2019 Annual Report

A Letter From Our Chair

I’m proud to share the University of Wisconsin Department of Pediatrics’ 2019 Annual Report, which highlights the extraordinary clinical care, research activities, and educational milestones that took place in 2019. Before we jump into the report, I want to share a few stories that capture the remarkable talent of our faculty, staff and learners.

Our clinical excellence was nationally recognized by U.S. News & World Report, which ranked the American Family Children’s Hospital as among the best in the country in four categories: cardiology and heart surgery, gastroenterology and GI surgery, neonatology, and nephrology. The exceptional clinical expertise of our faculty was enhanced by the addition of sixteen new members in 2019, including Timothy Starner, MD, chief of the Division of Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine.

In FY19, we had over $34 million in extramural grants supporting our work, and were ranked twelfth in National Institutes of Health research funding among medical school pediatric departments. Some of the faculty who were awarded grants included:

  • Jasmine Zapata, MD, MPH who was awarded a New Investigator Grant from the Partnership Education and Research Committee (PERC) of the Wisconsin Partnership Program. This two-year, $150,000 grant will support the project, “Addressing Black Infant Mortality in Wisconsin through a Collaborative Health Equity Approach to Community-Based, Group Prenatal Care and Infant Support.” The project aims to reduce inequities in current birth outcome in Wisconsin.
  • Pelin Cengiz, MD who received her first R01 award of nearly $1.7 million over five years from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health to study mechanisms of sex-based susceptibility to hypoxia and ischemia.
  • Christian Capitini, MD who received his first R01 award as a principal investigator. The five-year, $1.75 million project, “Combining hu14.18-IL2 and NK cell infusions to treat neuroblastoma,” is funded by the National Cancer Institute of the National Insitutes of Health and aims to strengthen the pipeline of immunotherapy treatment approaches for neuroblastoma, the third most common type of childhood cancer.

Members of our faculty were also selected for or appointed to leadership positions within local, state and national organizations, including:

  • Bikash Pattnaik, PhDwho was named to UW-Madison Dean of Students Advisory Committee.
  • Dipesh Navsaria, MD, MPH, MSLISwho was appointed to the Wisconsin State Health Policy Advisory Council.
  • Mala Mathur, MD, MPH who was named the assistant chair of the policy subcommittee for the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Community Pediatrics.
  • James Conway, MD who was selected as the director of the new Office of Global Health at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
  • Caroline Paul, MD who accepted the role of associate editor for the journal BMC Medical Education.

Finally, our faculty and staff continued making progress on our strategic planning process, which aims to foster connectedness, find ways to innovate, and grow in-line with the goals of UW Health. One of the major accomplishments of this initiative during 2019 was the development of our Mission, Vision and Values, which were listed on the previous page.

On behalf of our Division Chiefs and administrative leadership, I want to thank our outstanding faculty and staff for their accomplishments throughout 2019 and for their consistent effort and contributions to furthering our mission.

Ellen R. Wald, MD

Professor and Chair | Alfred Dorrance Daniels Professor on Diseases of Children

2019 Highlights

2019 Highlights

  • Our clinical excellence was nationally recognized by U.S. News & World Report, which ranked the American Family Children’s Hospital as among the best in the country in four categories: cardiology and heart surgery, gastroenterology and GI surgery, neonatology, and nephrology. The exceptional clinical expertise of our faculty was enhanced by the addition of seventeen new members in 2019, including Timothy Starner, MD, chief of the Division of Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine.

  • With leadership from Anne Marie Singh, MD (Associate Professor, Division of Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology), UW Health University Hospital became one the newest centers of excellence in the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) Clinical Network, a food allergy research collaborative comprising 33 leading research and clinical care facilities nationwide. Membership in the network demonstrates a commitment to providing high-quality clinical expertise and services related to food allergy, with a focus on applying new evidence-based knowledge. It’s also a powerful driver of research, enabling faculty to attract clinical trials and develop best practices to improve the care of patients with a potentially life-threatening — and increasingly prevalent — disease.

  • In 2019 we celebrated the bone marrow transplant program’s 50th anniversary. The program has led the way for today’s immunotherapies for childhood cancer. Faculty members Christian Capitini, MD, Kenneth DeSantes, MD, Mario Otto, MD, PhD, and Paul Sondel, MD, PhD (whose connection with the program goes back to his time as a University of Wisconsin–Madison undergraduate) have dedicated their careers to understanding the immune system and developing treatments that use its power to battle deadly diseases.

2019 Highlights

  • The resident class of 2019 had a 100 percent pass rate on the American Board of Pediatrics general pediatrics certifying exam. The department’s three-year pass rate average is 98 percent.

  • Pediatric infectious diseases fellow Danièle Gusland, MD, (mentor: James Conway, MD), received a $25,000 Clinical Research Award from the UW-Madison Global Health Institute for her project, “Etiology and Antimicrobial Resistance Patterns of Neonatal Sepsis in Jimma, Ethiopia.”

  • Second-year medical student Mackenzie Carlson (mentor: Ryan McAdams, MD), received a $3,462 Clinical Research Award from the UW-Madison Global Health Institute for her project, “Investigating the Prevalence and Practices of Herbal Medicine Use in Antenatal Care in Mukono District, Uganda”.

  • Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology fellow David Peloza, MD, received the 2019 American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Allergy and Immunology Outstanding Pediatric Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Abstract Award in the fellow-in-training category at the American Academy of Allergy and Immunology National Meeting. Dr. Peloza presented “Early Life Risk Factors for Asthma at Early Adulthood” at a platform session.

  • Nicholas Pytel, DO (Fellow, Division of Hematology, Oncology, and Bone Marrow Transplant) received a Young Investigator Award from Hyundai Hope on Wheals for his project, “Effects of molecular targeted radionuclide therapy for the immune microenvironment in medulloblastoma.”

2019 Highlights

  • The department was ranked #10 of 85 medical school pediatric departments nationwide for awards from the National Institutes of Health, according to data compiled and released by the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research. The department had over $37 million in grant funding in FY19, an 8.5 percent increase from the previous year.

  • Throughout 2019, our faculty were PIs on 168 grants and led 102 clinical studies.

  • After an eight-year quest, Inga Hofmann, MD, and her research team showed that the protein, G6b-B, can be manipulated to increase production of blood platelets. This groundbreaking discovery suggests a potentially new treatment approach for a rare genetic blood disorder.

  • A partnership between Facebook and the Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT), led by Megan Moreno, MD, MSEd, MPH, launched to explore the relationship between teens’ use of digital technologies and their mental and social health.

  • Faculty, residents and fellows presented 80 abstracts at the department’s 2019 Spring Research Day. Of these, 31 (39 percent) were accepted at the Pediatric Academic Society meeting: 28 as poster presentations and three as platform presentations.