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.


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!

Drs. Ashwath and Misurac Named Medical Directors of the PSC.

The Stead Family Department of Pediatrics is pleased to announce new medical directors for the Pediatric Specialty Clinic. Dr. Ravi Ashwath will be the new Medical Director, and Dr. Jason Misurac will be the Associate Medical Director. These roles will be effective as of today, April 1, 2019.

Dr. Ashwath completed his MD at Mysore Medical College in India, pediatric internship and residency at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, NY, fellowship in pediatric cardiology at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, and a fellowship in Advanced Imaging from Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Ashwath practiced at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital for almost 13 years prior to joining Iowa in 2017. Dr. Ashwath has been the Imaging Director in Pediatric Cardiology and directs the cardiac MRI imaging. He is also the Program Director of cardiology fellowship program.

Dr. Misurac completed his MD at Indiana University School of Medicine, pediatric residency and pediatric nephrology fellowship at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. Since coming to Iowa in 2015 Dr. Misurac has been very active clinically, both here at the hospital and at outreach clinics in Cedar Falls and Johnston.

Please welcome Drs. Ashwath and Misurac into their new roles. We would also like to thank Dr. Warren Bishop who has served as the Medical Director of the Pediatric Specialty Clinic since 2014. His guidance has been crucial to expanding pediatric specialty services within the Department and around the state, and he has always been a true champion for improving the healthcare for children and their families.

Dr. DeGeeter and Family Welcome New Arrival

Dr. Cathy DeGeeter from the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Pancreatology and Nutrition. and her family welcomed the newest addition to their family on Friday, March 15 at 5:06 PM. Elora Diane DeGeeter made her debut at 6lbs, 10 oz.

Congratulations to Dr. DeGeeter, her husband Justin, and Elora’s big brother and sister, Elliott and Elsa!

Elora, with Elsa and Elliott

Welcome our 2019-2020 Interns!

Join us in welcoming another new class of interns! Click here for the full composite.

Thank you to everyone in the department for your efforts during another successful residency recruitment season. From our residents and Chiefs, who spend many hours getting to know the candidates, to our faculty committee members who review applications and interview, to our amazing administrative team who keeps the process running, this is a group success, and we have so much to be proud of.

Thank you!

Amy, Eyad, Erin, and Glenda

Please Welcome Dr. El-Shanti to the Department!

Please welcome Dr. Hatem El-Shanti to the Stead Family Department of Pediatrics as the Division Director of the Division of Medical Genetics and Genomics, and Professor of Pediatrics.

Dr. El‐Shanti earned his MD at the University of Cairo, Egypt. He completed a M.Sc. in Genetics and a post‐doctoral fellowship at Indiana University, followed by a pediatric residency and a medical genetics fellowship at the University of Iowa. Following his training he spent 10 years on the faculty of the Jordan University of Science and Technology where he served in a number of roles, including Director of the Cytogenetics Laboratory, Interim Chairman of Pediatrics, and Medical Director of Princess Rahma Children’s Hospital. In 2003, Dr. El Shanti returned to Iowa as Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Carver College of Medicine. In 2007 he was recruited to Qatar as the Managing Director and Principal Research Scientist, Shafallah Medical Genetics Center where he also served as Director of the Diagnostic Molecular Genetics laboratory. Since 2016 he has been Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Jordan School of Medicine.

Dr. El‐Shanti is internationally‐known for his research on the genetics of a number of disorders of childhood, including autism spectrum disorder, epilepsy, and autoinflammatory diseases. He is a prolific scientist with over one hundred publications and a long track record of funding from the NIH, Jordan’s national research funding agencies, the Qatar National Research Fund, and various foundations. We are thrilled that Dr. El Shanti is returning to the University of Iowa and I look forward to his contributions and leadership towards enhancing our excellence in medical genetics and genomics.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. El-Shanti back to the Department, University, and the community!

Provider Wellness Workshop for Pediatrics, May 10, 2019

Dr. Amy Stier, Chief Wellness Officer for the Departrment, is excited to announce the first Pediatrics Provider Wellness Workshop on Friday, May 10, 2019.

Dr. Janeta Tansey from Virtue Medicine is a practicing psychiatrist specializing in physician wellness, coaching, and professionalism training.  She will be giving our annual education Grand Rounds at noon on Friday, May 10, entitled “You Can’t Teach Professionalism, and Other Fictions: Finding Meaning in Medicine”. Mark your calendars!

