Our program, at the Medical College of Wisconsin, is dedicated to training and developing the future of neonatology. Our mission is to train physicians who are leaders in patient care, research, and education. The program is designed to provide outstanding clinical training at a Level IV NICU at the largest free-standing children’s hospital in Wisconsin. Trainees will receive exemplary research mentoring from highly respected leaders in pulmonary hypertension, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, bioethics, and clinical outcomes. Our training program prepares fellows to be leaders in clinical care and academic medicine.
Scott Welak, MD
Associate Fellowship Director and Assistant Professor
Children's Wisconsin NICU Video Tour
Meet our Fellows
As a fellow, you will...
- Have the unique opportunity to provide care with the optimal balance of autonomy and supervision; our NICU is well known for being a “fellow-run unit.”
- Master all needed procedural skills, and have the ability to perfect your clinical skills.
- Participate in scholarly activity.
- Choose a project that will help you develop the skills needed to be a successful academic neonatologist.
- Have the opportunity to present your research at international conferences.
- Master your skills in patient care, research, and education at the largest level IV NICU in Wisconsin, with a catchment area of more than 9 million.
- Care for children with the entire spectrum of newborn diseases, including extremely low birth weight infants, those who have surgical and subspecialty needs, and critically ill neonates.
- Learn from faculty who are well recognized as experts in both bedside care and academic medicine, bringing in millions of dollars in NIH funding annually.
About Our Fellowship
The Neonatal-Perinatal Fellowship at MCW and Children's Wisconsin is an outstanding training program for those looking to specialize in the care of critically ill newborns.
Children's Wisconsin is home to a newly renovated 71-bed Level IV NICU. We recently moved from our previous bay style NICU into the new unit, which features all private rooms. The average daily census of 50-60 patients is divided between three care teams.
While on service in the NICU, fellows oversee the team and provide teaching for the residents, either formally or at bedside when possible. This team oversight may involve interacting with one of the many subspecialty services Children’s has to offer, as the NICU team rounds daily with both Cardiology and Pediatric Surgery.
The variety of patients admitted to Children's provides an unrivaled opportunity to master procedural skills. First year fellows are preferentially given procedural opportunities during the first six months of fellowship, and nearly all have become phenomenally competent during that time.
Children’s Wisconsin and the Medical College of Wisconsin have a strong tradition of research among our fellows. After graduating, several of our fellows have continued their research endeavors and have become leaders in their respective fields of research. The Division of Neonatology recognizes the unique opportunity that is present during fellowship training.
Just as we prepare our fellows to become experts in neonatal medicine, we also mentor them to develop the skills to become experts in research. Rather than assign a project to each fellow, we encourage our fellows to choose a project that will both interest them during fellowship and prepare them for a career in academic neonatology. Our division has a wide variety of research interests, and faculty members are eager to train fellows; however, fellows are not limited to just the Division of Neonatology. Learn more about our faculty's research projects. As the only academic medical campus in Milwaukee, fellows have a wide variety of research projects to choose from. Past fellows have worked with many different divisions at Children's/MCW, including genetics, pediatric surgery, physiology, and palliative care.
During the first few months of fellowship, fellows will find a mentor and research project. Each faculty member conducting research presents their research to the fellows. The fellowship directors will meet with each new fellow to help them decide on a project, and will facilitate discussions with researchers outside of the division if a fellow has a particular interest. Fellows will also pick other faculty members to be on their Scholarly Oversight Committee (SOC), which will provide guidance to that fellow throughout their training. Fellows meet with their SOC members twice per year for updates and advice on their progress. Fellows are expected to submit their research as a manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal in order to graduate. The majority of our fellows not only have submitted one manuscript, but have had several accepted during their training.
Our fellows are encouraged to present their research at national and international conferences. Nearly all of our third-year fellows have presented their research at the Pediatric Academic Society/Society for Pediatric Research (PAS/SPR) annual convention, the preeminent neonatology conference in the world. In addition, many have presented at other conferences, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, in addition to local and regional meetings. The Department of Pediatrics often provides additional funding for travel to the PAS/SPR meeting for presenting fellows.
We recognize the importance of training fellows to become successful physician scientists, and have the ability and expertise to help each fellow achieve their research goals. Our faculty take great pride in training fellows and watching them achieve success in their scholarly project. We are confident that if you choose our fellowship program, you will have the ability to become an excellent clinician and be competitive in your future research endeavors.
