Washington University School of Medicine-St. Louis
Becker Medical Library
Women in Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine

Teresa J. Vietti
Teresa J. Vietti
“There are many Vietti-trained pediatric oncologists in leadership positions today.”

Teresa J. Vietti was born on November 5, 1927, in Fort Worth, Texas. She graduated from Rice University with a bachelor’s degree in 1949 and earned her medical degree at Baylor University in 1953. She did her pediatric training at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Vietti’s research interests are in sarcomas of soft tissue and bone as well as acute lymphoblastic leukemia. For over 30 years, she has been actively involved in clinical trails of pediatric malignancies as well as in new drug development and the design of Phase I and II clinical trials. She has contributed over 200 peer-reviewed publications and nearly 30 books and book chapters. She was editor of the Journal of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology and co-editor of Clinical Pediatric Oncology.

Following positions at Wayne State University and the University of Texas Southwestern, Vietti returned to Washington University School of Medicine as an assistant professor of pediatrics in 1961. She became professor of pediatrics in 1972. She serviced as chief of the division of pediatric hematology/oncology from 1970 to 1986. Vietti became the first chair of the Pediatric Oncology Group in 1980, and she served in this capacity until 1993. She became professor emerita in 1998.

Vietti is the recipient of many awards and honors, including the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology’s Distinguished Career Award (1994), the Leukemia Society of American’s Return of the Child Award (1999), and the American Cancer Society’s Spirit of Health Award (2001).


Teresa J. Vietti pioneered the concept of outcome-based clinical trials at a time when childhood cancer meant certain death unless the surgeon could completely resect it. Enormously successful, this more rigorous approach has contributed to the advisement of many other fields of clinical medicine.

“Some of my teachers actually said they didn’t believe women should become physicians.”
… Teresa J. Vietti

For nearly four decades, Vietti contributed to the university and to her field as a compassionate, dedicated clinician, successful scientist and outstanding administrator. An inspired teacher, her training sessions were an invaluable and treasured component of the program. By involving junior investigators in clinical trials and on national committees, she advanced their careers. Without fanfare, she removed her name from publications and substituted their names. Nationwide, there are many Vietti-trained pediatric oncologists in leadership positions today.

Vietti recalls that women made up only 5 percent of her medical class, and that some of the teachers actually stated that they didn’t believe in women in medicine. Her response was to excel and, in doing so, to develop effective therapies for kids with cancer.