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Dr. William Oh named 2012 Legend of Neonatology

William Oh, MD, former chief of pediatrics at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, was recently inducted into the Legends of Neonatology Hall of Fame which was established in 2007. Dr. Oh was one of two physicians inducted this year for contributions to the care of the critically ill neonate.

Later this month, Dr. Oh will also receive another prestigious award, the Maureen Andrews Mentorship Award, from the Society for Pediatric Research, during its annual meeting in Boston, in recognition of his mentoring career. In the past four decades, Dr. Oh has trained more than 80 neonatologists who are now leaders in their fields all over the world.

Dr. Oh is one of the founders of the field of neonatal medicine and has been a leader in teaching about metabolism, minerals, and fluids and electrolytes in the newborn infant.

"This is such an honor for Dr. Oh and his colleagues at Women & Infants and Brown," said Constance A. Howes, president and CEO of Women & Infants. "The contributions that Dr. Oh has made to the field of neonatology are extraordinary. He has impacted the care and caring of some of the tiniest, frailest babies and has paved the way for incredible discoveries and improvements in the care that we provide here and globally."

Originally trained in the Phillipines where he received his medical degree, Dr. Oh came to the US in 1958, doing a pediatric residency at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, where he became chief resident and a research fellow in neonatology. From 1964 to 1966, he initiated a series of research projects at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm that resulted in one of the first series of papers to examine neonatal blood pressure, neonatal blood volume, neonatal hemodynamics, and neonatal renal function.

Dr. Oh became director of Neonatology at Michael Reese Hospital in 1966 and in 1969 joined the faculty as chief of Neonatology at Harbor General Hospital in California until 1974. In 1975, Dr. Oh left California to become pediatrician-in-chief of Women & Infants Hospital and professor of Pediatrics and Obstetrics at Brown University, where he was appointed chairman of the Department of Pediatrics in 1989. During this highly productive part of his career, Dr. Oh published virtually non-stop in a number of areas of neonatal medicine.

He continued his efforts at understanding neonatal blood pressure, the role of acid-base balance upon abnormal fetal heart rate patterns and neonatal well-being, the effects of insensible water loss upon neonatal metabolism, nutritional well-being in neonates, neonatal glucose metabolism, intrauterine growth retardation, neonatal renal function, bilirubin toxicity, and many other issues.

Increasingly, Dr. Oh has become interested in long-term neurodevelopmental outcome following neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) hospitalization and has been a leading figure in the NICHD Neonatal Network. He has won numerous major awards and honors, including the Apgar Award of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Oh has long been focused on one of the key areas of modern medicine, namely improving outcomes for neonates, and has contributed as much as any living neonatologist in that regard.

Contact: Amy Blustein
Women & Infants Hospital

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