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

Staff Spotlight – LaVonne Kahler

LaVonne is the administrative support and Fellowship Coordinator for the Division Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

I have worked in the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics for the past 19 years. Prior to that I worked in General Pediatrics for 20 years, 8 months and 3 days. I will have a total of 40 years working in Pediatrics in July, 2019 and have worked with many wonderful and interesting people. I always say there is never a dull moment around here!

Doug and I have been married for 18 years. He retired from UIHC on January 3, 2017 where he worked as an electrician for over 38 years. I have 7 step-grandchildren and love spending time with them. The oldest is enrolled at Iowa–pre-med.

In my free time I enjoy doing crafts, writing family history books, and photography. I grew up on a farm in northeast Iowa (by Lawler) and enjoy spending time there with family and friends. I come from a huge extended family and am the middle child of 9 (3 older brothers, 3 younger brothers, 1 older sister and 1 younger sister).

My favorite movies are The Notebook, Dirty Dancing and Forrest Gump.

If I had 3 wishes, they would be 1) to have enough money to pay off all my bills and help my family pay theirs; 2) for researchers to have enough money to find cures for all diseases; and 3) to have money to build a new Center for Disabilities and Development and money to help our patients with their needs.

Staff Spotlight – David Dickens, MD

Dr. Dickens is Clinical Professor in the Division of Hematology/Oncology. He is also the University of Iowa Dance Marathon Endowed Chair Clinical Professor, Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Clinical Director, Pediatric Oncology Services Director, and Director of the Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Program

In February 2019, i joined a dedicated and talented team of health care providers in the division of pediatric hematology oncology. As the director of oncology services, I hope to complement the skills of existing staff and provide clinical oncology leadership and mentorship to provide the best available medical care with the highest level of quality and safety.

I have been married for 19 years to Laura Dickens; landscape architect, master of family development and engineering. We have four beautiful children, but five total if you count the ugly one. I think they are about ages 17, 15, 14, 12 and 10 years old.

Spend time with the little Dickens, experiencing joy at whatever they are accomplishing. I exercise regularly, but do not like to do it. I enjoy playing almost any sport (including bowling), but am not great at any of them. I like to travel and have dabbled with music (guitar, piano, harmonica and mouth harp) as well as magic, making me a musician, magician, physician.

The most fascinating places I’ve visited or lived are 1) Amsterdam, Netherlands 2) Hot Springs, Arkansas.

My favorite meal is Calamari at Ca’s Patro March in Deia, Majorca, Spain.

Go Yankees!

Favorite book or movie? Books: “A Treatise of Human Nature” – David Hume; Movies: Tie between Schindler’s List and Dumb and Dumber (not the sequel, that was terrible).

My answer if I had three wishes would depend on who is asking. If it is a Genie, they would be 1) I wish to remove all meta-rules against removing limitations 2) I wish to remove all rules against wishing for more genies or more wishes 3) I wish for infinite wishes. If it is God asking I would reply, “You Pick”.

Fun fact: I met my wife on a train in Spain, but it was not raining.

Staff Spotlight – Alpha Sidhu, MBBS, PhD

Dr. Sidhu joined the Division of Medical Genetics and Genomics in October 2017 as Clinical Assistant Professor.

I have a 7 year old son, with whom I enjoy biking, hiking, and traveling. We love to make new puzzles and dance.

My present job is dream job, love the work atmosphere and opportunities to pursue academic interests. People make the job fun.

The most fascinating place I’ve ever lived or visited is Kashmir, India.

I love seafood!

My favorite movie is Life is Beautiful.

Fun fact: I had a huge collection of stamps as a child.

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. Elgin and Family Welcome New Baby

Jack Elgin, born May 8, 2019

A very special shoutout to Dr. Tim Elgin, Clinical Assistant Professor in the Division of Neonatology, and his wife, Tressa, on the birth of their son, Jack Elgin. Jack was born on May 8, 2019.

Tressa and Jack are doing well, and older siblings Harper and Leo are excited about their new baby brother. Congratulations to the Elgin family!

Drs. McBrien and Schieltz Receive Glowing Patient Feedback

Congratulations to Dr. Dianne McBrien (Clinical Associate Professor) and Dr. Kelly Schieltz (Clinical Assistant Professor) from the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics on some glowing patient comments recently.

“Dr. Kelly Schieltz was BEYOND understanding, empathetic and helpful. This was one of the first times that we left feeling empowered and not defeated. She gave us tools and a plan! it was a great appt.”






“Dr. McBrien is an incredible physician. She is compassionate, explains everything and answers all my questions while taking ample time to do this. She is informed and careful to relay this information to the patient. We are grateful for her service.”