2022–2023 Annual Report

Annual Report 2023 Video

2022-2023 Highlights

Letter from Our Interim Chair

It gives me great pleasure to share this 2023 Annual Report for the University of Wisconsin Department of Pediatrics. As the interim chair of the department, I have had the opportunity to see firsthand the excellence in our department across our clinical, research, and education work. We also leaned into community and advocacy work toward our larger mission to improve child health inside and outside our clinical spaces.

One major event for us in fiscal year 2023 was the celebration of our previous department chair, Dr. Ellen Wald. We honored her time as chair during an event that brought together current and past department members, family and friends of Dr. Wald, and collaborators across our school and community to celebrate the growth and achievements that the past 16 years of her leadership have brought the department.

We saw our strong clinical teams experience growth and increased demand in the past year. including expansion of specialty care telehealth consultations across the region, a new cardiology clinic at St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay, and UNOS accreditation of our pediatric heart transplant program. Our primary care clinics saw a more than 14% increase in patient visits from last year, collaborated with the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health to offer a new Saturday sports physical clinic and weekday appointments that allowed providers to see an additional 300 high school students, and partnered with our psychiatry colleagues to develop a new learning opportunity for both groups to enhance their learning and skills in mental health issues for youth. Our pediatric cancer program was recognized in U.S. News & World Report as a top 50 program and is a program of distinction for American Family Children’s Hospital. Neonatology. pulmonology, and cardiology were also recognized. Our advanced practice providers (APPs) continue to be an integral part of our clinical care teams, providing exceptional continuity of care and learning opportunities within our subspecialty clinics and inpatient units.

Last year our department was ranked 9th nationally in NIH-funded research among departments of pediatrics and saw its highest-ever total grants awarded: $55.86 million. As more conferences returned to being in-person events, many of our faculty members shared their research and collaborated with colleagues both nationally and internationally, attending more than 100 different pediatrics-related conferences throughout the year. In the spring, we had 47 faculty, staff, and trainees present at the multidisciplinary research meeting of Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS), one of the world’s largest gatherings of pediatricians.

Within our department, we saw a new academic group form around qualitative research called Empowering Pediatricians Learning Qualitative Research (ExPLOR). This group reflects the growing interest in this research approach that centers on the voices of our patients, families, and providers. And we continued our tradition of Research Week, with the May 2023 event providing an outstanding lineup of talks from our residents and fellows, research updates from 17 faculty members, and the keynote address, “Cell Migration: From Patients to Zebrafish and Back.”

A growing area of excellence in our academic work as a department is in quality improvement scholarship. In 2021, we introduced the Increasing Novel Scholarship through Peer Innovation, Research, and Education in Quality Improvement (INSPIRE-Ql) cohort. Fiscal year 2023 saw its second INSPIRE-Ql cohort and the introduction of INSPIRE-QI PRO, for more advanced Ql training and mentorship. The breadth of the department’s QI work was on full display during the annual UW Health Kids Quality and Safety Poster Fair in September 2022, when 33 department members presented their work in 14 different posters on topics from “Feasibility of Using Social Media to Provide Pediatric Pulmonary Patient Education” to “Improving Direct Breastfeeding at NICU Discharge.”

Our training programs continue to be robust and strong. Last year, our new Pediatric Hospital Medicine Fellowship welcomed its first-ever fellow, our residency program introduced the Coaching to Optimize Resident Education (CORE) Mentor Program, and we hosted our inaugural Medical Education Week, which allowed faculty and staff members to focus in on learning and best practices in education.

Our faculty members attend numerous community engagement events throughout the year. They provided family education at back-to-school events, supported local and national reading programs, and volunteered at local camps for children with specialized health needs. Last year the department was a premier sponsor of the American Family Children’s Hospital Gala, which helped raise $800,000 for pediatric research. The department also supported the Rainbow Project, a local organization that supports children and families who have experienced trauma, at its annual Rhumba 4 Rainbow fundraiser. And we sponsored the local chapter of Girls on the Run, which organizes programs that inspire girls to build confidence, kindness, and decision-making skills. In addition to running events, the group hosted a community-based Day of the Girl event and invited me to participate as a guest panelist.

In addition to community-based engagement, our advocacy committee was involved in more targeted efforts to promote and enhance the health of children everywhere. Its members engaged in legislative advocacy as well as efforts to train the next generation of pediatricians in advocacy work and education.

I am incredibly grateful for the work that our providers, learners, and staff contribute every day in our department. Please enjoy learning more about our work and how it emulates our mission, vision, and values in this 2023 Annual Report. 

Megan Moreno
Professor and Interim Chair

Selection of Awards and Honors 

We take great pride in recognizing excellence among our members. Below is a selection of awards presented to our faculty during the past academic year.

