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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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