Children’s Hospital Ranks in Six Specialties by US News and World Report

We are pleased to announce that University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital is included in the 2019-20 rankings of “Best Children’s Hospitals” released today by U.S. News & World Report magazine.

This distinction is a reflection of the experience, expertise, and longstanding dedication of our faculty and staff who care for our pediatric patients and their families. Congratulations to all for achieving this outstanding national recognition. Following is the news announcement that will be featured on The Loop and included in today’s edition of Noon News:

University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital ranks in six specialties in U.S. News & World Report 2019-20 ‘Best Children’s Hospitals’ University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital is listed among the nation’s best in six specialties, according to the new 2019-20 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings published online today by U.S. News & World Report, the global authority in hospital rankings and consumer advice. UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital—Iowa’s only nationally ranked children’s hospital—ranked in the following areas:

  • 16 in neonatology
  • 21 in pediatric diabetes and endocrinology
  • 26 (tie) in pediatric urology
  • 29 in pediatric orthopedics
  • 39 (tie) in pediatric nephrology
  • 46 in pediatric cancer

The 13th annual Best Children’s Hospitals rankings recognize the top 50 pediatric facilities across the U.S. in 10 pediatric specialties: cancer, cardiology and heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery, neonatology, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology and lung surgery, and urology.

“Being once again ranked as one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals—and the only nationally ranked children’s hospital in Iowa—highlights our dedication to providing the best care to all of Iowa’s children, as well as those in surrounding states and across the country. This is a true testament to the hard work and dedication of our doctors, nurses, and staff,” says Eva Tsalikian, MD, interim physician-in-chief of UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital and interim chair and department executive officer of the Stead Family Department of Pediatrics at the UI Carver College of Medicine. “We celebrate 10 consecutive years of being recognized for our quality of care and look forward to continuing to provide advanced, compassionate care our patients and their families have come to expect.”

“This honor reflects the outstanding care and service provided by our dedicated team of world-class pediatric specialists and health care professionals,” adds Amy O’Deen, interim executive director of UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. “We are proud of our team and grateful to the thousands of families who trust us to expertly care for their children each year.”

“The Best Children’s Hospitals rankings were designed to help provide families seeking the best medical care for their sick child with access to the most comprehensive data available,” said Ben Harder, managing editor and chief of health analysis at U.S. News. “The rankings, coupled with guidance from pediatricians, help families make better-informed decisions about where to find high-quality, compassionate care for their children when they need it most.”

U.S. News introduced the Best Children’s Hospitals rankings in 2007 to help families of children with rare or life-threatening illnesses find the best medical care available. The rankings are the most comprehensive source of quality-related information on U.S. pediatric hospitals.

The U.S. News Best Children’s Hospitals rankings rely on clinical data and on an annual survey of pediatric specialists. The rankings methodology factors in patient outcomes, such as mortality and infection rates, as well as available clinical resources and compliance with best practices.

This year’s rankings will be published in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals 2020” guidebook (ISBN 9781931469937), available in stores mid-September.

For more information, visit Best Children’s Hospitals for the full rankings and use #BestHospitals on Facebook and Twitter.

Dr. Sheets Named Interim; Allergy/Immunology Services are now combined with Rheumatology

Effective June 1, 2019, the Division of Rheumatology will now house Allergy and Immunology specialty services. Dr. Diana Bayer, who specializes in allergy and immunology, will transition to the Division of Rheumatology and the new division name will be the ‘Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology’. Dr. Polly Ferguson remains the Division Director.

The Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy and Immunology is renamed the ‘Division of Pulmonary Medicine’ in conjunction with this change.

This realignment of services between rheumatology and allergy/immunology reflects not only the complimentary services offered between rheumatology and allergy/immunology, but also matches the structure of these services and how they are aligned at other academic medical centers around the country.


In addition, the Department is happy to announce Dr. Scott Sheets as Interim Division Director of the Division of Pulmonary Medicine effective June 1, 2019 while the search for a permanent Division Director continues.

Dr. Sheets completed his DO from Des Moines University in 1993. He completed his residency in 1996. His fellowship in Pediatric Allergy and Pulmonary medicine was at the University of Iowa from 1996 to 1999. Dr. Sheets was a pediatric pulmonologist at Tripler Army Medicine Center in Honolulu, with his last year as Chief, from 1999-2003. Subsequently, Dr. Sheets moved back to Iowa in 2003 and was a pediatric pulmonologist at Blank for 6 years, the last two years of which he was co-director of the Cystic Fibrosis Center at Blank. From 2009-2013 he was the Director of Respiratory Medicine at ChildServe in Johnston, IA while becoming a part of Central Iowa Pediatric Allergy and Pulmonary LLC from 2009-2016. From 2016-2018 he was a pediatric pulmonologist at Iowa Pediatric Asthma and Allergy, LLC in West Des Moines.

He joined the University of Iowa in May 2018, and has been the Clinical Director for the Division of Pulmonary Medicine since his arrival. As Clinical Director he has been instrumental in increasing patient access to pulmonology services in the Pediatric Specialty Clinic, and has been very active teaching residents and fellows.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Sheets to his new role!

