A photo of Ward Rice.

Ward R. Rice, MD, PhD

  • Attending Neonatologist, Neonatology and Pulmonary Biology
  • Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



The research area I am most interested in is the neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS). The type of issues that my colleagues and I are attempting to solve include lowering the length of hospital stay and reducing the opioid exposure among this infant patient population.

I was led to this specific research area because it has become a major problem nationwide and has specifically been a significant issue in the state of Kentucky, where I have worked.

The patient care I specialize in includes neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome. This work is with infants who have faced opioid exposure in the womb. I was inspired to become a healthcare provider and work with infants because I enjoy being hands-on and taking care of tiny babies and their parents.

I received funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to pursue my research with infants exposed to opioids in the womb.

I have more than 35 years of experience in neonatology. I first began working at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital as a neonatology fellow in 1981. My research has been published in several journals, including American Journal of Perinatology: Neonatal and Maternal-Fetal Medicine and The Journal of Pediatrics.


Buprenorphine pharmacotherapy for the management of neonatal abstinence syndrome in methadone-exposed neonates. Taleghani, AA; Isemann, BT; Rice, WR; Ward, LP; Wedig, KE; Akinbi, HT. 2019; 1:33-38.

Comparison of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Treatment with Sublingual Buprenorphine versus Conventional Opioids. Hall, ES; Rice, WR; Folger, AT; Wexelblatt, SL. American Journal of Perinatology. 2018; 35:405-412.

Creating the Subspecialty Pediatrics Investigator Network. Mink, R; Carraccio, C; High, P; Dammann, C; McGann, KA; Kesselheim, J; Herman, B; Pitts, S; Baffa, G; Turner, DA; et al. Journal of Pediatrics. 2018; 192:3-4.e2.

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