Yale welcomes back George Lister, MD, as the new chair of pediatrics

He plans to shape an environment where people want to launch careers

George Lister, MD

George Lister, MD, a 1973 graduate of the Yale School of Medicine (YSM) and a former member of its pediatrics faculty, will return 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.

Dr. Lister was a member of Yale’s faculty from 1988-2003. He now succeeds Clifford W. Bogue, MD, who has served as interim chair of pediatrics since September 2010.

At the core of Dr. 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. I treasured my time teaching at the medical school, and it was entirely because of the personal relationships,” he said.

Dr. Lister said he saw the opportunity at Yale to build novel programs within the Department of Pediatrics to meet the 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 said. “The most important thing I can do is establish an environment where people want to come and launch their careers, that is challenging, but offers opportunity. I want to seed the department, rather than sod it.”

Providing for underserved children

Dr. Lister joins 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.

While at UT Southwestern, Dr. Lister established a multispecialty consultation network for health care providers to discuss patients with subspecialists at any time for free. The network was created in response to the multitude of underserved patients that Dr. Lister observed—many lacked health insurance or lived far distances from medical centers. He hopes to develop a similar network in the New England area, which will not only provide access to expertise for the communities that Yale serves, but will inform physicians about “the real and present problems in the direct care of patients.”

Dr. Lister was a pediatric resident at Yale-New Haven Hospital 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. Soon after, he established the Section of Critical Care and Applied Physiology in the Department of Pediatrics, and under his leadership the section expanded its clinical and academic activities.

New plans for pediatrics at Yale

At Yale, Dr. Lister will continue his research on monitoring children at risk for sudden infant death, which he has collaborated on with Eve Colson, MD, associate professor of pediatrics, for many years. He hopes to develop a program to launch students interested in pediatrics into careers as physician-scientists, and to build bridges between pediatrics and other departments. In particular, he would like to see collaboration on the diagnosis and treatment of chronic illnesses with childhood-onsets, such as diabetes, congenital heart disease and depression.

Dr. Lister said he looks forward to reconnecting with his “academic siblings” and old friends, sitting in the Beinecke Library, and enjoying New Haven and Yale’s theater and music offerings.