Neonatal program overview

Children’s Minnesota neonatology program encompasses the largest high-risk neonatal care program in the Upper Midwest. Our fetal intervention and ECMO programs are also nationally recognized for exceptional clinical outcomes. We are committed to consistent care across the community; limiting unnecessary variation; identifying and spreading best practice; and rapidly addressing opportunities for improvement.

Some additional information on our program:

  • 1,900+ newborns cared for annually by Children’s neonatal program.
  • 500+ neonatal care experts including neonatologists, neonatal nurse practitioners, nurses, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, pharmacists, social workers and music therapists.
  • 500+ babies transported annually by the Neonatal Transport Team. Babies are transported by helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, and specialized critical care ground transportation with in-route capability for full ventilatory and hemodynamic support, body cooling and ECMO.
  • Three Mother Baby Centers that combine Allina Health’s fetal and maternal services with Children’s neonatal and pediatric specialty care.
  • 24/7 NICU coverage by neonatologists and neonatal nurse practitioners.
  • 24/7 Neonatal Virtual Care for regional community hospitals, a technology that allows critical audio/video consultations during stabilization of newborns.

Neonatal intensive care settings

Minneapolis

  • Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) | 44 beds
  • Level II Special Care Nursery (SCN) | 33 beds
  • Infant Care Center (ICC) | 41 beds

St. Paul

  • Level III NICU | 50 beds
  • Level II SCN | 12 beds

Coon Rapids

  • Level II SCN (Mercy Hospital) | 16 beds

Meet the physician leadership team

The neonatal program at Children’s Minnesota is committed to putting kids first. This exceptional care team includes a broad array of pediatric services for families and professionals, including clinical specialists; care coordinators; neonatal nurse practitioners; nurses; respiratory therapists; child life specialists; spiritual counselors; social workers; physical, occupational and music therapists; dietitians and more. The program also includes wrap-around care through The Mother Baby Center, a collaboration between Allina Health and Children’s Minnesota. This comprehensive support system is designed to deliver consistent, high-quality care; limit unnecessary variation; identify, lead and maintain best practice; and rapidly address opportunities for improvement for babies and their families.

Thomas George, MD, FAAP; system medical director of neonatology at Children’s MinnesotaThomas George, MD, is the system medical director of neonatology and medical director of the Minneapolis level IV NICU at Children’s Minnesota. Previously, Dr. George held the position of director of clinical services for the division of neonatology at the University of Minnesota, medical director of the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, Fairview Southdale and Ridges Hospitals, and associate director of the Pediatric Residency Program. He earned his MD degree at Indiana University and completed his pediatric residency and neonatal-perinatal fellowship at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. Dr. George has been in practice for more than 20 years and has extensive experience in caring for patients with cardiac and congenital anomalies. His clinical research interests have included the role of inhaled nitric oxide in premature infants; he also has interests in educational research, faculty development and determining trainee competency.

Mark Bergeron, MD, MPH; Minneapolis medical director of neonatology and our physician lead for neonatal tele-health at Children’s MinnesotaMark Bergeron, MD, MPH, is the medical director of Special Care Nursery (at Children’s Minneapolis campus and Mercy), director of telehealth and outreach and associate director of Children’s Minneapolis level IV NICU. Dr. Bergeron attended medical school at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. He completed his pediatrics residency at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital at The Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, followed by a neonatal-perinatal medicine fellowship at the University of Minnesota. He holds a master’s degree in Public Health (Maternal and Child Health) from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Bergeron has been in practice for more than 15 years. His interests are public health policy and advocacy for newborn infants and hospital-based quality improvement initiatives to drive excellent outcomes for preterm infants. Dr. Bergeron enjoys participating in the professional development of neonatal-perinatal medicine fellows, pediatrics and family medicine residents, neonatal nurse practitioner students and medical students. He is an assistant professor of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School and is also an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. In his free time, he enjoys outdoor sports and activities with his wife and four daughters.

