformed into the nation’s first School of Medicine and Public Health in 2005 to integrate the principles and power of interwoven medical and public health approaches in all of its missions.

With more than 5,500 employees, including over 2,000 faculty, the school’s engagement spans the entire state of Wisconsin and includes a deep commitment to improving population health. This commitment manifests itself in innovative models that serve as paradigms for the rest of the country.

Members of the school rapidly translate discovery into application and continually foster synergies between clinical care, education and research. Consistently ranked among the nation’s top medical schools, SMPH has established high-performance academic programs that are intentionally distributed across the entire spectrum of academic medicine. The school is ranked 22nd in National Institutes of Health funding for schools of medicine in 2023, according to rankings from Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research. Its faculty members hold appointments in 27 departments — 17 in the clinical sciences and 10 in the basic sciences. The faculty is composed of some of the nation’s leading researchers, educators and clinicians. This includes several National Medal of Science recipients and National Academy of Science honorees.

Mission and Values

The mission of the school is to advance health and health equity through remarkable service to patients and communities, outstanding education and innovative research. Members of the school community uphold the values of integrity and accountability, compassion, diversity, equity and inclusivity and excellence. The school’s Shared Guidelines for Professional Conduct help the SMPH community embody these values in their daily activities.

Fostering a diverse and inclusive community is important both as an end in itself and as a valuable driver of eliminating health disparities. The school strives to be comprised of a diverse, inclusive academic community committed to excellence and equity in health; wellness through teaching and learning, clinical service, and advocacy; and research in all forms of biological science, population health science, and health care.

SMPH is dedicated to creating an inclusive, collaborative, respectful, and welcoming environment in which all faculty, students, and staff will thrive. This effort is referred to as Building Community, and includes a call to action for every SMPH member to examine not only our intent, but our impact — “Every Person. Every Action. Every Time.”

UW Health

UW Health is the primary teaching affiliate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, serving more than 800,000 patients each year in the upper Midwest and beyond with more than 1,800 physicians and 24,000 staff across six main hospitals and more than 90 outpatient sites. The health system’s total system joint operating agreement revenues are $5.1 billion. UW Health is a separate 501(c)3, governed by the UW Hospitals and Clinics Authority, and partners with UW School of Medicine and Public Health to fulfill patient care, research, education and community service missions. In 2015, SwedishAmerican, a community health system based in Rockford, Ill., became part of UW Health and in 2021, SwedishAmerican was rebranded UW Health. UW Health Hospitals, which includes University Hospital on the UW–Madison campus and UW Health East Madison Hospital on the east side of Madison, has been ranked No. 1 in Wisconsin for 12 years in a row by U.S. News and World Report.

An aerial view of the University hospital and health education buildings
University Hospital can be found at the heart of a cluster of health care and health education buildings, including the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans’ Hospital, the American Family Children’s Hospital, the Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research, the Health Sciences Learning Center, Cooper Hall (UW–Madison School of Nursing) and Rennebohm Hall (UW–Madison School of Pharmacy).

University Hospital is one among a select set of U.S. hospitals named to Newsweek’s “Top 100 Global” list, which includes hospitals in 11 countries around the world. American Family Children’s Hospital is also nationally ranked as a top children’s hospital. UW Health has been designated by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation as a Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality in the Healthcare Equality Index for several years.

UW Health Kids

The UW Health Kids brand includes all UW Health pediatric services, programs and locations, including American Family Children’s Hospital and partners and clinic locations across Wisconsin, Illinois and the region.

American Family Children’s Hospital

The American Family Children’s Hospital (AFCH) opened in 2007 as a free-standing, state-of-the-art facility designed around the needs of children and their families. The hospital is a comprehensive pediatric medical and surgical center staffed by nationally recognized faculty who provide world-class care for a wide range of specialties. The hospital offers care in a modern facility with advanced technology that is also a national model for patient and family-centered care, as well as a destination for complex specialty pediatric care.

American Family Children’s Hospital has 111 beds, which includes a 26-bed level IV neonatal intensive care unit, a 21-bed pediatric intensive care unit and is accredited as a level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center and Level IV Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. In addition, the UW Health Transplant Center, which houses the UW Health Kids Transplant Program, is the only location in the Midwest actively transplanting all five organs for children and adults. American Family Children’s Hospital is ranked among the top 50 children’s hospitals in cardiology and heart surgery and cancer specialties in U.S. News and World Report’s 2023 Best Children’s Hospitals Guide.

