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Neonatology Fellowship Program

Dear Prospective Fellow,

Welcome to the Division of Neonatology at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, an affiliate of Westchester Medical Center and New York Medical College.  Our division takes great pride in the activities and successes of our fellow trainees.

Our Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship Program is one if the state’s largest – with 4-5 fellowship spots per year.   Clinical training is primarily based at the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unity (NICU), which averages 50 patients per day with one of the highest rates of acuity (based on Case Mix Index) in the state.  We are a New York State Designated Regional Perinatal Center which oversees over 23,000 births in a region spanning from the Bronx through the Lower Hudson Valley and terminating just south of Albany, NY. 

Other unique features of our clinical program include:

  • Use of every mode of mechanical ventilation, including neutrally-assisted ventilation and Bronchotron®
  • A fully-integrated NICU-specific electronic medical record designed by a neonatologist (Crib Notes™)
  • On-site donor milk bank to ensure all Very Low Birth Weight (VLBW) Infants (< 1,500 grams) receive human milk
  • A census with the largest annual number of VLBW infants in the state

Our research programs draws upon the expertise of over 2 dozen neonatal faculty members located at seven different clinical sites.  We have robust clinical, public health and basic science research programs which focus on Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS), Transfusion Related Gut Injury, Immunization, Parental Smoking and Electronic Cigarette Use, Long Term Follow-up, Stem Cell Biology and Microbiome research.  Our website features a list of recent abstracts and publications. 

The ideal fellowship candidate is a self-motivated learner who is eager to take advantage of all the academic and clinical opportunities available to him/her.  We seek active learners who supplement their clinical exposure and didactic teaching by reading the medical literature and textbooks.  Our program is rigorous, but allows neonatologists to be successful within any career path they choose.  Approximately 75% of our graduates remain in academic medicine. 

Explore all that our division offers future neonatologists, and please reach out to our program directly if you have any questions.  We look forward to your application and to meeting you.


Edmund F. La Gamma, MD
Chief, Professor of Pediatrics, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Director, Fellowship Program

The Division of Newborn Medicine at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital offers a fully accredited three-year fellowship in neonatal-perinatal medicine. Aimed at training academically oriented neonatologists, the fellowship is designed for those who are expert at managing a wide array of clinical conditions and aspire to be future leaders in the field of neonatology.

Our Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (RNICU) admits approximately 800 high-risk patients per year, giving our fellows exposure to a large volume of clinical cases including infants with rare surgical conditions, genetic disorders, and prematurity. As the regional perinatal center for the Hudson Valley, an area that accounts for over 23,000 births annually, our RNICU is the only unit in the region offering the following advanced care services:

• Head cooling for patients with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
• All facets of mechanical ventilation including:
• high frequency jet ventilation
• oscillation
• volume/pressure controlled ventilation
• patient triggered ventilation
• BronchotronTM
• Bipap/Sipap
• Helicopter/ ground transport
• And a host of other cutting-edge technologies.

Training at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital will prepare you for every aspect of a clinical or academic career in neonatology. Since 1999, our Neonatal-Perinatal Board passage rate has been 96%, or 45 out of 46 trainees. The fellowship participates in the national matching program for neonatology (ACGME PROGRAM ID# 3293521077) and accepts 4 to 5 fellows per academic year, at 13 total, making it among the largest in the nation. Fellowship spots are competitive. The ideal applicant has excelled in his/her residency, participated in medical research resulting in either publications or presentations at national meetings, and is a highly motivated, independent learner. Applications from J-1 and H1-B Visa holders are considered.

The first year is more heavily weighted toward clinical experience in the NICU. There are three clinical teams that provide ample learning opportunities. The RED TEAM includes residents and a fellow, and is supervised by a senior attending physician. The GREEN TEAM is led by a senior attending physician and is assisted by a neonatal fellow and nurse practitioners. The GOLD TEAM focuses on convalescent care and transition to home and is primarily fellow-driven, with an attending physician available for rounding and consultation.

First Year

We provide a thorough two-month orientation lecture series at the onset of the first year to properly acquaint incoming fellows with the practical tools and specialty knowledge they will need to feel comfortable and confident as they begin the next phase of their career as a NICU Fellow. Fellows spend six months on service in the NICU as part of a team caring for 20 to 25 patients on these respective teams. Fellows also rotate through the Level I service at Phelps Hospital to provide a contrast in community hospital neonatal medicine along with our attending staff. Fellows provide a month of cross coverage for post-call fellows, during which they also gain exposure to the outpatient High-Risk Infant Developmental Clinic. The remainder of the year is devoted to research.


Below is a schematic diagram of the fellowship:

Second Year

The fellowship’s second year increases the time spent in research to six months, with three NICU service months, one month at Phelps Hospital and another in cross coverage. Fellows participate in all aspects of the NICU’s program to improve quality in healthcare delivery.  

Third Year

The third year builds upon skills and experience learned in the first two years of fellowship and includes two months of clinical service, seven months of research, a month at Phelps Hospital and a final month of cross coverage.  

As a university-based academic medical center, the division’s senior physicians have many basic science and clinical research interests. Basic science research focuses on single nucleotide polymorphisms, stem cell biology, hypoglycemia-associated autonomic failure, the pathogenesis of intraventricular hemorrhage, nutrition and population health. Fellows have also collaborated with post-doctoral students, medical students, master’s students and technicians in the laboratory.

