About Kathleen D. Van Leeuwen, MD

As a pediatric surgeon for nearly 20 years, Dr. Kathleen van Leeuwen joined Phoenix Children's in 2006 to lead the development of the system's first program for Reproductive Anomalies and Differences of Sexual Development, which affect between 1 and 2 percent of the population. Throughout her career, she has been a forthright advocate for her patients at every stage, identifying needs and creating innovative programs to address them.

Under her leadership, the program brings together teams of experts across a wide range of fields that support children with reproductive anomalies, including general surgery, urology, gynecology, endocrinology and psychology. Now recognized as a national leader in disorders of sexual development, Dr. van Leeuwen is known for her willingness to listen carefully, connect patients and families with others going through similar situations, and create clinical and community partnerships that support patients for a lifetime.

In 2022, Dr. van Leeuwen was appointed associate surgeon-in-chief of Phoenix Children's Hospital - East Valley. In addition to this and her role as co-director of the Reproductive Anomalies and Differences of Sexual Development Clinic, she is director of the Center for Fetal and Neonatal Care at Phoenix Children's and a clinical associate professor of surgery at the University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix. She also serves on a number of editorial review boards for professional publications, including the Journal of Pediatric Surgery and the Journal of Adolescent and Pediatric Gynecology.

Dr. van Leeuwen earned her medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. She then completed a surgical residency at the University of Michigan Hospitals in Ann Arbor, where she served as chief administrative resident. She then completed a pediatric surgery fellowship at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor. Dr. van Leeuwen is board certified in general surgery and pediatric surgery.

Long committed to research, Dr. van Leeuwen and her team developed the first-ever registry for patients diagnosed with a reproductive anomaly, a resource that will help improve patients' health and quality of life. In addition, she is the primary investigator on studies ranging from decision-making for patients with differences of sexual development, to non-cardiac surgery for patients with heterotaxy syndrome and intestinal malrotation, and the care of children with blunt renal trauma. The author of several book chapters and numerous journal articles, Dr. van Leeuwen has developed multiple care pathways for complex patients with congenital diaphragmatic hernia, gastroschisis, congenital adrenal hyperplasia and androgen insensitivity.

Dr. van Leeuwen earned numerous academic scholarships and honors, and since completing her fellowship, she has been included in the Best Doctors in America database since 2007, consistently recognized as a Top Doctor in PHOENIX magazine, and she was voted the 2011 Community Educator of the Year by residents training at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

"I am inspired every day by our patients and families. We listen very carefully to what they need and want, and we've changed the way we treat certain conditions because of all we've learned from them. Listening can change a life."

Because patients with reproductive anomalies often need care into adulthood, Dr. van Leeuwen had a recent experience she called "thrilling."

"I was able to attend to the birth of a baby whose mother was born with cloaca (a malformation in which a newborn has only one opening for the anus, urethra and vagina). The mother had many reconstructive surgeries over the years, but when she was ready, she wanted to have her own baby. Yes, it was very complex, but we formed a team that safely delivered her baby, and for me, that was the most amazing experience."

Dr. van Leeuwen "looks for joyfulness" in all she does. She has performed in and directed theatrical productions, from musicals to Shakespeare, and today, she loves singing in the all-physician rock band, "Central Line." Occasionally, her three daughters, who also love music, join her to sing on stage. She especially enjoys it when the many Phoenix Children's staff who attend the band's performances join in for a sing-along.

Medical School / Education

Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY


(Surgery) University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Chief Administrative Resident


(Pediatric Surgery) C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, Ann Arbor, MI

General Surgery, Pediatric Surgery

American College of Surgeons

Pediatric Surgery

Reproductive Anomalies

Blunt Renal Trauma

Fetal Care Coordination

Best Doctors in America

Top Doctor Recipient, PHOENIX magazine

Reproductive Anomalies/Disorders of Sexual Development

Blunt Renal Trauma

Univentricular Pediatric Non-Cardiac Surgery


Amazing doctors and so happy to have them on our team!