Staff Spotlight – Dr. Patrick McNamara

Dr. McNamara is Professor of Pediatrics, and Division Director of the Division of Neonatology.

I was appointed the Division Director of Neonatology in June 2018 and have established the Hemodynamic Program with the assistance of Dr Regan Giesinger.

I have a wife, Christine, and 4 children [Karl, Gareth, Cian and Saffron]. My oldest son Karl will be attending medical school at NUI, Galway (Ireland) and my youngest son will be playing NCAA1 soccer this fall at Western Illinois University.

My passion is “football” (the round ball). I have coached high level soccer for over 10 years and my 1999 boys team were ranked 2 in Canada. I took them on international travel to play professional academies in Brazil and Uruguay. I would love to coach professional football – in particular Liverpool soccer club.

The most fascinating place in the world is my home country of Ireland – the people, the history, the culture and the landscape are breathtaking.

My favorite sports teams are Liverpool FC…..and the Toronto Raptors basketball team.

If I had 3 wishes, they would be to attend the world cup final, watch my son play professional soccer, and for the Iowa Neonatology program to be number 1 in the world.

Staff Spotlight – Dr. Amy Stier

Dr. Stier is Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Program Director of the Pediatrics Residency Program, and the Chief Wellness Officer for the Department.

I came to Iowa City for medical school and haven’t left! I did pediatrics residency and a chief resident year before starting as faculty, and have done newborn nursery and hospitalist work as well as outpatient clinic over the years. I started out my first year as faculty as an associate residency program director, and after 5 years took over as the PD. I’ve also served as the associate CMIO during the Epic roll out, and built a few Epic tools for peds that we still use. Recently I became the departmental Chief Wellness Officer as well.

My husband Matt followed me to Iowa from Minnesota after college and a year of volunteering, and has been a science teacher in the area for 10 years. He went back to graduate school and will finish his PhD in Educational Leadership next spring. We have two daughters that will both be at NW Junior High in the fall, Nora in 8th grade and Marie in 7th. We also have a fish named Basil. Our entire extended family lives in Minnesota, where we visit often.

Family has taken up most of my free time over the last few years. I love to read, and will go through a book or two a week if given the chance. I become a news junkie during election season, and read the NY Times each morning over coffee. Being outside makes me calm and happy, so anything I can do near grass, trees, and water is good.

I am truly doing my dream job right now. The chance to practice medicine, work with kids and empower families, and help trainees and colleagues get to where they want to be, is exactly what I should be doing with my career. I like jobs that give me a chance to solve problems, and I think I’ve found my share of them over the years here! It’s also tremendously rewarding to see people grow and learn and become better here, and I’ve been around the program long enough to know people all over the country that have called Iowa home.

Most fascinating place I’ve ever visited or lived? I spent a semester in London, England, when I was in college. I went over with all of the theater majors (no other serious bio majors!), and lived right off of Hyde Park. We arrived on the day before Princess Diana’s funeral, so it was a busy time to be there. I went to shows and museums for class, and had tea with my physiology professor. I also had the chance to travel all over Europe before coming back. I intend to go back again in the next few years.

Favorite book or movie? I mostly read nonfiction, and have several genres that I pick from. My favorites over the last few years have been by Doris Kearns Goodwin – especially “Team of Rivals”. Recently I decided to go through the PBS “Great American Read” series and loved Gilead. I also tend to re-read those that speak to me or teach me something, and love to share or get recommendations for books to try out. So many good ones!

Staff Spotlight – Cassie Wagner, ARNP

Cassie is a weekend option nurse practitioner in the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit.

I’ve been a weekend option Nurse Practitioner in the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit since June 2018, former PICU staff RN (April 2005-October 2014) and Neonatal/Pediatric Transport RN (April 2007-March 2013).

I have a husband, Matthew, and two sons, Kellen (age 7) and Cody (age 2).

I’m a busy mom of 2 busy boys, but if I had hobbies my dream would be to sleep, then binge Netflix!

My dream job would be any job where I can help children to achieve their fullest possible health, and support parents to care for them.

My favorite restaurant is Northwestern Steakhouse in my home town of Mason City, Iowa-delicious!

I love the Hawkeyes (of course!), and if I had 3 wishes they would be for my family’s health, happiness, and like a bazillion dollars.

New Faculty Member – Dr. Elizabeth Sandberg

Dr. Elizabeth Sandberg will start in the Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes beginning Thursday, August 1 as Clinical Assistant Professor.

Dr. Sandberg earned her Doctor of Medicine from the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in 2013. She then completed a residency in Pediatrics at the University of North Carolina Hospitals in 2016. Dr. Sandberg recently completed a fellowship in Pediatric Endocrinology at the University of North Carolina Hospitals in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 

Dr. Sandberg will participate as a member of the Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes Clinical Service. Her duties will include 6 clinic sessions per week, attending on the pediatric endocrinology inpatient and consultation service, sharing on-call responsibilities, and helping to further expand our outreach services in Endocrinology and Diabetes.

Please welcome Dr. Sandberg to the Department, University, and the community!

Dr. Benson Publishes in Journal of Palliative Medicine

Congratulations to Dr. Becky Benson (General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine/Palliative Care) on her recent publication in the Journal of Palliative Medicine.

Harmoney K*, Mobley EM, Gilbertson-White S, Brogden NK, Benson RJ. Differences in Advance Care Planning and Circumstances of Death for Pediatric Patients Who Do and Do Not Receive Palliative Care Consults: A Single-Center Retrospective Review of All Pediatric Deaths from 2012 to 2016. Journal of Palliative Medicine. 2019. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2019.0111.

*The paper was led by Dr. Katie Harmony, one of our heme/onc fellowship graduates of 2018. She just completed a hospice and palliative care fellowship at Rochester in New York, and accepted a job in Columbia, MO, where she will be doing split time between heme/onc and palliative care.

Drs. Haskell and Atkins Involved in AHA Scientific Statement

Sarah Haskell, DO
Dianne Atkins, MD

Drs. Sarah Haskell (Critical Care) and Dianne Atkins (Cardiology, emeritus) were part of an author group on a recent scientific statement from the American Heart Association (AHA). Congratulations to both!

  • Topjian AA, de Caen A, Wainwright MS, Abella BS, Abend NS, Atkins DL, Bembea MM, Fink EL, Guerguerian AM, Haskell SE, Kilgannon JH, Lasa JJ, Hazinski MF; American Heart Association Emergency Cardiovascular Care Science Subcommittee; American Heart Association Emergency Cardiovascular Care Pediatric Emphasis Group; Council on Cardiopulmonary, Critical Care, Perioperative and Resuscitation; Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; Council on Clinical Cardiology; Council on Genomic and Precision Medicine; and Stroke Council. Pediatric Post-Cardiac Arrest Care: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. Circulation 2019 June 27. Doi:10.1161/CIR.0000000000000697

Staff Spotlight – J. Muse Davis, MD, PhD

Dr. Davis is Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases.

I work in the Pediatric Infectious Disease division. I have been here since July of 2018.

I have my dream job. I spend the majority of my time in the lab, studying infection and inflammation using zebrafish. I also see patients as an ID consultant. Clinical work can be hard but it is also very energizing and inspirational for research.

Most fascinating place I’ve ever visited? Ape Cave is a lava tube near Mt. St. Helens. It has very interesting rock formations. No apes though.

My favorite book or movie is constantly changing. Right now Godard’s “A Band a Part” is my favorite movie, after a recent obsession with “Topsy Turvy”. Favorite books have included Moby Dick and Vineland, among others.

Fun fact: Once there was an action figure made of me. Just one.