Department of Pediatrics

The Department of Pediatrics is a local, regional and national leader in pediatric clinical care, research and education. Its vision is to provide the safest, highest quality, most innovative and coordinated care in an environment that supports inquiry and discovery and promotes well-being and professionalism.

Vice chairs, division chiefs, directors and administrators provide leadership of the department, in partnership with the chair. The department’s 16 divisions span immunology, child protection, gastroenterology, global pediatrics, general pediatrics, critical care, genetics, nephrology and more. The department has 200 faculty members, 63 percent of which are women.

The department’s renowned care programs include:

Pediatric Asthma and Allergy Program: Providers are focused on discovering and improving therapies for childhood allergies and asthma to improve the quality of life for children and their families. Faculty are internationally recognized and lead some of the premier research programs in the U.S., including the Children’s Respiratory and Environmental Workgroup and the Childhood Asthma in Urban Settings multicenter studies.

Pediatric Cancer Program: The children’s cancer center is part of the UW Health | Carbone Cancer Center, one of a small number of select centers nationwide designated by the National Cancer Institute to be comprehensive. Several highly specialized treatments for pediatric cancers were developed here and are offered at UW Health Kids. UW–Madison is one of nine worldwide programs that comprise the Pediatric Cancer Dream Team.

Pediatric Heart Program: The pediatric cardiology and heart surgery program at UW Health Kids was ranked among the top 50 specialties in children’s hospitals throughout the country by U.S. News and World Report in 2023. The children’s hospital is a national leader in ensuring minimal radiation exposure for children undergoing procedures.

Care for Children with Medical Complexity: Children with complex medical conditions comprise a growing group of patients with multiple serious medical issues. Department faculty members recognized the unique needs of this patient population and spearheaded the design of a comprehensive program to provide multidisciplinary care coordination for these children. The innovative care model established by the program has resulted in excellent clinical outcomes while generating significant health care savings per year and serves as a model for programs nationally.

Pediatric Hospital Medicine Program: Recognizing the importance of providing coordinated patient- and family-centered care, robust inpatient educational experiences for trainees and a scholarly approach to hospital-based pediatrics, the department has fostered the growth of an accomplished academic pediatric hospital medicine division.

Level III and IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU): In addition to the 55-bed level III NICU at UnityPoint Health-Meriter, a Level IV NICU at AFCH, which recently expanded from 14 to 26 beds, provides state-of-the-art care for some of the patients with high medical complexity. Providers care for premature and full-term infants who require complex surgical interventions and medical treatments.

The department’s basic, translational and clinical research programs have continued to grow exponentially. In FY22 the department had over $52 million in research support, more than 70 percent of which came from the National Institutes of Health. The Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research ranked the department 9th nationally in 2022 for NIH research funding of medical school pediatric departments. Laboratories are primarily located at University Hospital in the Clinical Science Center on the 4th, 5th and 9th floors, with other locations in the Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research, the Waisman Center, UnityPoint Health-Meriter Hospital, Research Park and the Microbial Sciences Building.

The department engages medical students in the MD curriculum and electives. It also annually trains 75 residents and fellows through 13 ACGME-accredited fellowship programs. Medium-sized resident classes allow for relationship-building and mentorship that prepares highly skilled pediatricians who are critical thinkers, caregivers and leaders. A long-standing and nationally recognized pediatric global health track has enriched the training of approximately one-third of the pediatric residents each year. Diverse sub-specialty fellowship programs give fellows superb clinical training and the opportunity to work with research mentors in basic science, clinical research and health services research.

In addition to daily bedside and outpatient clinical advocacy for individual patients, providers practice broader advocacy activities as well. The department is involved in advocacy at the community and professional levels and in the media. Members also partner with the institution’s legislative affairs professionals on issues of importance to children and families.

Qualifications and Attributes of Leadership

The successful candidate will have a compelling vision for the future of pediatrics in a leading public academic institution and medical center. The chair will possess proven leadership and management skills as well as an outstanding academic background and dedication to furthering diversity of the faculty, staff and students in the department and establishing an inclusive work environment. The chair will provide strategic, academic and administrative leadership of the highest quality to this distinguished department in its patient care, research, teaching and service missions.

