Neonatology on the Web

Mildred T. (Millie) Stahlman (1922-)

Mildred T. (Millie) Stahlman (1922-)

Mildred T. Stahlman was born on July 31, 1922 in Nashville, Tennesse. She graduated from the Vanderbilt College of Arts and Science in 1943, then obtained her medical degree from Vanderbilt in 1946. She did a general internship at Lakeside Hospital in Cleveland and a pediatric internship at Boston Children’s, followed by an assistant residency in pediatrics at Vanderbilt, an exchange fellowship at the Royal Caroline Institute in Stockholm, and a cardiac residency at La Rabida Sanitarium in Chicago. She joined the faculty at Vanderbilt in 1951 and has stayed there for the rest of her career.

Her initial research was in pediatric cardiology, but became interested in the care of premature babies, and she was the first to use assisted ventilation for a baby with hyaline membrane disease in 1961.(1) (The baby survived and became a NICU nurse at Vanderbilt!) Dr. Stahlman founded the modern neonatal intensive care unit at Vanderbilt in 1959 and helped initiate the regionalization of high-risk newborn care in Tennessee in 1973. She also started the Vanderbilt neonatology fellowship training program.

Dr. Stahlman is an author on over 100 peer-reviewed articles on neonatal care. She has also published several papers on ethical and moral issues related to care of premature infants.(2,3) She was elected to the Institute of Medicine and was President of the American Pediatric Society (1984). She received the AAP’s Virginia Apgar Award in 1987 and the American Pediatric Society’s John Howland Award in 1996. One of the true pioneers and most revered figures in the field of neonatology, Dr. Stahlman continued to work as a Professor of Pediatrics and Pathology at Vanderbilt University into her 90s.

(1) Stahlman MT, Young WC, Payne G. Studies of ventilatory aids in hyaline membrane disease. Am J Dis Child 1962;104:526.

(2) Stahlman, M.T. (1984). “Newborn intensive care: Success or failure?”. The Journal of Pediatrics. 105 (1): 162–167. doi:10.1016/S0022-3476(84)80386-8. PMID 6737135.

(3) Stahlman MT (Mar 1979). “Ethical dilemmas in perinatal medicine”. Journal of Pediatrics. 94 (3): 516–520. doi:10.1016/s0022-3476(79)80640-x. PMID 423058.