About Scott Fedler

Admin Services Specialist, Pediatrics Academic Administration

Dr. Hirsch is Departing UI Health Care


Dear friends and colleagues,

It is with mixed feelings that I am writing to notify you that I will be stepping down as department chair on or about June 1. I have accepted the position of Chair of Pediatrics at UCSF and Physician-in-Chief of Benioff Children’s Hospitals. I will be working with Dean Jackson and Department leadership to ensure a smooth transition.

I look forward to sharing additional thoughts with all of you in the coming weeks about the Department and its future. In the meantime, I want you to know that the decision to leave this wonderful organization was a difficult one. But as I indicated at my recent State of the Department address, I believe that an organization must refresh its leadership on a regular basis in order to remain outstanding and that the time has come to pass on the baton. It has been my honor to shepherd the Stead Family Department of Pediatrics and the Stead Family Children’s Hospital these past seven years. I have never worked with more outstanding people than yourselves and I will miss all of you. I will retain many fond memories of my years at the University of Iowa and the times we shared together.


Dr. Fischer Appears on Iowa Public Radio About E-Cigarettes

Dr. Tony Fischer from the Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy and Immunology recently appeared on the Iowa Public Radio program River to River discussing the vaping and e-cigarette epidemic.

The U.S. Surgeon General says electronic cigarette use among young people is increasing at “epidemic proportions.” In Iowa, 2018 data shows that nine percent of high school students in the state used e-cigarettes. Nationally, there was a 78 percent rise in vaping among high school students from 2017 to 2018.

This episode of River to River focuses on the rising use of e-cigarettes or vaping among Iowa teens. Guests include:

  • Danielle Oswald-Thole, the Iowa Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Inc
  • Daisy Contreras, a reporter for WUIS in Springfield, IL
  • Michael Triplett, president of Triplett Enterprises Ltd.
  • Dr. Anthony Fischer, a pediatric pulmonologist at University of Iowa Children’s Hospital
  • Dr. Ted Bonebrake, an addiction specialist at UnityPoint Health in Cedar Falls

Dr. O’Brien Publishes in Behavior Analysis in Practice

Congratulations to Matt O’Brien, PhD in the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics on his recent article published in Behavior Analysis in Practice.

The Promise of Accountable Care Organizations: “The Code,” Reimbursement, and an Ethical No-Win Situation for Behavior Analysts. March 2019,12(1),247-254.

Abstract: Clinical ethics, with its emphasis on the actions of clinicians, risks overlooking the ways in which broader health-care structures influence the behavior of health-care providers. Analysis of a factual case study demonstrates that status quo reimbursement practices may place behavior analysts in a position where, no matter how they act, they risk acting unethically. By contrast, the reimbursement model set by accountable care organizations (ACOs), part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), may offer a solution. However, making good on the promise of ACOs will require more resources than any individual behavior analyst possesses. In order to encourage institutional structures that facilitate ethical practice, behavior analysts’ professional organizations should engage in contemporary political discussions about the state of American health care.

Staff Spotlight – Christina Cifra, MD, MS

Dr. Cifra is Clinical Assistant Professor, and has been in the Division of Critical Care since 2014.

My husband, Erik, is a sociologist and teaches at the university. He is also my collaborator on research studies involving large databases and requiring coding skills to crunch numbers. We have two children, Hank, 3 years and Tilly, 9 months old. Oh, and we have two cats – Izzy and Hannah.

In my free time I spend time with my kids. It’s very hard to have hobbies now since my children are young and I am early in my career. I do still get a lot of leisure reading done though not as much as before (I used to read around 3 books a month just for fun). I catch up with family and friends, near and far. And there’s always stuff that needs to be done around the house… very domestic stuff.

This is corny, but I am thankful everyday that I am a pediatric intensivist. My mother was also a pediatric intensivist who pioneered pediatric critical care in the Philippines, and following in her footsteps have been such an honor. I do think I have the best job ever. For funsies though, I would certainly love to be the NY Times 52 Places Traveler – that would be amazing.

In terms of most fascinating place I’ve been, Baltimore is an education. Fascinating in that it taught me a lot about American cities coming as a new immigrant. Iowa is also a special place and I am learning a lot, this time about rural America.

My favorite meal is bacon with sunny-side up eggs and garlic fried rice for breakfast. This is a Filipino treat! Hands down, best meal ever. My husband and I eat this at night too when we’re too lazy to cook. Favorite restaurants: Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore, Clinton St. Social Club here in town.

It’s so hard to pick a favorite book or movie! How about I just tell you about the last 3 books I read? FYI I almost always read non-fiction. 1. Fashion Climbing by Bill Cunningham – awesome autobiography of a beloved NYC institution 2. Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport – I’ve been on a productivity kick lately 3. Thanks, Obama by David Litt – funny and poignant memoir by one of Obama’s speechwriters.

Fun fact: I used to volunteer at an anarchist bookshop/coffeehouse in Baltimore (Red Emma’s, named after Emma Goldman). It was a great way to meet all sorts of different people. I met my husband through friends I met at the bookshop. I had a grand old time in that place!

Staff Spotlight – Mark Olson, PA-C

Mark has been a Physician Assistant in Pediatric Cardiology for 10 years.

I predominantly work in pediatric electrophysiology providing support for pacemakers, implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), electrophysiology studies and ablations, and arrhythmia clinics. I have worked for 10 years at UIHC with all of it in pediatric cardiology. The first several years I worked in the pediatric catheterization lab where I still help from time to time.