Applicants must have a MD, MD/PhD, DO or equivalent degree(s); board certification in pediatrics; eligibility for a Wisconsin Physician license; have a substantial record of achievement in administrative leadership, clinical care and teaching across the full continuum of learners; and a strong academic background that would qualify for appointment as a tenured professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

The Community

Located on an isthmus between two lakes, Madison is the capital city of the state of Wisconsin. Madison has been voted in the top 100 Best Places to Live in the USA (Liveability, 2023) and the #1 City for Most Successful Women Per Capita (Forbes, 2019). Madison is also:


City for Best Work-Life Balance (SmartAsset, 2022)


Best City for STEM Professionals (CEO World, 2020)


Best State to Practice Medicine (WalletHub, 2022)

Madison’s technology economy is growing rapidly, and the region is home to the headquarters of Epic Systems, Exact Sciences, American Family Insurance, American Girl (Mattel), Sub-Zero, and Lands’ End, as well as many biotech, health care IT and health systems startups.

The city of Madison and the University of Wisconsin–Madison acknowledge that they occupy ancestral Ho-Chunk land. The School of Medicine and Public Health recognizes the health inequities faced by Native communities and pledges facilitate learning and take action across all of its missions.

Madison is the second largest city in the state, with a city population of approximately 273,000 and regional population of over 1 million. It is the fastest-growing county in the state of Wisconsin. The city is within easy driving range of Chicago and Milwaukee. Madison offers numerous unique neighborhoods and commercial areas including the Capitol Square, State Street, Willy Street, Shorewood Hills, Maple Bluff, and Hilldale. Suburbs and surrounding smaller communities include Sun Prairie, Middleton, McFarland, Verona, Cottage Grove, Waunakee and Fitchburg.

The capitol building peaks through colorful trees, while a crowd of people move down the sidewalk
The Dane County Farmer’s Market is held weekly on the Capitol Square during non-winter months.

Madison is home to one of the strongest local food scenes in the country with several James Beard Award winners, gastropubs and farm-to-table restaurants. From April to October, the Capitol Square hosts the impressive Dane County Farmers’ Market, the largest producer-only farmers’ market in the country. The city is rich with cultural offerings such as the Overture Center for the Performing Arts, Orpheum Theatre, Concerts on the Square, Jazz at Five, UW–Madison Mead Witter School of Music and Hamel Music Center, Madison Symphony Orchestra, Madison Opera, Madison Ballet, UW–Madison Chazen Museum of Art, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Wisconsin Historical Museum, and Madison Children’s Museum, among others.

The city has a dedicated athletics fanbase which largely centers around the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Sports venues include Camp Randall Stadium, the Kohl Center, LaBahn Arena, Wisconsin Field House and the Alliant Energy Center. Madison is home to Forward Madison FC, the first professional soccer team in the city, as well as the Madison Mallards, a college wood-bat summer baseball league team. Marquee endurance sports and specialty sporting events include IronMan Wisconsin and IronMan 70.3, Reebok CrossFit Games, Madison Marathon, and many national and international championship competitions.

Application Process


Please send nominations to:

Beth Drolet, MD, and Vanessa Sperandio, PhD,
Co-chairs of the Chair of the Department of Pediatrics Search Committee
c/o Benjamin Schultz-Burkel, DMA
4299C HSLC, 750 Highland Avenue
Madison, WI, 53705-2111


To apply, please visit the UW–Madison jobs website. Candidates must apply through this portal to be considered as a candidate. Applicants will be asked to upload a CV and personal statement/cover letter detailing:

  • Your interest in this position and vision for the Department of Pediatrics
  • A summary of your background and qualifications for this position

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Diversity is a source of strength, creativity, and innovation for UW–Madison. We value the contributions of each person and respect the profound ways their identity, culture, background, experience, status, abilities, and opinion enrich the university community. We commit ourselves to the pursuit of excellence in teaching, research, outreach, and diversity as inextricably linked goals. The University of Wisconsin–Madison fulfills its public mission by creating a welcoming and inclusive community for people from every background — people who as students, faculty, and staff serve Wisconsin and the world.


Unless confidentiality is requested in writing, information regarding applicants must be released upon request. Finalists cannot be guaranteed confidentiality. The University of Wisconsin is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer.


To receive full consideration, please apply by Nov. 5, 2023.

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