LITTLE ROCK — Frederick “Rick” E. Barr, M.D., will join the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) as chair of the Department of Pediatrics and associate dean for child health in the UAMS College of Medicine, as well as pediatrician-in-chief for Arkansas Children’s, effective Oct. 1.

“Dr. Barr epitomizes the leader we have been seeking to take our already strong Department of Pediatrics to the next level as we continue to work with our partners at Arkansas Children’s in pursuit of better health for the children of Arkansas,” said Pope L. Moseley, M.D., dean of the College of Medicine and executive vice chancellor at UAMS.

“It’s a pleasure for us to welcome Dr. Barr to such an important role in championing children,” said Arkansas Children’s President & CEO Marcy Doderer. “We look forward to collaborating to change the story for Arkansas, making it the safest and healthiest state to be a child. Our physician partners will have a fine leader and families will find a true advocate in Dr. Barr.”

Barr succeeds Richard F. Jacobs, M.D., who retired June 30 after 35 years of service on the faculty at UAMS and Arkansas Children’s, including 11 years as chair of the Department of Pediatrics.

Barr called Jacobs a leader in the field and said he considers Jacobs a mentor.

“I’m very excited to be joining the team,” Barr said. “I have a lot of respect for the faculty there and the team Dr. Jacobs has built – it’s a fabulous opportunity to serve the Department of Pediatrics, UAMS, and Arkansas Children’s – the whole organization. I see myself as stepping into this role as part of a highly functioning team, and I hope to contribute to that team while also being part of something bigger than UAMS and Arkansas Children’s — improving the health of children in Arkansas.”

Barr, a pediatric critical care specialist, is currently the Suzan B. Thames endowed professor, chair of the Department of Pediatrics and senior associate dean for Graduate Medical Education at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. He is also physician-in-chief at Children’s of Mississippi/Batson Children’s Hospital, where he has served since 2011.

Moseley said Barr is an accomplished physician-scientist with extensive clinical leadership experience and an exceptionally strong background in research.

“He understands how crucial research is to improving the health and health care of Arkansas’ children,” Moseley said. “A key area of research expansion for us and our faculty colleagues in the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute will be in data-driven population health research. Additionally, Dr. Barr has shown proven results at improving access to high-quality pediatric care. Under his leadership, Children’s of Mississippi greatly expanded its reach throughout the state, and he nearly doubled the number of Department of Pediatrics faculty.”

Barr is also principal investigator for the Mississippi Pediatric Clinical Trials Center, one of 17 sites in the IDeA States Pediatric Clinical Trials Network, the National Institutes of Health initiative being overseen by the Data Coordinating and Operations Center established through a $41.8 million grant to UAMS in September.

“My background is in clinical and translational research, but I have more recently focused on indicators of population health, which includes social determinants of health and many of these are not necessarily medical,” Barr said. “To address the whole picture of health, it requires building statewide collaborations with other physicians. UAMS and Arkansas Children’s have made significant advancements in this area, and I am ready to pursue the next steps. We will need to expand partnerships with people outside the medical profession, including those in education, social services, government, and other fields to have a positive impact on child health. I’ve built those kind of connections in Mississippi and I think they’ll be even better in Arkansas.” 

Barr previously served on the faculty at Vanderbilt University from 1995 to 2010. He was chief of the Division of Pediatric Critical Care from 2007 to 2010. He also served as co-director of Vanderbilt University Master’s in Clinical Investigation Program, a component of Vanderbilt’s National Institutes of Health Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA). In 2010-2011 he was an endowed professor of Pediatric Critical Care and director of the Clinical and Translational Research Center, a CTSA-funded program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the University of Cincinnati.

Barr received his undergraduate degree in animal and veterinary science at West Virginia University in 1984 and his medical degree from the University of Virginia in 1988. He completed his residency in pediatrics at Vanderbilt. Barr continued his training with a clinical fellowship in pediatric critical care at the University of California San Francisco, where he was also a research fellow in the Cardiovascular Research Institute. While on the faculty at Vanderbilt in 2002 he obtained a Master’s of Science in clinical investigation.

About UAMS

UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprise including its hospital, regional clinics and clinics it operates or staffs in cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report named UAMS Medical Center the state’s Best Hospital; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide; and named six areas as high performing — cancer, colon cancer surgery, heart failure, hip replacement, knee replacement and lung cancer surgery. UAMS has 2,727 students, 870 medical residents and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.

About Arkansas Children’s

Arkansas Children's, Inc. is the only healthcare system in the state solely dedicated to caring for Arkansas' 710,000 children, giving the organization a unique ability to shape the landscape of pediatric care in Arkansas and transform the health of children throughout the region. The private, non-profit organization includes two pediatric hospitals, a pediatric research institute and USDA nutrition center, a philanthropic foundation, a nursery alliance, statewide clinics, and many education and outreach programs.

Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) is a 336-bed, Magnet-recognized facility in Little Rock operating the state’s only Level I pediatric trauma center; the state's only burn center; the state's only Level IV neonatal intensive care unit; the state's only pediatric intensive care unit; the state’s only pediatric surgery program with Level 1 verification from the American College of Surgeons; and the state's only nationally recognized pediatric transport program. Additionally, ACH is nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report in five pediatric subspecialties (2019-2020): Cardiology & Heart Surgery, Nephrology, Neurology & Neurosurgery, Orthopedics and Pulmonology. Arkansas Children’s Northwest (ACNW), the first and only pediatric hospital in the Northwest Arkansas region, opened in Springdale in early 2018. ACNW operates a 24-bed inpatient unit; a surgical unit with five operating rooms; outpatient clinics offering over 20 subspecialties; diagnostic services; imaging capabilities; occupational therapy services; and Northwest Arkansas' only pediatric emergency department, equipped with 30 exam rooms. Generous philanthropic and volunteer engagement has sustained Arkansas Children's since it began as an orphanage in 1912, and today ensures the system can fundamentally transform the health of children in Arkansas and beyond. To learn more, visit