Children’s Hospital Foundation Pediatric Neonatology Expert Retires from Children’s Hospital

Posted on 06/14/2017

Children’s Hospital Foundation (CHF) has a reputation for the recruited endowed chairs who administer treatment and care to patients at Children’s Hospital. Among those chairs is Dr. Marilyn Escobedo, CHF Reba McEntire Endowed chair in Neonatology. Her addition to the team at the OU Department of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital has led to great advancement and growth in neonatology research efforts.

“Although her retirement saddens us, we are grateful for the mark she’s left on the lives of children she’s improved in Oklahoma,” said Kathy McCracken, CHF executive director. 

Escobedo joined the department of pediatrics in 2001 when she accepted the CHF Reba McEntire Endowed Chair in Neonatology. Escobedo finds great satisfaction in not only caring for her patients, but also thoroughly enjoys educating future pediatric doctors. She’s a role model and an outstanding educator in pediatric medicine. Her expertise in neonatal respiratory care and neonatal-perinatal medicine has greatly impacted CHF and pediatrics everywhere. 

“Dr. Escobedo has been a thought leader in neonatal and pediatric care in Oklahoma,” said Morris Gessouroun, M.D., CHF Patricia Price Browne Distinguished chair in Pediatrics and CHF scientific director. “She has served as a tireless ambassador of the Department of Pediatrics and the OU College of Medicine locally, nationally and internationally.  She has supported the efforts of our key community leaders and Children's Hospital Foundation in their mission of enhancing and improving healthcare for children in Oklahoma. Escobedo will be greatly missed as she enters retirement.  She leaves a legacy of her sixteen years that will endure for many years to come and I believe the Neonatology Section will continue to flourish on the strong foundation she has established.” 

Upon her arrival, her staff in the Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine stood at five neonatologists and eight neonatal nurse practitioners. Escobedo understood the importance of attracting, expanding and educating outstanding neonatologists to Oklahoma, and took initiative in meeting that need. In her first seven years, she grew the division to 13 neonatologists, two pediatricians, three fellows and 18 neonatal nurse practitioners.

Escobedo initiated the section's very successful neonatology fellowship program which has graduated 16 neonatologists.  She oversaw the growth of the section's research portfolio with a significant rise in annual publications, national and international presentations and extramural funding.  She developed the neonatal nurse practitioner program, improved and enhanced the NeoFlight transport program and established an innovative satellite NICU at Comanche County Memorial Hospital in Lawton, Okla., that leverages state-of-the-art telemedicine resources.

Escobedo is a medical graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and completed her pediatric residency training at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Her fellowship in neonatal/perinatal medicine was completed at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. In 2000, Dr. Marilyn B. Escobedo was recruited from the University of Texas at San Antonio, where she was Division Chief of the Neonatal/Perinatal Section. 

Escobedo is a woman of many accomplishments. She is heavily involved in a handful of national and international leadership activities and was named the first female to receive the position as the Chair of the Perinatal Section of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Other accomplishments include receiving the Neonatal Education Award in Perinatal Pediatrics by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2003, the 2003 Southern Society for Pediatric Research (SSPR) Ross Award in Pediatric Education, and numerous other awards and accomplishments. Escobedo was honored with the 2014 Outstanding Woman in Pediatric Academic Medicine Award, created by the Outstanding Women in Pediatric Medicine Committee.  

A compassionate and innovative leader, Escobedo’s advanced research in pediatric respiratory care, particularly in preemies has provided great results. She developed a baboon model of bronchopulmonary dysplasia, which has produced an abundance of knowledge on both prevention and treatment for pulmonary maturation. She also is greatly involved in clinical studies including founding CliNeTex, an association of institutions in Texas that conduct clinical research about newborns. Escobedo also innovated NICU design concepts, including the first fully computerized charting system for the NICU in the United States.

The foundation creates pediatric research and education programs, ultimately supporting Children’s Hospital in serving every county in Oklahoma with more than 233,000 patient encounters annually. All funds raised through Children’s Hospital Foundation stay in Oklahoma so children will have access to exceptional pediatric specialists without having to leave the state.  

To support Children’s Hospital Foundation, please call 405-271-2260 or visit

Get the Newsletter