2020-2021 Annual Report

Letter from our Chair

I’m proud to share the University of Wisconsin Department of Pediatrics’ 2021 Annual Report, which highlights the extraordinary clinical care, research activities, and educational milestones that took place between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021. Before we dive 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 pediatric cardiology and heart surgery.

In FY21, we had over $51 million in extramural grants supporting our work, and we ranked thirteenth in the National Institutes of Health research funding among medical school pediatric departments.

Members of our faculty were also selected for distinguished awards and professorships, and they assumed leadership roles in academic and public health organizations. This included:

  • Pelin Cengiz, MD, associate professor, Critical Care, who was selected for the University of Wisconsin­­–Madison’s prestigious Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research.
  • Peter Ferrazzano, MD, professor and division chief, Critical Care, who was named the initial recipient of the Enid and Jerry Weygandt Professorship in Pediatric Critical Care.
  • Mary Ehlenbach, MD, associate professor, Hospital Medicine, who was named the initial recipient of the O’Connor Family Professorship in Pediatrics.
  • Claudette Adegboro, MD, assistant professor, Neonatology and Newborn Nursery, who was named a UW School of Medicine and Public Health Centennial Scholar.
  • Matthew Harer, MD, assistant professor, Neonatology and Newborn Nursery, who was selected for the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research’s highly competitive KL2 Scholars Career Development Program.
  • Jasmine Zapata, MD, MPH, assistant professor, Neonatology and Newborn Nursery, who was appointed to the Governor’s Health Equity Council.
  • Megan Moreno, MD, MSEd, MPH, professor and division chief, General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, who received the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation’s Kellett Mid-Career Fellowship.

Of course, these accomplishments happened against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, which continued to test the resolve of many. Our faculty, trainees, and staff have experienced months of heavy workloads, long hours, stress, and uncertainty, yet they refused to compromise on our standards of excellence. Every division rose to the challenges of the pandemic and contributed their expertise to treating patients and advancing our research and educational programs. Remarkably, our faculty and staff’s productivity increased despite the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic, and excellence, innovation, and astounding resilience were on display across every area of our department.

I am proud to lead a department that is comprised of members that are dedicated and determined to advance our mission. The stories highlighted in this annual report represent just a snippet of the larger picture of what we in the Department of Pediatrics do every day. I hope you will enjoy learning about the work of our faculty, staff, and trainees, and take pride in their accomplishments, amazing talents, and incredible commitment.


Ellen R. Wald, MD

Chair of the Department of Pediatrics
Alfred Dorrance Daniels Professor on Diseases of Children

2020-2021 Highlights

A 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.

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research (University of Wisconsin–Madison)
Pelin Cengiz, MD, associate professor, Critical Care
Dean’s Award for Medical Student Research Mentorship (UW SMPH)
James Conway, MD, professor, Infectious Diseases and Global Health
Edward H. Ahrens, Jr. Award for Outstanding Achievement in Patient-Oriented Research (Association for Clinical and Translational Science)
Paul Sondel, MD, PhD, professor, Hematology, Oncology, and Bone Marrow Transplant
Gerard B. Odell Research Award (University of Wisconsin Department of Pediatrics)
Bikash Pattnaik, PhD, assistant professor, Neonatology and Newborn Nursery
Kellett Mid-Career Fellowship (Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation)
Megan Moreno, MD, MSEd, MPH, professor, General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Mentorship Award (American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine)
Bernadette Gillick, PhD, MSPT, PT, associate professor, Developmental Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Paster Family Foundation Innovation Award (UW SMPH)
Mei Baker, MD, FACMG, Wynne Mateffy Professor of Pediatrics
Physician Excellence Award – Clinical Educator (UW Health)
Paula Cody, MD, MPH, associate professor, General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Physician Excellence Award – Regional Services (UW Health)
Sharon Bartosh, MD, professor, Nephrology
Physician Excellence Award – Rising Star Clinical Practice (UW Health)
Neil Paloian, MD, assistant professor, Nephrology
Superhero of Medicine Award (Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation)
Jasmine Zapata, MD, MPH, assistant professor, Neonatology and Newborn Nursery
Team Science Award (Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer)
Drs. Christian Capitini, Kenneth DeSantes, Amy Erbe-Gurel, Jacquelyn Hank, Mario Otto, Alexander Rakhmilevich, and Paul Sondel, all from the Division of Hematology, Oncology, and Bone Marrow Transplant, and Anna Huttenlocher, Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology

Faculty Promotions

Congratulations to the following faculty who were promoted in 2021.

