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Brotherly Love

Sibling generosity continues to support pediatric excellence

From left, Kern Wildenthal, M.D., Ph.D., Lawrence Steinberg, and Joel B. Steinberg, M.D.
From left, Kern Wildenthal, M.D., Ph.D., Lawrence Steinberg, and Joel B. Steinberg, M.D., on the evening in 1999 when Dr. Steinberg learned of his endowed chair.

Even at age 86, Lawrence “Larry” Steinberg looks up to his older brother.

“We’ve always been very close,” said the retired attorney.

Older by one year, his sibling is retired physician Joel B. Steinberg, M.D., Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics at UT Southwestern.

In 1999, Mr. Steinberg wanted to do something special to commemorate his brother’s 65th birthday. He settled on donating to UT Southwestern to create the Joel B. Steinberg, M.D. Chair in Pediatrics, a faculty honor that enabled the institution to recognize an outstanding pediatrician.

“I wanted to celebrate his lifelong devotion to the medical profession and dedication to caring for all of his patients,” Mr. Steinberg said.

Dr. Steinberg learned about the gift while dining out on his birthday. Looking up from his meal, he saw then-UT Southwestern President Kern Wildenthal, M.D., Ph.D., striding across the restaurant carrying a chair engraved with the UT Southwestern seal and Dr. Steinberg’s name.

“I remember feeling genuinely happy that my brother did that for me,” Dr. Steinberg said.

A two-time graduate of Tulane University with undergraduate and medical degrees, Dr. Steinberg completed his internship at Parkland Memorial Hospital. He ran a private clinical practice in Richardson, Texas, for 22 years prior to joining UT Southwestern as Medical Director of Children’s Medical Center Dallas. Over 29 years of service to the institution, he helped put UT Southwestern on the map as a leader in pediatric care and research.

“My love of pediatrics stems from the intense interaction you develop with the families and their patients,” Dr. Steinberg said.

After retiring in 2013, he continued teaching at UT Southwestern until 2020. Last year, Mr. Steinberg made another gift through his personal foundation, elevating the endowment in his brother’s honor to a Distinguished Chair. Funded at a higher level, Distinguished Chairs provide increased faculty support to fund research and academic activities of the holders.

“It was such a touching honor, especially because my brother gave it,” Dr. Steinberg said.

Ralph DeBerardinis, M.D., Ph.D.
Ralph DeBerardinis, M.D., Ph.D.

Ralph DeBerardinis, M.D., Ph.D., currently holds the Joel B. Steinberg, M.D. Distinguished Chair in Pediatrics at UT Southwestern. A Professor of Pediatrics and in the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern, his research focuses on understanding how alterations in the body’s metabolism contribute to cancer and other diseases. He hopes to find ways of destroying cancer cells that may one day be exploited by new drugs.

Recognized for his discoveries in cancer metabolism and genetic conditions in children, Dr. DeBerardinis was awarded the Memorial Sloan Kettering Paul Marks Prize for Cancer Research in 2021. He is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and one of 16 UT Southwestern faculty who are members of the National Academy of Medicine.

“Everyone in Pediatrics at UT Southwestern knows Dr. Steinberg as a beloved educator and clinician who has been part of our community for many years,” said Dr. DeBerardinis, also Chief of the Division of Pediatric Genetics and Metabolism at UT Southwestern with an additional appointment in the Eugene McDermott Center for Human Growth and Development. “The new Distinguished Chair should make us reflect on everything that Dr. Steinberg has done for our Department and our patients. To be connected with his name is a true honor.”

Dr. DeBerardinis is also a Sowell Family Scholar in Medical Research.