Team Member Recognition

Faculty Recognition - Confetti in the sky


June 2024

Leber Educator of the Year Award - Steve Leber, M.D.

Dr. Steve Leber was awarded the inaugural Leber Educator of the Year Award presented at the Child Neurology Residency Graduation in 2024. 

Best Child Neurology Teacher Award - Nancy McNamara, M.D.

Dr. Nancy McNamara received the Best Child Neurology Teacher Award at the Adult Neurology Residency Graduation in 2024.


Best Inpatient Teacher Award - Taryn Surtees, M.D.

Dr. Taryn Surtees received the Best Inpatient Teacher Award at the Adult Neurology Residency Graduation in 2024.

Drs. Dang Ziobro and Gottlieb-Smith

Louis Dang and colleagues Dr. Rachel Gottlieb-Smith and Dr. Julie Ziobro have successfully published a a transformative child neurology genetic testing curriculum for use nationwide and internationally!

A much-needed specialized curriculum designed to equip child neurology residents with the essential knowledge and skills needed for genetic testing has been released. Louis Dang, MD, PhD, was one of the co-leads of this multi-institutional project. Rachel Gottlieb-Smith, MD, and Julie Ziobro, MD, PhD, also contributed to the program. This curriculum aims to enhance patient care by fostering interdisciplinary education partnerships and improving neurogenetics training across specialties. The curriculum includes 16 modules that emphasize learner-centered, interactive, and case-based teaching.

October 2023

Rachel Gottlieb Smith, M.D.

Rachel Gottlieb-Smith was awarded a RISE (Research. Innovation. Scholarship. Education) grant for educational research.

She will be using the electronic medical record system to extract ICD-10 codes for patients seen by our residents and to map these onto educational competencies. She also plans to build a dashboard that will extract this type of information in real time for trainee and program use.

Louis Dang and Julie Ziobro received an award from the Research Scouts for a proposal titled “Rapid gene-directed therapy for pediatric epileptic encephalopathies."

September 2023

Rachel Gottlieb Smith, M.D.

Rachel Gottlieb-Smith was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor.

Dr. Leber was recognized as one of the top Pediatric Neurologists in Hour Detroit’s Top Docs List 2023.

August 2023

A new Pediatric Epilepsy Genetics Clinic was opened!

January 2023

Julie Ziobro received both a K08 award and a Janette Ferrantino Investigator Award for her studies on the mechanisms of PCDH19-clustering epilepsy.

Steve Leber received the Department of Pediatrics Chair’s Lifetime Achievement Awar

December 2022

Daniel Kashima recieved the Department of Pediatrics Resident and Fellow Research grant Program's Resident Award

November 2022

Neurology started a new Pediatric Neurocritical Care and Pediatric Neurohospitalist services

October 2022

Rachel Gottlieb Smith, M.D.

Rachel Gottlieb-Smith appointed to the UM Graduate Medical Education's Special Review Committee

The committee provides detailed reviews all 113 UM training programs as well as some focused special program reviews.

September 2022

Johnathan Gaillard

Dr. Jonathan Gaillard (PGY4 child neurology resident) was accepted as an editorial team member of the Neurology® Resident & Fellow Section.

Drs. Erin Fedak, Nancy McNamara, and Erin Neil were promoted to the rank of Associate Professor!

August 2022

Erika Steensma

Congratulations to Dr. Erika Steensma (PGY3 child neurology resident), who was accepted into the CoMET program (Community of Medical Educators in Training)!

Dr. Erin Fedak and colleagues had their abstract selected for presentation at the Broadening Representation and Inclusion by Growing Diversity and Equity (BRIDGE) session at the American Epilepsy Society 2022 Annual Meeting.

The abstract is titled Disparities Associated with Discontinuation of Ketogenic Diet Therapy: Single Center Experience.

We had three Pediatric Neurology winners in the inaugural Department of Pediatrics Chair’s Awards!

Chair’s Award for Humanism in Clinical Care: Patricia Robertson

Chair’s Award for Outstanding Mentorship: Renée Shellhaas, M.D., M.S.

Chair’s Award for Clinical Program Development: Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery Program (Nancy McNamara, M.D., and Erin Fedak-Romanowski, D.O., codirectors)

Dr. Louis Dang was awarded an R01 grant on his first attempt for his project, “Elucidating pathogenic mechanisms in STRADA-related brain malformation and epilepsy.”

June 2022

Congratulations to our child neurology residency graduates!

Dr. Theresa Estiphan will be the first Cotton Family Pediatric Epilepsy Fellow here at the University of Michigan

Dr. Ishani Kumar will be a headache fellow at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Dr. Rachel Nayak will be joining the faculty here at the University of Michigan

April 2022

Teri Behnke, our residency program coordinator, was awarded the University of Michigan Graduate Medical Education Program Administrator Excellence Award!

February 2022

Dr. Renée Shellhaas will be Co-PI for a newly funded R01 grant looking a genetic predisposition to post-neonatal epilepsy in survivors of acute symptomatic neonatal seizures.

Dr. Julie Ziobro will be participating in a trial of Clemizole for treatment of patients with Dravet syndrome.

