Bringing CNS Members Together to Make Children’s Lives Better


Councilor for the Midwest

Candidate Soe Mar, MD

Soe Mar, MD

Dr. Mar Is a professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to coming to Washington University for a faculty position in 2005, Dr. Mar had extensive international experience training in pediatrics in her home country of Myanmar, and subsequently admitted to the British Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons. She continued her training at Queen’s Medical Center in Nottingham University followed by Diana Princess of Wales Children’s Hospital in the UK. She then traveled to the United States in the year 2000 for her pediatric neurology residency where she trained under the mentorship of Dr. Isabel Rapin at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. Joining Washington University in St Louis in 2005, she became a full Professor in 2018, then associate pediatric neurology residency program director from 2010 to 2013 and program director of child neurology residency at Washington University since 2013. Dr. Mar has been responsible for the training of over 50 child neurology residents as well as 100s of medical students since she joined Washington University. In the process, she has become extremely involved nationally and internationally in collaborations with other pediatric neurologists in research, program administration and mentorship.

Always active in the Child Neurology Society, Dr. Mar has been a member since 2005 and joined the Professors of Child Neurology in 2011. She has been on the Child Neurology Society Finance Committee since 2018, served as a Director at Large for Professors and Educators of Child Neurology (PECN) from 2020 to 2022. Dr. Mar is now current president of PECN and serving in this role since October 2022. She works in close collaboration with the board of directors of PECN, CNS, ACGME and ABPN, providing input and monitoring the changing landscape of child neurology education and training nationwide.

Dr. Mar maintains an active neuroimmunology clinical practice at Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, at the same time devoting much time to clinical training and the research program at Washington University that includes specific expertise in demyelinating diseases of childhood. She was a recent chair and a current executive and steering committee member of the US Network of Pediatric MS Centers (NPMSC), where she continues to oversee multiple research projects, writing grants, reviews concept proposals, prioritizing manuscript writing projects and mentoring junior faculty with interest in pediatric MS and demyelination diseases across the country. She has led international collaborations with researchers from the US and Europe to study encephalitis and HIV on pediatric patients in Myanmar. Dr. Mar is the medical director and a board member of a Missouri nonprofit charity, the Myanmar Children and Family Medical Foundation, which supports several HIV orphanages, a large school and distributes emergency medical and nutritional supplies to internally displaced families. Her work with the foundation also includes a long history of nurturing the development of a pediatric neurology program at the largest Children’s Hospital in Myanmar. Several residents in her program at Wash U have joined her in Myanmar, assisting with bedside clinical instruction of the Myanmar hospital staff. She has volunteered in Haiti and Guatemala as well and believes in the importance of nurturing the intellectual curiosity and involvement of her trainees in her research and educational activities in underserved areas of the world.

Dr. Mar’s long experience in diverse medical, educational and scientific environments and her demonstrated collaborative leadership roles are certain to be an asset to the community of child neurology through her participation on the board of directors of CNS. 

What are the most challenging issues facing child neurologists today, and how would the CNS, under your leadership, help its members meet those challenges?

In my years with CNS, I always remember with pleasure, getting know the junior members, supporting and mentoring them as to how to navigate and advance their career in the field of child neurology. On a day to day basis, I have many opportunities to collaborate one to one, or in small groups with colleagues; to teach, participate in research and protect the clinical discipline of child neurology; But, aside from vigorously and conscientiously treating my patients, to achieve the best outcome possible, I am most satisfied when I am in a leadership role that can amplify my impact across the field. For example, In my leadership positions with PECN I have been honored to have a respected nationwide platform to participate in and lead the process of imagining, determining and implementing the best ways to train future child neurologists, in a changing landscape. My participation and leadership roles with US Network of Pediatric MS Centers has been invaluable, providing me with opportunities for mentorship and facilitating and participating in multicenter clinical research projects. But, again, the best part has been the opportunity form close professional relationships and personal friendships with child neurology colleagues throughout nationwide networks of education and research, and learning from previous generations of child neurologists.

My vision for CNS is to grow the child neurology community nationally and internationally so we can better take care of children with neurological disorders. I hope to see CNS as the major authoritative body for the development of more efficient and appropriate methods for the training child neurologists and funding of the educational programs of our future child neurologists. In addition, I would like to see CNS taking a leadership role recommendation of good practices for child neurologists in the country.

I would also like see CNS provide research and educational opportunities for students, residents and junior faculty in collaboration with AAN and AAP; and to expand advocacy for health care and research funding for children with neurological disorders at the national level. 

What are the most challenging issues facing child neurologists today, and how would the CNS, under your leadership, help its members meet those challenges?

There are multiple challenges that child neurologists face today, but the most pressing one is a shortage of child neurologists nationally and globally. We need to produce more excellent child neurologists and also help training pediatricians to become comfortable with managing common neurological problems such as seizures and headaches.

To this end, under my leadership, I would like CNS to become involved with the curriculum of medical schools, recommending that child neurology rotations become part of general pediatrics or general neurology rotations so that all students are exposed to child neurology. In addition, we should explore the possibility of making child neurology training more attractive to potential trainees by reforming the training curriculum to be shorter, more focused, rigorous and condensed training than the current curriculum, trainees will have more opportunities to do other important things in their lives such as pursuing more fellowships, earning decent incomes sooner as attending physicians to pay off those medical school loans, or starting or growing family.

Under my leadership, I would encourage CNS to become more involved in AAP to have more child neurology exposure for pediatric residents. Pediatricians should be trained to become comfortable with evaluating headaches, treating migraines, and treating febrile seizures and ‘easy to treat’ epilepsy. It is our responsibility to expose pediatric residents to common neurological problems and teach them how to manage. Presently many child neurology practices are crowded with patients who could be equally well served by their pediatricians, with a little training. That would help with work force shortages in child neurology and the inconvenience for many patients and their families resulting from the current waiting list for general child neurology.