Name, Division
New rank
Christian Capitini, MD, Hematology, Oncology & Bone Marrow Transplant
Associate Professor with Tenure
Paula Cody, MD, MPH, General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Associate Professor (CHS)
Istvan Danko, MD, PhD, Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
Professor (CHS)
Peter Ferrazzano, MD, Critical Care Medicine
Professor (CHS)
Patrice Held, PhD, Genetics and Metabolism
Associate Professor (CHS)
Sheryl Henderson, MD, PhD, Infectious Diseases
Associate Professor (CHS)
Janet Legare, MD, Developmental Pediatrics and Rehabilitation Medicine
Clinical Professor
Sushant Srinivasan, MD, MSc, MHPE, Critical Care
Associate Professor (CHS)
Maria Stanley, MD, Developmental Pediatrics and Rehabilitation Medicine
Clinical Professor
Michael Wilhelm, MD, Critical Care
Associate Professor (CHS)

New Faculty

Our department welcomed 17 new faculty in 2021. Below, the names of our new faculty and their division.

Charles Bergstrom, MD
Critical Care
Melinda Chen, MD
Endocrinology and Diabetes
Bernadette Gillick, PhD, MSPT, PT
Developmental Pediatrics and Rehabilitation Medicine
Christina Hanowsky-Bryndzia, DO
Critical Care
Suhaib Kazmouz, MD, MSc, FAAP
Kim Keppler-Noreuil, MD
Genetics and Metabolism
Heidi Kloster, MD
Hospital Medicine
Allison Lindell, MD
General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Elizabeth Mann, MD
Endocrinology and Diabetes
Kristen Marten, DO
General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Syed Asif Masood, MD, MSc, FAAP
Kelly McGregory, DO, FAAP
Child Protection
Jennifer Naidu, MD
General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Nicholas Pytel, DO
Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant
Alexandra Schultz, MD
General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Jessica Vaughan, MD
General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Megan Yanny, MD
General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine

Education Highlights

Our education programs meet the needs of learners at all levels: undergraduates, medical students, residents, fellows, postgraduate trainees, and practicing healthcare professionals. Our graduating residents enter desirable primary care practices or top-quality sub-specialty fellowships in academic medical centers. Our fellows excel as sub-specialty 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 2020-21 academic year, we had 30 fellows in 13 programs.

  • Nicole Kamps, MD, fellow, Critical Care, received the 2021 Star Research Achievement Award from the Society of Critical Care Medicine for her abstract, “The effect of early corticosteroid therapy on outcomes in children with septic shock.”
  • Santhi Logel, MD, fellow, Endocrinology and Diabetes, won best presentation at the annual Pediatric Endocrine Society Spring Fellows Retreat for her talk, “Intersectionality: Where the paths of being a gender and racial minority cross.”
  • Bryan Vonasek, MD, fellow, Infectious Diseases, received a Thrasher Research Fund Early Career Award for his project, “Novel strategies to improve tuberculosis case finding in children with severe acute malnutrition.”

Residency Highlights

Of the 14 graduates of our 2021 residency program, five entered sub-specialty fellowships, five entered clinical practice, two became chief residents, and two were appointed to faculty positions in our department.

Residency Program Excellence Awards

The following faculty, residents, and fellows were the recipients of our residency program’s 2021 Teaching and Patient Care Excellence Awards. The awards were presented at the residents’ graduation ceremony.

