About the Stevens Professorship

David and Debbie Stevens

The Stevens Professorship was established in 2002 by David and Debbie Stevens in order to significantly enhance biomedical research and education programs focused on the unique pharmacotherapeutic problems of children. The professorship will also strengthen a comprehensive multi¬disciplinary program dedicated to the optimal drug therapies in neonates, infants and children.

The development of new drugs in the past three decades has revolutionized the therapeutic arsenal available for today’s clinician. Although more than 50 million children in the United States require drug therapy at some time during their childhood, unfortunately, children have not fully benefited from these therapeutic advances. Unique problems of drug studies in the pediatric patient have limited the development of a body of knowledge in pediatric therapeutics. Childhood is a period during which there are significant maturational changes in the processes that govern drug disposition and effect. Age-dependent variation in drug disposition is greater than the genetic variation for most drugs. Differences in drug elimination in children can be as great as forty-fold or more.

Children are, therefore, placed at significant risk for therapeutic misadventures when prescribed a drug that has not been adequately tested in their population. In addition, practical problems discourage the testing of drugs in children. First, the principal organs responsible for drug metabolism and elimination undergo significant developmental changes, necessitating the study of children in multiple age and size ranges. Second, ethical concerns exist regarding the administration of unproven drugs to children. Third, the high cost and difficult technical aspects of completing studies in children discourage the completion of necessary studies. Finally, and most importantly, there exists a lack of educated investiga¬tors expert in the conduct of pediatric clinical pharmacology and therapeutic research.

The investment in the Stevens Professorship in Pediatric Clinical Pharmacy will significantly help overcome these limitations in selected areas of pediatric therapeutics and will allow our program to advance to other areas of pediatric drug therapy.

The Founders: David and Debbie Stevens

David D. Stevens served as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Accredo Health, Inc. since it was acquired from Le Bonheur Health Systems, Inc. in 1996 until 2006. Mr. Stevens still serves on the board of Medco Health Solutions, the parent company to Accredo. Accredo Health is the leading Provider of specialized contract pharmacy services to the biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry, serving patients with chronic diseases. In 1996, Accredo Health was purchased from Le Bonheur Health Systems, Inc., and in 1999, the company completed its initial public offering (IPO) and was listed on the NASDAQ exchange until the Medco buyout in 2006.

David received his B.S. in Accounting from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1975 and his MBA from the University of Memphis in 1977. Until 1987, he served in many roles with Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, including vice president for ambulatory care, vice president for ancillary services, and as a senior vice president of the holding company, Le Bonheur Health Systems, Inc. David operated in a dual capacity between the Medical Center and Southern Health Systems, Inc. In 1988, he relinquished all of his hospital responsibilities to spend full time in the CEO/COO role at Southern Health.

While at Le Bonheur, Mr. Stevens was instrumental in creating the for-profit holding company under Le Bonheur Health Systems. Several very successful entities were started as subsidiaries, including CliniCall (home health), HealthEffects (medical equipment), Nova Factor (specialized contract pharmacy), and PharmaThera, Inc. (infusion therapy). Nova Factor, Inc. was the impetus for the creation of Accredo Health, Inc.

David’s wife Debbie is a homemaker who enjoys reading, tennis, and golf. She is an active volunteer in a number of charitable activities, including her involvement with the Le Bonheur Club. Debbie and David are the proud parents of one daughter, Jennifer Jordan, who is married and lives in Memphis.

Contact Us

Wei Li, PhD
Professor and Faculty Director of Instrument Facility
University of Tennessee Health Science Center
881 Madison Avenue, room 561
Memphis, TN 38163
(901) 448-7532 (office)
Email: wli@uthsc.edu

Dejian Ma, PhD
Senior Research Specialist
University of Tennessee Health Science Center
881 Madison Avenue, room B024A
Memphis TN 38163
Email: dma6@uthsc.edu 
Phone: (901) 448-7376