Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship
Program Leadership (PD/APD), Faculty
Gregory C. Martin, MD
Fellowship Program Director
Division Chief of Neonatology, Bill & Cathy Hudson Endowed Chair for Neonatology
Neonatologist Gregory C. Martin, MD, recognizes what caring for newborns with medical challenges can mean for a child and their family. "Effective care can impact a child for a lifetime," says Dr. Martin. "I love the idea of giving the most fragile infants a chance at life."
Providing specialty care for babies born with complex or high-risk conditions runs in Dr. Martin's family. His mother was a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse. His uncle is also a neonatologist. "Visiting my uncle's NICU with my mother as a child inspired me to be a doctor," says Dr. Martin.
Phoenix Children's Hospital's mission to provide hope, healing and the best healthcare for children and their families inspires his care every day. He carries out that mission using a team approach that leverages the expertise of specialists. Together, they create a plan for evidence-based care.
Dr. Martin understands that helping families is an important part of the care he provides, too. "I truly enjoy the moments spent with each family, supporting them during their time of need," says Dr. Martin.
When he's not caring for patients, Dr. Martin relaxes by spending time with his wife, Robin, and children Aydin and Hannah. He also enjoys staying active with tennis, swimming and golf.
M.Y. Bader, MD, FAAP is a neonatologist in the Division of Neonatology and Perinatal Medicine at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Dr. Bader is double board certified in Pediatrics and Neonatal-perinatal Medicine. His special interests include but are not limited to neonatal nutrition and Neonatal Abstinence syndrome, broaching social stigmas and stereotypes, and making strides to end the opioid crisis.
Dr Bader is very passionate about providing care to our most vulnerable population and supporting their families during times of dire need and transition through a family centered approach. Dr. Bader is also involved mentoring and educating future pediatricians as the Director of the Phoenix Children’s NICU residency rotation as well as a faculty member of the University of Arizona.
When not at work Dr. Bader enjoys playing soccer and opportunities to serve his community with his wife, a former NICU nurse, and three children.
Navin Bhopal, MD, sees the field of medicine as a crossroad between science and the humanities. "Physicians have to be jack-of-all-trades: scientist, caregiver, social worker, counselor, manager," says Dr. Bhopal, a neonatology specialist at Phoenix Children's. "Having a baby is full of joy and wonder, but it is also a time of uncertainty and anxiety for parents even when the baby is born healthy and full term. Having a baby with medical needs is an extremely difficult time. The task of navigating a sick baby and their family through this process is not only challenging, but also rewarding."When it comes to providing care for newborns with complex medical needs, Dr. Bhopal believes the best approach combines logic, empathy and compassion. While he is clear about his opinions and recommendations to help guide families in making difficult decisions, he strives to understand and incorporate their values into a personalized treatment plan. For Dr. Bhopal, there's no greater gift than seeing his tiny patients prosper."It is so rewarding to see a previously small or sick baby grow and thrive," he says. "To see the joy on parents' faces when they take their baby home is like nothing else. Working in a multidisciplinary team to make miracles happen and have a positive impact on the lives of children and their families is what draws me to this specialty."A dedicated yoga and meditation practitioner, Dr. Bhopal enjoys spending his free time with his wife, infant daughter and their dog.
Valerie M. Blanco, MD
Valerie Marie Blanco, MD, feels privileged to care for newborns and premature babies as a neonatologist. She provides personalized care by focusing on the family's values and treatment goals. Together with the latest scientific advances and the skills of a multidisciplinary team, she aims to provide infants the highest-quality care.
When she's not working, Dr. Blanco enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband, two daughters and dogs. She also enjoys biking and learning about other cultures.
As a neonatologist, Amy L. Brown, MD, considers it a privilege to provide her tiny, fragile patients an opportunity at life. She believes strong relationships with families built on compassion and empathy can "help families through possibly one of the scariest times in their lives."
Her grandmother's battle - and win - over breast cancer inspired Dr. Brown to become a doctor. "My family was so thankful for the care her medical team provided and the additional years we were able to spend with her," Dr. Brown says.
