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Current Fellows

3rd Years

42505-Damron, Christopher

Christopher L. Damron, MD

PGY 6

Undergraduate School: Marshall University
Medical School: The Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University
Residency: Marshall University
Hobbies: I enjoy spending time with my wife and daughter and visiting the zoo, Children’s Museum, and Newfields. I also enjoy gardening, NBA basketball, and music.
Research/QI Interests: My research is focused on how maternal obesity affects the transmission of asthma to offspring.

Why NICU? 
I enjoy the complex nature of our patients and the opportunity to treat them and their families as part of a multidisciplinary team.

Why IU/Riley? 
More than anywhere else I visited, Riley felt like a familial, collegial atmosphere while at the same time having a high volume of complex and critically ill patients. Plus, Indianapolis itself had all the opportunities and amenities my family was looking for without feeling too sprawling.

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42506-O'Neill, Samantha

Samantha O'Neill, MD

PGY 6

Undergraduate School: Case Western Reserve University
Medical School: University of Toledo College of Medicine
Residency: Akron Children’s Hospital
Hobbies/Interests: I grew up in Ohio so am an avid Cleveland sports fan—go Tribe! I love to try new dessert recipes, read and spend time shopping. I’ve enjoyed living in Indy so far and have enjoyed checking out all of the various new places to hike.
Research/QI Interests: My academic interests include quality improvement and improving the care for neonates undergoing surgical procedures. I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with the Children’s Hospital Neonatal Consortium on evaluating outcomes for neonates with meconium aspiration syndrome who require management with Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO). Another of my interests is in neonatal nutrition so I’m also evaluating nutritional outcomes of neonates at Riley who are managed with ECMO. My quality improvement project is improving rates of euthermia for neonates undergoing surgical procedures in the NICU.

Why NICU? 
To me, the neonatal intensive care unit is the most unique unit in the hospital. It is the one place that offers the opportunity to provide acute interventions, including procedures, to a critically ill neonate, along with the chance to participate in the care of that neonate and family across time. The spectrum of pathology and large volume of patients that level IV NICUs experience provides near continuous opportunities to learn and a wide variety of exposure to other subspecialties. I also love that the medicine performed in the NICU is purely based on physiology. There is nothing more exciting than being able to manage a neonate with a complex cardiac defect when you can see physiology happening literally right in front of you with each step in the decision making process.

Why IU/Riley? 
There were two things that stood out to me most about my interview day at Riley: the people and the wide range of pathology. We had the opportunity to listen in to the division’s Monday morning conference consisting of the fellows presenting their admissions from the weekend. I loved hearing not only about the various complex and critically ill cases presented so eloquently by the fellows but being able to see how the neonatologists interacted with the fellows. They asked questions in such a way that you knew they were designed to impart wisdom accrued over years to the learners in the room; I knew then that I wanted to be a part of that and to learn from these individuals. Since being here, I have appreciated the countless lessons learning during this weekly conference. Another aspect that I have come to appreciate in my time at Riley is the opportunity to pursue my academic interests; I managed a patient on ECMO early on in fellowship and one question that repeatedly came up was on nutritional management while on circuit. Finding little research on this topic sparked the inspiration for one of my research projects and being at Riley I was able to find the mentoring and support to make this project happen.

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42602-Patel, Shama

Shama Y. Patel, MD

PGY 6

Undergraduate School: University of Illinois at Chicago
Medical School: University of Illinois at Chicago
Residency: Advocate Children’s Hospital – Oak Lawn
Hobbies: Cooking, Traveling and DIY Projects
Research/QI Interests: My scholarly interest is in Clinical Informatics.  My project focuses specifically on clinical documentation improvement and as an extension of that improving provider efficiency and satisfaction with EMR implementations. 

Why NICU? 
As far back as I can remember I have wanted to be a neonatologist.  I think it is the type of medicine that requires such a keen understanding of basic science as it applies to our unique patients and at the same time requires a practice that is equal parts of the art and science of medicine.

Why IU/Riley? 
The best way to gain mastery of a topic is by experience and I knew that by choosing IU/Riley I would have an opportunity to learn the full spectrum of neonatal care.  The collaborative approach and the multi-disciplinary approach to taking care of the patients is another thing that makes Riley a great place to learn.

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2nd Years

44445-Fairman, Korre

Korre L. Fairman, DO

PGY 6

Undergraduate School: Saint Edward’s University (Austin, TX)
Medical School: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (Bradenton, FL)
Residency: Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine- Dayton Children’s Hospital
Hobbies/Interest: Outside of work I love staying active with soccer, sand volleyball, running and my most recent endeavor of Orange Theory Fitness. My travels usually take me back home to visit my family in Texas and Florida, but I would eventually like to make my way around to explore the national parks. There is much more international travel still on the bucket list as well. If I could take on a part time job, it would certainly been interior design!
Research/QI Interests: My scholarly interests include the cytogenetics and development of congenital heart disease. I also have an evolving interest in delivery room and newborn resuscitation and plan to continue fostering this with involvement at our simulation center.

Why NICU?
I developed an everlasting appreciation for the NICU during my training due to its unique blend of acute critical care stabilization and long-term management of complex medical issues. Providing support to the families of the babies we care for is the most rewarding and fulfilling role. NICU is a dynamic field that incorporates all the things that I love: teaching, researching, learning, being involved in procedures and helping families during a some of their most difficult days.