Approximately 21 to 24 months of training will be devoted to research. Neonatology faculty members are carrying out several research projects. There is excellent collaboration with basic science faculty members in several of these research projects. In addition, there is ample opportunity to devise research projects with other basic science and clinical faculty. Basic science projects that are currently ongoing in the division include studies using an animal model of neonatal pulmonary hypertension to evaluate the pathogenesis of the disorder (the role of various endogenous vasodilators and vasoconstrictors such as nitric oxide, prostaglandins and other arachidonic acid metabolites), studies of vascular endothelium (signal transduction, Ca2+ signaling, free radicals, nitric oxide), and studies of pharmacogenomics, teratogens and their effect on fetal development. Current ongoing clinical projects include the study of institutional ethics, end of life care in the perinatal period, evaluation of neuro-developmental and audiological outcome of healthy term newborns with non-hemolytic hyperbilirubinemia, the effect of body position on breathing patterns and pulmonary mechanics in healthy infants, and studies of inhaled nitric oxide on PPHN.
Fellows receive excellent mentoring at all levels of training. They are required to complete a research project before the end of the third year and to have at least one or more first author publications in a peer reviewed journal. In order for them to complete a successful research project, a faculty mentor along with two additional faculty members, will be assigned to assist and monitor their progress by meeting twice yearly with a Scholarship Oversight Committee. Fellows will also be expected to present their research periodically in formal conferences to the faculty. The senior faculty and others provide guidance in grant writing, paper presentations, and manuscript writing in the Medical College of Wisconsin. Fellows will be expected to take courses in biostatistics and will have the opportunity to take courses in specialized areas of research Interests (e.g. molecular biology).
Fellows are encouraged to submit abstracts to national meetings annually (both basic science and pediatric meetings, such as Pediatric Academic Society Meetings). The Department of Pediatrics pays for the expenses to attend these meetings through the academic development fund assigned to each fellow.
Fellow Research Accomplishments
Original manuscript publications in the following journals:
- Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol*
- J Neuroinfect Dis*
- Pediatr Res*
- J Perinatol.*
- Perinatal Cardiology*
- Pediatric Emergency Care*
- Mat Child Health*
- J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med.
- Journal of Surgical Research
- Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
*Fellow was first author
Regional and National Conference Presentations
- Pediatric Academy Society
- Pediatric Endocrine Society
- Best Practices in Pediatrics
- AAP Central Conference on Perinatal Research
- Young Investigator Career Development Award, Department of Pediatrics, MCW
- Marshall Klaus Perinatal Research Award
- District 6 American Academy of Pediatrics Award
SOC Expectations (PDF)
In addition to direct patient care of infants in the NICU, fellows attend deliveries and perform prenatal consults. Children’s Wisconsin is affiliated with Froedtert Hospital (FH). FH has over 3,000 deliveries annually and is home to an expanding Maternal Fetal Medicine and High Risk OB program. Children's is recognized as both the top children’s hospital in the state, and also one of the most prestigious hospitals in the nation. Expecting parents are referred to Children's for many reasons, including prematurity, high-risk deliveries, and congenital anomalies. Our pediatric surgeons and MFM physicians have successfully conducted many fetal procedures, including meningomyelocele (MMC) repairs, bladder outlet obstructions, and fetal hydrops. These unique opportunities ensure that fellows will become skilled at not only typical neonatal resuscitations, but also in the delivery room management of complex congenital anomalies. The Labor and Delivery unit is conveniently located within the east tower of the Children’s building and is a short walk from the NICU.
Neonatal Developmental Follow-Up Clinic
All fellows will participate in the Neonatal Developmental Follow-up Clinic, which is run by our developmental pediatrician and follows NICU graduates up to age three. Fellows will attend clinic twice per month when not on service. This experience provides fellows with an opportunity to see the outcomes of our smallest and sickest patients, and provide fellows experience with the developmental assessment tools.
Newborn Nursery Rotation
During the first year, fellows will rotate through the newborn nursery for 2 weeks. During the rotation, fellows manage the resident team and are responsible for running rounds and staffing patients in the afternoon. The Newborn Nursery actually functions as a Level II NICU, and often has late premature infants and those requiring moderate intervention. Fellows will become familiar with the protocols and abilities of the Level II newborn nursery within Froedtert Hospital.
Maternal Fetal Medicine Clinic
During their second year, fellows rotate for two weeks in the maternal fetal medicine clinic. Fellows follow MFM providers to learn about the obstetrical management of our potential patients. Fellows attend prenatal consults with Neonatology faculty and pediatric subspecialists and observe fetal surgery if possible.
