Monday, November 05, 2018
SLCH | Mark Shen, MD, MBA, will officially step into his new role as president of St. Louis Children’s Hospital on Nov. 12. Here, he answers several questions for BJC TODAY readers.
Q. Why did you see this as a great opportunity?
A. St. Louis Children’s is one of the oldest pediatric institutions in the country with an amazing track record and one of the top academic partners you could ask for in Washington University. These two institutions serve people well beyond St. Louis, nationally and internationally.
I don’t think there are many other pediatric institutions that can offer everything that St. Louis Children’s has to offer in the country. From my perspective as a pediatrician and somebody who has always had a passion for advocating for what’s best for kids, this was a relatively easy choice for me.
Q. What’s something that stood out during your interviewing process?
A. Everybody said that St. Louis is a great place for families, with great neighborhoods, schools and attractions. There are great things to do for kids, and I have two small children who are 5 and 8. I plan on spending a lot of time at the hospital, but right after that I plan on spending a lot of time in the community and with my children as well.
Q. In your current position, you oversee pediatric care for multiple sites in Texas. Here, SLCH is no longer just a hospital, but a network of locations throughout St. Louis in Missouri and Illinois. Is that something that attracted you?
A. Yes. Children’s hospitals are the pinnacle of pediatric care. But if we look at how kids are cared for as a whole, and we look at what children’s hospitals are doing across the country, children’s hospitals are really children’s systems.
So, in many ways, what St. Louis Children’s is doing is sort of a microcosm of what BJC is doing with outposts all over the community as well. That’s something that’s very important for us to remember and advocate for.
We’re much more than just one tall medical building where all the complex care happens. We’re seeing children in primary care. We’re seeing them together with our Washington University partners at specialty visits. And in line with where health care is going, we’ve got to figure out how to provide the best care in the most efficient and affordable way.
Q. Where did you grow up?
A. I was born in Cleveland, Ohio. I like to say I still root for all Cleveland professional sports teams, and it tells you something about my resilience (until recently, Cleveland teams usually have losing seasons).
My dad was in the oil business, so we moved to Saudi Arabia, and it was a bit like small-town Texas, a precursor for the future. We lived in an American compound that had everything you might have in a very small town. I went to high school in Connecticut and college in California. Been in Texas ever since, for medical school, my residency and my most recent system role in Austin.
Q. Looking forward to your first day here Nov. 12, how do you prefer people refer to you?
A. I would love for people to call me Mark. I will dedicate my entire time to my new role as president of St. Louis Children’s, and I will not be in practice as a pediatrician. I know St. Louis Children’s has a warm and friendly culture, and I look forward to meeting everyone in the hospital and throughout the community.
Q. Why did you go into pediatrics?
A. I chose pediatrics because I have always marveled at the resilience and constant happiness of children.
It continually amazes me that children, even when sick and in the hospital, smile at the silliest things and simply want to play. You might say that being a pediatrician has allowed me to connect with my inner child.
Q. Would you share some of your personal favorites?
Number of views (1749)/Comments (2)
11/5/2018 1:55 PM
I hope you try out for American Ninja Warrior, I love that show .
Congratulations on your new position, I have faith you will bring nothing but excellence to the hospital.
11/7/2018 12:12 PM
very pleasant read! Congratulations on your new position!