New Baby!

Congratulations to Cody Ching, MHA, Associate Clinical Department Administrator, and his wife Erin Olufs, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, on the birth of their new son, Malcolm Olufs Ching.

Malcolm was born Sunday, January 12, 2020, weighing 7 lbs 10 oz. All the family is doing well.

Dr. Paternostro Receives Positive Patient Comments

Congratulations to Dr. Paternostro (Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics) on receiving a pair of very positive comments from families recently.

“Jena is so amazing. My daughter is a very shy, difficult to open up and Jena has helped her to work on her emotional needs. Jena has been helpful as a parent giving ideas and books that will help improve the outcome of our daughter. Thank you!”

And also:

“When the nursing/MA staff was busy rooming patients, Jena just came and got us to prevent a long wait time. This was much appreciated.”

Garton Receives “You Make a Difference” Award

Congratulations to Seth Garton, MS, RCEP, an Exercise Physiologist in pediatric cardiology for a recent You Make a Difference award as nominated by a patient’s family. From the nomination:

“On Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019, I had a scare at home with [our daughter] as we didn’t know her pacemaker was malfunctioning. We called UIHC and cardiology dept to see what needed to do and got all our answers. Mark Olsen told us to get [her] out here ASAP. So I did. I was so scared. But when I got here, they took her back and were so good to her even when she was scared. They comforted me and [our daughter] the whole time. But the really scary part was in the elevator coming back from the chest x‐ray when she had a spell and he was right there and comforted [our daughter] and made sure she was ok and not scared. He walked slowly beside her as I pushed the wheelchair she was in and made sure he had his hands ready to catch her while walking backwards. He’s an amazing young man that will do Great and Amazing things for this hospital and any adventures he pursues! [We] thank you so very much!”

Dr. Ferguson Awarded Distinguished Service Award

Dr. Polly Ferguson (Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology) was awarded with the American College of Rheumatology’s (ACR) Distinguished Service Award during the 2019 ACR/ARP Annual Meeting in Atlanta. The award reflects her outstanding contributions to the advancement of rheumatology.

The ACR recognizes leading researchers, clinicians, mentors, and other professionals exhibiting superior commitment to the advancement of the field of rheumatology with the Awards of Distinction honors. The Distinguished Service Award is awarded to an ACR member for outstanding and sustained service to the ACR.

The ACR Distinguished Service Award is presented to Polly Ferguson, MD, the Marjorie K. Lamb Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Iowa (UIowa).

Dr. Ferguson strongly believes in the ACR’s mission for a multitude of reasons. She says the organization provides those in academic medicine with opportunities to advance their career, advocates for patients and providers on a governmental level to ensure needed care is delivered, and leads clinicians, researchers, and practitioners in the rheumatology field. That’s why it was easy, she says, to volunteer for numerous committees over the years.

She has served on at least eight different committees, including the Pediatric Rheumatology Section Executive Committee, the Committee on Research, the Abstract Review Committee, the Abstract Oversight Committee, a research sub-committee of the Government Affairs Committee, the Committee on Nominations and Appointments (ACR), the Committee on Membership and Nominations, the JIA Treatment Guideline Development Group, and chaired the Pediatric Rheumatology Special Committee.

Not to mention her current service as a member of the NIH/NIAID Board of Scientific Counselors, the Arthritis Foundation Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee, and the American Board of Pediatrics Rheumatology sub-board.

Dr. Ferguson received her medical degree from the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine at UIowa in 1990. During the next decade, she completed her training at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville, which included her pediatric residency, pediatric rheumatology and immunology fellowship, and a postdoctoral research fellowship.

Then in 2000, she served for two years as an assistant professor of Pediatrics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. But in 2002, she returned to UIowa where she now serves as the director of Pediatric Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology at the Stead Family Department of Pediatrics at UIowa.

Her current NIH-funded research focuses on uncovering the genetic and immunologic basis of autoinflammatory disease, particularly those that affect the bone, and understanding the role of inflammation in neurologic disease.  She has identified several genes that cause sterile osteomyelitis and has translated findings into effective treatment. Her work has been cited in medical journals more than 5,000 times.

Meanwhile, she has mentored many undergraduate, graduate, post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty from UIowa and other schools. She also serves as the training director of the school’s Department of Pediatrics K12 Child Health Research Career Development Award (CHRCDA) Program.

 “What means the most to me about this award is that that my peers thought to nominate me when there are so many other outstanding volunteers, and that they value what I’ve done,” says Dr. Ferguson. “It’s a very humbling experience.”

