ECMO/Pediatric Surgery Clinical Research Fellowship

The combined ECMO/pediatric surgery clinical research fellowship offers training and instruction in health science and outcomes research. Time is divided between providing clinical care on the pediatric ECMO service and participating in clinical research projects within the Division of Pediatric Surgery.

The fellows are included in daily didactic conferences managed by the Division of Pediatric Surgery, and will have access to similar didactics in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). The clinical component of the fellowship involves primary responsibility for the care of neonatal and pediatric ECMO patients. The fellow will care for critically ill patients in the PICU and NICU and learn the technical and physiologic aspects of advanced technology available in extracorporeal circuits.

This fellowship is best suited for general surgery residents at the level of PGY-3 or greater who are interested in a career in pediatric surgery, and post-graduate surgeons seeking an additional year of research and experience in preparation for training in pediatric surgery.

For more information, please visit Goals and Expectations for ECMO/Pediatric Surgery Research Fellows.

Research Status and Opportunities

The academic faculty of the Emory Division of Pediatric Surgery are engaged in more than 50 active research projects. Since 2014, our faculty have averaged over 30 peer-reviewed publications per year and dozens of regional, national, and international podium presentations.

The variety of research projects in the division offer multiple opportunities for rewarding mentorship. Examples of our research activity include:

  • Dr. Matthew Santore and Dr. Amina Bhatia's trauma care-related projects, including an intramurally funded national survey of the use of ultrasound in trauma assessment. 

  • Dr. Megan Durham's collaborations with engineers from the Georgia Institute of Technology to develop a phone-based application to assist children in the Division's colorectal and bowel management clinic. 

  • Dr. Matthew Clifton's national leadership in assessing outcomes for newborns undergoing minimally invasive surgical intervention.

Opportunities exist to collaborate with undergraduates, medical students, students from the Rollins School of Public Health, and with our own Pediatric Biostatisitical Core. Monthly research meetings serve as a forum for learning basic skills related to health services research, for practicing presentations, and for interacting with local researchers.

Current and Past Fellows

Current Fellow:

Goeto Dantes, MD, 2022-2023. Dr. Dantes, a general surgery resident at Emory University, is focusing his research efforts on the high volume of ECMO care generated at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Graduated Fellows:

Amy Howk: 2021-2022

Sule Yalcin, MD: 2019-2020

Robert Vandewalle, MD: 2018-2019

Katherine Baxter, MD: 2016-2018

Heather Short, MD: 2015-2017

Research Fellowship Publications

"Difference in presentation and concomitant intra-abdominal injury with chance fracture in pediatric and adult populations." Hazen BJ, Keane OA, Vandewalle RJ, Grady Z, Wetzel M, Chern JJ, Santore MT. Am Surg. 2022 May 13:31348221102607. doi: 10.1177/00031348221102607.

"Impedance planimetry (EndoFLIP) assisted laparoscopic esophagomyotomy in pediatric population." Howk AA, Clifton MS, Garza JM, Durham MM. J Pediatr Surg. 2022 May 10:S0022-3468(22)00339-6.

"Does ERAS impact outcomes of laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy in adolescents?" Yalcin S, Walsh SM, Figueroa J, Heiss KF, Wulkan ML. Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2020 Dec;16(12):1920-1926.

"Biologic mesh underlay in thoracoscopic primary repair of congenital diaphragmatic hernia confers reduced recurrence in neonates: A preliminary report." Vandewalle RJ, Yalcin S, Clifton MS, Wulkan ML. J Laparoendosc Adv Surg Tech A. 2019 Oct;29(10):1212-1215. doi: 10.1089/lap.2019.0122. Epub 2019 Jun 20. PMID: 31219370.