There will also be a workshop that morning from 9:00-11:30 AM titled “Physician, Heal Thyself: A Teaching Stratregy for Tackling Demoralization in Academic Medicine.”

This workshop will be focused on personal reflection and wellness, and will help participants teach these skills in an academic setting. Materials are included in the cost of the workshop, and include an individualized assessment, a book, and some pre-workshop exercises.

  • Target audience:  Physicians, psychologists, and advanced practice providers
  • Cost: $10 per person, can be taken from individual Professional Development Funds (total cost of workshop will be supplemented by the departmental wellness budget)

Attendance will be limited to provide an opportunity for good discussion – contact Amy Stier by March 25 to register.

Employee Appreciation Event, March 7, 2019

Thank you to all who attended the Staff Appreciation Breakfast this morning. It was great to see so many people from the Department sharing time together!

The following staff were winners of the gift baskets.

  • Melissa Hatfield – Records Management
  • Lori Kelly – Cardiology
  • Lauren Jordan – Medical Genetics
  • Bola Olayinka – Palliative Care (GenPeds)
  • Mary Jeno – resident, PL1
  • Scott Fedler – Administration
  • Amy Calhoun – Medical Genetics
  • Rachel Han – resident, PL3
  • Jackie Russ – Infectious Diseases
  • Ryan Rancour – Cytogenetics

Below are the answers to the trivia questions from the PowerPoint slideshow:

  1. What is the newest accredited Fellowship program?
    1. C. Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics 
  2. Who was the founding Chair of the Department of Pediatrics?
    1. B – Dr. Albert H. Byfield
  3. Who founded the UI Cytogenetics Lab in 1960?
    1. A. Dr. Johannes Zellweger
  4. Which Endocrinology Division faculty has a first degree black belt in American-style Karate?
    1. D. Dr. Katie Larson Ode
  5. How many new faculty and staff did we welcome in 2018?
    1. C. 50-60
  6. Which Division will be celebrating 25 years of existence on July 1st and is still staffed by same secretary since day one?
    1. A. Division of Critical Care
  7. Which Division Director was once on call for six months straight?
    1. B. Dr. Eva Tsalikian
  8. Which Division has a physician and an ARNP that are UI employees but work at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines?
    1. B. Division of Nephrology
  9. Which Division has doubled in size in the past year?
    1. D. Division of Infectious Diseases

Photos from the event as well as the matched baby photos will be posted shortly.

The remaining food was donated to the Ronald McDonald House, and provided to families in the PICU on behalf of the Department.

On behalf of Dr. Hirsch, Melissa Whisler, and the rest of the Department leadership, thank you all for attending and spending time with your colleagues in the Department!

MOC Part 2 Credit for Departmental Grand Rounds

We are pleased to announce that through coordination with the Division of Continuing Medical Education (CME) at the University of Iowa, we will start offering Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Part 2 credit for some of our departmental Grand Rounds sessions. Such sessions will be clearly labeled as eligible for MOC part 2 in the announcements. To claim MOC Part 2 credit, faculty members should follow the steps outlined in the attached guide.

General tips include:

Faculty members have to attend the specified Grand Rounds session in person or remotely view the live broadcast. Unfortunately, activities accessed after the actual live session time frame cannot be used to claim MOC Part 2 credit. The first eligible session is this Friday March 1, 2019

Document your attendance using the CME cloud texting system

Access the exam questions for the session through the CME portal provided after each activity. This will require faculty member login with access restricted to those who have registered their attendance

A correct response rate of ≥ 75% is required to claim MOC Part 2 credit. Up to three attempts will be allowed to reach that target. Each hour Grand Rounds session will allow one MOC Part 2 credit.

It is our goal to offer this about once per month. The process requires review of the presentation content and associated questions/answers at least 2 weeks before the event time to allow adequate time for construction by the Division of CME. If you have internal or external speakers invited through your divisions who can fulfill these timelines, please let us know ahead of time. We look forward to hearing your feedback on how we can improve this process.

-Dr. Riad Rahhal, Vice Chair for Education, Stead Family Department of Pediatrics

Pediatric Biostats Support Pilot Program

The Department is initiating a pilot program to provide statistical support to the Department of Pediatrics. Please see the description of the program and the form to complete if you want to request assistance, which are located on the research page of the Pediatrics SharePoint site. These are also available in the “Statistics Support in Pediatrics” folder found on the COMMON folder of the S:drive.

Please contact Kathy Mathews, MD, Vice Chair for Clinical Investigation, if you have any questions.