College of

Dean's Update


Dear College of Human Medicine Faculty, Staff, Students and Alumni,

Please join me in welcoming B. Keith English, M.D. as Chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Human Development. Dr. English is currently Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis.  He has served on the faculty of UTHSC and the staff of Le Bonheur for 23 years.

Dr. English earned his B.A. in general science summa cum laude at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and was an Alpha Omega Alpha graduate of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.  He then completed his pediatric residency and chief residency at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital, followed by a research fellowship in pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital, where he worked in the laboratory of Chris Wilson. His laboratory studies macrophage responses to Gram-positive bacteria including pneumococci, group A and group B streptococci, andStaphylococcus aureus.  He is the author of 65 peer-reviewed publications and several textbook chapters.


Dr. English is very involved with medical student, resident and fellow education. He has been a member of the Committee on Resident Education since 1992 and a member of the Intern Selection Committee for the pediatric and medicine-pediatric residency programs since 1999.  He was the Le Bonheur site director for the Le Bonheur/St. Jude/UTHSC joint fellowship training program in Pediatric Infectious Disease for over 15 years. He is particularly proud of winning the residents’ “Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital Teaching Award” on three occasions.


In the areas of pediatric research and academic pediatrics, Dr. English has held several leadership roles, including secretary-treasurer and president in the Southern Society for Pediatric Research; the American Board of Pediatrics, Pediatric ID sub-board member from 2008-2013; and pediatric ID sub-board chair in 2012 and 2013. He is a member of the American Pediatric Society, the Society for Pediatric Research, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society.  He served as the sole U.S. representative on the Scientific Organizing Committee that planned the 2012 meeting of the European Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases in The Hague.


Dr. English has worked closely with local and regional physicians and community leaders during his career. He played a leading role in helping the Memphis community respond to the 2009 H1N1 influenza A pandemic, and was honored for these efforts with three awards:  the Memphis Business Journal’s 2010 “Health Care Heroes” award, the 2010 “Meritorious Service by a Physician” award from the Tennessee Hospital Association, and the Tennessee chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ 2010 “Pediatrician of the Year” award.


Dr. English and his wife Marie look forward to moving to Michigan this summer.  They have two daughters. Emily is an intern in Obstetrics-Gynecology at Stanford, and Elizabeth is working on a master’s degree in Comparative Religions at the University of Edinburgh and will enter a Ph.D. program in Comparative Religions at McGill University this fall.


Dr. English will join us officially in September, but he will be participating in many Department, College, University and hospital activities during the spring and summer. Please introduce one another, our College and our communities to Dr. English and his family when you meet.


Please also join me in thanking Dr. Renuka Gera for her commitment and devotion to the Department, our medical students and our residents as she juggled the responsibilities of Interim Chair and Community Assistant Dean. We are grateful for her integrity, her leadership and her spirit of generosity. We strive to instill the qualities of compassion, humility and mercy in all of our learners and within ourselves. Dr. Gera embodies these values and “walks the talk!”


We look forward to growth, innovation and partnerships across our campuses, College and University. The Department of Pediatrics and Human Development will be a leading edge in capturing these opportunities.


Marsha D. Rappley, M.D.

Dean, College of Human Medicine