Jill Therien, MD; Children's MN Medical DirectorJill Marie Therien, MD, is the St. Paul site medical director for neonatology at Children’s Minnesota. Dr. Therien attended medical school at the University of Minnesota Medical School and also completed her residency and fellowship at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. She has been in practice for more than 15 years. Her clinical interests are in quality improvement and clinical research, particularly in extremely low birthweight infants during the first month of life. Dr. Therien is also an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota and is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and Section on Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. Outside of medicine, Dr. Therien spends her time playing tennis, enjoying the outdoors, traveling, spending time with her family, and wishing she were spending more time traveling with her family!

Andrea Lampland, MD; Children's MN Medical DirectorAndrea Lampland, MD, is the medical director of all level II nurseries covered by Children’s Minnesota and the lead physician serving the Midwest Fetal Care Center. After attending medical school at the University of Minnesota, she completed her pediatric residency training at Lurie Children’s Hospital and the University of Minnesota. She completed a neonatal-perinatal fellowship at the University of Minnesota. She is an assistant professor of pediatrics within the University of Minnesota, division of neonatology. Dr. Lampland has been in practice for more than 15 years. Her areas of interest include clinical and laboratory research of neonatal respiratory support strategies, the care of extremely preterm infants, neonatal transport and medical education. Dr. Lampland has an extensive research background publishing in multiple peer-reviewed journals and continues to direct the research laboratory and neonatal research department. During her free time, she keeps busy by spending time with her husband and three sons, gardening and tending a small flock of chickens.

Thomas Pokora, MD, is the medical director of the Infant Care Center at Children’s Minnesota.

Thomas Pokora, MD, is the medical director of the Infant Care Center at Children’s Minnesota. Dr. Pokora received his Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan Technological University and his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Wisconsin. He completed his residency at the University of Minnesota Medical School and then completed a neonatal – perinatal fellowship at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Dr. Pokora’s clinical interests include neonatal abstinence syndrome, multiples and education.

With more than 65 years combined experience practicing neonatal medicine, the Children’s Minnesota neonatal leadership team is well-known to pediatricians, pediatric medical and surgical sub-specialists, obstetricians and maternal-fetal medicine physicians in the Twin Cities.

CHILDREN’S PHYSICIAN ACCESS

For immediate access to a Children’s Minnesota neonatologist

Please call our Children’s Physician Access line and ask for the neonatologist at 1-866-755-2121 available 24/7 for referral, consult, admission and transport assistance.

Printable neonatal program materials:

Meet the physician team

As Children’s Minnesota moves to a single, integrated neonatology team across both campuses, we are pleased to continue our work with experienced and highly skilled neonatologists to ensure we are continuing to provide 24/7/365 high-quality, family-centered care. Our neonatologists support the spectrum of care for neonates from the most critical patient to care at metro area Level II sites.

Elizabeth Zorn, MD

Elizabeth Petri Zorn, MD

  • University of Minnesota Medical School

Dr. Zorn’s clinical interests include Neurodevelopmental outcomes, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and NICU follow-up.

Erin Plummer, MD

Erin Plummer, MD

  • University of Minnesota Medical School

Dr. Plummer’s research interests include growth, body composition and neurodevelopmental outcomes in children requiring neonatal surgery.

Heidi Kamrath, DO
  • University of Minnesota Medical School

Dr. Kamrath’s clinical interests include management of extreme prematurity, the NICU follow-up and quality improvement. She is married with two children.