Dr. Larson Ode Receives New Grant

Congratulations to Dr. Katie Larson Ode (Endocrinology and Diabetes) from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to mentor 3 pediatric endocrinologists in the endocrine care of CF patients. The CFF EnVision program, which trains endocrinologists to care for patients with CF, is in its second iteration.  Dr. Larson Ode was a mentee under the first cohort of the award and was asked to be a mentor for the second cohort of the program, which is a big honor.

Her 3 mentees are all located to the west – 2 in California (both affiliated with UCLA) and one in Montana- so she will be doing some traveling out west for the next 3 years.

The grant provides $15,979/year for 3 years, or just shy of $50,000 total. Way to go, Dr. Larson Ode!

Drs. Cooper-Brown and O’Brien Receive Stellar Patient Feedback

Dr. Linda Cooper-Brown and Dr. Matt O’Brien

Linda Cooper-Brown and Matt O’Brien from the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics received some amazing feedback from a parent who adopted an infant with Down Syndrome and felt the help provided by Drs. Cooper Brown and O’Brien was life-changing.

“After receiving a holiday card, I just wrote a check to the University of Iowa but it didn’t feel like enough. How can a monetary amount express the gratitude I feel for the institution that saved my daughter’s life on more than one occasion? Beyond that, it’s an institution that has supported us throughout every step of her development. You see, my husband and I adopted an infant (Josie) with Down syndrome. Her adoption was inspired by my sister, Leanne, who also has Down syndrome. The unforeseen components of her adoption were her surgical needs (cardiac caths, VSD repair, g tube placement), chronic lung disease (multiple hospitalizations to treat respiratory distress) and eventual behavioral needs. The practitioners involved in Josie’s care are too numerous to list but we are forever grateful to each and every one; in fact, I have an “I believe in Miracles – U of IA Children’s Hospital” license plate frame on my car. However, I would like to take a moment to highlight what is an invaluable resource at the University of Iowa that deserves far more recognition, funding, and accolades: The CDD Behavioral Psychology Department.

Upon placement of her g-tube, Josie lost her instinct to eat orally; a common challenge with g-tube dependent children. We tried everything to teach her to eat but nothing worked. Eventually, we found ourselves in Dr. Linda Cooper-Brown’s intensive feeding clinic. Oral food consumption – a skill we had worked on for two years to no avail – was a skill that Josie acquired within two weeks of seeing Dr. Cooper-Brown. It was a miracle! Nearly two years later, we found ourselves living in North Dakota and suddenly Josie refused to eat orally and we reverted back to g-tube dependence. I made a desperate phone call to Dr. Cooper-Brown and we took a pilgrimage back to the University of Iowa, where Josie’s feeding issues were corrected within a week.

Fast forward to Josie’s Kindergarten year when she experienced a sudden onset of autism symptoms including self-injurious behaviors: I called Dr. Cooper-Brown. She welcomed us back to her clinic and introduced us to Dr. Wacker and Dr. O’Brien. With their professional expertise, we were equipped with the tools we needed to eliminate Josie’s self-injurious behaviors and encourage positive behaviors, growth, and development, both at home and at school.

We recently returned to see Dr. Cooper-Brown and Dr. O’Brien to check in and discuss strategies for handling challenging behaviors going forward. Even on my hardest days with Josie, I feel comfort and support knowing that the CDD Behavioral Psychology team is just a phone call/MyChart message away. That peace of mind is invaluable.

I have documented our journey on our Down syndrome blog: and Instagram account @CatfishWithKetchup. I have fielded many questions and referred numerous parents to the CDD Behavioral Psychology team because I believe this resource is life-changing and I hope that more people can become aware and take advantage of it.

If I could express my gratitude for the impact that Dr. Cooper-Brown and Dr. O’Brien have made on our lives and return the favor, I would be privileged to have the opportunity. This is why I am compelled to write this testimony. Thank you for the incredible work that you do. And please continue to offer a comprehensive care plan for all patients so that they know that throughout any hardship in their journey, the University of Iowa has a resource and is a valuable support.”

Dr. Uc Elected to Leadership Role in American Pancreatic Association

Congratulations to Dr. Aliye Uc (Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Pancreatology and Nutrition) for her recent election as a Councilor with the American Pancreatic Association. This means she is also one of 7 members of the APA Governing Board.

This is a 6 year term which includes serving as President-Elect, President and Past-President, each for 1 year, towards the end of her tenure.

Congratulations, Dr. Uc!

Dr. El-Shanti Chosen as a Selected Research Speaker

Dr. Hatem El-Shanti was chosen as one of four selected researchers, chosen by Dean Jackson, to present on his research efforts at the upcoming event Spotlight on Current and Future Research. This event will feature 4 presenters giving a short-talk seminar about their research and how it’s breaking new ground in their field.

The event is Monday, December 2, from 4:00-5:00 PM in 1459 PBDB.