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Division of General Academic Pediatrics

Advocacy for the needs of all children, but particularly for the underserved, is a major focus of Saint Louis University's Division of General Academic Pediatrics.

Through quality patient care, innovative education, creative research and vigorous advocacy, the Division of General Academic Pediatrics of the Saint Louis University School of Medicine partners with patients, parents and the community to assure that the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of this and future generations of children will be met with competence, dignity, justice and compassion.


Our division members also serve on countless community boards, including Catholic Charities, the St. Louis Special School District, Head Start, and many others.

  • Joshua Arthur, M.D., is the director of Community Advocacy Through Resident Education (CARE) curriculum.
  •  Jennifer Ladage, M.D., offers international adoption medicine consultation services through the FACES program.
  • Shahida Naseer, M.D., and Heidi Sallee, M.D., are actively involved in curriculum development related to screening for intimate partner violence.
  • Martin Schmidt, M.D., is the director of the Ann Manganaro Global Health Pathway in Pediatrics (GHPP).

Leadership Roles

General academic pediatric faculty members play key roles in both Saint Louis University and SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital administration which directly impact patient care including the following:

  • Joshua Arthur, M.D., is the chair of the SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital Ethics Committee. 
  • Heidi Sallee, M.D., is the medical director of the Danis Pediatric Center.
  • Kenneth Haller, M.D., is the associate co-chair for faculty development and strategic planning.
  • Marty Schmidt, M.D., is the medical director of the newborn nursery at SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital.
  • Gene LaBarge, M.D., is director of the resident continuity clinics.
  • Chris Sallee, M.D., is the medical director for informatics.
  • David Wathen, D.O., is the medical director of two and three south.

Medical Education

Our faculty members are recognized for their interest and expertise in the education of students at all levels, including prospective physician assistants, medical students, residents and community physicians. The division has won eight of the last eleven Golden Apple Awards by the graduating classes from the School of Medicine.

Members of the division have also been awarded innumerable teaching awards by the residents in pediatrics, and have been cited as excellent teachers by several other disciplines.

Teaching is provided at Danis Pediatric Center, on the general ward services, in the well baby nursery at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital, through formal and informal conferences for students and residents, and in specialty clinics staffed by general academic pediatrics faculty.

Marta King, M.D., serves as the associate director of medical student education. 


Our division members provide a wide variety of medical services to patients at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. Danis Pediatric Center is the primary care practice of SLU's Department of Pediatrics, serving as the medical home for approximately 10,000 patients with 16,000 visits per year.

The patients cared for at Danis Pediatric Center often have more serious acute and chronic medical problems and more social/economic problems than patients in a typical pediatric practice. The general academic pediatrics faculty, including the hospitalists in the division, provide general pediatric attending inpatient coverage for the general pediatric inpatient teams. 

The division also provides attending physician coverage for the well baby nursery at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital. The Medical Diagnostic Clinic, a consultation service for referring physicians, is also offered by our faculty.

Our division members have broad expertise, with special interest in failure to thrive, adoption medicine, community pediatrics, advocacy, urinary tract infections, voiding dysfunction, adolescent health care, sports medicine, the effect of media on children, health care needs of gay and lesbian youth, international child health, endocrinology, developmental delay, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, newborn medicine, neurofibromatosis and care of the child with special health care needs.

Core Services

  • The Happy Mothers, Healthy Families Program provides counseling services, phone follow-up, supportive text messaging and case management to St. Louis mothers of infants 0-6 months of age identified to be at risk for postpartum depression or anxiety.
  • Pediatric hospitalist medicine implements change and pursues excellence via hospital administration and community outreach. Our hospitalist team consults, collaborates with the emergency room and pediatrician updates throughout a child's stay, discharges and coordinates follow-up care.

Division Members

  • Mary Susan Heaney, M.D., M.P.H.
    Division Director
  • Shahnaz Ahmad, M.D. 
    Adjunct Assistant Professor
  • Jennifer Aleshire, M.D.
    Assistant Professor
  • Joshua Arthur, M.D. 
    Assistant Professor
  • Kenneth Haller, Jr., M.D. 
  • Gene M. LaBarge M.D.
    Assistant Professor
  • Jennifer S. Ladage, M.D. 
    Associate Professor
  • Shahida Naseer, M.D.
    Associate Professor
  • Jay Noffsinger, M.D. 
    Professor Emeritus
  • Elisa Pincus, M.D.
    Assistant Professor
  • Margaret Rozier Chen, M.D.
    Assistant Professor
  • Heidi Sallee, M.D. 
    Associate Professor
  • Michelle Sineff, M.D.
    Adjunct Instructor
  • Anne Walentik, D.O., M.P.H.
    Assistant Professor
  • Luke Weaver, D.O.
    Assistant Professor

Research Highlights

The Division of General Academic Pediatrics is involved in a broad array of research projects, collaborating with investigators from other divisions within the Department of Pediatrics, other disciplines within Saint Louis University and with researchers from other institutions.