Cardiac ICU Rotation
During the third year of fellowship, fellows will rotate for two weeks in the cardiac ICU. While there, fellows will gain experience with the post-operative management cardiac conditions and ECMO. NICU fellow rotating through the CICU will provide care for post-operative neonates only.
Depending on the individual fellow's needs and desires, elective rotations will be designed throughout the fellowship for additional exposure to areas of particular clinical interest to the fellow (e.g. cardiology rotation with focus on neonatal echocardiography, radiology rotation with emphasis on neonatal ultrasounds and special procedures). Each elective is done for a period of one month and no more than one elective month may be requested for each subspecialty area.
For each year of your fellowship, you will be given more responsibility in direct patient care and leading the care team. We expect that by the end of your third year, you will be functioning at the level of an attending and we will work with you to help you get there! Because of this graded responsibility, each year of your fellowship will look a little different.
Fellows will gain procedural competence through time spent on service and on call in the NICU, in the delivery room, and through various clinical rotations during their fellowship. We feel that competence in the following procedures is necessary prior to completion of training:
- Needle aspiration of the chest and chest tube insertion
- Delivery room resuscitation
- Lumbar puncture
- PICC line insertion
- Peripheral arterial puncture and line insertion
- Umbilical line placement (both arterial and venous)
- Develop clinical competence (5 months in the NICU and ½ month in the Newborn Nursery). You will master the procedural skills during the first 6 months by preferentially giving procedures to first-year fellows during this time.
- Attend the Neonatal Developmental Follow-up Clinic.
- Present two basic physiology conferences, one journal club, and at least one patient oriented conference during your service months.
- Attend the Joint Fellowship Curriculum of the Department of Pediatrics.
- Initiate research: Identify project, mentor, and Scholarly Oversight Committee (SOC). You will have two SOC meetings to evaluate your progress and provide guidance (see Research).
- Continue to develop clinical competence (3 months in NICU) but focus more on teaching residents and junior fellows. Two service months will be on resident teams (A or B) while one month will be on C team, staffed by one faculty members and 2-3 Neonatal Nurse Practitioners (NNP’s). During your C team month, you will have more opportunity to round independently, and gain the experience in providing care with nurse practitioners.
- Continue to attend the Neonatal Developmental Follow-up Clinic.
- Present three basic physiology conferences, one journal club, and at least one patient oriented conference while on service.
- Work on research project. We encourage fellows to write a first author abstract that will be submitted by the fall of the third year.
- Participate in the Joint Fellowship Curriculum
- Continue to develop clinical competence and teaching skills by serving approximately 3 months (including at least 1 month as a Junior Attending in the NICU).
- Continue to attend the Neonatal Developmental Follow-up Clinic.
- Present three basic physiology conferences (one of which is a presentation of your research), one journal club, and at least one patient-oriented conference while on service.
- Complete research project and write manuscript for submission by end of third year.
- Present your completed research project at a major conference (usually PAS/SPR).
Children’s Wisconsin is the only referral service for the majority of pediatric and neonatal patients in Wisconsin, covering an area of nearly six million people. Many patients require medical transport from referring hospitals to Children's. We have a dedicated transport team that provides this service. This specialized group includes nurses and respiratory therapists who go on every transport. Physicians only go on 10 % of the annual transports. However, given the unique challenges inherited in transporting a critically ill neonate, our neonatal fellows often go on these transports to ensure optimal care. Children's has access to transport via ambulance, helicopter, and fixed wing plane. The majority of transports are within Wisconsin; however Children's commonly transports patients from the upper peninsula of Michigan and northern Illinois as well.
If a physician is needed to go on a transport during the day, the fellow on the admitting team will go with the transport team. On nights and weekends, this responsibility is for the on-call fellow. Exceptions to this are if the fellow is unable to go on transports (pregnancy, illness, or other circumstances). The attending acting as medical control makes the final decision about who goes on transport after assessing the unit’s needs and acuity. On transport, the fellow is the “eyes and ears” for the faculty at Children's. They will perform procedural expertise as needed, and will provide medical care in coordination with the transport nurse and respiratory therapist. In addition, the fellow is the representative of Children's, and is responsible for communicating with the patient’s family members. Senior fellows also have the opportunity to serve as the “Junior Medical Control” by communicating with the referring physician and transport team in conjunction with the staff neonatologist.
In order to be eligible for transports, you will complete a short orientation to get familiar with the equipment used and review safety information for the helicopters. Fellows are required to document care provided during the transport.
