Cynthia F. Bearer, MD, PhD, Appointed Chief, Division of Neonatology at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital

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Cynthia F. Bearer, MD, PhD, has been appointed Chief of the Division of Neonatology at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital (UH Rainbow) and the William & Lois Briggs Professor of Pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

Cynthia Bearer, MD, PhDCynthia Bearer, MD, PhD

She comes to UH Rainbow from the University of Maryland, where she served as Chief, Division of Neonatology since 2009, and Associate Chair of Research since 2012. Dr. Bearer is currently editor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed journal Pediatric Research.

“Dr. Bearer is a renowned physician researcher, who spent fourteen years of her impressive career caring for neonates at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, and teaching the next generation of clinicians at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine,” says Marlene R. Miller, MD, MSc, Pediatrician-in-Chief, UH, and Chair, Department of Pediatrics, CWRU School of Medicine. “We are pleased to have her leadership and expertise in neonatology back in Cleveland.” 

Dr. Bearer earned her PhD in biochemistry from CWRU, and her MD from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She became an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at CWRU School of Medicine in 1994, where she was promoted to Professor of Pediatrics with tenure, while on the medical staff at UH Rainbow. She was recruited to University of Maryland School of Medicine in 2008, and was quickly promoted to Chief, Division of Neonatology, and later Associate Chair for Research.

Dr. Bearer is an active researcher and has published extensively on fetal and pediatric environmental health. Her research has received funding from NIH, CDC and U.S. EPA. Notably, she established fatty acid ethyl esters as a biomarker for both in utero exposure to ethanol and impact on neurocognitive outcomes, and she holds a patent on this technology.

Her lab is currently studying the impact of environmental and endogenous solvents on the developing brain using both cellular and animal models. In addition, Dr. Bearer is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health / National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to study the impact of bilirubin and hypoxic ischemic injury on membrane micro domains. 

Dr. Bearer has published in 10 scientific book chapters, and more than 90 peer reviewed articles. A member of the American Pediatrics Society, the European Society for Paediatric Research, and the Society for Pediatric Research, she is frequently invited to speak nationally and internationally. She has served on the Committee to Evaluate Children’s Health of the National Academy of Science, is past President of the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Study Group, and has served on the Scientific Advisory Board for the U.S. EPA.

Dr. Bearer is a past Chair of the Board for the Children’s Environmental Health Network, a Smith College Medalist, and has been recognized as “Best Doctors in America” since 2017. In addition, she is the 2019 recipient of the Children’s Environmental Health Network’s Science Award.

UH Rainbow is currently ranked seventh in the nation for neonatology by U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals annual rankings. UH Rainbow has long been regarded as an international leader in the treatment of critically ill and extremely low birth-weight babies since pioneering neonatology in the 1960s, culminating in opening one of the nation’s first family-centered NICUs with space for parents to stay with their baby, UH Rainbow’s Quentin & Elisabeth Alexander Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

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