Larry Rhodes, M.D., who has served as the interim chair of the West Virginia University School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics for the past year, has been named its permanent chair. He will also serve as the physician-in-chief of WVU Children’s Hospital.
“We were fortunate to have had the opportunity to get to know many of the finest academic pediatricians in the country, but, in the end, Larry Rhodes stood out from the rest as being the one who is the most capable of leading our mission-based efforts to improve the health and wellness of West Virginia’s children,”Arthur J. Ross III, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the School of Medicine, said. “There is no one more passionate about our great state nor is there anyone more dedicated to the provision of care to those in rural areas.”
Dr. Rhodes is the director of the WVU Institute for Community and Rural Health and was recently named the 2013 Rural Health Practitioner of the Year by the National Rural Health Association. His nomination read, in part, “With his calm voice, graying beard and well-worn cowboy boots, Dr. Rhodes is familiar to hundreds of parents in rural West Virginia who have a child with heart disease or a congenital heart defect.”
“Two of the countless gifts in my life are being born a West Virginian and a long association with the WVU Department of Pediatrics and its wonderful history,” Rhodes said. “I am truly honored to be offered the privilege of serving as the chairman of pediatrics. I will do my very best to preserve the heritage of the department in taking care of the children of West Virginia and training the next generation of pediatricians.”
Rhodes received his medical degree from the WVU School of Medicine. He completed residency training in pediatrics at WVU and fellowship training in pediatric cardiology and pediatric electrophysiology at Boston Children’s Hospital. Before returning to WVU permanently, he spent 10 years working at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He is now chief of the WVU Section of Pediatric Cardiology.
“Larry Rhodes is a remarkable clinician, educator and scholar,” Christopher C. Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., chancellor forWVU Health Sciences, said. “Since my arrival as chancellor, I’ve had the privilege of directly working with Larry to solidify the WVU Institute for Community and Rural Health. He and his team have achieved remarkable success.”
Rhodes attends outreach clinics serving rural West Virginia. He helped found and volunteers each summer at Camp Mountain Heart – a week-long adventure where his patients and other children with heart problems participate in fun activities under close medical supervision.
“Aaron Copland incorporated an old Shaker melody, ‘Simple Gifts,’ into his epic composition ‘Appalachian Spring,’” Dr. Colenda added. “At WVU, we hear that melody often in our musical fanfare for special events. So when I think of Larry’s work with children who have heart disease and his significant contribution to rural health and outreach in West Virginia, this melody echoes in my mind. He is a remarkable ‘gift’ to WVU and our state, and I am privileged to call him chairman and a colleague.”