Grant Opportunity from Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center

The Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center can submit two applications to the Curing Kids Cancer Grant mechanism. If you are interested in applying, please respond by Noon on Monday, July 1 with information on your proposed project, as per the terms of the grant.   –Tami Thompson (

Internal Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center deadline Noon, Monday, July 1, 2019

Curing Kids Cancer – limited to two applications per institution.

Sponsor Deadline Sept 9, 2019.

Donna Friel

Angi Roemerman

Children’s Miracle Network 2019 Research Awardees Announced

Congratulations to the awardees of the 2019 Children’s Miracle Network Research Awards below:

  • Donna Santillan, MD, Obstetrics and Gynecology, “Effects of E-Cigarettes on Babies“, $50,000.
  • Catherina Pinnaro, MD, Pediatrics fellow (Endocrinology and Diabetes), “Genetic Modifiers of Glycemic Phenotype in Turner Syndrome“, $4,980.
  • Rhanda Darville, MD, Pediatrics fellow (Gastroenterology), “The role of diet, sex, and the microbiome in sterile osteomyelitis“, $50,000.
  • Mitchell Luangrath, MD, Pediatrics fellow (Critical Care), “Determining the role of tissue resident memory CD4 T cells in RSV infection“, $50,000.

Dance Marathon 2019 Research Awardees Announced

Congratulations to the awardees of the 2019 Dance Marathon Research Awards. Each will receive $50,000 for their projects.

  • Jessica Zimmerman, MD, Pediatrics Fellow in Hematology/Oncology, “Enhancing Glucocortificoid Potency for Treatment of B-ALL Using Functional Genomics”.
  • Rebecca Dodd, PhD, Assistant Professor in Internal Medicine, “Epigenetic Combination Therapy in Pediatric Sarcomas.”

Whisler Departing, Heinemann Named Interim CDA

We are pleased to announce that Melissa Whisler, MBA, MHA, who has served as the Stead Family Department of Pediatric Clinical Department Administrator for the last four years, has been promoted to Administrative Chief of Staff at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. In her new role, she will be working closely with all departmental executive officers to implement strategic plans and will oversee operations in the Office of the CEO. While her last day in the Stead Family Department of Pediatrics will be Tuesday, June 11, there will be a longer transition period in place to ensure the process is as seamless as possible.

In the interim, John Heinemann, MHA, MPH, will be serving as our Clinical Department Administrator. He joined UI Health Care in 2017 as an associate administrator and has previous administrator experience in various hospital and health care settings. He will oversee the day-to-day operations in pediatrics and ensure the continuation of our projects and strategic priorities.

Please join us in congratulating Melissa and John on their new roles.

Dr. Tsalikian Named Interim Chair/DEO Beginning June 2

The College of Medicine has announced that Eva Tsalikian, MD, will serve as interim chair and departmental executive officer (DEO) of the Stead Family Department of Pediatrics, effective June 2, 2019. As part of this role, she will also assume duties as interim Physician-in-Chief of University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Tsalikian is currently director of the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes and Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs for the Stead Family Department of Pediatrics.

Dr. Tsalikian, a Professor of Pediatrics, joined the faculty of the Carver College of Medicine in 1983. She served as Chief of Staff for UI Hospitals & Clinics from 2006 to 2012. Her research primarily focuses on the causes, effects, treatment and prevention of Type 1 diabetes in children and adolescents. Dr. Tsalikian will succeed Raphael Hirsch, MD, who has served as chair and DEO of the Department, as well as Physician-in-Chief of the children’s hospital since 2012. He is leaving to take similar posts at Benioff Children’s Hospital and University of California-San Francisco. His final day at Iowa is June 1, 2019.

A national search for a replacement will be co-chaired by Janet Fairley, MD, Chair of the Department of Dermatology, and Lois Geist, MD, MS, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Development. More information about the search will be forthcoming.

Please Welcome Dr. McLennan to Pediatric Cardiology

Please welcome Dr. Daniel McLennan to the Stead Family Department of Pediatrics as Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics.

Dr. McLennan earned his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the University of Sydney in 2007. He then completed advanced training in pediatric cardiology in Australia until 2010 after which he went on to perform as a Pediatric Registrar until 2013. Dr. McLennan completed his categorical Pediatric Cardiology fellowship at Sydney Children’s Hospital in 2016. He was an advanced fellow at Bristol Children’s Hospital as well as in Pediatric Intensive Care at Evelina Children’s Hospital, where he managed post-surgical patients with congenital and acquired cardiac disease. Dr. McLennan is currently completing an extended specialized fellowship in Pediatric Interventional Cardiology at Children’s Hospital Colorado, Denver.

Dr. McLennan will be active as a member of the Pediatric Cardiology Clinical Service. He will perform interventional cardiology procedures, attend on the pediatric cardiology inpatient and consultation service, share on-call responsibilities, including pediatric cardiology interventional call, and helping to continue the development of the Cardiology program. He will also assist in the advancement of a pediatric and congenital heart pulmonary hypertension program.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. McLennan to the Department, University, and the community!