The Division of Neonatology holds many academic conferences throughout the year to enhance fellow’s learning. Some of these conferences occur on a weekly basis, while others are monthly to bimonthly. Fellows are expected to participate in these conferences, and the level of responsibility is graduated based on fellowship level.
View list of conferences and didactic sessions (PDF)
Third Year Fellows (2018-2021)
Devashis Mukherjee, MD
Hometown: Calcutta, India
Medical School: Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India.
Research/Scholarly Project: MicroRNA regulation of angiogenesis and oxidative stress pathways involved in persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn.
Mentor: Girija Ganesh Konduri, MD
Interests: Bungee jumping, skydiving, ziplining, kayaking. Cooking everyday in my Instapot!
Why did I choose to do my fellowship with MCW? I had a great interview day experience and everyone from the faculty to the fellows were genuine, warm-hearted people who just wanted you to succeed. Children's Wisconsin is a level IV NICU which draws from a wide population base and hence we get to see a wide variety of pathologies in addition to routine prematurity. Plus, we have a very active neonatal transport service which also drew me to this program. The fellows get to choose their research projects and there is a good mix of basic science and clinical research which was also a bonus point. Milwaukee is such a fun and affordable city to live in and very close to Chicago, and hence I could not have asked for more.
Erin Rholl, MD
Hometown: Hendersonville, North Carolina
Medical School: University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Research/ Scholarly Project: Parents experience project-How parents of medically complex infants experience uncertainty in the NICU.
Mentor: Steven Leuthner, MD
Interests: Trying different Milwaukee Beer Gardens, running with my dog, sand volleyball, tennis and anything on the lake!
Why did I choose to do my fellowship with MCW? As a resident, I enjoyed the wide variety of patients and acuity at the Children’s Wisconsin NICU and knew it would be a good place to complete my fellowship training. The attendings, neonatal nurse practitioners and nurses I had worked with were supportive of fellow learning opportunities. Graduating fellows expressed how prepared they felt upon leaving fellowship and that they really enjoyed the opportunities at MCW - specifically going on transports. Given my interest in fetal diagnosis and prenatal counseling, our multidisciplinary Fetal Concerns Center also factored in my decision to stay at MCW.
Alexandra Wilson, MD
Hometown: Evanston, IL
Medical School: Ross University School of Medicine
Research/ Scholarly Project: Early EEG as a biomarker for neurodevelopmental impairment infants with HIE
Mentor: Erwin Cabacungan, MD & Susan Cohen, MD
Interests: I love spending time with friends and family, especially with my husband, my spunky (almost 1-year-old) daughter and our dog Beau!
Why did I choose to do my fellowship with MCW? As a Chicago Native I was ready to move closer to home for Fellowship. During my interview I was so impressed with the NICU and entire Neonatology division, that I immediately knew that MCW would be a great fit for me. Not only does it offer an amazing and fulfilling clinical experience, it also has incredible research support and wonderful mentors.
Second Year Fellows (2019-2022)
Katie Baughman, MD
Hometown: Grand Blanc, Michigan
Medical School: University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
Residency: University of Michigan
Research/Scholarly Project: Value clarification and alignment in Fetal Concerns consultations
Mentor: Steven Leuthner, MD
Interests: I love spending time with my friends and family, doing a variety of arts/crafts, and being outside near water or mountains! I also enjoy exploring new areas and restaurants.
Why did I choose to do my fellowship at MCW? I considered many factors while creating my fellowship rank-list and ultimately choosing MCW. MCW offers a moderate-sized program with a fellow-driven level IV NICU. Throughout my interview day (and now throughout my workdays), I appreciated the friendships and teamwork amongst fellows, NNPs, and nurses. I also valued finding a program that has the resources available for me to build the foundation for the career that I want; for example, MCW offers opportunities for furthering education via master's programs, mentors in various areas of research (both in the department and across the hospital/university system), and a variety of fetal diagnoses and pathology.
Svetlana Kozlovich, MD
Hometown: San Diego, CA
Medical School: Rosalind Franklin University of Medical Sciences, Chicago Medical School
Residency: Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital
Research/Scholarly Project: Investing in utero exposures that predispose to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
Mentor: Hang Nghiem-Rao, MD
Interests: Visiting different restaurants, travel, craft beer, hanging out with my husband, Nick, and our dog, Bella. Trying out new workout and yoga classes. Working on the endless improvement projects at our home in Milwaukee. Watching Packers games. Go Pack Go!
