Current Fellows

3rd Year Fellows

Spencer Barfuss, MD

Spencer Barfuss, MD

Interests & Hobbies

My 3 littles keep me busy. I also enjoy mountain biking, hiking, snow skiing and wakeboarding.

Hometown

Farmington, Utah, USA

Why Utah Pediatric cardiology?  Excellent patient volume and variety, limited 4th year wonderful co-fellows, engaging faculty, strong research enterprise, and access to the outdoors.

What is your favorite part about our program?  My co-fellows

What's your favorite part about living in Salt Lake City? Easy living.  If you spend time here you'll get what I mean.

What cool research/advocacy/education/scholarly work are you participating in? Pediatric TAVR outcomes

What has been a standout rotation or teaching experience you've been part of as a fellow?  Our cath docs are great teachers and make for an awesome rotation.

What is something you didn't know before coming to Utah that you wish you did? It's awesome! (I actually knew that already)

What are your plans following fellowship?  Imager at an academic program. 

What made you decide to come to Utah?  Extremely balanced program: strong clinical volume, excellent research infrastructure (including mentorship), and fun things to do outside the hospital. 

What are you doing next year? 2nd year!!!

Bryan Jepson, MD

Bryan Jepson, MD

Where you Completed your Residency: University of Minnesota

Where you completed Medical School: University of Minnesota

Undergraduate School: University of Wisconsin - Madison

Medical Areas of Interest: Echocardiography, Medical Education

Interests & Hobbies: Soccer, running, hiking, canoeing, winter camping, piano

Hometown: St. Paul, MN

Why Utah Pediatric cardiology? The program here in Utah is the perfect size, supportive, and well-rounded.

What is your favorite part about our program? Supportive faculty

What is your favorite part about living in Salt Lake City? I like how easy it is to get outside

What cool research/advocacy/education/scholarly work are you participating in? Echo research; Establishing inpatient cardiology curriculum for pediatric residents

What has been a standout rotation or teaching experience you've been part of as a fellow? Each rotation through EP (electrophysiology) has been a wonderful experience

What is something you didn't know before coming to Utah that you wish you did? Skiing moguls is terrifying

What are your plans following fellowship? Academic medicine career with a focus in advanced cardiac imaging and medical education

What made you decide to come to Utah?  I decided to move to Utah for this well-rounded fellowship training opportunity

What are you doing next year? TBD

Claire Newlon, MD

Claire Newlon, MD

Medical School: University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Residency: Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Residency Program

Dwight Robertson, DO

Dwight Robertson, DO

Medical Areas of Interest

General Pediatric Cardiology, Resident/medical student education, Private practice

Interests & Hobbies

Snowboarding (#1), Mountain biking, Running, hiking, movies, video games, board games

Hometown

Smithfield, VA

Why Utah?: I chose Utah because it was a solid program that was close to my wife’s family and I love being close to so many amazing outdoor activities

What is your favorite part about our program?  Very heavy emphasis on developing autonomy early on

What's your favorite part about living in Salt Lake City? 30-40min away from slopes for snowboarding/skiing in winter, 15-20min away from world-class biking/hiking trails, Southern Utah is absolutely incredible in every imaginable, everything is close but you can still feel like you live in the suburbs

What cool research/advocacy/education/scholarly work are you participating in? working on comparison of TAVR to SAVR as option for aortic root replacement and our institutional experiences therein

What has been a standout rotation or teaching experience you've been part of as a fellow?  Having the opportunity to help the med students during their congenital heart disease pathology lab and going over specimens from deceased patients

What I wish I knew before coming to Utah: to save for a mountain bike...totally worth it

What are your plans following fellowship? : Will be active duty Air Force for at least 6yrs, likely 13 if able to go to full retirement working as General Pediatric Cardiologist

What are you doing next year? Starting 2nd year of fellowship 

2nd Year Fellows

Matthew Beaver, MD

Matthew Beaver, MD

Where you Completed your Residency:  Oregon Health and Science University, Portland.

Where you completed Medical School:  University of Nottingham Medical School, England UK.

Undergraduate School:  Same as above.

Medical Areas of Interest:  Pediatric congenital heart disease, cardiovascular physiology, electrophysiology and sports medicine.

Interests & Hobbies:  I'm a sports fanatic! Love playing football (soccer) and golf. Enjoy skiing in the Winter and hiking/camping with my family (we have three busy/wild/fun kiddos aged 2,5 & 7yrs old) in the Summer!

Hometown: The Wirral, England (small peninsular in the NW of England, ~30mins from Liverpool).

Why Utah Pediatric cardiology?  High clinical volume and variety; dedicated CICU, with a well supported transplant program. The people. The place.

