Jeffrey Towbin, MD, Named Director of Cardiology and Co-Director of Heart Institute at Cincinnati Children's

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Dr. Towbin, who comes to Cincinnati Children's from Texas Children's Hospital, has both a clinical focus on diagnostic and therapeutic advances for cardiomyopathies / heart failure, arrhythmias and heart transplantation and cardiovascular genetics.

"Jeff Towbin had led a transformation in our understanding of the causes of arrhythmias and cardiomyopathy by his extensive investigations of the genetic mutations causing these disorders," says Arnold Strauss, MD, Rachford Professor and chair of pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati and director of the Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation. "Jeff's outstanding scientific accomplishments are combined with his clinical skills in cardiac transplantation and leadership of one of the largest pediatric cardiology divisions in America. Jeff is uniquely qualified to co-direct our new Heart Institute with Jeff Robbins, PhD, and to grow our pediatric heart clinical services." 

Dr. Towbin has a long history with Cincinnati Children's and the University of Cincinnati. He earned a bachelor's degree at UC in 1974, and a master's at UC in 1977. He earned an MD at the UC College of Medicine in 1982, followed by his pediatric residency at Cincinnati Children's from 1982-85.

"My goal as co-director of the Heart Institute and director of cardiology is to build the programs of the future that set the standard for cardiac research and patient care," says Dr. Towbin. "This not only includes heart failure and cardiomyopathies, transplant and cardiovascular genetics, but also an adult congenital heart disease program to transition patients from childhood to adult care. Individuals with congenital heart disease are now living well into adulthood and need treatment or surgery that many adult cardiologists do not have extensive experience with. Cincinnati Children's can address this unmet need."

In addition to being chief of cardiology at Texas Children's, Dr. Towbin is co-director of the Cardiovascular Genetics Clinic, director of the Phoebe Willingham Muzzy Pediatric Molecular Cardiology Laboratory, and medical director of the Pediatric Cardiomyopathy and Heart Failure Service. He is also professor of Pediatrics, Cardiovascular Sciences and Molecular and Human Genetics, at Baylor College of Medicine and medical director for the John Welsh Cardiovascular Diagnostic Laboratory at Baylor College of Medicine, St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital and the Texas Heart Institute. Towbin also holds the Texas Children's Hospital Foundation Chair in Cardiac Research.

His accomplishments earned him the 2007 Distinguished Scientist Award (Basic) given by the American College of Cardiology. The award recognizes "major contributions to the advancement of scientific knowledge in the field of cardiovascular disease" and is one of the highest forms of recognition in the field of cardiology.

As a researcher, Towbin's internationally recognized laboratory is heavily funded by the National Institutes of Health. His research has provided new information about genes responsible for congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathies, arrhythmias, and sudden cardiac death. His work has resulted in several diagnostic tests and therapies for both children and adults with congenital heart diseases.

Cincinnati Children's established the Heart Institute earlier this year to transform outcomes for children with heart disease by fully integrating clinical and research capabilities. The resulting free exchange of ideas and discoveries is expected to help define new disease pathways and develop novel treatments for pediatric heart disease. The Heart Institute merges the diverse activities of clinical care, basic laboratory research, education and outcomes improvement, providing the structure and business processes that will not only encourage but also drive the exchange of information between bench and bedside. The Heart Institute is the first of several institutes Cincinnati Children's plans to introduce in the next few years.

"The whole institute concept was the draw for me," says Dr. Towbin. "There's nothing else like it in pediatrics. The structure of the Institute has the potential to build on what we already know on a basic level, to link the basic science to the clinical side. Dr. Strauss is a well-known cardiologist and researcher who ‘gets it.' And Jeff Robbins and I are very much in sync with each other. Our goal is to be successful."

Jeff Robbins, PhD, co-director of the Heart Institute, is also director of the division of molecular cardiovascular genetics at Cincinnati Children's.

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center is one of America's top three children's hospitals for general pediatrics and is highly ranked for its expertise in digestive diseases, respiratory diseases, cancer, neonatal care, heart care and neurosurgery, according to the annual ranking of best children's hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. One of the three largest children's hospitals in the U.S., Cincinnati Children's is affiliated with the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and is one of the top two recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health.

For its achievements in transforming healthcare, Cincinnati Children's is one of six U.S. hospitals since 2002 to be awarded the American Hospital Association-McKesson Quest for Quality Prize® for leadership and innovation in quality, safety and commitment to patient care. The hospital is a national and international referral center for complex cases, so that children with the most difficult-to-treat diseases and conditions receive the most advanced care leading to better outcomes. 

Contact Information

Jim Feuer, 513-636-4656, jim.feuer@cchmc.org