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Dr. Benjamin K. Watkins Joins Children’s Hospital as Director of Stem Cell and Cell Therapy Program

Pediatric Hematologist Oncologist Dr. Benjamin Watkins brings vast experience to the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Hospital New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS – Children’s Hospital New Orleans is proud to announce that Benjamin Watkins, MD, a nationally recognized pediatric hematologist-oncologist, has joined the hospital’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders as Director of its Stem Cell Transplant and Cell Therapy Program. He has also been appointed clinical professor for the Department of Pediatrics’ Section of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at Tulane University School of Medicine.

“Dr. Watkins is a nationally recognized expert in Pediatric Hematology Oncology with particular expertise in marrow, blood and stem cell transplantation and cellular therapies,” said Dr. Charles Hemenway, Service Line Chief for Hematology Oncology at Children’s Hospital New Orleans. “Dr. Watkins will serve as an integral leader for our program, which, since 2008, has served as the only pediatric FACT-accredited program Bone Marrow Transplant Program in Louisiana, providing this service to children in Louisiana who may need a stem cell transplant without the need to leave the state.”

Dr. Watkins joins Children’s Hospital New Orleans after serving as Associate Professor for the Department of Pediatrics, Director of High Risk Leukemia and Lymphoma Program, and Director of Global Oncology Program at Emory University and the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Dr. Watkins’ clinical interests include bone marrow transplantation for hematologic malignancies, graft-versus-host disease, and late effects of transplant. In his academic work, Dr. Watkins’ research primarily focuses on graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), which is the primary cause of long-term morbidity and mortality following hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HCT). His work has been NIH funded and helped pave the way for the first drug to be FDA approved for the prevention of GVHD. He currently leads multiple clinical trials investigating new drugs to prevent GVHD.

“The growth of our Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders over the last several years has enabled Children’s Hospital New Orleans to continue providing the highest level of care for children across our state and region who travel to New Orleans for the lifesaving treatments they need,” said Dr. Mark Kline, Physician-in-Chief and Chief Medical Officer for Children’s Hospital New Orleans. “Dr. Watkins brings more than 12 years of academic and clinical expertise to his role in leading and growing our hematology oncology transplant programs, and we are thrilled to add his expansive knowledge to the team.”

Dr. Watkins completed his medical degree and pediatric residency from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). He completed a pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship at Emory University School of Medicine, and a blood and marrow transplant fellowship at Seattle Children’s Hospital and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Hospital New Orleans provides advanced treatment for children with leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, and other childhood cancers and blood disorders. Children’s Hospital is the only accredited pediatric stem cell transplant facility in Louisiana, performing bone marrow transplants and CAR-T cell therapy, and is actively conducting cancer research at the forefront of medicine. The center also has the largest, most experienced group of pediatric cancer specialists in the region, staffed by faculty from LSU Health New Orleans and Tulane University School of Medicine. Learn more at

About Children’s Hospital New Orleans

Children’s Hospital New Orleans is a 263-bed, non-profit academic pediatric medical center that offers comprehensive healthcare services, including over 40 pediatric specialties, delivered just for children. With more than 600 pediatric providers, Children’s offers a comprehensive array of pediatric healthcare services in Louisiana and the Gulf South. In addition to its main campus located in New Orleans, the hospital operates a network of specialty clinics across Louisiana, including in Covington, Baton Rouge, Alexandria, Lafayette, and Diamondhead, MS. Children’s offers primary care services at 12 convenient locations and remotely via its Virtual Care for Kids program. Children’s is a proud member of LCMC Health, a Louisiana-based, not-for-profit hospital system which also includes New Orleans East Hospital, Touro, University Medical Center New Orleans, West Jefferson Medical Center, East Jefferson General Hospital, Tulane Medical Center, Lakeview Hospital, and Lakeside Hospital. Learn more at


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