Van Arsdale Praises Colleagues

Brittany Van Arsdale shares her experience of the UI Health Care community coming together to provide support after the derecho:

“I have had so many coworkers check on my family and I, as we had significant damages to our home and property. The Division of Medical Genetics staff went far and beyond to make sure that our family was covered, including buying gas for our generator as we reached day 12 of no power. These co-workers are amazing, and there are no words to describe how thankful my family and I am to have them. Our community amazes me every single day. I am so thankful and grateful to work for UIHC.”

Patient Comments for Faculty

Congratulations to Dr. Ciliberto (Neurology), Dr. Hong (Rheumatology), and Dr. Reinking (Cardiology) on some very nice patient comments lately:

“We had concerns about fluid on his head and multiple ER/phone consults said it was fine but I felt better after talking with Dr. Ciliberto, he ordered a second read/opinion & understood why we were concerned.”

“Dr. Hong was wonderful.  I felt she took the time to get all the information & carefully explain her thoughts & diagnosis.”

“Dr. Reinking is a wonderful Cardiologist and easy to talk to about the care for your child!”

Dr. Tsalikian to Present State of the Department Address

Dr. Eva Tsalikian, Professor and Interim Chair of the Stead Family Department of Pediatrics; and Physician-in-Chief of University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital will present the annual State of the Department Address on Friday, September 4 from 12:00-1:00 via Zoom. All are welcome to attend.

The Zoom link will be sent out the day before.

New Publication for Dr. Staber

Congratulations to Dr. Staber on her newest article published in the American Journal of Hematology.

Jaffray J, Staber JM, Malvar J, Sidonio R, Haley KM, Stillings A, et al. Laboratory misdiagnosis of von Willebrand disease in post‐menarchal females: A multi‐center study. Am J Hematol. 2020;95:1022–1029.

“This was a large effort from the Foundation for Women and Girl with Blood Disorders: Learning Action Network. I am the Research Chair for this group.” – Dr. Staber

Parent Advisors Sought for SFCH Family Advisory Council

Since 1998, members of University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital Family Advisory Council (FAC) have continued to serve as key partners in improving the quality, safety, and experience of care for pediatric patients and their families.

We are actively seeking new parent advisors to serve on FAC. We strive to foster a diverse and inclusive membership, including severity/complexity of illness, race, ethnicity, creed, color, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual identity, socio-economic status, language, culture, national origin, religion/spirituality, age, (dis)ability, military/veteran status, political perspective, or associational preferences.

Your recommendations for parents to serve as advisors on FAC are appreciated!

FAC Membership Information:

  • Must be a parent or other adult family member of children who are current patients (inpatient or outpatient) at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital
  • Interested and eligible family members may be invited to submit a formal application and participate in an interview as part of the final FAC selection process
  • New members are required to participate in an orientation session prior to the first meeting
  • Meetings are held every six weeks or so via Zoom; Tuesday evenings from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Qualifications for membership – Parent advisors must be able to:

  • Support UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital’s mission of excellence in pediatric patient care, education and research
  • Demonstrate compassionate interpersonal skills at meetings. This includes the ability to actively listen to others, contribute to council meetings and activities in a positive manner, as well as collaborate with other advisors and hospital staff whose perspectives, backgrounds, experiences, and communication styles may differ from your own
  • Think globally about issues/priorities considered by Council.
  • Effectively partner with faculty and staff to positively impact the health care experience (outcomes, quality, safety, overall experience of care) for children and families at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
  • Commit to serving a two-year term of service and participate in a minimum of six council meetings/year.

Please share your recommendations no later than Tuesday, September 8th to Tami Pollari (; VoalteMe, or 319-353-7870).

Staff Spotlight – Rabia Khan, MD

Dr. Rabia Khan is a new Clinical Assistant Professor in the Division of Cardiology.

I am a Heart Failure and Heart Transplant Specialist in the Division of Cardiology. This is my first position in UI Healthcare, and I started two weeks ago.

My husband and I have five year old boy-girl twins who will be starting kindergarten this year. We also have an eight year old orange tabby cat named Dori.

I am a singer and songwriter, mostly in my family’s native language of Urdu. I also enjoy reading to my children, writing fiction, and traveling.

My dream job? I would say this is it! The opportunities to interact with children all day, give some of those children a new lease on life through heart failure management, continuously learn from some of the brightest minds in the field, participate in the advancement of the field through research, and play a role in educating future generations of physicians – I couldn’t ask for more.

Favorite place to live or visit? We visited Barcelona for a short three day trip last year, and I was captivated by the fascinating architecture, diversity, and the unique energy of the city. I can’t wait to go back some day!

Favorite food? Nothing tops my mom’s amazing shrimp biryani.

Favorite sports team? I don’t have one at the moment, but I was a big San Antonio Spurs fan when the Big Three were around.

Favorite book or movie? It is impossible to name one, but some of my favorite books include Pride and Prejudice, Midnight’s Children, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Crucible, The Phantom Tollbooth, and the Harry Potter series.

Fun fact: I grew up on both coasts, New York/New Jersey for the first five years of my life and Northern California for the remainder of my childhood, but unexpectedly ended up completing all my medical training in the Midwest (at three different institutions). And now, having started this job at UI, I suppose I can officially call the Midwest home.

I am so excited to be here, and I look forward to getting to know everyone.

Staff Spotlight – Mendi Schmelzel, MSN-RN, RNC-NIC

Mendi is a Clinical Research Nurse Coordinator for the Division of Neonatology.

I operationalize research protocols in the NICU and collaborating departments. I graduated from the University of Iowa with my BSN in 2003. During nursing school I worked as a Nursing Assistant in the Burn Unit. After college I pursued a career in Neonatology. I worked as a Staff Nurse in 5 different Neonatal Intensive Care Units throughout the country. I graduated from my Master of Nursing Education Program in 2017 and delightfully stumbled across an open position for a Research Coordinator in Neonatology… a perfect fit.

Part of my job includes being an active member of the Iowa Neonatal Clinical Research Committee (INCRC). I am very proud to be a member of this multi-disciplinary committee that advocates for infants and their families by supporting investigators to conduct research in the NICU. If someone is interested in conducting research in the NICU please start the process by completing the following survey

I was born at Mercy here in Iowa City then grew up in Bettendorf, IA. After college I lived in Ankeny, IA; Tucson, AZ; Plainfield IL; and now back to Iowa City, IA. My husband, of 15 years, and I enjoy traveling, trying new restaurants, and outdoor activities with our one and only fur-baby Izzy.

I have enjoyed a yoga practice for many years, sprinkling in all varieties. My current fav is stand up paddle board (SUP) yoga and getting a headstand in on the board! I won’t lie it is challenging.

Favorite restaurant? In town currently Goose Town. The one I miss the most Wild Tuna in Naperville, IL.

Fun fact: I spent 6 days on the USNS Comfort with Operation Smile- we completed 25 surgeries a day for 5 days. The experience and smiles were unforgettable!