"Provider education decreases opioid prescribing after pediatric umbilical hernia repair." Piper KN, Baxter KJ, Wetzel M, McCracken C, Travers C, Slater B, Cairo SB, Rothstein DH, Cina R, Dassinger M, Bonasso P, Lipskar A, Denning NL, Huang E, Shah SR, Cunningham ME, Gonzalez R, Kauffman JD, Heiss KF, Raval MV; Pediatric Surgical Research Collaborative - PedSRC. J Pediatr Surg. 2019 May 11. pii: S0022-3468(19)30344-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2019.04.035. [Epub ahead of print]

"Decreased opioid prescribing in children using an enhanced recovery protocol." Baxter KJ, Short HL, Wetzel M, Steinberg RS, Heiss KF, Raval MV. J Pediatr Surg. 2019 Jun;54(6):1104-1107. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2019.02.044. Epub 2019 Mar 1.

"Variability in perioperative evaluation and resource utilization in pediatric patients with suspected biliary dyskinesia: A multi-institutional retrospective cohort study." Cairo SB, Aranda A, Bartz-Kurycki M, Baxter KJ, Bonasso P, Dassinger M, Deans KJ, Dorey D, Emengo P, Fialkowski E, Gayer C, Gonzales B, Gusman N, Hawkins RB, Herzing K, Huang E, Islam S, Jancelewicz T, Landman MP, Lally KP, Lesher A, Minneci PC, Raval MV, Russell R, Shah S, Slater B, Schoel LJ, Peter SS, Sujka J, Waterhouse J, Rothstein DH; Pediatric Surgery Research Collaborative (PedSRC). J Pediatr Surg. 2019 Jun;54(6):1118-1122. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2019.02.049. Epub 2019 Mar 2.

"Implementing a surgeon-reported categorization of pediatric appendicitis severity." Baxter KJ, Short HL, Travers CD, Heiss KF, Raval MV. Pediatr Surg Int. 2018 Dec;34(12):1281-1286. doi: 10.1007/s00383-018-4364-8. Epub 2018 Oct 13.

"Parent reported long-term quality of life outcomes in children after congenital diaphragmatic hernia repair." Morsberger JL, Short HL, Baxter KJ, Travers C, Clifton MS, Durham MM, Raval MV. J Pediatr Surg. 2019 Apr;54(4):645-650. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2018.06.009. Epub 2018 Jun 18.

"Primary versus secondary anastomosis in intestinal atresia." Hillyer MM, Baxter KJ, Clifton MS, Gillespie SE, Bryan LN, Travers CD, Raval MV. J Pediatr Surg. 2019 Mar;54(3):417-422. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2018.05.003. Epub 2018 May 15.

"Effectiveness of gabapentin as a postoperative analgesic in children undergoing appendectomy." Baxter KJ, Hafling J, Sterner J, Patel AU, Giannopoulos H, Heiss KF, Raval MV. Pediatr Surg Int. 2018 Jul;34(7):769-774. doi: 10.1007/s00383-018-4274-9. Epub 2018 May 4.

"Short-term and family-reported long-term outcomes of simple versus complicated gastroschisis." Arnold HE, Baxter KJ, Short HL, Travers C, Bhatia A, Durham MM, Raval MV. J Surg Res. 2018 Apr;224:79-88. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2017.11.054. Epub 2017 Dec 22.

"Ramifications of the Children's Surgery Verification Program for patients and hospitals." Baxter KJ, Gale BF, Travers CD, Heiss KF, Raval MV. J Am Coll Surg. 2018 May;226(5):917-924.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2018.02.002. Epub 2018 Feb 17.

"Structural airway abnormalities contribute to dysphagia in children with esophageal atresia and tracheoesophageal fistula." Baxter KJ, Baxter LM, Landry AM, Wulkan ML, Bhatia AM. J Pediatr Surg. 2018 Sep;53(9):1655-1659. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2017.12.025. Epub 2018 Jan 31.

"Association of health care utilization with rates of perforated appendicitis in children 18 years or younger." Baxter KJ, Nguyen HTMH, Wulkan ML, Raval MV. JAMA Surg. 2018 Jun 1;153(6):544-550. doi: 10.1001/jamasurg.2017.5316.

Inquiries and Contact

Interested applicants should contact:

Matthew Clifton, MD

Program Director, Pediatric Surgery Residency & Clinical Research Fellowship, Division of Pediatric Surgery, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine