C.W. Gowen, MD, EVMS Foundation Chair in Pediatrics, Professor and Chair of Pediatrics at EVMS and Senior Vice-President for Academic Affairs at CHKD, has announced he will retire effective June 30, 2024.

EVMS and CHKD plan to form a search committee for a new Chair of the department.

“Over the course of his 10-year span as Chair and Vice-President and a 33-year career as a faculty member at EVMS and neonatologist at CHKD, Dr. Gowen has left an indelible impact on both institutions as well as on generations of pediatricians and children,” said Alfred Abuhamad, MD, EVMS President, Provost and Dean of the School of Medicine; and Amy Sampson, President and CEO, CHKD Health System in a joint statement. “Dr. Gowen has been a superb clinician, exceptional administrator, innovative educator, popular mentor and tireless champion for the advancement of child health.”

Dr. Gowen joined CHKD and the EVMS faculty as Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in 1990 when the faculty numbered only about 30. In 2023, Pediatrics counts more than 500 faculty members.

Shortly after his arrival, Dr. Gowen became Director of the joint CHKD-EVMS pediatric residency program and Director of Medical Education at CHKD. As the hospital expanded, Dr. Gowen oversaw the commensurate growth of the residency program. Over the last 20 years, the residency program more than tripled in size, going from eight residents per year to 28 residents per year, with four chief residents at the fourth-year level. For the past 32 years, the residency program has matched all positions through the National Residency Matching Program.

Dr. Gowen established a new residency curriculum, including monthly journal clubs, yearly scholarly activities, an annual research day and an annual residency retreat. He incorporated “gaming” in the residency and clerkship curricula, utilizing game formats to teach pediatrics. His use of gaming led to a national presentation at the ACGME Conference in 2009. As part of an annual CME Pediatric Conference, Dr. Gowen helps organize teams of residents from all six pediatric residency programs in Virginia to compete in a game format.

Dr. Gowen won an $800,000 HRSA grant to help incorporate public health into the curriculum. He has overseen the creation of nine courses in Pediatric Public Health. The courses compose a 9- to 12-hour Pediatric Public Health Certificate Program for each graduating resident. For several resident graduates, the hours have been accepted by other schools of public health as they pursue a Master’s in Public Health degree.

Dr. Gowen has had a hand in educating some 800 pediatricians during his time at EVMS/CHKD. In addition to his work with residents, Dr. Gowen directed the Pediatric Clerkship for 18 years and the Pathophysiology course for 13 years while it was a stand-alone course for medical students.

He stepped down from his residency post in 2013 when he was chosen as EVMS Chair of Pediatrics, following an interim year, and the CHKD Senior Vice-President for Academic Affairs. At the same time, he was appointed to the EVMS Foundation Chair in Pediatrics.

Dr. Gowen earned his medical degree at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine (formerly the Medical College of Virginia) in Richmond. He completed his pediatric residency at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where he also served as a Chief Resident, and his fellowship in neonatology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Prior to his arrival at EVMS and CHKD, Dr. Gowen practiced neonatology at East Carolina University School of Medicine and Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, N.C.  In 1987, he was selected to serve as the first Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship Program Director, having founded that program, and in 1989 he was chosen as the Pediatric Residency Program Director. 

Dr. Gowen is a recipient of the EVMS Dean’s Faculty Achievement Award for “Teaching in the Clinical Sciences” and the “Dean’s Outstanding Faculty Award” – the highest honor EVMS can bestow on a faculty member. In 2009, he was recognized by the EVMS medical students and inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honorary Medical Society.  On three occasions, he has received a special recognition from the national American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for outstanding and ongoing contributions to pediatric education.

At the state level, Dr. Gowen has served on the Board of the AAP Virginia Chapter for more than 12 years, including serving as the Chair of the Education and Membership Committees.  On the national level, he is a charter member of the Committee on Medication Student Education in Pediatrics and the Association of Pediatric Program Directors. He served three years on the USMLE Step 2 Committee, writing and evaluating questions for the Step 2 examination.

He is a member of the Oxford University Round Table, an invitation-only group of individuals from around the world who meet annually to discuss various topics of interest in child advocacy. Dr. Gowen has been invited to present twice at the group’s meetings. 

Dr. Gowen is married to Marilyn Alley Gowen, MD, a pediatric pulmonologist at CHKD. Their daughter Sarah is an art conservationist with the National Gallery of Art, and daughter Rebecca works with CHKD in the mental health program. 

On the occasion of announcing his retirement, Dr. Gowen composed a poem:

In Pediatrics, where my dreams took flight

A journey of service, day and night.

From Program Director, where I found my calling

To Chair, where duties were enthralling


For thirty-three years, nearly thirty-four

In these roles, I’ve tried giving more

From 6 to 28 plus 4, we’ve soared

Residents, a family I’ve adored


Faculty, too, have joined this quest

Together, we’ve faced every test

A team, united, doing what we could

Nurturing everyone, as we should


Now, as my life begins to slow

I look forward with a radiant glow

To cut back, to pause, but always know

The gratitude in my heart forever flows


To patients, residents, faculty so dear

I’m grateful for each passing year

For the roles that I’ve held so dear

Thank you all with heartfelt cheer


Until this academic year’s end draws near

I’ll remain with purpose, gratitude sincere,

To cut back, to pause, but always know

The gratitude in my heart will forever flow.