Clinical research programs include participation in several national multicenter trials, and studies related to data obtained at the Regional Perinatal Center Database. Highly motivated fellows may design a specific research project based on their interests in conjunction with an appropriate faculty mentor.

Research Responsibilities

The fellowship strictly adheres to the ACGME guidelines for participation in fellowship scholarly activity. Within six months of beginning fellowship, fellows are expected to identify a mentor for scholarly activity and a potential research subject area and to design a project over the next six months. Fellows are responsible to their personal Scholarly Oversight Committee (SOC) to report on research progress, at least every six months throughout the three-year fellowship period. Fellows are encouraged to submit their work for peer-reviewed national meetings, and a draft of a scholarly manuscript is mandated by the end of fellowship. Past Fellows have received Travel Awards to attend the Eastern Society for Pediatric Research and the Pediatric Academic Societies National Meetings.


Throughout their three years, fellows participate in different conferences aimed at increasing their ability to manage neonatal cases, effectively read and interpret the medical literature, improve their skills at understanding controversial topics in neonatal care, and navigate ethical issues in neonatology. At these conferences fellows present a talk mentored by an attending physician. Weekly physiology-based case conferences cover topics in respiratory and cardiac physiology as well as genetics, endocrinology, infectious disease, and many other topics. These lectures serve to increase the trainees’ fund of knowledge and also provide assistance for passing the board examination. Fellows also attend conferences that improve their knowledge of statistics, and obtain practical exposure to the administrative aspects of neonatal care in monthly joint practice and quality assurance conferences. A joint perinatal medicine conference with Obstetrics occurs weekly.

Academic Schedule for Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellows

Clinical Schedule for Inpatient Rotations

Neonatal Fellows 2017-2018

Westchester Medical Center

Edmund F. La Gamma, MD
Chief, Professor of Pediatrics, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Director, Fellowship Program

Lance A. Parton, MD
Professor of Pediatrics 
Associate Chief RNICU
Director, Pulmonary Medicine Section

Gad Alpan, MD, MBA
Clinical Professor of Pediatrics
NNP/PA Team Coordinator

Sergio G. Golombek, MD, MPH
Professor of Pediatrics
Joint Faculty, School of Public Health
Nitric Oxide Coordinator

Heather L. Brumberg, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Joint Faculty, School of Public Health
Director, Neonatal Public Health Programs

Praveen Ballabh, MD
Professor of Pediatrics
Cell Biology & Anatomy
Director, Vascular Neurosciences Lab

Jordan Kase, MD
Assistant Professor
Director, Neonatal Follow-up Program

Boriana Parvez, MD
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Associate Director, Fellowship Program

Shetal Shah, MD
Professor of Clinical Pediatrics
Neonatal Immunization Research

Affiliated Faculty and Staff-WMC

Bistra Nankova, PhD
Associate Professor
Director, Developmental Neuroscience Lab

Govindaiah Vinukonda, MSc, PhD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Cheryl Hunter-Grant, LMSW
Executive Director, LHVPN

Affiliate Faculty

Orange Regional Medical Center

Manuel DeCastro, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Raja Senguttuvan, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Good Samaritan Hospital, St. Anthony, Mercy Hospital

Martin Katzenstein, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics

Michael Petrella, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Sonya Strassberg, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Soheir Haram, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics

Glenn Mendoza, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Hudson Valley Hospital Center

Muhammad Zia, MD
Assistant Professor

Umesh Paudel, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Phelps Memorial

Myra Mercado, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Necla Kudrick, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Vanessa Mercado, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Putnam Hospital Center

Jean Chelala, MD

St. John's Riverside

Joseph E. Hall, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Portia Groening, MD
Assistant Professor

St. Lukes - Cornwall

Prabhakar Kocherlakota, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Roland Vilar, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Applicants are eligible for the program if they meet the following requirements:

  • Have completed (or will complete by July 1st of expected start year) an ACGME accredited residency program
  • Have passed all components of the U.S. Medical Licensure Examination, including:
    • Step 1
    • Step 2 (Clinical Knowledge)
    • Step 2 (Clinical Skills)
    • Step 3

International applicants must also provide evidence of the following:

  • Certification by the Educational Commission of Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).
  • Successful completion of the ECFMG English Examination
    Information on ECFMG Certification may be obtained at

Application Process and Requirements
To apply to our fellowship program, please complete an application through the ERAS, the electronic residency application service offered by AAMC. Their website is:


Please be sure to include the following items in your application:

  • ERAS Common Application Form
  • Current Curriculum Vitae
  • At least three letters of recommendation, including one from your pediatric residency program director (More than 3 letters are encouraged.)
  • Medical School Dean’s letter (same as required for residency)
  • USMLE Scores Step 1, 2, 3
  • Board scores
  • Personal statement
    • We would appreciate a description of your clinical and research experience, your reason for an interest in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/Stem Cell Transplantation, and your career goals.
  • Recent photo

A personal interview is required and will be granted to the most qualified applicants. We expect each applicant invited to interview to devote an entire day with us. Interviews will be conducted August to November.

Rita Daly
Fellowship Program Administrator
Regional Neonatal Center
Maria Fareri Children's Hospital, 2nd Floor
Valhalla, NY 10595
Phone: 914.493.8558
Fax: 914.493.1488

Edmund F. La Gamma, MD
Division Chief