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World Renowned Pediatric Rheumatologist and Immunologist Terri Finkel, M.D., Ph.D. Joins UTHSC, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital


Terri H. Finkel, M.D., Ph.D., a nationally known pediatric rheumatologist and immunologist, has joined the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in several leadership roles.

Dr. Finkel was recruited to serve as professor and associate chair of the UTHSC College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics and vice chair of Clinical Affairs at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, with an adjunct faculty appointment in the Department of Pediatric Medicine at St. Jude.

“I am thrilled to be joining Le Bonheur Children’s, UTHSC and St. Jude to be part of the innovation and collaboration happening across Memphis,” said Dr. Terri Finkel. “These three organizations are leading the way in pediatrics nationally and I am honored to have the opportunity to contribute my experience and expertise to these groundbreaking endeavors.”

She will work in conjunction with Dr. Jon McCullers, Dunavant Professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics, senior executive associate dean of Clinical Affairs and chief operating officer for UTHSC College of Medicine and pediatrician-in-chief at Le Bonheur Children’s. Dr. Finkel will lead clinical, administrative, research and educational efforts at UTHSC in collaboration with Le Bonheur. She will work at St. Jude to expand and manage partnerships with UTHSC and Le Bonheur Children’s, facilitating joint visioning for programmatic growth.

“Dr. Finkel’s recruitment is a wonderful addition to our team,” said Dr. McCullers. “She truly is one of the very best in the country and brings with her a wealth and depth of knowledge that will help move us forward quickly and collaboratively.”

“At Le Bonheur Children’s, we are very excited to have Dr. Terri Finkel on board,” said Le Bonheur Children’s President and CEO Michael Wiggins, MBA, FACHE. “Her reputation for excellence as an educator, physician and leader will assist us in working with our partners to help children and families be healthy and safe.”

Over the past decade, Dr. Terri Finkel served as chair of Pediatrics and chief scientific officer at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Florida, and as a tenured professor of Pediatrics and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Central Florida’s College of Medicine.

She received a medical degree and a Ph.D. in biochemistry/biophysics from Stanford University. She then completed pediatric and pediatric rheumatology training at Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

Since 1990, she has been the recipient of funding from the National Institutes of Health, other federal agencies and private foundations to study the mechanisms of immune dysfunction in autoimmune and infectious diseases. Dr. Finkel is well known in this field – her work has been recognized by more than 100 publications, she has been issued 10 patents, patents pending, or trademarks – three of which have been licensed. She has also been awarded research grants totaling more than $12 million. She has received numerous honors throughout her career, including from the American College of Rheumatology, American Foundation for AIDS Research, Arthritis Foundation, Gates Foundation, Henry Kunkel Society, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Lupus Foundation and the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame.

In 1999, Dr. Finkel was recruited to lead the Division of Rheumatology at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, as the Joseph Lee Hollander Endowed Chair of Pediatric Rheumatology and professor of pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. During her 10-year tenure, she built the division from a solo pediatric rheumatologist into one of the largest and most academically productive divisions of pediatric rheumatology in the country, with cutting-edge research and a highly regarded fellowship training program.

In 2011, Dr. Finkel was recruited to found and build a Department of Pediatrics and Research Institute at Nemours Children’s Hospital. During Dr. Finkel’s tenure, Nemours cared for more than 250,000 children and families and established strategic partnerships with area hospitals, physician practices and academic institutions. Dr. Finkel led the establishment of PedsAcademy, a partnership between the Nemours Children’s Hospital and the University of Central Florida College of Community Innovation and Education to provide high-tech schooling to hospitalized children and those dealing with catastrophic childhood diseases. She also led the growth of a successful research enterprise, with external grant revenue totaling more than $20 million, bringing scientific advances to children with cancer, cystic fibrosis, heart disease and neuromuscular disorders. This success was facilitated in part by PEDSnet, in which Nemours was a founding member, with Dr. Finkel as executive lead.

PEDSnet is a partnership of the leading and largest children’s health systems in the nation, funded by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Representing nearly 6.5 million children (five percent of the U.S. pediatric population), PEDSnet allows users to tap into a huge patient database of existing knowledge for clinical research, offering a platform for new insights to be turned quickly to application on behalf of the health of America’s children.

Dr. Finkel has been honored by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top pediatric rheumatologists in the United States and by the U.S. House of Representatives for her leadership and contributions to healthcare.

Richard S. Finkel, M.D., a pediatric neurologist married to Terri Finkel, will also join St. Jude, UTHSC and Le Bonheur Children’s. He will spend most of his time at St. Jude as director of the clinical translational neuroscience program and will also practice at Le Bonheur Children’s. He will have an adjunct faculty appointment in the Department of Pediatrics at UTHSC. The three organizations will partner in the creation of a Neuroscience Research Consortium investigating treatments for children with devastating neuromuscular diseases.

About Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital

Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., treats children each year through community programs, regional clinics and a 255 bed state-of-the-art hospital. Le Bonheur serves as a primary teaching affiliate for the University Tennessee Health Science Center and trains more than 350 pediatricians and specialists each year. Nationally recognized, Le Bonheur is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a Best Children’s Hospital.

For more information, please call (901) 287-6030 or visit lebonheur.org. Connect at facebook.com/lebonheurchildrenstwitter.com/lebonheurchild or on Instagram at lebonheurchildrens.

 About St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer and other lifethreatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to 80% since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. To learn more, visit stjude.org or follow St. Jude on social media at @stjuderesearch.

This article was written by the communications staff at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.