American Diabetes Association (ADA) Diabetes in Youth Special Interest Group Young Investigator Award
Elizabeth Mann, MD, assistant professor, Endocrinology and Diabetes
American Society of Pediatric Nephrology (ASPN) Outstanding Service Award
Sharon Bartosh, MD, professor and chief, Nephrology
Association of Public Health Laboratories Everyday Life Saver Award in Newborn Screening
Mei Wang Baker, MD, professor, Genetics and Metabolism
Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) Scholars Program
Krisjon Olson, PhD, assistant professor, Cardiology
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow at the National Academy of Medicine
Elizabeth Cox, MD, PhD, professor, General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
UW Health Clinical Documentation Integrity (CDI) Department Superhero in Scrubs CDI Team Award
Tom Brazelton III, MD, MPH, professor and vice chair of quality, Critical Care
UW Health Physician Excellence Awards
Jonathan Fliegel, MD, associate professor, Hospital Medicine and Complex Care: Clinical Educator Award; Cathy Lee-Miller, MD, assistant professor, Hematology. Oncology, and Bone Marrow Transplant: Rising Star Clinical Educator Award; Emily Ruedinger, MD, MEd, associate professor, General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine: Rising Star Leadership Award
UW Health Safety Leadership Award
Michael Wilhelm, MD, associate professor, Critical Care
UW SMPH Department of Pediatrics Ellen R. Wald Award
Matthew Harer, MD, associate professor, Neonatology and Newborn Nursery
UW SMPH Department of Pediatrics Gerard B. Odell Award
Emma Mohr, MD, PhD, assistant professor, Infectious Diseases
UW SMPH Group on Women in Medicine and Science (GWIMS)/UW Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) Women’s Health Research Mentorship Award
Pelin Cengiz, MD, professor, Critical Care
Wisconsin Medical Alumni Association Distinguished Medical Alumni Awards
Norman Fost, MD, MPH, professor emeritus, Departments of Pediatrics and Medical History and Bioethics: Emeriti Faculty Award – Clinical Science; Amy Peterson, MD, MS, professor, Cardiology: Early Career Achievement Award; Paul Sondel, MD, PhD, professor, Hematology. Oncology, and Bone Marrow Transplant: Resident Citation – Distinguished Resident Award; Jasmine Zapata, MD, MPH, assistant professor, Neonatology and Newborn Nursery: Ralph Hawley Distinguished Community Service Award

Faculty Promotions

Below is a list of faculty who were promoted in fiscal year 2023, their divisions, and their new ranks.

Name, Division
New rank
Ryan Coller, MD, MPH, Hospital Medicine and Complex Care
Associate Professor
Matthew Harer, MD, Neonatology and Newborn Nursery
Associate Professor
Eileen Cowan, MD, Neonatology and Newborn Nursery
Associate Professor
Patricia Deffner-Valley, MD, General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Associate Professor
Laura Houser, MD, General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Dinushan Kaluarachchi, MBBS, Neonatology and Newborn Nursery
Associate Professor
Suhaib Kazmouz, MD, MSc, Cardiology
Associate Professor
Troy Kleist, MD, General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Associate Professor
Nina Menda, MD, Neonatology and Newborn Nursery
Associate Professor
Diane Puccetti, MD, Hematology, Oncology, and Bone Marrow Transplant
Sarah Webber, MD, Hospital Medicine and Complex Care
Associate Professor


New Faculty

Below is a list of new faculty who started during the 2023 academic year and their divisions.

Luke Addesso, MD
General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Christina Amend, MD
Hematology, Oncology, and Bone Marrow Transplant 
Timothy Elgin, DO
Neonatology and Newborn Nursery
Taylor House, MD
Whitley Hulse, MD
Neonatology and Newborn Nursery
Dana Irrer, MD
Amanda Jackson, MD
General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Child Protection
Kelsey Legro, DO
General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Sarah Mc Dermott, MBS, DO
Hematology, Oncology, and Bone Marrow Transplant 
Neil Munjal, MD, MS
Critical Care
Claire O’Leary, PhD
Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology 
Douglas Olk, MD
General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Nicholas Pytel, DO
Hematology, Oncology, and Bone Marrow Transplant
Rebecca Richards, MD, PhD
Hematology, Oncology, and Bone Marrow Transplant
Margaret Scandura, MD
General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Jo Wilson, MD
Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology
Jonathan Wong, DO
Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition
Global Pediatrics

Education Highlights

Our educational programs meet the needs of learners at all levels: undergraduates, medical students, residents, fellows, postgraduate trainees, and practicing health care professionals. Graduating residents enter desirable primary care practices or leading fellowship programs in academic medical centers. Fellows excel as subspecialty clinicians, researchers, and leaders in academic pediatrics.

We are also committed to the professional development of our faculty and pediatricians across the state. As such, we host conferences, grand rounds, and other live activities focused on cutting-edge topics in pediatric and adolescent medicine.

Fellowship Highlights

In the 2022–2023 academic year, we had 36 fellows in 12 fellowship programs.

  • In July 2022, the new Pediatric Hospital Medicine Fellowship welcomed its first-ever fellow, Haroon Ali, MD.
  • During the 2023 Department of Pediatrics Research Week, Shawn Damodharan, DO, fellow in the Hematology and Oncology Fellowship, was chosen for the Fellow Excellence in Research Award for his presentation, “Diffuse Midline Glioma Multiomics Characterization.”

Residency Highlights

Seven of the 15 graduates of our 2023 residency program entered subspecialty fellowships, two became chief residents, five were appointed to faculty positions within our department, and one entered clinical practice outside of the UW.

CORE Mentor Program
Last year, the Department of Pediatrics Residency Program welcomed the inaugural members of its Coaching to Optimize Resident Education (CORE) Mentor Program.

Residency Program Excellence Awards

Name of award
Award recipient, rank
Charles C. Lobeck Medical Education Award for Outstanding Teaching in Pediatrics
Kathleen Maginot, MD, associate professor, Division of Cardiology 
Ellen R. Wald Intellectual Curiosity in Medicine Award
Melissa Cercone, MD, associate professor, Division of Critical Care
Outstanding General Pediatrician
Troy Kleist, MD, associate professor, Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Todd Varness Outstanding Clinical Teaching Award
Laura Chen, MD, assistant professor, Division of Hospital Medicine and Complex Care
Outstanding Fellow
Zachary Gray, MD, Division of Critical Care
Jan Brady Award for Outstanding Second Year Resident
Abbie Whitman, MD
Outstanding Clerkship Teaching by a Pediatric Resident
Samantha Tyler, DO
Outstanding Senior Resident
Hannah Schumacher, MD
Resident Research Award
Therese Woodring, MD
Outstanding Pediatric Intern
Carlee Blakemore, MD