LITTLE ROCK, AR. (Oct. 14, 2020) – Arkansas Children’s has named Frederick (Rick) E. Barr, MD, MBA to the position of executive vice president and chief clinical and academic officer for the state’s only pediatric health system. 

He joins the Arkansas Children’s leadership team in a new executive role created to elevate physician leadership and bridge operational, clinical and academic pursuits across the system and state.

Since October 2017, Dr. Barr has served as chair of the Department of Pediatrics and associate dean for child health in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Medicine, as well as pediatrician in chief for Arkansas Children’s and interim president of the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute.

Dr. Barr will transition to the new role on November 16, 2020. He also will hold the Jonathan R. Bates, MD Endowed Chair for Improving Child Health through Arkansas Children’s and will remain an adjunct professor in the UAMS College of Medicine.

“It’s a pleasure to invite Dr. Barr into this new Arkansas Children’s executive leadership role,” said Marcy Doderer, FACHE, President & CEO of Arkansas Children’s. “Dr. Barr knows only too well that our physician partners are essential to keeping our promise of unprecedented child health, defined and delivered. I have every confidence that his experiences at both Arkansas Children’s and UAMS will serve him well as he provides leadership, guidance and support to our entire team.”

Since 2017, Dr. Barr has led the recruitment of multiple new pediatric faculty members, including 10 new division chiefs leading their fields in general pediatrics and pediatric specialties.

“I am so excited about this next step in our pursuit of a healthier tomorrow for the children of Arkansas and beyond. While my background is in clinical and translational research, and most recently indicators of population health, our current work of advancing patient care, building community and championing excellence is some of the most inspiring of my career,” Barr said. “I can sense the momentum at Arkansas Children’s. The team and I understand that our success will be fueled by digital transformation, effective statewide partnerships and promotion of a child first agenda. UAMS and Arkansas Children’s have made significant advancements, and I am excited to help lead this new strategic framework.

Dr. Barr also co-directed the formation of the child health practice collaborative to oversee and guide activity at and between Arkansas Children’s and UAMS including physician operations, clinic operations, research, education and finance subcommittees.

“Dr. Barr has provided outstanding leadership during his three years as Chair of the College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, and he will be a superb asset to Arkansas Children’s in his new role,” said Christopher T. Westfall, MD, FACS, executive vice chancellor of UAMS and dean of the college. “We look forward to continuing our work and partnership with Rick and the entire Arkansas Children’s team as we strive to improve the health of children across Arkansas. “I have initiated efforts on behalf of the College of Medicine regarding the appointment of an interim chair of Pediatrics as well as the search for our next Chair,” Dr. Westfall said. 

A track record of nearly continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health has been a hallmark of Barr’s career since 2003, as he previously served as co-principal investigator of the Mississippi Pediatric Clinical Trials Center and the Arkansas Center for Advancing Pediatric Therapeutics. Both centers participate in the 18-site IDeA States Pediatric Clinical Trials Network, an NIH initiative overseen by the UAMS-based Data Coordinating and Operations Center. Dr. Barr previously served faculty positions at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center.

Dr. 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, continuing 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 received a Master of Science in Clinical Investigation. He earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2018.


Arkansas Children's, Inc. is the only healthcare system in the state solely dedicated to caring for Arkansas' more than 700,000 children. 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 — all focused on fulfilling a promise to define and deliver unprecedented child health. 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 (ACS); the state’s only magnetoencephalography (MEG) system for neurosurgical planning and cutting-edge research; and the state's only nationally recognized pediatric transport program. Additionally, ACH is nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report in four pediatric subspecialties (2020—2021): Cardiology & Heart Surgery, Nephrology, Pulmonology and Urology. ACH is one of only five hospitals in the nation that have achieved Magnet Status, ACS Level 1 verification and a Beacon award from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. 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 deliver on its promise of unprecedented child health. To learn more, visit


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.