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Stephen Barenkamp, M.D.: 1951-2019

by Nancy Solomon on 03/19/2019

Stephen Barenkamp, M.D., professor of pediatrics at Saint Louis University and director of the division of pediatric infectious diseases at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, died March 17. He was 67.

Stephen Barenkamp, M.D.

A SLUCare pediatric infectious diseases expert, Dr. Barenkamp spent the bulk of his career at Saint Louis University, joining the faculty as associate professor of pediatrics in 1992. He treated children with infections, antibiotic resistance and fevers of unknown origin.

Dr. Barenkamp’s National Institutes of Health-funded research explored a vaccine for haemophilus influenzae, which can cause sinusitis, ear infections and pneumonia. He was a nationally recognized and accomplished researcher, presenting at conferences and authoring many papers in high impact medical journals.

Colleagues described Dr. Barenkamp as conscientious, hard-working, serious, private, quiet and eager to help colleagues offer their patients the best quality of care.

“Dr. Barenkamp was a dedicated clinician and researcher. He was always willing to discuss complex patients and while he didn’t involve you in a lot of chitchat, he got right on the problem,” said Edwin Anderson, M.D., adjunct professor of pediatrics.

“If I had a patient who I really wanted to talk to someone else about, Dr. Barenkamp was willing to do that. He frequently had suggestions or would say, ‘you’re doing all that you can right now,’ which could be very reassuring.”

Aaron Miller, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics, said Dr. Barenkamp was always pleasant and a very good mentor.

“He never hesitated to answer any clinical questions I had. If I had a difficult case to discuss, I sometimes would call him on weekends or in the evening and he was always happy to take my call,” Miller said. “He was not one to suggest a treatment that didn’t have the research to support its efficacy.”

Dr. Barenkamp received his undergraduate degree from Carlton College and his medical degree from the University of Chicago. He did his residency and research fellowship in pediatric infectious diseases at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Washington University. Before joining SLU’s faculty, he was an assistant professor of pediatrics at Washington University.

Dr. Barenkamp was a member of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Society for Pediatric Research and the American Pediatric Society.

He is survived by his mother Mary Iona Barenkamp (nee Headrick); sisters, Deborah Barenkamp Roberson (John Sommerauer) and Patricia Barenkamp Cordes (Jim); and three nieces and a nephew. 

Dr. Barenkamp's memorial service will be at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 31, at Webster United Methodist Church, 600 N. Bompart Ave., Webster Groves.