January 2022


Dr. Vivian Cheung was interviewed on NPR about allocation of scarce COVID drugs for immunocompromised patients:

Dr. Jonathan Gaillard received the first University of Michigan Pediatric Neurology Resident Research Grant (Louis Dang, mentor), established from a generous donation from the Pediatric Epilepsy Research Foundation.

Our chief residents both secured outstanding fellowships for the 2023-2024 academic year

Dr. Kaitlyn Cartwright will be completing a multiple sclerosis/neuroimmunology fellowship at the Ohio State University

Dr. Rachel Sehgal will be completing a headache fellowship at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

December 2021

Dr. Martha Carlson was awarded the Evan Newport HOPE Award, which honors staff, faculty, students or teams who have demonstrated ongoing commitment to the philosophy of patient and family centered care.

Dr. Rachel Gottlieb-Smith was selected to receive the 2022 American Academy of Neurology A.B. Baker Teacher Recognition Award.

Dr. Julie Ziobro is co-investigator, with Dr. Wei Nui, on the grant “Antisense oligonucleotide therapy of X-linked Protocadherin 19 related Autism and Epilepsy,” funded by the Simons Foundation

She also was awarded the Elizabeth E. Kennedy (Children’s Research) Award for her project “Interneuron development in a mouse model of Pcdh19-clustering epilepsy.”

September-October 2021

Dr. Sucheta Joshi was elected to serve on the Child Neurology Society’s Executive Board as Councillor for the Midwest.

Drs. Renée Shellhaas and Louis Dang organized and chaired, “Are We Poised for a Therapeutic Revolution in Child Neurology?,” the most highly rated session at the Child Neurology Society annual meeting.

Our faculty presented at nine seminars, symposia, and workshops during the meeting.

Drs. Dang, Joshi, Leber, Silverstein, and Shellhaas were honored during the meeting’s Swaiman Legacy Luncheon.

Melisa Carrasco McCaul

Best Clinical Neurology Fellow Poster: Melisa Carrasco, M.D., Ph.D.

Paroxysmal Disorders In Infancy and Seizure Likelihood
Melisa Carrasco McCaul, M.D., Ph.D., Theresa Estiphan, M.D., Nancy McNamara, M.D.
Renee Shellhaas M.D.

Dr. Renée Shellhaas was appointed the Donita B. Sullivan Research Professor in the Department of Pediatrics

Rachel Gottlieb Smith, M.D.

Dr. Rachel Gottlieb-Smith was approved as Program Director of our Child Neurology residency.

Dr. Nancy McNamara and Dr. Steven Leber were selected for the Top Teachers award in the Department of Pediatrics for 2020. This award is granted to the top 10% of faculty in the department based on resident and student evaluations.

Julie Ziobro, M.D.

Dr. Julie Ziobro was chosen to present her abstract “A novel mouse model of PCDH19-clustering epilepsy” at the Pediatric Epilepsy Highlights session of the upcoming annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society.

Paige Rieckhoff was selected by the American Epilepsy Society as one of five nurse practitioners in the country to participate in the AES Fellows’ Program.

August 2021

Renee Shellhaas M.D.

Dr. Renée Shellhaas was awarded the Michigan Medicine Alumni Society’s 2021 Distinguished Early Career Award.

Dr. Erin Neil was selected as a Crain 2021 Notable Rising Star in Heath Care for her work in newborn screen for Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

July 2021

Milestone Achievements

Drs. Patricia Robertson and Faye Silverstein completed their 40th years at the University of Michigan.


Dr. Vivian Cheung was quoted in the Huffington Post regarding her experiences as an Asian woman with disabilities.

June 2021

Renee Shellhaas M.D.

Congratulations to Dr. Renee Shellhaas – 2021 Crain’s Healthcare Hero Award Winner.

The awards recognize leaders in health care and, according to Crain’s Detroit, this year’s winners reflect the extra mile every health care worker has gone during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Shellhaas won in the physician category for her research that is improving care for newborns with seizures.

Dr. Kerri Neville’s article "Implementation of a Standardized Seizure Action Plan to Improve Communication and Parental Education" was selected by the journal Pediatric Neurology as the best article by a trainee for 2020.

“Your work is impactful, thoughtfully researched and well written.” (Dr. Giulia Benedetti, our former resident and epilepsy fellow, won the same award for 2018!)

Dr. Sucheta Joshi was awarded a grant from the Pediatric Epilepsy Research Foundation for her study ““Developing a transition registry for Adolescents and Young Adults with Epilepsy”

Julie Ziobro, M.D.

Dr. Julie Ziobro was awarded a grant from the American Epilepsy Society and PCDH19 Alliance for her study “Mechanisms of PCDH19 clustering epilepsy.”

Dr. Ziobro was also invited to be on the faculty for this year’s Pellock Resident Seminar on Epilepsy preceding the Child Neurology Society annual meeting. She’ll give the talk on genetics/gene therapy and facilitate a small group.

2021 Neurosciences Day awards:

Best Neurology Resident Poster: Namrata Patel, M.D.

Quality Improvement Initiatives to Increase Administration of Folic Acid
Supplementation for Adolescent Girls Prescribed Antiseizure Medications
Namrata D. Patel, M.D., Samuel J. Mackenzie M.D., Ph.D., Maysa Hamade, M.D., Renée A. Shellhaas, M.D., MS, Nancy A. McNamara, M.D., Erin M. Fedak-Romanowski, DO