Dr. Valera Hudson, a nationally recognized leader in medical education and vice chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, has been named department chair.
She has served as interim chair since January and began her new job as chair July 1. Hudson also is now pediatrician-in-chief for the Children’s Hospital of Georgia.
“When we began searching for a new pediatrics chair it was clear that the most outstanding candidate had already been serving her medical school and the department for more than 30 years,” says Dr. David Hess, MCG dean and executive vice president for medical affairs and integration at AU. “Dr. Hudson is not only a 1985 MCG graduate, she also completed her pediatrics residency at MCG and AU Health, only leaving to pursue her fellowship, and then returning to her medical school, where she has spent her entire career as a pediatric pulmonologist. I am grateful for her continued leadership and commitment to MCG. As interim chair she has already worked to recruit several new general pediatricians and pediatric specialists as well as new chiefs for the General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine Division and the newly established Division of Pediatric Hospital Medicine.
“I am also thankful for the longtime leadership of Dr. Charlie Linder, who retired as chair in January. Dr. Linder, a 1963 MCG graduate who graciously stepped up to lead the department in 2015, has been invaluable in helping with this leadership transition.”
Hudson joined the MCG faculty in 1992 and has served as associate director of the medical school’s Cystic Fibrosis Center, medical director of pediatric pulmonary diagnostics and as interim chief of pediatric gastroenterology. She has been medical director of respiratory therapy and associate chief medical officer/chief quality officer for ambulatory care services at CHOG. Prior to being appointed interim chair, she directed the pediatrics residency program for 20 years, mentoring the professional development of more than 250 pediatric residents.
She served as a longtime member of the Association of Pediatric Program Directors Evaluation Task Force and was a member of the Medical Education Committee for the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
In February, she completed a yearlong fellowship in the Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs Pediatric Leadership Development Program, which aims to develop the next generation of pediatric chairs through mentorship and leadership development.
Hudson helped establish the Division of Pediatric Pulmonology at MCG, which expanded the clinical services for children with pulmonary disease. She has led the division since 2009. As ambulatory director and associate director of the Cystic Fibrosis Center at MCG, she recognized the challenges of a rapidly changing health care system and helped implement the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) model at AU Health. Patient Centered Medical Homes, created by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, offer comprehensive, patient-centered and coordinated care that is accessible and is held to the highest safety and quality standards. Hudson also has worked with institutional leadership to transform the pediatric clinical practice to adapt to transitions in health care reimbursement.
She is one of 10 inaugural inductees into the MCG Academy of Medical Educators and has received multiple teaching awards, including an Exemplary Teaching Award for Medical Resident Education and an MCG Faculty Senate Distinguished Faculty Award for Clinical Science Teaching. A strong advocate for the professional development of residents and junior faculty, she helped establish the Pediatric Faculty Mentoring Program, which fosters the development of faculty and provides them with resources and support to advance their careers.
Hudson earned her bachelor’s degree in biology and master’s degree in psychology from Augusta University before beginning medical school at MCG. She completed her pediatrics residency, including a year as chief resident, in 1988 before completing her fellowship at the University of Minnesota Hospitals and Clinics in Minneapolis.