The UAB Department of Pediatrics welcomed four new faculty members during the month of September. Please join us in making them feel at home! 

Amy Myers CaJacob, M.D., Assistant Professor in Pediatric Allergy and Immunology

Mike Leonis, M.D., Ph.D., Professor in Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

Erika Mendoza, M.D., Assistant Professor in Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care

Megan Yanik, M.D., MSPH, Assistant Professor in Pediatric Nephrology

Amy Myers CaJacob, M.D., Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, earned her Medical Degree from University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH. Dr. CaJacob completed an Internal Medicine Residency and Allergy and Immunology Fellowship at UAB and Children’s of Alabama. She has served as a clinical instructor at various institutions including UAB’s Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care. Dr. CaJacob will serve as the Associate Program Director of the Pediatric Allergy and Immunology Fellowship program. Her research interests include: asthma, food allergy, and eosinophilic gastroenteropathies.


Mike Leonis, M.D., Ph.D., Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition earned his Medical Degree and Doctorate of Philosophy from Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO. He completed his Pediatric Residency at Primary Children’s Hospital Medical Center at the University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT and his Fellowship in Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH. Most recently, Dr. Leonis was an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine while also serving as Director of Training and Education and Director of the Gastroenterology Fellowship Training Program in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. His clinical interests include all areas of Pediatric Hepatology and Pediatric Liver Transplantation and he has participated in NIH-sponsored multicenter clinical research projects in pediatric acute liver failure over the last decade. Dr. Leonis joins UAB Pediatrics and Children's as the Bradford Dean Dixon Endowed Professor in Pediatric Hepatology. In addition, Dr. Leonis will serve as the Medical Director of the Pediatric Liver Care Center and the Medical Director of Pediatric Liver Transplantation.


Erika Mendoza, M.D., Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care, earned her Medical Degree from Universidad Central de Venezuela, Escuela Jose Maria Vargas, Caracas, Venezuela. She completed her Pediatric Residency at Albert Einstein Medical Center/St Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Philadelphia, PA and Pediatric Critical Care Fellowship at Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ and at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center/Children’s Hospital of Orange County, Torrance, CA. Dr. Mendoza completed her Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Fellowship at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Little Rock, AR. Prior to her fellowship, Dr. Mendoza served as a Pediatric Hospitalist at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital, Yakima, WA.


Megan Yanik, M.D., MSPH, Pediatric Nephrology, earned her Medical Degree from the Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus, OH. Dr. Yanik completed her Pediatric Residency and Pediatric Nephrology Fellowship at UAB Department of Pediatrics and Children’s of Alabama. She recently finished her master’s degree in Public Health in Clinical and Translational Research with a concentration in biostatistics at UAB. Her clinical and research interests include: immunosuppressant medications and outcomes in pediatric kidney transplant recipients.

Wayne Liang, M.D., Pediatric Hematology and Oncology and Member of the UAB Informatics Institute, received an appointment as an Associate Scientist in the Experimental Therapeutics Program of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center effective Sept. 21, 2017. 

Congratulations to Dr. Liang on joining the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center!
To increase the awareness about childhood cancer and help raise money for cure, two stories of childhood cancer survivors who were Children's of Alabama patients were featured on WIAT CBS 42 on Sept. 21 as part of 'Committed to a Cure' broadcast. View the broadcast here at 5:07:37.                                                   

The first story features a love story between Hannah Acton andLogan Whitehead who met at Children's and are both childhood cancer survivors. View their story here at 5:10:05.  

The second story features 14-year-old Payton Ray who was diagnosed with leukemia and is now cured after a bone marrow transplant because of a donor who is a complete stranger to Payton's family. View his story here at 06:06:34.
Michelle Kong, M.D., Pediatric Critical Care, is among the list of 30 strong women in Alabama making differences in their communities. This year, This is Alabama presents the third annual Women Who Shape the State awards, which are listed on Dr. Kong's recognition is due to being the co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of KultureCity, which is changing the state and beyond for the betterment of members of the special needs community. 

Read the story on 
Gregory Friedman, M.D., Pediatric Hematology & Oncology, was invited to attend and speak at the WhatIFF Symposium for Pediatric Brain Tumor Research on Sept. 15-16 in Atlanta, GA. This first ever symposium for pediatric brain tumor research gathered the top clinicians and researchers in the field to present their ideas on how to put an end to brain tumors. Dr. Friedman's talk titled, "Immunovirotherapy to Target Pediatric Brain Tumors” discussed the ongoing oncolytic HSV trial at Children's of Alabama and plans to develop innovative combination approaches to maximize virus killing of cancer cells and the development of an anti-tumor immune response.
Kristen Waddell, MSN, CPNP-AC, CRNP, CCRN, recently received a Young Alumni Merit Award from the UAB School of Nursing Alumni Association at their Alumni Awards Night on Sept. 14, 2017. Kristen has worked as a RN in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Children's for six years and a PICU PNP for four years. She is also co-developer and the program coordinator for the Children's of Alabama Community Healthcare Education Simulation (COACHES) program.
Hyundai Hope On Wheels presented Children's of Alabama with a $250,000 Hyundai Scholar Hope Grant on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017 in honor of National Childhood Cancer Awareness month. The grant funds will support the research of principal investigator Julie Wolfson, M.D., Pediatric Hematology & Oncology. Children's of Alabama patients battling cancer participated in the program’s signature Handprint Ceremony, in which they dipped their hands in paint and placed their handprints on a white 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe and Dr. Wolfson's white coat. 
To view photos, click here.
Winners of the 2017 Argus Awards were announced at the ceremony held Friday, Sept. 8. The awards are given each year by medical students to honor their professors and course directors for excellence in medical education. Click here to view this year's winners. Nominees from Pediatrics includes: Hussein Abdul-Latif, M.D., Pediatric Endocrinology, Robb Romp, M.D., Pediatric Cardiology, William Sasser, M.D., Pediatric Critical Care, and Kim Whelan, M.D., Pediatric Hematology & Oncology. To view all nominees, click here
Stephenie B. Wallace, M.D., FAAP, Adolescent Medicine, has been selected to serve as Vice President aka President Elect for the Southeast Regional Chapter of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM). The Southeast Regional Chapter includes members from six states: Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida. 

More information
The UAB Healthcare Leadership Academy (HLA) class roster for 2017-2018 was recently announced. Joseph Chewning, M.D., Pediatric Hematology & Oncology, is among the incoming members. The purpose of the HLA is to establish a cohesive and comprehensive program that offers training opportunities and helps develop essential skills for leaders in the 21st century academic health center. Click here to learn more. The UAB HLA is celebrating the 10th anniversary of this program!