Most people call him Dr. Strauss. But some know him as “Dr. Sneakers.”
“Well, I used to be a bit of a rebel,” chuckles Arnold Strauss, MD, chair of pediatrics at the UC College of Medicine. “I didn’t wear dress shoes until I was 40.”
Strauss grins as he looks at the gold placard on his desk which displays the treasured nickname. It lies between two, tiny shoes, decorated with zoo animals.
“They started calling me that during my post-doctoral fellowship with Merck around 1975,” says Strauss, who also serves as chief medical officer at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “It says ‘Dr. Strauss’ on the other side, but I like to keep my ‘Dr. Sneakers’ showing.
“It reminds me not to take myself too seriously.”
Although Strauss keeps himself in check, there is no doubt he is taking the future of pediatrics at UC and Cincinnati Children’s to heart.
The former chair of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University, Strauss is working diligently to strengthen ties between UC and Cincinnati Children’s—a move that could impact local medicine in a very substantial way.
Strauss joined the teams at UC and Cincinnati Children’s roughly seven months ago and has since become one of the main players
in developing a joint cancer program, a collaboration among UC, Cincinnati Children’s and University Hospital (UH).
“This is our first major clinical undertaking,” says Strauss. “Our long-term goal is to have an National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored comprehensive cancer center with specialized programs of research excellence, or SPOREs.”
Strauss says he hopes to expand the collaborative efforts and create joint centers that focus on diabetes and obesity.
“Transitional care for children who have chronic diseases is our main goal,” he says, noting that he also wants to concentrate on conditions such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease and epilepsy.
“All of these problems are life-threatening, difficult to treat and may affect children for the rest of their lives,” he adds.
Strauss says that having UC and Cincinnati Children’s working together is necessary for this type of transitional and translational care.
“Research is a huge part of what we do,” he says. “It is our foundation. To treat an illness, we must first discover why it occurs and consider genetic and environmental impact.
“Collaborating with the university is a natural fit.”
Strauss says he was first inspired to pursue pediatrics as a medical student at Washington University in St. Louis.
“I thought I wanted to be a neurosurgeon at first,” he says. “But being around kids made me realize what I really wanted to do. Kids are honest, straight-forward and resilient. They are so courageous.”
But why would this Michigan native and father-of-two select Cincinnati?
“This is the best place in the country for someone interested in pediatrics and the future of the field,” he says. “Cincinnati has one of the biggest children’s hospitals with the most resources, and most importantly, it is very focused on helping children.
“Better yet, it has UC as a partner,” he continues.
Strauss says he and David Stern, MD, dean of the College of Medicine, speak almost every day to keep each other up-to-date on actions occurring within both institutions.
“We both firmly believe that interactions and collaborations between the College of Medicine and Children’s do and will make this a much stronger place—helping with recruitment of faculty, raising funds and improving patient care for children who transition to an adult care provider,” he says. “It is clear that the opportunities here are tremendous and we can make our goals realities.”
Arnold Strauss, MD, is improving local pediatric care by tightening UC’s relationship with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.