Why IU/Riley?
Riley is an institution dedicated to the professional development of their fellows, and provides the educational foundation and mentorship needed to support the growth of all learners. Riley NICU stood apart from the rest based on the quality of individuals involved with the program- the other fellows, program leadership and the rest of the staff in the department. There is a dedicated focus on education, and it is provided in an encouraging and learner-friendly environment. Indianapolis is also an incredible city and offers the perfect work/life balance!

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19645-Lajiness, Jacquelyn

Jacquelyn D. Lajiness, MD

PGY 5

Undergraduate School: Hope College
Medical School: Indiana University
Residency: Indiana University
Hobbies: I am married and have two kids. We enjoy getting outside as much as possible: playing soccer in the backyard, going bike riding, and taking our dog on walks. I also enjoy rock climbing and the occasional yoga class when I get the chance.
Research/QI Interests: My research looks at maternal and in utero factors which affect allergic predisposition in offspring. My project specifically focuses on how the lipids that a mom eats or the lipids that her body makes when she is exposed to something she is allergic to affect her baby. I use mouse models to investigate the mechanisms of how the immune cells (especially dendritic cells) are affected by maternal lipids while in utero and how this leads to allergic predisposition in offspring.

Why NICU?
I’ve always been fascinated by embryology and the physiology at work in the neonatal population. The transition from fetal to neonatal life is complex, and it is such an honor to take care of our patients and their families at this critical time. For me, the NICU has always been a great balance of the critical care involved in stabilization, the longer term considerations such as optimizing nutrition and growth, and the opportunity for building relationships and counseling families.

Why IU/Riley?
At every stage of training I’ve interviewed around the country and have chosen to stay at Riley because of the people. Don’t get me wrong, the training here is fantastic! I love that I am involved in top-notch research and interact with amazing physician scientists on a daily basis, and, from a clinical aspect, you see pretty much everything. But the thing that set Riley apart from other prominent academic institutions is the atmosphere created by people who truly love the work they do. From the faculty to my co-fellows to the support staff, Riley feels like home.

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44446-Severyn, Nicholas

Nicholas T. Severyn, DO

PGY 5

Undergraduate School: Kenyon College
Medical School: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine-Bradenton
Residency: University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Hobbies: My wife and I enjoy taking our pup to all the great outdoor breweries/restaurants in the area with our friends. When I’m not out with them you can find me running on the Monon. On Sundays in the Fall/Winter you can find me waving my Terrible Towel on my couch while watching the Steelers.
Research/QI Interests: I am investigating the role of the alpha estrogen receptor in lung adaptation induced by hypoxia in rats to help elucidate pathways that could be targeted to promote lung growth.

Why NICU?
The combination of both acuity and continuity: there is no other field in medicine where you take care of patients during their most critically ill periods and continue to care for them up to their point of discharge home. It is also extremely rewarding to help guide the families of these infants through the roller-coaster ride that is a stay in any NICU.

Why IU/Riley?
Riley is able to offer all the benefits of a large, academic level IV NICU with ECMO but at the same time the nurses, RTs, APPs, and neonatology faculty make if feel like a much smaller, more intimate learning environment. The entire neonatology division, and in particular the fellowship leadership, are completely invested in ensuring the fellows receive adequate clinical exposure/experience as well as pursue their scholarly interests. It was also a nice bonus to get closer to both my family (Pittsburgh) and my wife’s (Cincinnati) after our sojourn in the South for medical school and residency.

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1st Years

50506-Creed, Priya

Priya V. Creed, MD

PGY 4

Undergraduate School: Loyola University Chicago
Medical School: Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University Chicago 
Residency: Rush University 
Hobbies: I love travelling and exploring new cultures/cuisines. Some of my favorite vacation spots are in Central/South America. I enjoy cooking and find it to be quite therapeutic. I will forever strive to be as good of a cook as my mother. During downtime, I like to binge crime TV and podcasts. There’s nothing like a good whodunit!
Research/QI Interests: I am investigating the role of the alpha estrogen receptor in lung adaptation induced by hypoxia in rats to help elucidate pathways that could be targeted to promote lung growth.

Why NICU?
I love being able to treat the whole baby rather than focusing on one organ. Also, I think it is very rewarding to be able to take care of the patient from birth, which may have included some seemingly endless nights, to discharge. 

Why IU/Riley?
I know it sounds cheesy, but it was the “feeling” after my interview day. I could genuinely feel a sense of family and comradery. I wanted to pick a place that was supportive yet had a well-rounded training experience.

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51807-Groden, Catherine

Catherine M. Groden, MD

PGY 4

Undergraduate School: University of Notre Dame
Medical School: Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine
Residency: Medical College of Wisconsin 
Hobbies: I read more (fun) books than most people would consider normal, and I also sometimes write things. In pre-pandemic times I also liked going to sporting events.
Research/QI Interests: Palliative care/ethics 

Why NICU?
Hospital-based + continuity + wide range of acuity + deliveries + best patient population!

Why IU/Riley?
It sounds like a cliché but it just felt right on interview day. I wanted a large program where I would take care of a lot of patients with a variety of pathology, and I also liked the dedicated ethics curriculum for fellows. But at the end of the day, I felt like I clicked with the people here and that was very important.

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38185-Welch, Blair

Blair N. Welch, MD

PGY 4

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