I have been married to my wife, Tiffany, for 16 years. We met in college at Brigham Young University but I am originally from Iowa. She taught sixth grade for a few years but now substitute teaches in the Iowa City elementary schools. We have five (5) children ranging in age from 5 to 14 years old.

We love to travel, even with all the kids :). I love reading, especially boring stuff. We are at the point that we get to attend sport and performance activities that our children participate in and we really enjoy it. Recently, I shoveled a lot of snow.

I feel like I have my dream job. I work with a lot of people I enjoy and our division is very supportive in my professional development and just in general. I get a lot of satisfaction from the fact that many of the patients in pediatric cardiology and electrophysiology have a problem that can be “fixed” and they can return to normal or nearly normal activities.

The most fascinating place I’ve ever lived is I lived in Brazil for two years as a missionary.

Favorite book and move: Book: Ender’s Game; Movie: Jurassic Park, Back to the Future, and Zombieland.

If I had 3 wishes, they would be to have a magic power to secretly pay off other people’s debt; have faster than light travel actually be possible (not break causality) and have ships that can regularly do it; and ensure the whole world lives in communities that are free and protected by a constitution that guarantees their rights.

Fun facts:

  • I have proven twice that I can very happily live off a Wig & Pen Union Jack Chicago Style pizza for a week while my wife and children are visiting grandma and grandpa.
  • I have the worst badge picture out there. My badge broke after several years of use and had to be replaced. My new badge picture was taken on the first day of someone’s job in the badge office. I sat down and she immediately took the picture while I was getting ready. I asked her if it looked “ok” and she said it did. I got up to look at it but she had already started printing it. I saw the picture on the screen and said it looked terrible and I wanted a new one. At that point, the new badge had printed and she told me she had to charge me $20 for a new badge. I challenge you to find a worse picture. I have been told I need to get it replaced. As of a short while ago, it began to show up as my Voalte picture and now I get comments about it all the time which I think are hilarious :). I am apparently a little stubborn, as I refuse to pay for another picture.

Staff Spotlight – Stefanie Pirkl, MPA, SPHR

Stefanie has been the Human Resources Director for the Department since August 2015.

I provide leadership to the human resources team that supports the Department of Pediatrics and UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

I was born and raised in north central Iowa. I grew up on a small family farm with my parents and three siblings. I met my husband, Adam, in undergrad and we have been married for 10 wonderful years. We have since been blessed with four children, two boys and two girls: Marcus (8), Ty (6), McKenzie (4) and Tatum (8 months).

In my free time I enjoy spending quality time with family and friends. We enjoy game nights, movie nights, playing sports, and spending time outdoors as a family. We live on a farm west of Iowa City, so we also get to enjoy some quality time doing chores together too. We raise a small cow-calf herd and crops as well.

Growing up, the original Willy Wonka movie was among the favorites for my siblings and me. Creating an environment where everything is edible and delicious was something I could only dream about. Operating a candy store is about as close as I might come to this dream. What interests me most is being in a fun, vibrant environment and seeing the happiness it can bring to children (and adults alike)! And being in close proximity to chocolate wouldn’t be so bad either.

I was fortunate to have many opportunities to travel abroad as part of my undergraduate and graduate programs. One of the most fascinating places I have visited is Stuttgart, Germany; where I had the opportunity to learn about some amazing programs that make it such a great place to live.

Favorite meal or restaurant? I wish I could discriminate a little more, but I tend to enjoy it all. I typically want to enjoy what I eat – sort of that “live to eat” versus “eat to live”. One of my favorite treats is my Grandmother’s pumpkin pie. I have been known to eat an entire pie on Thanksgiving.

Favorite book or movie? Top Gun. Great movie. Even better soundtrack.

Fun fact: By the age of 23, I had visited as many countries in the world as states in the United States. With our growing family, we are focusing more on stateside travels:).

Pediatrics Research Day Poster Session Award Winners

Congratulations to the following award winners for their posters at last Friday’s Pediatrics Research Day on April 5, 2019.

  • Basic Poster Winners
    • Camilla Hippee Measles Virus Exits Primary Human Airway Epithelial Sheets by Infectious Center Sloughing
    • Amy Stanford Human beta defensing-2 significantly decreases intestinal injury in experimental necrotizing enterocolitis.
  • Clinical Poster Winners
    • Jared Peterson Neurocognitive Function in Pediatric Brain Tumor Survivors
    • Matthew Solomon Pediatric Chronic Kidney Disease is Associated with Abnormal White Matter Integrity on Diffusion Tensor Imaging.

Congratulations to all participants and attendees for another successful Pediatrics Research Day!

University Benefits Office Hours at UIHC

Have a question about/for University Benefits? The University Benefits Office has open hours at the UIHC every month. The times for the month of April are below:

  • Wednesday, April 10
    • 10am – 12:30pm, C500-1 GH (5th floor near elevator B).
    • 2pm – 4pm, C500-1 GH (5th floor near elevator B).
  • Saturday, April 13
    • 7pm – 10 pm, Marketplace Dining Room
  • Wednesday, April 24
    • 2pm – 4pm, E178 GH, (1st floor near elevator AA)
    • 7pm – 10 pm, Marketplace Dining Room
  • Saturday, April 27
    • 6:30 – 9:30am, Fountain Dining Room

A flyer to post in your area can also be found here.