EDITOR’S NOTE:  Dr. Piedimonte will be available for media interviews from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Tuesday, March 21.

Piedimonte Joins WVU as Chair of Pediatrics

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Giovanni Piedimonte, M.D., internationally known as an expert on children’s lung diseases, has been named chair of West Virginia University’s Department of Pediatrics, in the WVU School of Medicine.  He succeeds Norman D. Ferrari III, M.D., who served as interim chair.

Dr. Piedimonte earned his medical degree from the University of Rome School of Medicine in 1986, and also completed a pediatrics residency there. His four years of postdoctoral research training at the Cardiovascular Research Institute of the University of California San Francisco gave him a foundation for both basic and clinical research in the areas of heart and lung disease. He then completed two years of clinical fellowship in pediatric pulmonology at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

“Dr. Piedimonte is an accomplished teacher, physician and researcher, and we are delighted that he has joined our faculty,” said John E. Prescott, M.D., dean of the WVU School of Medicine. “Dr. Piedimonte’s leadership and expertise will raise the level of pediatric health care in West Virginia.”

Dr. Piedimonte joins WVU from the University of Miami, where he established the Division of Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine and was also director of the Asthma Center, the fellowship training program in Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine, and the Cystic Fibrosis Center at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center. He was a member of the University of Miami Department of Pediatrics since 1995, with joint appointments in Medicine and Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology.

“I think West Virginia University has enormous potential for growth. As chair of the Department of Pediatrics, I want to make sure all pediatric subspecialties are represented at WVU,” Dr. Piedimonte said. “My primary goal is that a child with any type of disease in West Virginia will not have to go anywhere out of this state to receive health care. Children should be able to receive any type of general and specialized medical care here at WVU.”

WVU pediatricians see patients – from newborns to teenagers – in the Physicians Office Center and at WVU Children’s Hospital. Last year, they welcomed more than 38,000 young patients in their clinics and treated 7,500 in the hospital.

“Our pediatrics department has a very strong core of specialties that do very well, such as general pediatrics, cardiology, allergy/immunology, intensive care and neonatology. But there are still a few subspecialties that we do not currently offer. There are also several subspecialties with excellent potential that we need to develop, as well as add more depth to our existing programs, “Piedimonte said.

In addition to his duties as chair of pediatrics, Dr. Piedimonte will continue his research at WVU as the school’s first Wyeth Research Scholar. His clinical interests are in childhood asthma, pediatric pulmonology, and cystic fibrosis. His primary area of research is airway disease with a particular focus on asthma, specifically early life viral infections and their effect on long-term pediatric pulmonary disease. He has federal and non-federal research grant support to conduct in vitro cellular studies, in vivo animal studies, as well as clinical research.

Board certified in general pediatrics and pediatric pulmonology, Dr. Piedimonte’s studies of viral respiratory infections’ ability to affect early lung remodeling and long-term pulmonary disease have attracted national and international recognition. He has published extensively and has editorial responsibilities on many major journals. His invitations to speak in the U.S. and abroad are extensive.

“West Virginia University has established clinical and teaching programs, but there is a lot more that can be done in the research field here. I am a physician-scientist, and I have combined patient care with teaching and research throughout my career. My goal is to make WVU become a stronger research institution in order to strengthen further our clinical and teaching operations and continue our quest for excellence into the next decade.”

- WVU -

For more information:
Stacy Wise, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087

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