Babies' resiliency and will to get better drew her to neonatology. "I love helping these little survivors embark on their life," Dr. Brown says.
Warm, friendly staff and the opportunity to impact patients through multiple NICU locations made Phoenix Children's an easy choice for her.
When Dr. Brown isn't working, she loves spending time with her husband, two daughters and two dogs. She also enjoys staying fit with spin classes, yoga and running.
Dr. Elkhwad completed his pediatrics residency and neonatology fellowship at the Case Western Reserve/Cleveland Clinic. Since 2006, he has been practicing neonatology at level III and IV NICU's in the US and abroad. He comes to us with a strong background in neonatal congenital heart disease and ECMO. He is returning to the US after 4 years working at Sidra Medicine in Doha, Qatar where he established their neonatal and adult ECMO programs, and served as the Director of the Fetal Treatment Center. Dr. Elkhwad will assume the Medical Director responsibilities of the NICU.
For as long as he can remember, Kevin Ryan Ellsworth, MD, has aspired to take care of premature or critically ill newborns. During his undergraduate years at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University, Dr. Ellsworth conducted neonatal seizure research at the Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children's.
"I thrive on improving patient care based on research and practice. There is nothing more fascinating than neonatal physiology," says Dr. Ellsworth, a neonatologist at Phoenix Children's.
A native of Mesa, Arizona, Dr. Ellsworth completed medical school at the University of Pittsburgh and a pediatric residency at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. In 2018, he completed a fellowship in neonatal-perinatal medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He also received advanced training and a degree in basic and clinical research, funded by the National Institutes of Health.
"I strive to treat each newborn and their families as if they were members of my own family," Dr. Ellsworth says. "I was drawn to Phoenix Children's by the opportunity and challenge to open a new high-level neonatal intensive care unit and to develop training programs."
Dr. Ellsworth spends time outside of work running.
Marc A. Ellsworth, MD
Associate Fellowship Program Director
When Marc Ellsworth, MD, was in medical school, his wife's experiences as a nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) inspired his interest in specializing in neonatology. As a neonatologist at Phoenix Children's, he puts the needs of his tiny patients and their families first."There is nothing better than watching a family take home a healthy baby who at one time was critically ill," says Dr. Ellsworth.His two older brothers, both pediatricians, influenced Dr. Ellsworth's decision to pursue a career in medicine. He is grateful to be at Phoenix Children's, where specialists from a wide range of disciplines work together on the most complex cases."The quality of subspecialty expertise and care coordination of Phoenix Children's is something I value. It helps me take care of the sickest infants," he says.In his free time, Dr. Ellsworth enjoys spending time with his wife and three children.
Dr. Garey received her Medical Degree from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and her Master of Public Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She completed her Pediatric Residency and Neonatal Fellowship at University of California San Diego. She has 12 years’ experience in developmental follow-up of high-risk infants as the medical director of the High-Risk Infant Follow-up Clinic at UCSD and Columbia University prior to coming to Phoenix Children’s. In addition to the NEST clinic, her clinical responsibilities include being an attending physician in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Phoenix Children’s. Her research experience includes delivery room resuscitation, functional echocardiography, and developmental outcomes of high-risk infants. Recent research projects include the two-year outcomes of a pilot trial evaluating the effects of different methods of placental transfusion after delivery, short and long-term outcomes of preterm infants affected by intrauterine growth restriction and early intervention utilization for preterm infants after NICU discharge. She is also trained in functional echocardiography and cranial ultrasound. Providing excellent care in the neonatal intensive care unit is important as is providing long-term monitoring of these infants to ensure that they are developing appropriately and receiving therapies and early interventions to help them reach their maximum potential.
