Midwest Fetal Care Center
At the Midwest Fetal Care Center (MWFCC), we are experts in providing the best medical care for babies before they are even born. But we don’t just care for our patients – we also study how to make health care for expectant parents and their babies even better through research.
We perform our own research to look for ways to improve our care and outcomes. We also share our treatment outcomes so families can feel confident in their fetal care decisions.
The MWFCC is a collaboration between Allina Health and Children’s Minnesota, and we also work with other top hospitals and universities to perform large collaborative studies and move the field of fetal medicine forward. We are active members of the North American Fetal Therapy Network (NAFTNet), the Fetal Heart Society, and associations of top medical centers with expertise in fetal interventions.
We are continually researching ways to improve fetal diagnosis, in-utero interventions and clinical outcomes for pregnancies complicated by a fetal diagnosis.
Current clinical trials
If you or your child is eligible, you could be part of one of these ongoing studies.
Ongoing focus areas
Our major research areas include:
- Fetal interventions including the diagnosis and treatment of fetal myelomeningocele
- Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome
- Fetal cardiac diseases and echocardiography
- Fetal diagnosis
- Patient-centered care
- Congenital diaphragmatic hernia
Research Director: Joseph Lillegard
Joseph Lillegard, MD, PhD, is a pediatric general and thoracic surgeon at Children’s Minnesota. He attended medical school at the University of Nevada where he completed his MD and PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology. He completed his surgical training at the Mayo Clinic in general surgery and his pediatric surgery fellowship at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. His areas of interest include minimally invasive laparoscopic and thoracoscopic surgery, neonatal congenital anomalies, congenital diaphragmatic hernia repair, childhood malignancies, thyroid and parathyroid disease, anal/rectal malformation repair, and repair of chest wall deformities such as pectus excavatum and carnatum. He conducts research related to ex-vivo and in-utero cell and gene correction strategies related to inborn errors of metabolism of the liver.
Fetal Cardiology Director: Lisa Howley, MD
Dr. Lisa Howley is a pediatric cardiologist and the medical director of the Fetal Cardiology Program at Children’s Minnesota. She earned her medical degree at Eastern Virginia Medical School. Dr. Howley is a talented fetal cardiologist, previously serving as the co-director of the Perinatal Cardiology Program at the Colorado Fetal Care Center. Dr. Howley is also a nationally renowned educator and researcher in the field of fetal cardiology. She is strongly committed to advancing fetal cardiology through local and national research projects, and under her leadership, the Children’s Minnesota Fetal Cardiology Program is involved in numerous research endeavors. In her spare time, Dr. Howley enjoys downhill skiing and paddle boarding. She is a wife and mother and loves spending time with her family.
Associate Research Director: James Fisher
James Fisher, MD, is a pediatric general and thoracic surgeon at Children’s Minnesota. He attended medical school at the University of Kansas where he completed his MD. He completed his surgical training at the Mayo Clinic in general surgery and his pediatric surgery fellowship at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. He has received additional training in fetal intervention and fetal surgery via a fetal surgery fellowship at Texas Children’s Hospital. His areas of interest include minimally invasive laparoscopic and thoracoscopic surgery, neonatal congenital anomalies, and in utero-diagnosed anomalies. He is part of the fetal surgery team at the Midwest Fetal Care Center and performs operative fetoscopy for Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome and open fetal surgery for open neural tube defects. He is the fetal team lead for fetoscopic endoluminal tracheal occlusion (FETO) for severe congenital diaphragmatic hernia.
Sr. Scientific Investigator: Stephanie Eyerly-Webb
Stephanie Eyerly-Webb, Ph.D., grew up in Minnesota and attended university on the east coast where she received a B.S. in Biological Engineering from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University. Dr. Eyerly-Webb uses her training in advanced medical imaging to adapt new imaging methodologies into practical fetal diagnosis and care. Outside of medical research, Dr. Eyerly-Webb enjoys reading, traveling locally and abroad, and spending time outdoors with her two energetic kiddos and husband, who is a professor at the Carlson School of Business at the University of Minnesota.
Medical Director: Saul Snowise
Saul Snowise, MD, specializes in maternal and fetal medicine (high-risk pregnancy) and has professional interests in antenatal diagnosis and the management of fetal anomalies, the management of complicated twin gestations, fetal anemia and intrauterine transfusions, fetal surgery, chorionic villus sampling, and amniocentesis.