UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital names Alexander Bassuk as new physician-in-chief

Alexander Bassuk will serve as the new chair for the Stead Family Department of Pediatrics and physician-in-chief of the Stead Family Children’s Hospital.



Anthony Neri, News Reporter

Alexander Bassuk hopes to expand excellence in all pediatric subspecialities in his new role as physician-in-chief of the Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

Bassuk, who was also named chair and departmental executive officer of the Carver College of Medicine Stead Family Department of Pediatrics, started his new position Sept. 1.

Regarding the function of his new role, Bassuk wrote in an email to The Daily Iowan that one of his duties is recruiting and mentoring a diverse world-class faculty.

“Virtually all of the pediatric subspecialties in Iowa are facing critical shortages,” Bassuk said.

Bassuk wrote that expanding the hospital’s excellence will draw the best trainees in the world to Iowa. The physicians and scientists his department will recruit are searching for new cures to treat kids with cancer, he wrote.

Bassuk’s current areas of research concern autism, traumatic brain injuries, epilepsy, and inflammation in the eyes and bones.

“In collaboration with Dr. Ted Abel in Neurological Sciences and the Iowa Neuroscience Institute and Dr. Lane Strathearn, one of our Developmental Pediatricians who runs our Iowa Center for Disability and Development, we are investigating underlying causes and new treatments for autism,” he said.

He also wrote that all of the research done at the Carver College of Medicine “starts with patients and uses multiple models to help understand the cause of diseases and then to develop new treatments.”

Bassuk is already leading his department by engaging in listening tours across the state to meet with other health care systems in both urban and rural areas in Iowa.

“For example, our world-class neonatology program supports smaller neonatal programs throughout the state, both by providing direct clinical care and by teaching nurses, respiratory therapists, and doctors all over Iowa,” he wrote.

Eva Tsalikian, vice chair for clinical affairs for the department of pediatrics, served as the interim chair for the last 27 months. She said it’s exciting to have a permanent chair in place.

Tsalikian also serves as the director of the division of pediatric endocrinology and diabetes. She said the department of pediatrics’ three main missions are to provide good care for the children, educate the new generation of pediatricians, and create new knowledge and find new cures for diseases that affect children.

“I’m sure Dr. Bassuk is going to expand our horizons in all three of these missions and have a good plan for us to be able to care for more children who need our services; for us to train the trainees who are working with us; and for us to do research in basic science, clinical research, and translational research,” Tsalikian said.

Another of Bassuk’s aims as department chair is to foster the growth of basic science and research infrastructure, and the department’s overall research portfolio and National Institute of Health funding, he wrote.

“We will continue to reach out to our colleagues throughout the state of Iowa to build strong partnerships to improve the health and lives of the children of Iowa and beyond,” he wrote. “We want all the doctors and providers who care for children in Iowa to know that we are there for them if they need us.”

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