Pediatric Surgery Fellowship

About the Program

The Pediatric Surgical Fellowship Program at the University of Iowa is a highly competitive program that prepares our fellows to become excellent pediatric surgeons. Fellows work closely with pediatric surgery faculty as well as a multidisciplinary team of physicians to gain an understanding of the pre-operative, operative, and post-operative management of surgical problems in infants and children. 

Fellows train in the following areas:

  • Neonatal and pediatric critical care 
  • ECMO
  • General pediatric surgery 
  • Cancer surgery
  • Trauma surgery
  • Neonatal surgery
  • Gastrointestinal surgery
  • Thoracic surgery

Our fellowship is a two-year ACGME accredited clinical program that recruits a new fellow every other year through the NRMP match. Having only one fellow at a time allows the fellow to lead the pediatric surgical service from the onset. Fellows obtain extensive operative experience and provide comprehensive perioperative care.

Upon completion of the training program, fellows will be competent pediatric surgeons, who have demonstrated mastery of the six competencies set forth by the Accreditation Council of Medical Education and are qualified for certification in Pediatric Surgery by the American Board of Surgery.  

Facilities

Building exteriorThe University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital is a free-standing children’s hospital located on the University of Iowa medical campus and adjacent to the rest of the campus. It is connected to University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics and the Carver College of Medicine. 

As the only quaternary referral center in the state and region, our fellows are exposed to diverse and complex cases. 

All fellowship training occurs in the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital, so no travel is required for our fellows. 

Our team

About the program surgeonsOur team includes surgical residents, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and is led by pediatric surgery faculty. Faculty are responsible for training and supporting the fellows throughout the fellowship experience.

Quick facts

  • More than 170 pediatric physicians and surgeons
  • More than 200 pediatric physicians, surgeons, and dentists
  • UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital cared for 83,937 children last year from all 99 Iowa counties, 45 states, and 20 other countries
  • 190 pediatric beds

Patient stories

Hear about some of the great work our surgeons are doing for children.

Clinical Rotations

Dr. Carlisle in the Bettendorf Clinic

During the two-year curriculum fellows have designated rotations in the following specialties:

  • NICU
  • PICU
  • Otolaryngology
  • Urology

Education

Operating room

Our fellowship is a two-year ACGME accredited clinical program that recruits a new fellow every other year through the NRMP match. Having only one fellow at a time allows the fellow to lead the pediatric surgical service from the onset.

Fellows work with our diverse group of faculty as well as our multi-disciplinary team to gain expertise in the preoperative, operative, and post- operative care of infants and children.

As the only academic referral center for children in the state of Iowa and in the region, we see a wide range of operative pathology and care for highly complex patients. Upon completion of the training program, fellows are competent pediatric surgeons, who have demonstrated mastery of the six competencies set forth by the Accreditation Council of Medical Education and are qualified for certification in Pediatric Surgery by the American Board of Surgery.

In addition to their clinical responsibilities, our fellows also lead our didactic pediatric surgery and multidisciplinary conferences. Additionally, they participate in hospital wide quality improvement projects and research activities within the Division of Pediatric Surgery. 

Each fellow will have the opportunity to attend the following courses and conferences.

Courses

  • Pediatric oncology course
  • Pediatric advanced minimally invasive surgery course 
  • Anorectal malformation course 
  • ECMO training course

National conferences

Pediatric Surgery Daily/Monthly Schedule

How to Apply

Surgeons in hallwayIf you are interested in applying to the Pediatric Surgery Fellowship, applications are accepted through ERAS (Electronic Residency Application Service). 

Our program selects on candidate every other year through the NRMP. 

Application requirements

  • Completion of approved General Surgery residency prior to beginning the fellowship
  • Eligible for certification by the American Board of Surgery

The following materials are required to complete your application:

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Brief personal statement
  • Three letters of recommendation

Candidates must be registered with the National Resident Matching program (NRMP).

Individuals applying to our program can submit their materials through the ERAS system.

Application deadline

 See the ERAS website

  • Applications will be reviewed in December 2019 for program year beginning August 1, 2021
  • Interviews will be held January through March of 2020.  Invited candidates will receive instructions to plan for interviews.  We use the Thalamus scheduling program. 
  • Match date: May 13,  2020

As noted above, the fellowship application process and materials are entirely through ERAS. 

Interviews

Invited candidates will receive instructions to plan for interviews. 

Interviews will be held January through March.

Contact information

Please contact Cate Unruh is you need further assistance. 

Email: cate-unruh@uiowa.edu

Interviews

Invited candidates will receive instructions to plan for interviews. Interviews will be held January through March.  Please contact Cate Unruh if you need further assistance by email (cate-unruh@uiowa.edu) or phone (319-467-5302). 

Our People

Pediatric Surgery group shot in lobby Our people are the heart of our program. The pediatric surgery team is collegial, collaborative, and committed to clinical excellence, teaching as well as innovation. The surgical team works hand in hand with outstanding pediatric clinicians, researchers, and teachers.

