St. Louis, MO (January 7, 2019) - Alexis Elward, MD, MPH, was named Children's chief medical officer. The appointment became effective Jan. 1.

She will provide physician leadership for quality, safety, growth and other strategic priorities. She will work closely with hospital and physician leaders, Washington University School of Medicine, and BJC.

Dr. Elward previously served as associate chief medical officer.

"Nationally recognized and clinically respected, Alexis is an outstanding leader," says Mark Shen, MD, Children's president. "She will enhance our momentum as a top regional children’s health care network."

She succeeds F. Sessions Cole, MD, as chief medical officer. Cole, the Park J. White Professor of Pediatrics, will continue to play an important clinical role. One example of his ongoing oversight is his work with the National Institutes of Health Undiagnosed Diseases Network, which helps patients with the rarest of rare diseases.

"We thank Dr. Cole for his outstanding leadership as our hospital's first chief medical officer. His passion and advocacy for pediatric medicine and research exemplify our mission of doing what's right for kids," Shen says.

Dr. Elward's background:

  • Professor of pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine.
  • Served as Infection Prevention and Control medical director for eight years.
  • Served on the Hospital Infection Control Practice Advisory Committee and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Received NIH and CDC research funding on the epidemiology and outcomes of hospital-acquired conditions.
  • Led Children's process improvement initiatives, including several ongoing projects designed to reduce health care-acquired conditions.
  • Earned her medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore.
  • Earned her master’s degree in public health from Saint Louis University.
  • Completed her residency and an Infectious Disease fellowship at Children's/WUSM.

“I’ve been with St. Louis Children's Hospital as part of the Washington University School of Medicine for more than two decades and have had the unique opportunity to see the growth of our reputation and impact in St. Louis and across the country,” said Dr. Elward. “Taking on this new leadership role was an easy one for me – my predecessor, Dr. Sesh Cole, has helped pave the way for Children’s to do what’s right for kids as Guardians of Childhood. There are very few places like Children’s in the country and you can see that in the outcomes for quality, safety and experience of every child and family.”

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For more than 130 years, St. Louis Children's Hospital has provided exceptional care for children in all 50 states and 80 countries around the world. With its academic partner, Washington University School of Medicine, Children’s is consistently ranked among the nation’s best pediatric hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. A member of BJC HealthCare, St. Louis Children’s Hospital follows one simple mission – to do what’s right for kids. That mission comes to life through medical discovery, innovative therapies and compassionate care. In 2018, Children's expanded with a state-of-the-art, 12-story medical tower. Children’s relies on generous donors to deliver specialized care for families in need, extend health care services to the community, and pursue research that promises to transform pediatric medicine. To find out more, visit, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.