Cristina Miller, MD
  • Wake Forest School of Medicine
Dr. Miller will have oversight of standardizing Children’s NICU Follow-Up Clinic on both campuses and reviewing how the service can be further enhanced to support the babies, families and their primary care providers. She specializes in the care of premature neonates and critically ill infants. Her area of clinical research interest is the long term neurodevelopmental outcome of preterm infants. Dr. Miller is involved in the education of neonatal fellows, pediatrics residents, family practice residents and medical students. She lives in St. Paul with her husband and three children.
Katherine Braski, MD

Katherine Braski, MD

  • University of Utah School of Medicine

Dr. Braski comes to Children’s from the University of Utah Medical Center. Her clinical interests clinical interests include prevention and treatment of feeding difficulties and necrotizing enterocolitis in premature infants; and research in Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) in the neonatal population.

Ann Downey, MD

Ann Downey, MD, MSc

  • University of Colorado, School of Medicine

Dr. Downey joins Children’s as the lead for NICU quality improvement. She will also represent the NICU to the PIPSQKS surgical quality collaborative. Dr. Downey is an experienced neonatologist with more than four years of experience in a Level 4 NICU and a masters degree in clinical investigation.

Evangelia Gravari, MD; Children's MN Neonatology

Evangelia Gravari, MD

  • University of Louisville Medical School

Dr. Gravari has a special interest in ECMO and neonatal transport.

Kiram Dwarakanathi, MD

Kiran Dwarakanath, MD

  • Westchester Medical Center

Dr. Dwarakanath’s clinical interests include quality improvement and education.

Pankaj Nagaraj, MD

Pankaj Nagaraj, MD

  • Georgetown University

Dr. Nagaraj’s clinical interests include bubble CPAP,ventilation strategies for the micro preemie and post discharge neurodevelopmental assessments. He has been in practice for more than eight years and his philosophy in life is to follow the concept of “Meraki,” which means putting something of yourself into doing what you love. Outside of work, Dr. Nagaraj enjoys spending time with his kids, playing and watching cricket and soccer. His favorite television show is The Office and if he wasn’t a physician, he would have been a character on the show!

Eric Culp, DO

Eric Culp, MD

  • Loyola University

Dr. Culp is passionate about medical student and resident education and functions as the neonatology residency liaison at Advocate Christ Hospital. He is an Adjunct Professor in Pediatrics at Midwestern University and lectures for the Clinical Medicine course and the Pediatric clerkship. He resides in Northwest Indiana with his wife and four kids. Clinically his interests are less invasive ventilation strategies and antibiotic stewardship. Outside of driving his kids everywhere, Dr. Culp likes to play sports, including golf and basketball.

Donna Hamburg, MD

Donna Hamburg, MD

  • Baylor College of Medicine
Jennifer Berger, DO

Jennifer Berger, DO

  • University of Iowa
Dr. Berger’s clinical interests include management of extremely premature infants, and necrotizing enterocolitis global health.

The largest high-risk neonatal care program in the upper Midwest.

Diagnostic, medical and surgical services provided:

  • Cardiovascular evaluation and treatment
  • Cardiac surgery for complex cardiac anomalies and ECMO (Mpls only)
  • Developmental assessment and therapy
  • Diagnostic testing
    – Apnea testing
    – At-home apnea monitoring
    – Hearing screenings
    – Infant pulmonary function testing
    – Opthalmologic and retinal services, including retinopathy screening
  • Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO)
  • Fetal services
  • Dedicated pediatric surgical specialties
  • High-risk delivery support
  • Infant massage and music therapy
  • Mild systemic hypothermia (MSH) for infants with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
  • Consultative support for high-risk perinatal patients
  • Neonatal follow-up clinic
  • Neurologic monitoring and care
  • Neuro-intensive care program
  • Nutritional consultation and care
  • Pediatric anesthesia
  • Respiratory support
    – Inhaled nitric oxide therapy
    – Noninvasive, conventional and high-frequency ventilation
  • Specialized care and follow up of newborns with neonatal abstinence syndrome

Clinical resources

  • Speaker’s Bureau presentations (1–2 hour didactic)
  • Skill presentations and simulation training
  • Neonatal case review presentations
  • NRP and STABLE Program
  • Policy and guideline sharing
  • Patient care consultation
  • Nursery assessments