Herman A. Hein is the architect and founder of a program that has done more to help mothers and babies than perhaps any other initiative from the University of Iowa.
After earning a bachelor's degree from Wartburg College in 1959, Hein came to the UI. He completed his medical degree in 1963, and, after several years in private pediatric practice, he joined the UI Department of Pediatrics. Shortly afterwards, in 1973, Hein established a regionalized system for infant health care called the Iowa Statewide Perinatal Care Program, to ensure that a baby's place of birth did not mean the difference between life and death. Through this visionary program, community physicians now regularly transfer high-risk patients to facilities that can address their special needs, while experts provide training and education to every hospital in Iowa that offers maternity services.
Thanks to Hein's commitment and ingenuity, the Iowa Statewide Perinatal Care Program combines the efforts of UI faculty and staff and the Iowa Department of Public Health to save more than 400 newborn lives each year. Hein's commitment to children doesn't stop there. He developed the Iowa High-Risk Infant Follow-Up Program, which serves babies who have received intensive care or are otherwise at risk for developmental or medical problems, and he also created the Barriers to Prenatal Care Project, an assessment tool used by state health department staff to assure that mothers receive appropriate care before and after they bring their newborns home. This particular program grew from Hein's service on the National Commission to Prevent Infant Mortality, to which he was appointed in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan. To support his successful clinical and education programs, Hein has also obtained grant and contract support totaling more than $11 million.
During his three decades with the UI pediatrics department, Hein has held posts as assistant professor, associate professor, and professor. Prior to retirement as emeritus faculty, he served as clinical supervisor of the newborn nursery at UI Hospitals and Clinics, as well as attending physician in the UIHC neonatal intermediate and intensive care units.
For many years, Hein offered his expertise to the Iowa Department of Public Health in all areas pertaining to neonatal/perinatal medicine, and he served on multiple distinguished boards and committees near and far. His countless awards and honors include being named an "Unsung Hero" by Newsweek in 1988, receiving the Iowa Medical Society's highest honor—the Award of Merit—in 2002, and garnering a Distinguished Alumni Award from the UI Carver College of Medicine in 2004.
Paul Rothman, dean of the Carver College of Medicine, says, "When you consider' the far-reaching impact of his advocacy on behalf of high-risk infants and the tremendous goodwill for the university as a result of his leadership and compassion, it's easy to see that [Herman Hein] is an exemplary model of service to the university and the state."
Today, the UI Alumni Association salutes the legacy of Herman Hein, who deserves our applause for his unparalleled contributions to academic medicine and faithful dedication to Iowa's most vulnerable citizens.
Hein is a member of the UI Alumni Association.