For Pamela S. Griffiths, MD, one of the joys of practicing neonatology is being able to send newborns home after overcoming complicated medical conditions in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)."I enjoy playing a role in improving the outcomes of medically fragile infants with complex conditions," says Dr. Griffiths. "Caring for those who are the most vulnerable is especially rewarding. I enjoy seeing a critically ill infant overcome their condition and sharing in the family's happiness when their baby can go home with them. “After receiving her medical degree from West Virginia University (WVU), Dr. Griffiths completed a residency in general pediatrics and a fellowship in neonatal-perinatal medicine at WVU. She specializes in bronchopulmonary dysplasia care, neonatal cardiovascular conditions, and hemodynamics and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. An active researcher, Dr. Griffiths strives to find the best evidence-based approaches to care and values an interdisciplinary approach in treating complex medical disorders. “Phoenix Children's has a strong team of physicians that I am grateful to work with," she says. "The support of all necessary subspecialists gives me confidence that I can care for any patient at Phoenix Children's. I also feel that Phoenix Children's offers many opportunities for research and collaboration."Outside of the hospital, Dr. Griffiths enjoys running and spending time with her husband and children.
For Dr. Kudin, choosing a career path in medicine was made easy because of his admiration for family members who were doctors. He appreciates the opportunity his work provides to integrate science and compassion.
“Becoming a physician appealed to me because medicine is where science is closely interwoven with humanity,” Dr. Kudin says. “Neonatology is a very balanced specialty that provides a huge opportunity to affect the life of patients for years to come.”
A neonatology specialist, he strives to practice evidence-based medicine to ensure that his patients have the best possible outcomes. He believes that open communication with parents of patients is just as important as the care he provides.
“As a neonatologist, I have the privilege of caring for the most vulnerable patients,” he says. “The care we provide in the NICU has a lifelong impact on our patients and their families.”
Dr. Kudin has been recognized for his work on several occasions, including the 2015 Outstanding Graduating Resident of the Year from East Carolina University and the 3rd place award from the Ukraine National Ministry of Health Physiology Competition in 1996. At Phoenix Children’s, he enjoys “great colleagues, an excellent working environment and the ability to provide care for the most complex patients.”
When he’s not working, Dr. Kudin enjoys spending time with his wife and four children, participating in recreational sports, reading, and playing board games.
Dr. Kathiravan finds great joy and humility in being able to call herself a neonatologist. It has always been her deepest passion to not only care for newborns but also support an entire family network by providing quality healthcare to some of the most vulnerable members of our communities.
Having a firsthand view of the incredible sacrifices women make in sustaining the backbone of our societies, Dr. Kathiravan always knew that she wanted to provide them the highest pinnacle of clinical care during their greatest time of need. Supporting the NICU and building close personal connections with not only her patients but also their families has been her foremost privilege.
As part of Phoenix Children’s, Dr. Kathiravan enjoys not only expanding her clinical skills but also growing as a researcher, educator, and leader.
When she finds time away from work, Dr. Kathiravan loves spending time with her husband and two daughters as well as her hyperactive Labradoodle. She enjoys cooking, travelling, and staying active.
The fact that both of her parents are nurses greatly influenced Dr. Manalastas’ decision to go into medicine. As she pursued her career in medicine, she found it extremely rewarding to help sick people get better. Dr. Manalastas completed her Neonatology fellowship at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, IL where she learned to take care of these critically ill and complex babies. She believes in collaboration with the whole neonatal team which includes other neonatologists, nursing, respiratory, speech , occupational, and other pediatric subspecialties. She believes in the importance of creating an environment for parents to be able to be heard and participate in the care of their babies.
She enjoys the supportive staff at Phoenix Children’s and the environment that encourages continuous learning and opportunities to develop and reach career goals. In her free time, she enjoys running, hiking, and cooking with her husband.
Hemananda Kumar Muniraman, MBBS
As a neonatologist, Hermananda Kumar Muniraman, MB, BS, considers it a privilege to care for babies born prematurely or those needing special care.
Dr. Muniraman grew up in India, where physicians are highly regarded. In his own family, his parents turned to their family physician for even non-medical advice. Dr. Muniraman saw how the family physician and pediatrician could help patients and families make positive changes in their lives.
"I wanted to be my family physician," Dr. Muniraman says. "I looked forward to seeing him even if I was sick because I knew he would help me get better."