Pediatric Surgery Team

Pediatric Surgeons

Erica M. Carlisle, portrait

Erica M. Carlisle, MD

Education

  • BS, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.
  • MD, University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago
  • Residency, General Surgery, University of Chicago, Chicago
  • Fellowship, Pediatric Surgery, University of Chicago, Chicago
  • Fellowship, Surgical Ethics, MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, University of Chicago, Chicago

Academic profile


Graeme Pitcher, portrait

Graeme Pitcher, MBBCh

Education

  • MBBCh, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
  • Residency, Surgery, Johannesburg Hospital, Johannesburg
  • Fellowship, Pediatric Surgery, Johannesburg Hospital, Johannesburg
  • Fellowship, Pediatric Surgery, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow, United Kingdom
  • Fellowship, Transplant Surgery, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Neb.

Academic profile


Julia Shelton, portrait

Julia Shelton, MD, MPH

Education

  • BS, Georgia State University, Atlanta
  • MPH, Vanderbilt University, School of Medicine, Nashville, Tenn.
  • MD, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, Ga.
  • Residency, Medical Internship, Surgical Training, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Residency, General Surgery, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Fellowship, Surgical Education Research, Association for Surgical Education, Los Angeles
  • Fellowship, Pediatric Surgery, University of Louisville, Louisville, Ky.

Academic profile


Joel Shilyansky, portrait

Joel Shilyansky, MD

Education

  • BS, Biology, University of California, Los Angeles
  • MD, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Residency, General Surgery, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • Fellowship, Surgical Oncology, National Cancer Institute Building, Bethesda, Md.
  • Fellowship, Pediatric Surgery, University of Toronto Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto

Academic profile


Nurse Practitioners

Anna M. Arens, portrait

Anna M. Arens, ARNP, CPNP

Education

  • MSN, University of Illinois, College of Nursing, Chicago
  • BSN, University of Iowa, College of Nursing, Iowa City, Iowa

Stephany Walk, portrait

Stephany Walk, DNP, ARNP, CPNP

Education

  • DNP, University of Iowa, College of Nursing, Iowa City, Iowa
  • BSN, University of Iowa, College of Nursing, Iowa City, Iowa

Ashley Wilkens, portrait

Ashley Wilkens, ARNP, CPNP

Fellows (current and alumni)

Current Fellow

Lindel Dewberry portrait

Lindel Dewberry, MD 2021-2023

Residency: University of Colorado, General Surgery

Why Iowa: With a referral base from all over the state, there is a large variety of cases, and as a single fellow program, you are doing index cases from the very beginning. The program also supports the fellow well with a strong resident and ARNP team to help with patient care and call distribution. The faculty are all very supportive and are dedicated to your education. Iowa City is also a very easy place to live with a lively downtown area to explore during your time outside of the hospital.

Why pediatric surgery: Working with kids is incredibly rewarding. I enjoy the variety and challenge of the cases, and that when you operate on a child, you are able to have an impact on their entire lifetime.

Get to know Lindel: I was originally born in South Africa and moved to Atlanta when I was 10 years old. I attended the University of Georgia for my undergraduate degree, and I’m an avid UGA football fan (Go Dawgs!). I attended Emory Medical School, and then went to the University of Colorado for General Surgery residency where I completed 2 years of research and a masters of clinical science degree. I enjoy clinical research and want to incorporate it into my future surgical practice. Outside of work, I love to travel, participate in outdoor activities, explore new restaurants, and spend time with my husband and two cats. I also enjoy road biking and completed RAGBRAI with my husband just before fellowship.


Alumni Fellow

Benjamin Farber, portait

Ben Farber, MD 2019-2021

Residency: Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center
Current Practice: Assistant Professor, Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center

Sarah Walker, portrait

Sarah K Walker, MD 2017-2019

Residency: University of Louisville
Current Practice: Assistant Professor, Texas Tech University at El Paso

 

Get to Know the Program Director

Joel Shilyansky, MD

Dr. Shilyansky with patientJoel Shilyansky, MD is the Robert and Hélène Soper Chair of Pediatric Surgery and surgeon-in-chief for University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. 

  • Medical school: University of California at Los Angeles
  • Residency: University of Michigan Medical Center
  • Fellowship: Surgical Oncology at National Institutes of Health
  • Fellowship: Pediatric Surgery, University of Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children

His research focuses on the immune response in pediatric cancer patients, and additional studies in his laboratory related to cancer vaccine development. 

Why did you decide to be a physician?
Medicine is something I found fascinating, interesting, and exciting. Being a doctor provided me with an opportunity to serve the community and the people around me, and that’s always been important to me.
 
Why pediatric surgery?
With pediatric surgery, you must be very proactive. It involves being thoughtful. You make decisions, and you execute them, and you don’t get to ‘wait and see’ too much. But you also get to see the results of what you do—sometimes very quickly and very dramatically.
 
What attracted you to UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital?
I knew that Iowa was an outstanding university, and there was a really strong tradition of excellence in pediatric surgery. In Iowa I had the opportunity to build the division of pediatric surgery and add to that tradition. Most importantly I have really good colleagues and that makes work fun.
 
What makes our children’s hospital special?
It’s just an excellent environment for patient care and work because of the expertise and dedication of employees at all levels of care, from the people who clean the rooms to nurses and doctors and others. It has all the new technologies, is state-of-the-art, and the whole team is together