The cardiovascular team at Children’s Minnesota is excited to announce the addition of two new physicians to their team: Shashi Raj, MD, FAAP, FACC, and Erica Molitor-Kirsch, MD. Dr. Raj and Dr. Molitor-Kirsch are pediatric cardiac intensivists in our cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU). Our board-certified pediatric intensivists provide front line coverage in our CVICU and care for critically ill children with congenital or acquired heart disease. These patients may be recovering from open heart surgery, an intervention in the cardiac catheterization lab or waiting for a heart transplant on a ventricular assist device (VAD).
We’re also excited to announce an additional pediatric nurse practitioner, Andrea Lueck, APRN, CNP, DNP. Our skilled cardiac nurse practitioners (NPs) — are highly trained CVICU advanced practice providers and offer expert care for complex cardiac patients.
Dr. Raj, MD, FAAP, FACC
Dr. Raj originally trained as a pediatrician in India, completed his pediatric residency at Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. He then completed two fellowships in pediatric critical care and pediatric cardiology at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Bronx, New York, and University of Miami/Jackson Miami, Florida, respectively. He is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and worked as faculty at The University of Iowa. Prior to joining the Children’s Minnesota cardiology team, he was the clinical lead for Heart Failure and Transplant in the department of pediatric cardiology at Narayana Health, Bangalore, India.
His clinical interests and focus of research include advanced heart failure and heart transplant, ECMO, mechanical circulatory support, and ventricular assist device.
He enjoys outdoor activities and travel with his wife, Vasundhara, and their three children.
Dr. Molitor-Kirsch completed her pediatric residency in the U.S. Air Force. Her critical care fellowship followed at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Children’s Medical Center Dallas with her cardiac critical care training at Boston Children’s Hospital. Prior to joining Children’s Heart Clinic as a member of the cardiac critical care team at Children’s Minnesota, she served as the director of pediatric critical care at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center, a cardiac intensivist at Children’s Medical Center Dallas and ECMO director, as well as medical director, of the pediatric and cardiac intensive care units at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.
Her clinical interests include perioperative management of infants and children with complex heart disease and mechanical support of children with severe heart failure. She is passionate about team-based care with a focus on achieving and improving clinical outcomes of children with critical heart disease. Her personal interests include triathlons, reading, traveling and enjoying time with her wife and two sons.
Andrea Lueck, APRN, CNP, DNP
Andrea Lueck began her career as a nurse after receiving her bachelor’s degree from Winona State University in 2009. She worked at the University of Minnesota as an registered nurse (RN) in the pediatric intensive care unit through August of 2018. After completing her doctorate degree at Rush University, she joined the neurosurgery team at Children’s Minnesota as a pediatric acute care NP in September of 2018. Recently, she moved to the cardiovascular unit to help care for pediatric cardiovascular patients.
In her free time, she enjoys running trail races throughout the world and spending time with her husband and their two dogs.
Children’s Minnesota cardiovascular program
The Children’s Minnesota cardiovascular program is the region’s preeminent destination for pediatric cardiovascular care. From routine cardiology care to advanced cardiac surgeries, heart transplant and advanced heart failure therapies — from before birth into adulthood — we’re your pediatric cardiac resource in caring for all forms of congenital and acquired heart diseases. We provide on-site cardiovascular care at Children’s Minnesota Minneapolis campus and 11 clinic locations. Our team offers expert consultations and is available to partner with you 24/7.
As our census has grown, we’ve added a two-team intensivist model in our CVICU to ensure a safer, more efficient care. This staffing model — which includes a nurse practitioner, a cardiologist, a surgeon and an intensivist on each team — is a model used by similar high-volume programs in the country.
Over the last decade, the Children’s Minnesota cardiovascular team and our clinical capabilities — including ventricular assist device and heart failure and heart transplantation programs — have expanded significantly. The daily patient census has grown from an average of 14 patients in 2010 to nearly 27 patients in 2020 and patient acuity and complexity have also increased.