Faculty Feature Steve Ming-Che Liao

Steve never imagined that one day he would live and have a great family in the United States. You see, Steve was born and grew up in Taiwan. He lived with his grandparents for the first four years while his parents both worked in the city of Taipei. His parents had the dream of immigrating to the US for a better education for Steve and his brother. That dream started to become a reality when the family immigrated from Taiwan to southern California when Steve was 13. Knowing very little English at the time, Steve went to evening adult education classes after regular school to overcome the language barrier. It was a joyful day for the family when he was accepted to UCLA as a biology major.

Steve never imagined that one day he would call himself a St. Louisan. He originally accepted a graduate school scholarship offer to study biomedical engineering at UCLA, but when St. Louis University School of Medicine called, Steve came with a mixed emotion of jitter, pride, and elation – he was to become the first doctor in the family. He thought he would move back to California after medical school, but unbeknownst to himself, love could change a person’s plan. It was in St. Louis that Steve found the greatest loves of his life — the love of God as he became a Christian during the first year of medical school and Steve fell in love with his wife, Doreen, during his pediatrics residency years at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. How did they meet? It will remain a good story for another day!

Steve never imagined that his early career would involve conducting research. When he came to Washington University for Neonatology Fellowship in 2006, Steve joined Dr. Terrie Inder’s lab and was co-mentored by Dr. Joseph Culver. Steve led the effort in developing neonatal applications of a novel non-invasive neuroimaging device based on near-infrared spectroscopy (NIR). Steve also received a MS degree in clinical investigation (MSCI) with the support of his division. His experience in clinical research and coursework in MSCI program have helped Steve tremendously in developing his clinical skills.

Steve became a faculty member in the division of Newborn Medicine in 2009. Under the mentorship of Drs. Cole and Jeff Dawson, he became the associate medical director of NICU at Missouri Baptist Medical Center (MoBap) in 2015 and now the medical director in 2019. During the same year, Steve was appointed to be the first-ever Chief of Pediatrics at MoBap who is an academic faculty member from Washington University. One of Steve’s tasks is to further advance neonatal/pediatric care at MoBap, by bringing together the strengths of a leading community hospital and our academic center. In the recent years, Steve has learned from and collaborated as a member of the neonatal advisory group in Illinois Perinatal Quality Collaborative (ILPQC) and is now working with a multidisciplinary group of colleagues from the state of Missouri to establish a much-needed Perinatal Quality Collaborative for Missouri.

A dream started from Steve’s parents pursuing a better education for their family. A dream of becoming the first doctor in the family brought him to St. Louis. Steve now proudly calls himself a St. Louisan and an active member of the Wash U and MoBap communities. Steve, his wife, Doreen, and his two daughters, Bethany and MaryGrace, now call St. Louis their home. The family enjoys traveling, tasting great food, and being with their church family.  Steve feels he is truly blessed by the grace of God.

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