Dr. Howe Accepted into APA Educational Scholars Program

Congratulations to Dr. Erin Howe who was recently accepted into the Educational Scholars Program of the Academic Pediatric Association!

This program targets present or future faculty in academic pediatrics who wish to build their skills in educational scholarship. Educational scholarship is the development, implementation, evaluation and/or dissemination of educational interventions or evaluation methods by a creative, planned and rigorous process that is consistent with best practices in the field and reviewed by peers for excellence.

Rewriting the Brain Pathway for Consciousness

Study in patients challenges old pathway, suggests better targets for treating coma

With a finding that will “rewrite neuroanatomy textbooks,” University of Iowa neurologist Aaron Boes, MD, PhD, and his colleagues show that the thalamus is not a critical part of the brain pathway involved in keeping humans awake and conscious.

The finding upends decades of medical dogma that placed the thalamus as a critical relay point for the signals originating in the brainstem and ending in the cortex that maintain consciousness (wakefulness). The new study, published online Nov. 12 as a preprint in the Annals of Neurology, provides the first systematic evidence from humans that questions the routing of this critical pathway. The study evaluates patients with strokes of the thalamus and shows that even extensive injury to the thalamus does not severely impair consciousness.

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Dr. Strathearn Publishes in the British Journal of Psychiatry

Dr. Lane Strathearn recently published an article in the British Journal of Psychiatry examining, using a prospective record-linkage analysis, whether substantiated child maltreatment is associated with adverse psychological outcomes in early adulthood.

Kisely S, Abajobir AA, Mills R, Strathearn L, Clavarino A, Najman JM. Child maltreatment and mental health problems in adulthood: birth cohort studyBr J Psychiatry. 2018 Dec;213(6):698-703. doi: 10.1192/bjp.2018.207

Dr. Leyser Publishes on Zika Syndrome in Journal of Child Neurology

Dr. Marcio Leyser published an article recently in the Journal of Child Neurology on the gross motor developmental trajectories in 39 infants admitted in a rehabilitation center located in Rio de Janeiro during the Zika outbreak in Brazil from November 2015 to November 2016 and their correlated risk rate for the comorbid diagnosis of cerebral palsy.

Marques FJP, Teixeira MCS, Barra RR, de Lima FM, Scofano Dias BL, Pupe C, Nascimento OJM, Leyser M. Children Born with Congenital Zika Syndrome Display Atypical Gross Motor Development and a Higher Risk for Cerebral Palsy. Journal of Child Neurology, 1-5 2018.

Resident Teams Receive CATCH Grants from the AAP

Two AAP CATCH grants were awarded to resident teams recently. This is a national, competitive process through the AAP to encourage pediatricians to collaborate within their communities to advance Child Health initiatives.  Of the 18 proposals awarded nationally, two were right here in our program!  The teams will have up to $2000 awarded to advance their initiatives.

  • A LatinXchange project will be lead by Dr. Melanie Reyes-Hernandez (PL3), with mentoring provided by Dr. Marguerite Oetting.


  • A Healthy Hawkeye Smiles project will be lead by Drs. Rachel Segal and Michael Cole (PL2’s) and Elizabeth Wilkinson (pediatric dental resident), with mentoring provided by Dr. Jody Murph.


Patient Story from Pediatric Neurology Epilepsy Clinic

When Anthony was six months old we were referred to pediatric neurology for questionable diagnosis of cerebral palsy. One month later, Anthony began having seizures. We began seeing Shelly Flynn, ARNP, in the pediatric neurology epilepsy clinic, and Anthony was then diagnosed with infantile spasms. And so began our journey into this whole new world, new life in University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

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The 2018-2019 Performance Review Period is Now Open

The annual performance review cycle is underway.  The Department of Pediatrics has established a goal to have all performance reviews completed no later than February 28, 2019.  Below is an outline of the necessary steps to complete this process. Please review the Self-Evaluation Guidelines for assistance on completing a well-rounded self-evaluation. You will need to send your completed self-evaluation form via the online performance review tool to your supervisor no later than December 14, 2018.

P&S Review Process

  1. Employee initiates “Create New Review” in Online Performance Review Tool.
  2. Employee completes self-evaluation, either using the system tool or utilize paper self-evaluation form that can be uploaded into the system (attached). This should be completed and sent to supervisor in the online performance review tool by December 14th.
  3. Supervisor utilizes request feedback option in Online Performance Review tool.
  4. Supervisor completes supervisor comments and rating in the Performance Review tool (does not finalize). Supervisor should upload employee’s self-evaluation into system at this time.
  5. Supervisor has discussion with employee.
  6. Supervisor clicks “Finalize Performance Review” which sends the form to employee for acknowledgement.
  7. Employee electronically signs form and adds additional comments.
  8. Performance Review is automatically uploaded into employee’s ePersonnel file.

 You can access the Performance Review tool and last year’s review through Self-Service under the Personal tab.

If you need a copy of your current job description to use as a reference during this process, you may email the general Pediatrics HR email address (listed below).  In the event your job duties and responsibilities have changed or evolved over the last year, please work with you supervisor to update the attached job description and return an updated copy to Pediatrics Human Resources.

Please do not hesitate to email PedsUIChildrensHR@healthcare.uiowa.edu with any questions.

Staff Spotlight – Kate Duffus

Kate is the Division Coordinator for the Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy and Immunology and has been here 5 years. Her partner, Sandy, is a history professor at St. Ambrose, they have 3 kids, and live just outside of Davenport with her 2 rescue dogs, blue heeler mixes named Lemon and Durruti. Her hobbies include kendo, a Japanese martial art, inwhich she completes on a national level. She loves casually reading posthuman fiction. She also likes to sew, focusing on quilts and cosplay, and is an avid gamer with an affinity for late 90’s survival horror and current titles from the post-apocalyptic action role-playing genre.

Her favorite books include re-reading the Metro 2033 series by Dmitry Glukhovsky. She just finished Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky and is currently getting into Soma, written by Mikael Hedberg, a modern twist on Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.


Staff Spotlight – Connie Phommaly

Connie has been the Program Coordinator for the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. She has been with UI Healthcare for 11.5 years – 10 years at UICMS as a Clinic Manager in QuickCare, Pediatrics, and Family Medicine and 1.5 years here on campus in the Division. Her husband and 2 sons are a football family – her sons play football at William Penn, and her husband is a varsity football coach for City High. She is the typical team mom making sure things are clean, snacks are made, and cheering loud at the games. She loves the Hawkeyes and the Florida Gators. She is currently empty-nesting and has always read psychological thrillers in her free time. Thrillers and biographies are her favorite. Her immediate family is in Iowa City and she spends a lot of time with them. She is “not even 5′ tall but am the loudest and scariest in my family.” But she is a small child at heart and her favorite movie of all-time is Home Alone.

Marketing is her passion and her dream job would be a marketing executive for Nike. 

Staff Spotlight – Scott Fedler

Scott is an Admin Services Specialist and has been Dr. Hirsch’s assistant for almost a year. Before that, he worked in GenPeds for 10 years and Peds HR/credentialing/admin for about 4 years. He has one son who will likely start at the UI next Fall. He loves to be outdoors, is a novice photographer, loves to go to concerts/shows when he can, or enjoys reading or doing puzzles at home. He loves “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series, or most any book by Douglas Adams, and love lots of movies – “Meet Joe Black”, “Moneyball”, the LOTR series, and “The Natural” are some of his favorites.

He has his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and was a band director for 4 years before eventually landing a job at the UI in 2003. He has two black cats – Magnus and Castiel – and lives in Williamsburg.