George Lister, M.D., a 1973 graduate of the School of Medicine and a former member of its pediatrics faculty, has returned to campus as chair of the Department of Pediatrics. He will also serve as chief of pediatrics at Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH) and physician-in-chief at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital.

At the core of Lister’s decision to return to Yale was “the remarkable attraction of the students and the young people who come to campus with idealism, imagination, and bold ideas,” says Lister, who was a member of the medical school’s faculty from 1988–2003. “I treasured my time teaching in the medical school, and it was entirely because of the personal relationships.”

Lister says he sees the opportunity in Yale’s Department of Pediatrics to build novel programs to meet new challenges in medicine. “There is a need to replenish, to rejuvenate the department with a stream of young physicians and investigators and educators,” he says. “The most important thing I can do is establish an environment where people want to come and launch their careers—an environment that is challenging, but offers opportunity. I want to seed the department, rather than sod it.”

Lister returns to Yale from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, where he served as chair and professor of pediatrics and associate dean of education since leaving Yale in 2003. At UT Southwestern, Lister established a multispecialty consultation network that allowed health care providers to discuss their patients’ cases with subspecialists at any time for free. The network was created in response to the multitude of underserved patients Lister observed, many of whom lacked health insurance or lived long distances from medical centers. He hopes to develop a similar network in the New England area, which will not only provide access to medical expertise to physicians in the communities that Yale serves, but will keep those physicians informed about “the real and present problems in the direct care of patients.”

Lister was a pediatric resident at YNHH and then a fellow at the University of California, San Francisco. Five years after returning to Yale in 1988, he became director of the pediatric intensive care unit. He soon established the Section of Critical Care and Applied Physiology in the Department of Pediatrics, and under his leadership the section continued to expand its clinical and academic activities.

“Dr. Lister spent many highly productive years at Yale and helped shape the department to which he is now returning as chair,” says David J. Leffell, M.D., the David Paige Smith Professor of Dermatology and Surgery and deputy dean for clinical affairs. “His knowledge of our institution and experience as chair of the pediatrics department at Southwestern will allow him to proceed rapidly to help the department realize its great potential.”

At Yale, Lister will continue his research on monitoring children at risk for sudden infant death, work on which he has collaborated with Yale’s Eve R. Colson, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics, for many years. He also hopes to develop a program to help students interested in pediatrics to develop careers as physician-scientists, and to build bridges between pediatrics and other departments. In particular, he is interested in building collaborative efforts to diagnose and treat chronic illnesses that emerge in childhood, such as diabetes, congenital heart disease, and depression.

Lister succeeds Clifford W. Bogue, M.D., who has served as interim chair of the Department of Pediatrics since September 2010.