Mary Dobbins and Christopher McDowell

Leading to excellence: Dobbins & McDowell to direct professional development

Published Date:

The SIU Medicine Center for Human and Organizational Potential has announced that Mary Dobbins, MD, and Chris McDowell, MD, will become the new co-directors of the cHOP Leadership and Excellence Pillar. They will begin their work on March 1, 2022.
The new co-directors’ goals for the cHOP Pillar for Leadership and Excellence are to:

  • Provide opportunities for professional development, personal growth and collaborative partnerships for all of those employed by the School of Medicine
  • Facilitate the individual’s ability to develop, influence and implement a spectrum of constructive professional activities
  • Address systemic concerns, promote a healthy workplace culture, enhance employee engagement and job satisfaction, and unite efforts toward a common vision of an effective, resilient, and innovative organization

Dr. Mary Dobbins is a professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, where she serves as the director of behavioral health and integrated care initiatives.

A graduate of SIU School of Medicine, she completed a residency in pediatrics at the University of Missouri before returning to join SIU as a faculty member in the Department of Pediatrics. There she worked closely with the Office of Medical Education to develop nursery and lactation management curriculum, and helped lead the effort to obtain “Baby Friendly” WHO certification for St. John’s Hospital.
Expanding upon her work in pediatrics, Dobbins completed a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Iowa, where she also served as visiting faculty in developmental pediatrics. She then completed a residency in general psychiatry at SIU, serving the program as chief resident.

Returning to SIU as a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry, she worked closely with telehealth and the Rural Health Initiative to create the first telepsychiatry programming at SIU. She served as division chief for child and adolescent psychiatry, helped form the Child Psychiatry Fellowship program, and created the Child Psychiatry Consultation and Liaison service for primary care clinics and schools.

The work in consultation led to collaboration with Memorial Behavioral Health to assist in the development of the MOSAIC mental health support program for the Springfield school district and to bring integrated care models of service to SIU. To further develop the latter, Dobbins then transitioned into her current position in the Department of Family and Community Medicine.

In this capacity, Dobbins has assisted with the development of several new programs, serving as the medical director of the Survivor Recovery Center (for survivors of interpersonal violence) and as consultant for the Complex Care Clinic (for persons with complex medical and social needs), the Kids Health Harbor Program (for youth in foster care) and the Gender Equity Clinic (for LGBTQ+ persons).

Dr. Dobbins’ academic interest lies in teaching interprofessional teams of learners. In addition to her work with residents, fellows and faculty members, she has assisted in the creation of student electives, externships and internships.

Dobbins’ main professional interest has been in regard to social determinants of health, advocacy, health care inequities, and the role of trauma in our communities and health care systems. She has worked with Student Hotspotting and a variety of community partnerships. She has also worked with a number of state and national organizations, currently serving as an advisor for the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership, as Downstate Councilor for the Illinois Psychiatric Society, and as president of the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Serving the Academy on national committees, she has authored / co-authored a number of policy statements, clinical practice guidelines, and book chapters.

Dr. Chris McDowell is the David L. Griffen, MD, PhD, chair of emergency medicine and associate professor at SIU School of Medicine and medical director for the Memorial Learning Center. He received his medical degree from SIU School of Medicine in 2005 and completed his residency training at Indiana University School of Medicine in 2008, where he also served as chief resident.  He received his Master of Education in Health Profession Education at University of Illinois Urbana Champaign in 2010. Prior to that, he graduated with honors from Quincy University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences (1995). He earned his Physician Assistant degree from the Finch University of Health Sciences/The Chicago Medical School in 1998. 

Dr. McDowell was part of the team that developed a new Emergency Medicine Residency Program in 2009.  He served as assistant program director 2009-11 and as program director 2011-17.  He was promoted to vice chair of emergency medicine in 2017 and earned an MBA from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University in May 2019. In April 2019 he was named the inaugural recipient of the newly endowed David L. Griffen Chair of Emergency Medicine.

McDowell received a 2013 National Junior Faculty Teaching Award from the American College of Emergency Physicians. In 2019 he received the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award at the SIIU School of Medicine. He was selected to hood the class of 2021 at the SIUSOM graduation.

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