Dear friends and colleagues,
It is with mixed feelings that I am writing to notify you that I will be stepping down as department chair on or about June 1. I have accepted the position of Chair of Pediatrics at UCSF and Physician-in-Chief of Benioff Children’s Hospitals. I will be working with Dean Jackson and Department leadership to ensure a smooth transition.
I look forward to sharing additional thoughts with all of you in the coming weeks about the Department and its future. In the meantime, I want you to know that the decision to leave this wonderful organization was a difficult one. But as I indicated at my recent State of the Department address, I believe that an organization must refresh its leadership on a regular basis in order to remain outstanding and that the time has come to pass on the baton. It has been my honor to shepherd the Stead Family Department of Pediatrics and the Stead Family Children’s Hospital these past seven years. I have never worked with more outstanding people than yourselves and I will miss all of you. I will retain many fond memories of my years at the University of Iowa and the times we shared together.
It is my pleasure to welcome Dr. Hatem El-Shanti as the new Director of the Division of Medical Genetics beginning February 25, 2019. Dr. El-Shanti earned his MD at the University of Cairo, Egypt. He completed a M.Sc. in Genetics and a post-doctoral fellowship at Indiana University, followed by a pediatric residency and a medical genetics fellowship at the University of Iowa. Following his training he spent 10 years on the faculty of the Jordan University of Science and Technology where he served in a number of roles, including Director of the Cytogenetics Laboratory, Interim Chairman of Pediatrics, and Medical Director of Princes Rahma Children’s Hospital.
In 2003, Dr. El Shanti returned to Iowa as Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Carver College of Medicine. In 2007 he was recruited to Qatar as the Managing Director and Principal Research Scientist, Shafallah Medical Genetics Center where he also served as Director of the Diagnostic Molecular Genetics laboratory. Since 2016 he has been Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Jordan School of Medicine.
Dr. El-Shanti is internationally-known for his research on the genetics of a number of disorders of childhood, including autism spectrum disorder, epilepsy, and autoinflammatory diseases. He is a prolific scientist with over one hundred publications and a long track record of funding from the NIH, Jordan’s national research funding agencies, the Qatar National Research Fund, and various foundations.
I am thrilled that Dr. El Shanti is returning to the University of Iowa and I look forward to his contributions and leadership towards enhancing our excellence in medical genetics. Please join me in congratulating him on his new role and welcoming him to our department. I also want to thank Dr. Val Sheffield for his 21 year tenure as director of the division. Val has created a legacy that will serve the division well into the future.
–Dr. Raphael Hirsch, Professor and Chair, Stead Family Department of Pediatrics; Physician-in-Chief, University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
As the holidays are approaching and this calendar year will soon be coming to an end, I would like to extend my thanks to each and every one of you for your contributions towards our Department’s achievements in patient care, education, research, and public health. I look forward to working with all of you in the coming year to help make the world a better place for the children and families we serve. I wish you and your families a joyous holiday season and a happy and healthy new year.
The Stead Investiture Ceremony from April 2015 is embedded below.
Dr. Hirsch’s annual State of the Department address from October 2, 2015 is below.