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!

Residents Make Donation to United Action for Youth

In honor of the AAP Advocacy Campaign “Advocacy Adventure”, the Pediatrics Residency Program has partnered with United Action for Youth in Iowa City. They recently were able to donate money from current residents and attend the Festival of Flowers.

If people would like to know about volunteering events they can reach out to the AAP Representatives Kaitlin Stein, Rachel Segal, and Sriya Subramani, or staff Michael Colburn

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.

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. Dagle Chosen for Tow Humanism in Medicine Award

Congratulations to Dr. John Dagle (Neonatology) for being named the recipient of the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

This prestigious award is given to those that demonstrate the Foundation’s and the Carver College of Medicine’s ideals of outstanding compassion in the delivery of care; respect for patients, their families, and healthcare colleagues; and clinical excellence. The official award ceremony will be held May 8, 2019 at 5:30 PM in the Kelch Conference Room, 1289 CBRB.

Congratulations, Dr. Dagle!

New Arrivals in the PICU

Congratulations to Dr. Shilpa Balikai from Critical Care, her husband, Shahzad Ali and daughter Zia, on the arrival of their son, Riann Balikai Ali on March 7, 2019. Riann weighed in at 7 pounds, 15 ounces; and was affectionately deemed to be “Mostly Hair”.

Also, Haley Stoll, ARNP from Critical Care, and her husband and daughter Emory, welcomed Everett Andrew on March 3, 2019. Everett weighed in at 7 pounds, 10 ounces. An adorable baby picture will be loaded as soon as one is received.

Congratulations on the newest additions to your families!

Pediatric Cardiology Team Featured in Patient Story

Members of our pediatric cardiology care team were featured in a patient story on the SFCH website. Drs. Aldoss and Reinking, with Trudy Pierick, ARNP and Brenda Haag, RN were prominently featured in the story of the Knapke family.

“When Shalan and Kyle Knapke found out that their daughter Adira would be born without a fully developed right ventricle, they turned to UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. “We are so blessed to have such an amazing hospital nearby!”

Dr. Mathews and Pediatric Neurology Team Featured in UI SFCH Patient Story

Once a week, 12-year-old Ben Schussler boards a 9 a.m. plane near his hometown of Eagan, Minnesota, and flies – usually with either a parent or a “Ben’s Team” member – to the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. From there, he and his escort drive 25 minutes to the clinical research unit located within University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics.

Clinic staff all know Ben, and he enters the clinic and heads to his infusion bay, where for an hour he’ll receive an experimental treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). After the infusion, staff will monitor Ben for side effects, and on some days he has to have a blood draw to test progress. He’s usually back home by 7 or8 p.m. that same day.

Ben is part of a clinical trial testing to see whether a new therapy will change the progression of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, says Katherine Mathews, MD, pediatric neurologist at University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital and the UI’s principal investigator for the study in which Ben is participating. DMD is a genetic disorder marked by progressive degeneration of the muscles and increasing weakness.

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