Shari Barkin, M.D. MSHSIt is with great excitement that we announce Shari Barkin, MD, MSHS, has been named physician-in-chief of Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at VCU School of Medicine. Dr. Barkin currently serves as chief of the Division of General Pediatrics, William K. Warren Foundation Endowed Chair of the Department of Pediatrics, founding and executive director of the Nashville Collaborative and director of pediatric obesity research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. She is also a professor of health policy at Vanderbilt. Dr. Barkin will join our team on August 1.

Leading our tri-part mission in pediatrics

Dr. Barkin is an internationally recognized leader in academic pediatrics and embodies our tri-part mission in her work to care, educate and innovate. She rose to the top of our national search for an innovative physician leader, and we’re thrilled to have her at the helm of pediatrics during a time of exciting growth. Dr. Barkin is mission-driven, community-oriented and will play a pivotal role in the continued advancement of children’s health at CHoR and across the Commonwealth. She’s deeply committed to supporting her colleagues and approaches this leadership role with respect, grace and a collaborative team approach. We have no doubt we’ll deliver on our promise to our patients, community colleagues and learners with an enthusiastic, pragmatic and seasoned physician like Dr. Barkin leading the charge.

What brought Dr. Barkin to CHoR and VCU? In her words – our people.

“CHoR is at an inflection point that has the potential to transform children’s health and health care in Virginia and serve as a model for others. VCU and CHoR will advance the health of all kids across the lifespan by using the technologies of today and the tools of academia. It’s always about people for me. What captured my excitement for VCU after 15 years of loving my work and colleagues at Vanderbilt, were the people and possibilities for innovation and impact. I see in VCU and CHoR the remarkable commitment of high integrity people who are ready to roll their sleeves up and do this work, and I look forward to supporting and building strong teams to do just that.”

Hailing from one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals

As chief of the Division of General Pediatrics at Vanderbilt, Dr. Barkin leads a team of 40 providers, a talented research team and a vibrant community-academic partnership that has launched more than 17 research projects to improve the health of children and families in community and clinical settings. She is a dedicated mentor to medical students from Meharry Medical College, Vanderbilt University and through the Society of Pediatric Research Young Investigator Coaching Program. She also maintains a clinical practice. Trained as a health services and health outcomes researcher, Dr. Barkin is best known for conducting pragmatic randomized controlled trials in community and clinical settings, undertaken in collaboration with parents and community partners to address health disparities in public health issues, like obesity and youth violence prevention. She applies a life course and family-based approach, striving to disrupt chronic diseases multi-generationally.

Dr. Barkin’s leadership roles and accolades

The list is long! Highlights include:

  • President, Society for Pediatric Research
  • Chair, NIH’s Childhood Obesity Prevention and Treatment Research Consortium
  • Clinical and Translational Science Awards Child Health Oversight Consortium
  • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Advisory Council
  • Election to the National Academy of Medicine, one of the greatest honors in academic medicine
  • Levi Watkins Jr. Award for advancing diversity and equity at Vanderbilt
  • Pediatrician of the Year by the Tennessee Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Academic Pediatric Association Research Award

Dr. Barkin received her medical degree from the University of Cincinnati and completed her pediatric residency at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars fellowship in health services research at UCLA. She joined Vanderbilt in 2006 from Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

Leading CHoR and the Department of Pediatrics

Dr. Barkin will lead a faculty of more than 230 physicians across 50 pediatric specialties. Her leadership will be critical in the opening of our new children’s tower and our continued growth to expand the teams and programs that impact children’s health.

Fun facts

In addition to her expertise in pediatric medicine, Dr. Barkin is also an accomplished professional dancer and music enthusiast. She has three children.

A huge thanks to Dr. Karen Hendricks-Muñoz

We would not be making this exciting announcement without the steadfast support and leadership of Dr. Karen Hendricks-Muñoz, who has served as interim chair and physician-in-chief since October 2021. Karen was also critical in our search for a physician leader. Please join us in thanking Karen for her unwavering support of the Department, our providers and the entire CHoR team. She will continue to serve as interim until Dr. Barkin joins us. At that time, Karen will resume her role as chief of the Division of Neonatal Medicine and Inaugural William Tate Graham Professor of Neonatal Medicine.
We look forward to welcoming Dr. Barkin to the team in August!


David Chelmow, M.D.
Interim dean, VCU School of Medicine
Interim executive vice president for medical affairs, VCU Health

Elias Neujahr, MHA, MBA
President, CHoR