What is your favorite part about our program?  The people. Without doubt, the faculty here cultivate an environment that is wholly supportive for trainees, with strong focus on research and education. 

What is your favorite part about living in Salt Lake City?  The great outdoors! The mountains are literally on our doorstep...

What cool research/advocacy/education/scholarly work are you participating in?  Looking at the utility of 2D speckle tracking echocardiography in Covid-19/MIS-C population.

What has been a standout rotation or teaching experience you've been part of as a fellow?  Bi-monthly surgical teaching rounds with our cardiothoracic surgeons. It speaks volumes that they are invested in fellow education.

What is something you didn't know before coming to Utah that you wish you did?  Literally, just HOW close the mountains are. Adventure abounds.

What are your plans following fellowship?  Still undecided, but considering a fourth year fellowship in advanced imaging.

What made you decide to come to Utah?  Balanced program and prestigious training opportunity.

What are you doing next year?  Will be a 3rd year pediatric cardiology fellow at Primary Children's Hospital.

Mary Howell, MD

Mary Howell, MD

Lindsey Gakenheimer-Smith, MD

Lindsey Gakenheimer-Smith, MD

Undergraduate: University of Michigan - B.S.

Medical School: University of Michigan Medical School - M.D.

Residency: University of Utah

Medical Areas of Interest - Electrophysiology, Global health

Interests & Hobbies - Running, especially the thousands of miles of trails in Utah! Skiing, camping, mountain biking, enjoying a good book in my hammock

Hometown: Monroe, MI

Why Utah?I first fell in love with Utah and the fantastic faculty and trainees at the University of Utah/Primary Children's Hospital during my residency interview, and this love just keeps growing! To me, it's the perfect combination of a supportive training environment with world class faculty located in an incredible place to live.

What is your favorite part about our program?  Supportive faculty and fellows who are fun to work with; great research support; large patient volume and variety; quick access to outdoor recreation and numerous national parks

What are your favorite parts about living in Salt Lake City?Being able to go on a trail run directly from the hospital; world class ski resorts ~45 minutes from the hospital; not much traffic!

What cool research/advocacy/education/scholarly work are you participating in?I have the fortune of being the inaugural pediatric cardiology - global health fellow. The global health component involves clinical and research work in Guatemala and participating in other global health related experiences with other pediatric global health fellows at the University of Utah. I am also working on a couple EP-related research projects with some great mentors at the University of Utah.

What has been a standout rotation or teaching experience you've been part of as a fellow? While the learning curve for many cardiology rotations are steep, I've appreciated the dedication and patience all of the faculty and staff have had helping the fellows learn and feel more comfortable on each rotation. And I appreciate the cath lab nurses always coming up with the best nicknames for the fellows.

What I wish I knew before coming to Utah:That I should've warned my family I won't be returning to Michigan.

What are your plans following fellowship?I plan to pursue a career that includes pediatric cardiology in low-resourced domestic and international settings and electrophysiology.

What are you doing next year? I'll be in my third year of fellowship and applying to 4th year fellowship in EP

1st Year Fellows

Marlayna Despres, MD

Marlayna Despres, MD

Where you Completed your Residency: University of Utah/Primary Children's

Where you completed Medical School: University of Utah 

Undergraduate School: Westminster College 

Medical Areas of Interest: General pediatric cardiology, fetal cardiology, personalized medicine, catheter-based intervention

Interests & Hobbies: Camping, gardening, hiking, trying new restaurants, hanging out with husband and dogs 

Hometown: Salt Lake City 

Why Utah Pediatric cardiology? This is a busy program with amazing mentors, a strong research infrastructure, and located in my favorite place! 

What is your favorite part about our program? I like that the people here are invested in teaching and that everyone is so approachable and helpful 

What is your favorite part about living in Salt Lake City? I like having a full 4 seasons and enjoying exploring the city and surrounding mountains 

What cool research/advocacy/education/scholarly work are you participating in? I am currently hoping to find a research project that fits my interests but am also helping with a QI project about feedback for fellows. 

What has been a standout rotation or teaching experience you've been part of as a fellow? I loved my cath rotation because I learned a TON, the attendings were great teachers, and the procedure part was also super interesting and exciting 

What is something you didn't know before coming to Utah that you wish you did? I have always been here so I will say that this place is addictive and nearly impossible to leave! 

What are your plans following fellowship? I am not 100% sure yet but I think I would like to be an attending at a teaching/academic hospital and get to take care of interesting patients.

What made you decide to come to Utah?  The people, the city, the learning environment, and the opportunities! 

