MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A significant gift to support the new WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital is building upon the legacy of pioneering pediatric cardiologist William A. Neal, M.D.
The gift from the Solomon family – including JC, Liz, Stevie, and Stephanie, Dr. Neal’s daughter – honors Neal’s impactful career in pediatric medicine. Over more than 40 years, Neal cared for thousands of patients, trained countless medical students and residents, led the development of WVU Medicine Children’s as its first medical director, and founded the nation’s largest youth-based heart disease research initiative.
Neal retired in 2014 and passed away Jan. 1, 2021, at the age of 80. The Solomon family’s gift in his memory supports the new nine-story, 150-bed hospital under construction next to WVU Medicine J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown.
“WVU Medicine Children’s would not be what it is today without the vision and dedication of Dr. Bill Neal,” Amy L. Bush, B.S.N., M.B.A., R.N., C.N.O.R., WVU Medicine Children’s chief operating officer, said. “His skill and compassion made him a beloved physician who touched the lives of many Mountain State families, and his leadership helped lay the groundwork for this milestone moment in our history. We are so grateful to partner with his family to carry on his legacy by improving the heart health of the next generation.”
A Huntington native, Neal earned his medical degree at WVU in 1966. He returned to WVU after completing military service, residency, and fellowship training to focus on improving newborn intensive care and establish a statewide system of outreach clinics in pediatric cardiology. He went on to lead the Department of Pediatrics as chair before serving as the founding medical director for WVU Medicine Children’s.
Neal later founded the Coronary Artery Risk Detection in Appalachian Communities (CARDIAC) Project, a comprehensive school-based risk factor surveillance, intervention, and research initiative designed to address the mortality and morbidity associated with obesity, diabetes, and heart disease in West Virginia. Data from CARDIAC supported the recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics that all children between the ages of 9-11 have blood cholesterol screened.
Thanks in part to Neal’s work, WVU Medicine Children’s is home to the only tertiary care pediatric cardiac program in West Virginia that diagnoses and treats heart conditions in children. The new hospital, slated for completion in early 2022, will include a dedicated children’s heart center that offers advanced pediatric cardiology services.
In appreciation of the Solomon family’s gift, the family lounge and waiting area in the new WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital Pediatric Intensive Care Unit will be named in Neal’s honor.
The Solomon family’s gift supports the “Grow Children’s” capital campaign, which seeks to raise $60 million in private support for the new hospital and associated program improvements. All gifts are made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.
To learn more about supporting this effort, call 304-598-4346, or visit WVUMedicine.org/GrowChildrens.