Why did I choose to do my fellowship at MCW? I was very impressed by the fellows and how confident and well trained they were. I liked that the NICU is fellow-run at MCW. While MCW brings all the impressive aspects of a large academic center, the NICU faculty seemed very humble, accomplished and approachable. At MCW, I feel like I will be better situated to meet my career goals, perhaps even pursue a master’s degree, because the staff seems as engaged in my career as I am.
Maria Skorey, MD
Hometown: Yankton, SD
Medical School: University of South Dakota
Residency: Nebraska Joint Pediatric Residency in Omaha, NE
Research/Scholarly Project: Generational differences in feedback practices
Mentor: Kristine Saudek, MD
Interests: Spending time with my family-being a mom to my son Grey and cat mom to two cats-outdoor activities, music, and eating great food!!
Why did I choose to do my fellowship with MCW? I was very impressed on my interview day with the hospitality shown to the applicants. If they treat applicants so well, they must treat their fellows great, too! Also, I could tell this is a well-rounded program with many research opportunities that will train me to be a competent and caring neonatologist. Plus, Milwaukee and Wauwatosa seem like amazing places to call home, with plenty of activities, great drinks and food!
First Year Fellows (2020-2023)
Kathryn “Katie” Berlin, DO
Hometown: Muskego, WI
Medical School: West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine
Residency: Medical College of Wisconsin
Research Project/Scholarly Project: Patient Safety & Quality Improvement
Mentor: Joanne Lagatta, MD and Scott Welak, MD
Interests: I enjoy cooking, traveling, and spending time with my husband, son, and dog.
Why did I choose to do my fellowship with MCW?: MCW gives me access to a busy & diverse NICU while supporting my academic endeavors through the faculty & resources of our department, as well as the medical college as a whole. Milwaukee is also such a fun city: there is always something to do!
Hometown: Wauwatosa, WI
Medical School: Medical College of Wisconsin
Residency: Medical College of Wisconsin/Children's Wisconsin
Research Project/Scholarly Project: The abnormal metabolic regulation that disrupts homeostasis in pulmonary artery endothelial cells, leading to decreased mitochondrial biogenesis and impaired angiogenesis function in persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN).
Mentor: G. Ganesh Konduri, MD
Interests: Spending time with family and friends, staying active, Marquette basketball, and eating sweets.
Why did I choose to do my fellowship with MCW?: Children's Wisconsin has a new, state-of-the-art level IV NICU that provides care to a high volume of patients with a wide array of acute diseases, and the program performs cutting-edge basic science research in my chosen pathology of interest, i.e., PPHN. What truly separates MCW from other programs is the faculty's unwavering commitment to optimizing patient outcomes, family experiences, and to teaching and mentoring the next generation of neonatal physician-scientists.
Katherine “Katie” Carlton, MD
Hometown: Mequon, WI
Medical School: Medical College of Wisconsin
Residency: Medical College of Wisconsin
Research Project/Scholarly Project: Neonatal neurocritical care, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, post-hemorrhagic hydrocephalus
Mentors: Susan Cohen, MD and Erwin Cabacungan, MD
Interests: I love to bake and eat! My husband and I especially love to try new restaurants around Milwaukee.
Why did I choose to do my fellowship with MCW?: There are many reasons I chose MCW for fellowship, a few being: 1) Milwaukee is my home, and I love the city and community; 2) Throughout medical school and residency at MCW, I valued the collaborative learning environment and overall abundance of faculty support; 3) On a more personal note, my son spent two weeks in the MCW NICU where the care he received was awe inspiring. I strive to deliver the same level of care and compassion to my patients as a NICU fellow at MCW.
Milwaukee is one of the Midwest’s best-kept secrets and a prime location for the Medical College of Wisconsin’s main campus. A one-of-a-kind city with a vibrant and diverse culture, this charming, yet metropolitan must-see is just 90 minutes north of Chicago and nestled on the coast of Lake Michigan. Whether you’re catching a show at Summerfest, the world’s largest music festival, immersing yourself in the old world charm of the Historic Third Ward or taking in the sights and sounds of one of the many cafés, beer gardens or restaurants that line the city’s riverbank and shoreline, Milwaukee never disappoints. Find out why MCW students, faculty and employees take pride in calling Milwaukee home. You will find that there are many great things to do in Milwaukee.
For more information on how to apply for our program please go to the ERAS website.
Girija Ganesh Konduri, MD
Scott Welak, MD
Fellowship Program Contact
Children's Corporate Center, Suite C410
999 N. 92nd St.
P.O. Box 1997
Milwaukee, WI 53226
(414) 266-6979 (fax)