At a special ceremony celebrating the life of philanthropist Joseph E. Robert, Jr. on Feb. 24, Children's National installed Dr. Eugenie Heitmiller as the Joseph E. Robert, Jr. Professor of Anesthesiology. Dr. Heitmiller is the division chief of Anesthesiology, Sedation, and Preoperative Medicine at Children's National.
The professorship will allow Dr. Heitmiller and her team to strive toward a number of perioperative improvements including the development of an anesthetic that doesn’t carry neurotoxicity, making the process less stressful for kids. Her team also focuses on making accommodations for children with special needs and assessing the perioperative pain management differences in Spanish-speaking children.
“Genie Heitmiller has dedicated her life to making sure kids experience less pain and anxiety when facing surgery, and has remained at the frontlines of the movement to improve patient safety and healthcare quality,” said Dr. Mark Batshaw, the chief academic officer and Fight for Children Professor of Academic Medicine at Children's National. “I am honored to welcome her to the distinguished legacy that Joe Robert left behind as she launches innovative, bold initiatives in anesthesiology for children around the world.”
A graduate of the Georgetown School of Medicine, Dr. Heitmiller came to Children’s as a nationally recognized leader in pediatric anesthesiology with three decades of experience working at Johns Hopkins Hospital building programs, mentoring faculty, and improving patient care. While at Hopkins, Dr. Heitmiller focused on cardiac anesthesia, and has published work on topics covering the management of patients with compromised airways, and system issues surrounding anesthesia, leading to the development and implementation of new quality control processes. Dr. Heitmiller is a founding charter member of the National Congenital Cardiac Anesthesia Society, and helped found federally certified patient safety organization, “Wake-Up Safe.” Dr. Heitmiller also holds a chair position on the Quality and Safety Committee for the Society of Pediatric Anesthesia.
In accepting the honor, Dr. Heitmiller said, “Although I was not able to meet Joe Robert, I am honored to be given the opportunity to serve as a professor of anesthesiology, in his name. I share Joe Robert’s vision of children’s health and innovation, and hope to work toward that in the spirit of forward thinking and leadership.”
The professorship is named for Joseph E. Robert, Jr., whose generosity and vision helped transform Children’s National into a medical and research system with international reach. His philanthropic support helped create the Joseph E. Robert, Jr. Center for Surgical Care, and he was instrumental in building support to establish the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. In 2014, Dr. Diego Preciado was installed as the Joseph E. Robert Jr., Professor in Pediatric Otolaryngology, which allowed him to dedicate time to develop research and break ground with innovative methods to treat middle ear infections, one of the most common conditions that require children to have surgery.