Name of award
Award recipient, rank
Charles C. Lobeck Medical Education Award for Outstanding Teaching in Pediatrics
Carol Diamond, MD, associate professor
Outstanding Clerkship Teaching by a Pediatric Resident
Arij Beshish, MD, resident
Outstanding Fellow
Diane Brown, MD, fellow
Outstanding General Pediatrician
Andrea Jones, MD, clinical assistant professor
Outstanding Patient Centered Care
Carolyn Sleeth, MD, resident
Outstanding Pediatric Intern
Anna Uhing, MD, resident
Outstanding Second Year Resident Award
Paige Condit, MD, resident
Outstanding Senior Resident
Stephanie Squires, MD, resident
Resident Research Award
Jesse Boyett Anderson, MD, resident
Todd Varness Outstanding Clinical Teaching Award
Scott Hagen, MD, associate professor

Research Highlights by the Numbers

  • $51M total amount of funding
  • $41M funding from the NIH
  • 180+ research projects with our faculty as PI
  • 170+ awards received
  • 62 investigators received awards

Department of Pediatrics ranks high in NIH research funding

The University of Wisconsin Department of Pediatrics continues to be a leader among pediatric departments in federal research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), according to the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research. The 2020 rankings, which coincide with the department’s 2021 fiscal year, list it as No. 13 in the nation in funding from the NIH. The department has continued to rise in national rankings of research dollars, up from No. 28 in 2010, and it has ranked in the top 15 for four years straight.

A Selection of NIH Awards

Safe, in-person education for children with medical complexities

The National Institutes of Health and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development awarded $2 million to help medically complex K-12 students return to in-person school during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study, “ReSET: Restarting safe education and testing for children with medical complexity,” is led by co-PIs Ryan Coller, MD, MPH, assistant professor and division chief, Hospital Medicine, and Greg DeMuri, professor, Infectious Diseases. It is testing three approaches: establishing the feasibility of home and school-based COVID-19 testing strategies for children with medical complexities, identifying which factors lead parents of children living with medical complexity to opt for in-person school, and establishing recommendations to facilitate safe school attendance for this pediatric population. Sabrina Butteris, MD, associate professor, Mary Ehlenbach, MD, associate professor, Michelle Kelly, MD, associate professor, all from the Division of Hospital Medicine, and Ellen Wald, MD, department chair and professor, Infectious Diseases, are co-Investigators for the study.

New therapies for retinal disorders

The National Eye Institute funded a five-year, $7.7 million study to develop a nucleic acid-based therapy using anticodon edited transfer RNA to target nonsense mutations that cause blindness. The project, “Restoring vision with high-fidelity nonsense codon correction,” is co-led by Bikash Pattnaik, PhD, assistant professor, Neonatology and Newborn Nursery. For children, this new therapy will be tested to treat inherited retinal disorders like Leber congenital amaurosis, Best disease, or more frequent congenital stationary night blindness.

Predictors of neurodevelopmental deficits in childhood

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases awarded a $3.8 million R01 grant to Emma Mohr, MD, PhD, assistant professor, Infectious Diseases, for her project, “Early neural predictors and neuropathogenesis of sensorimotor neurodevelopmental deficits in macaque infants exposed to Zika virus in utero.” Mohr is studying a cohort of infant macaques exposed to Zika virus in a controlled setting to identify neural predictors in early infancy that are associated with the development of neurodevelopmental deficits in childhood.

Furthering research on wound repair

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences awarded a $3.3 million Maximizing Investigator Research Award, or MIRA, to Anna Huttenlocher, MD, professor, Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology, to investigate how inflammation resolves and tissues are repaired in the context of human health and disease. The competitive grant will fund years six through 10 of Huttenlocher’s project, “Cell migration and wound repair.”

Detecting familial hypercholesterolemia

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development awarded $427,000 to design a testing algorithm that can be used to detect familial hypercholesterolemia in the newborn population. Diagnosing individuals in the newborn period has the potential to significantly decrease the burden of heart disease not only to the children identified, but also to their relatives. The study, “Biochemical and molecular newborn screening for familial hypercholesterolemia,” is let by Principal Investigator Amy Peterson, MD, associate professor, Cardiology, and co-Investigator Patrice Held, PhD, FACMG, associate professor, Genetics and Metabolism.