Dr. Muniraman values the opportunity to practice at one of the top children's healthcare systems in the country. He also appreciates the opportunity to grow as a leader and researcher.
When Dr. Muniraman isn't working, he enjoys hiking with his family -- one of his favorite things about living in Arizona. He also loves traveling to new countries and experiencing their cultures.
Deborah J. Tom, MD, is a neonatologist and serves as Chair of Phoenix Children's Medical Student Mentorship. Board certified in neonatal-perinatal medicine, Dr. Tom was drawn to neonatology because of her desire to be involved with families during this very special time of their lives, as well as to provide hope for families with premature and sick newborns. She enjoys all aspects of neonatology and has expertise in treating neonates with complex medical diagnoses.
Dr. Tom joined Phoenix Children's medical staff in 1998 and the new Neonatology Division in 2020. She currently serves as Chair of the Credentials Committee and as a member of the Medical Executive Committee.
From 2013 to 2020, Dr. Tom served as Medical Director of Phoenix Children's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Under her direction, the NICU earned recognition in U.S. News & World Report's Best Children's Hospitals as a national leader in neonatology. Phoenix Children's program progressively ascended into the Top 50 - ranking #20 nationally for the 2020 - 2021 time - based on excellent outcomes, high quality of care and patient safety.
Dr. Tom has a special interest in mentoring the next generation of physicians. To collaborate with local medical schools, Dr. Tom established the Medical Student Mentorship Program at Phoenix Children's. This past academic year, Dr. Tom engaged more than 100 of our pediatricians in student-focused activities, like Dine with Docs, Lunch and Learns, Simulation Boot Camps and mentoring opportunities, connecting physicians and medical students to create hands-on experiences and help build networks for guidance.
In 2021, Dr. Tom was nominated as one of Phoenix Children's Clinical Excellence Teachers of the Year secondary to building the Medical Student Mentorship Program. In 2022, she was recognized as a Top Doctor in PHOENIX magazine in neonatal-perinatal medicine.
Dr. Tom loves working at Phoenix Children's because she can provide family-centered care with a strong multispecialty and multidisciplinary team at a hospital that specializes in children.
When not at work, you can find Dr. Tom spending time with her family and dog, running, traveling, and crafting. She's married to a pediatric cardiologist at Phoenix Children's, Dr. Todd Nowlin. They have four children -- some of whom are following in their parents' footsteps and going into the medical field.
As Jennifer Weber, MD, cares for newborn babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), she understands that parents and families also need TLC during difficult days. “I feel privileged to share in one of the most stressful, yet special, times for families as they welcome a new baby to their family," says Dr. Weber, a neonatology specialist. "I care for every baby as if they were my own child and support parents as they try to stay as connected as possible to their hospitalized abider. Weber's positive experiences with her own childhood pediatrician inspired her to pursue a medical career working with children. She admires the resiliency of newborn babies. “I really enjoy caring for the patient population in the NICU -- I have much to learn from them!" she says. "There will always be a special place in my heart for the smallest patients and the unique aspects of caring for sick newborns’. Weber is excited to come "home" to Phoenix Children's Hospital, where she trained as a pediatric resident and medical student. A recipient of the Phoenix Children's Hospital/Maricopa Medical Center Pediatric Residency Program Achievement Award, she also received the Walt Vikram Troester Memorial Scholarship and the Deans' Award for Excellence - Inspirational Fellow Mentorship at the University of California, Davis. When she's not at work in the NICU, Dr. Weber enjoys sewing, taking walks, playing piano, exploring applications of neonatal telemedicine, participating in church activities and spending time with her husband and two sons.
Dr. Wickland completed her medical school at Wayne State School of Medicine and her pediatrics residency here at PCH. She will complete her neonatology fellowship from the University of Texas Southwestern where she worked primarily in level IV NICUs at Parkland Health and Hospital System and Children's Medical Center Dallas. Her research interests include long-term metabolic outcomes of premature infants as well as quality improvement in the NICU.