Joshua Arthur, M.D.

Josh Arthur, M.D., has received a grant from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Missouri Foundation for a collaboration project between the pediatric residency program and a mobile farmer’s market to provide education, nutrition resources and food access in a food desert. He has also participated in a study to determine the efficacy of text messaging to effect health care utilization. 

Kenneth Haller, M.D.

Kenneth Haller, M.D., has given local and regional presentations in toxic stress in children, immunization training and health care issues and  LGBT community. 

M. Susan Heaney, M.D., M.P.H.

M. Susan Heaney, M.D., M.P.H., is the pediatric member of the steering committee for the HRSA-funded Academic Administrative Units in Primary Care Grant. 

The purpose of the proposed project, the Saint Louis University Primary Care Training Center, is to form a collaborative between the divisions of family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics. The overarching goal of this collaboration is to increase the numbers of medical students and residents choosing primary care as their profession.

The proposal has four primary objectives:

  • Development of a collaborative primary care program,
  • Development of a systematic approach to primary care scholarship and clinical research
  • Development of the patient centered medical home (PCMH) as the clinical laboratory for the conduct of primary care scholarship and clinical research
  • Provide exposure to and evaluation of the inter-professional education model within primary care settings.

Dr. Heaney is the site investigator for the Continuity Research Network (CORNET) of the Academic Pediatric Association and is currently involved in a project to improve HPV vaccination in adolescent patients in Resident Continuity Clinics.

She is a co-investigator in a positive parenting program funded by the St. Louis Mental Health Board. Dr. Heaney has also participated as a subject matter expert in the development of a revised AAP Education in Quality Improvement for Pediatric Practice (EQUIPP) Bright Futures course.

Gene LaBarge, M.D.

Gene LaBarge, M.D., is a co-investigator on funded grants to identify and treat postpartum depression in St. Louis city mothers, as well as several grants to asses food insecurity and to develop collaboration between a pediatric residency and a mobile farmer’s market.

Jennifer Ladage, M.D.

Jennifer Ladage, M.D., is the primary investigator for the Pediatric Refugee Comprehensive Health Care Initiative Grant funded by the Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis, Missouri to improve health care access, including home nurse visits, for refugee families. She has presented her work with International Adoptees and Refugees at local, regional and international meetings.

Shahida R. Naseer, M.D.

Shahida R. Naseer, M.D., has been active in completing various quality assessment and improvement projects, including timely completion of medical records and immunization rates, for the division and the Danis Pediatric Center.

Heidi M. Sallee, M.D.

Heidi M. Sallee, M.D., is involved in a multicenter collaboration project through the Continuity Research Network of the APA to improve HPV immunization rates. She has collaborated with faculty at SLU's College of Public Health and Social Justice developing a novel parenting tool designed to prevent accidental childhood injury. Dr. Sallee has also collaborated with a funded Ph.D. researcher in SLU's Department of Family and Community Medicine to develop and test a curriculum for pediatric resident to screen teens for depression and suicidality.


  • Miller M.D., A. S., King, M. A., & Fretz, E. (2020). A 16-year old with fever and myalgia. Pediatrics in Review.
  • Trenkamp, M., Ottomeyer, M., & Tanios M.D., A. T. (2020). Would you by my Mentor? Could you be my Mentor? Unlocking a residents’ superpower of peer mentorship. APPD.
  • Amy Ladley PhD , Matthew Broom MD, MBA , Joshua Arthur MD, MTS, Update on the Evaluation of Text Messaging as an Educational Method to Improve Healthcare Utilization, Academic Pediatrics (2020), doi:
  • Arthur  J. The Experience of Sabbath: Exploring the Significance of Music in Healing from the Interdisciplinary Perspective of Theology, Medicine and the Arts. Journal of Health and Human Experience. 2019;5(1):85-111.
  • Barnidge E, Krupsky K, LaBarge G, Arthur J. Food Insecurity Screening in Pediatric Clinical Settings: A Caregivers’ Perspective. Maternal and child health journal. 2019.
  • LaBarge G, Broom M. Social Media in Primary Care. Missouri medicine. 2019;(2):106.
  • Ladley A, Waltos Hieger A, Arthur J, Broom M. Educational text messages decreased emergency department utilization among infant caregivers: a randomized trial. Academic Pediatrics (2018), doi 10.1016/j.acap.2018.02.003. PMID: 29432907