What are you doing next year? Next year I'll be a second-year Fellow
Andrew Headrick, MD

Andrew Headrick, MD

Undergraduate: Indiana University, Purdue University Indianapolis

Medical School: University of Alabama Birmingham School of Medicine

Residency: Baylor College of Medicine at Texas Children's Hospital, Dr. Kelly DeScioli Global Child Health Pediatrics Residency Program

Medical Areas of Interest: Pediatric cardiology, post cardiothoracic surgery outcomes

Interests & Hobbies: being a dad, hiking, running, biking, traveling abroad, baking

Hometown: Fishers, Indiana

Why Utah Pediatric cardiology? Utah’s Pediatric cardiology fellowship program offers the unique opportunity of a large referral center with a five-state catchment area. This is in conjunction with a minimal fourth-year fellow presence, allowing for maximal autonomy and hands-on training with complex patients. Throughout residency, I came to realize I learned best by doing and by being regularly challenged - I knew I would get exactly that at Primary Children’s. Further, the faculty is full of nationally and internationally renown physicians and researchers on both the cardiology and cardiovascular intensivist side. It quickly became clear to me on my interview day that these same experts were humble and offered readily accessible knowledge and mentoring. Lastly, living in Utah offers ease of access to a slew of quick and beautiful getaways, offering catharsis after challenging months learning and caring for complex patients.

What is your favorite part about our program? From the outset, it has been clear how down to earth each faculty member and fellow is. Everyone is so approachable and is clearly and genuinely happy to be here in Utah and working at Primary Children’s. People have hobbies and yet are still hardworking and clearly love what they do. It’s a positively contagious environment.

What is your favorite part about living in Salt Lake City?I was pleasantly surprised to find the diversity of food scene here in Salt Lake. Essentially all of my go to cuisine, from Peruvian to Thai to Szechuan, I can always find a few great options for what I’m craving. There is also no shortage of bubble tea offerings, a true staple of my diet.

What cool research/advocacy/education/scholarly work are you participating in? I am currently wrapping up projects started during the tail end of my residency, focusing on in-hospital outcomes in postoperative single ventricle patients with systemic-to-pulmonary shunts for pulmonary-dependent blood flow.

What is something you didn't know before coming to Utah that you wish you did? I honestly don’t have a great answer for this question. Everything in Utah has just been a welcome surprise.

What are your plans following fellowship?  Following fellowship I anticipate I will do additional training, either in electrophysiology or completing a critical care fellowship. I anticipate my experiences over this next year and my mentors will help guide me to the best fit.

What are you doing next year? Next year I will be diving into the second year of pediatric cardiology fellowship
Kari Phillips, MD

Kari Phillips, MD

Undergraduate: Concordia College (Moorhead, MN)

Medical School: Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN)

Residency: Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN)

Medical Areas of Interest: All of cardiology really! But cardiac ICU is my favorite so far.

Interests & Hobbies: Spending time with family and friends, hiking, camping, traveling, exploring new restaurants and breweries

Hometown: Cloud, MN

Why Utah Pediatric cardiology? It is an excellent combination of everything I valued as I searched for a program: positive learning environment, high volume and diverse pathology, great comradery among fellows, ample research support, and a city that will allow me to enjoy life outside of work

What is your favorite part about our program? So far, I've felt so blessed to have the upper level fellows helping us adjust and get acclimated. They are so welcoming, kind, and helpful!

What is your favorite part about living in Salt Lake City? Insanely easy access to amazing outdoor activities (hiking, mountain biking, trail running, skiing)

What cool research/advocacy/education/scholarly work are you participating in? So far I'm just putting out feelers to see what types of projects different faculty are involved in. I can't wait to dive in further.

What is something you didn't know before coming to Utah that you wish you did? Everyone here (at the hospital and beyond) seems genuinely happy and super nice. We've met tons of random strangers who are excited to hear that we've moved here and are happy to share suggestions of great places to eat, fun hikes, and other activities.

What are your plans following fellowship? Still deciding! I'm considering pursuing a second fellowship in ICU but an excited to explore other areas within the field as potential career paths as well.

What made you decide to come to Utah? The program checked all the important boxes for me and the location can't be beat given my love of the outdoors! 

What are you doing next year? Continuing my fellowship!

PROGRAM DIRECTOR

Susan Etheridge

 

SUSAN P. ETHERIDGE, MD

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ASSOCIATE PROGRAM DIRECTOR

Kimberly Molina, MD

KIMBERLY M. MOLINA, MD

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CONTACT US

Program Manager

boyington.jpg

Ashley Boyington
Email: ashley.boyington@hsc.utah.edu

Program Coordinator

Laurel Fortun
Email: ped.education@hsc.utah.edu
Phone: 801-662-5703
Fax: 801-662-5755