Sokol Named Chief Scientific Officer, Child HealthFeb 7, 2022
Children’s Hospital Colorado, the University of Colorado School of Medicine (CU School of Medicine) and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (CU Anschutz Medical Campus) remain on a journey to advance child health research.
Today we have reached a significant milestone as we announce that Ronald J. Sokol, MD has accepted the role of Chief Scientific Officer, Child Health, effective May 1, 2022. An expert in pediatric liver disease and pediatric liver transplantation at the Digestive Health Institute and in the section of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Dr. Sokol is an accomplished clinician, researcher, mentor, administrator, advocate, and leader. As the Chief Scientific Officer, Child Health, he will lead the child health research enterprise on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.
After conducting an extensive search among experts from across the scientific research continuum, Dr. Sokol’s leadership, track record of success, and collaborative nature exemplifies our shared vision for our future. We are confident that he will profoundly transform the lives of children and the populations we serve, strengthening our campus partnership and affirming our commitment to child health research.
Dr. Sokol co-founded the Pediatric Liver Center – one of the first pediatric liver centers in the United States – to integrate high-quality multidisciplinary pediatric hepatology care, including pediatric surgery and nutrition, with clinical and translational research. He has run a basic science laboratory on campus for more than 35 years, and led translational and clinical research related to pediatric gastroenterology and hepatology, publishing more than 280 original articles and 125 book chapters or review articles. A major focus of Dr. Sokol’s research has been defining the causes, development, best management strategies, and outcomes of infant and childhood liver diseases. He has five patents related to the use of antioxidants in the treatment of cholestasis, and his research discoveries have changed the way we diagnose and treat cholestasis-induced vitamin E deficiency in children and adults. Dr. Sokol has been invited to give more than 380 presentations around the world and he has received numerous national and international awards and honors.
A National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded investigator since 1986, Dr. Sokol has received more than $200 million in grant support to date. He was responsible for CU Anschutz Medical Campus receiving the largest biomedical research and training grant from the NIH in the state’s history – $76 million in 2008, which founded the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI). That grant was renewed in 2013 and again in 2018 when it received a five-year renewal with $46.5 million in NIH support. As of 2018, total funding from the NIH to the CCTSI exceeds $187 million. Dr. Sokol will continue to lead the CCTSI as Director and Principal Investigator.
Dr. Sokol is a strong advocate for collaborative research. He has chaired the steering committee of the NIH-funded Childhood Liver Disease Research Network (ChiLDReN), a network of 14 leading centers in North America studying nine rare childhood liver diseases, since 2002. The CU Anschutz Medical Campus offers a unique opportunity for collaboration by bringing together on one campus expert researchers, clinicians, and educators to serve our community. In his new role, Dr. Sokol will oversee basic, translational, clinical and population health research activities related to child health research on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.
Advances in clinical care are based in breakthrough research and innovation. The research we do today will become the treatments we deliver tomorrow. Dr. Sokol will help ensure that we have efficient and effective research infrastructure needed to improve our understanding of childhood disease and to bring lifesaving treatments to the bedside.
Dr. Sokol will have the honor of holding the inaugural endowed chair for this new position. As the Bruce and Bev Wagner Family Endowed Chair for Child Health Research, Dr. Sokol will encourage innovative, cutting-edge pediatric research that leads to better care for children everywhere. We are incredibly grateful to the Wagner family for their dedication to solving the most challenging problems facing child health, today and for generations to come.
The Chief Scientific Officer’s Focus
The role of Chief Scientific Officer, Child Health on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus is responsible for:
• Building and coordinating child health research activities on campus
• Developing strategies to deepen and broaden our scientific programs and the core services supporting them
• Facilitating transdisciplinary, cross-campus collaboration to stimulate advances in scientific areas of emphasis
• Developing faculty retention and recruitment strategies
• Defining strategic and operational priorities for child health research
We extend our appreciation to Frederick Suchy, MD, Children’s Colorado’s Senior Research Strategist and Professor of Pediatrics-Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at the CU School of Medicine. In 2008, he was tasked with developing the Children’s Colorado Research Institute to support child health investigators at the hospital. Our portfolio of industry-sponsored research and clinical trials has grown under Dr. Suchy’s leadership, and we’ll continue to build on the infrastructure and research support that he helped develop as we now bring together all child health research across the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.
In his new role, Dr. Sokol will participate in executive leadership for the CU School of Medicine and Children’s Colorado.