Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship Program at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital

Welcome to the Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship Program at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center.

Our Campus

  • Full service, state-designated Children’s Hospital
  • First neonatal ICU in the state of NJ to earn Disease Specific Care (DSC) certification in prematurity
  • One of the top 50 Children’s Hospitals for pediatric cancer, pediatric neurology, and pediatric neurosurgery nationwide, ranked by U.S. News & World Report
  • 100+ full-time faculty in general pediatrics and all pediatric medical and surgical subspecialties
  • 30 pediatric subspecialties
  • 48-bed Regional Perinatal Center
  • 15-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)
  • 28-bed General Pediatric Unit
  • 16-bed Hematology/Oncology Unit
  • 6-bed Epilepsy Monitoring inpatient units

HMH Neonatal Perinatal Fellowship Program Video

Fellowship Administrative Leadership

Meet Our Faculty

Neonatal Faculty

Sandy Cheung D.O., MPH

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Attending Neonatologist
Residency: Stony Brook University
Fellowship: Northwell Health, Cohen Children’s Medical Center of NY
Research/Clinical Interests: Pulmonary Hypertension/Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia, Simulation Education, Unplanned extubation prevention strategies, Antibiotic stewardship QI science

Rakesh Chhabra, M.D.

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Senior Neonatologist
Residency: Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center
Fellowship: Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center
Research/Clinical Interests: Body cooling, PDA, Medical safety QI, Newborn medicine

Michael Giuliano, M.D., Med, MHPE, MA

Professor of Pediatrics
Assistant Dean of Faculty, Resident, and Student Development
Residency: New York Hospital – Cornell Medical Center
Fellowship: New York Hospital – Cornell Medical Center
Research/Clinical Interests: Medical Education, Diagnostic Error, Medical Ethics, QI science

Anne-Lise Jacobsen, M.D.

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Attending Neonatologist
Residency: Johns Hopkins University
Fellowship: Johns Hopkins University
Research/Clinical Interests: Medical Ethics, Neonatal Palliative Care, Fetal Care, Bereavement

Harley D. Kelley, M.D.

Attending Neonatologist
Residency: Rutgers, New Jersey Medical School
Fellowship: Medical University of South Carolina
Research/Clinical Interests: Infants of diabetic mothers, Graduate Medical Education, Curriculum Development, QI Science, Care of the micropreemie, Neonatal Resuscitation/Simulation, Palliative Medicine

Marwa Khalil, M.D.

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Attending Neonatologist
Residency: Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center
Fellowship: Rutgers – Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
Research/Clinical Interests: Newborn medicine, neonatal resuscitation training, pulmonary and developmental outcomes, translational research, neonatal immunology

Harold Perl, M.D.

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Senior Neonatologist
Residency: Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center
Fellowship: Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center
Research/Clinical Interests: Respiratory Physiology, Infection Control, QI science, Bilirubin Metabolism

Benjamin Planer, M.D.

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Senior Neonatologist
Residency: Schneider Children’s Hospital, LIJ Medical Center
Fellowship: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Research/Clinical Interests: Care of the Micropreemie, Surgical/anesthesia, QI Science

Practitioner Team

Amy Peterson, NNP-BC – NNP Supervisor
Philip Ayeni, M.D. – Neonatal Hospitalist
Christine Breen, PA-C
Lu-Ann Campagnola, NNP-BC
Ashley Cook, NNP- BC
Julie Coyle, PA-C
Melissa Melo, PA-C
Anju Patel, PA-C
Marilyn St. Rose, NNP-BC
Balaji Sutharsanam, M.D. – Neonatal Hospitalist
April Vogel, NNP-BC

Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI)

The Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI) resides in 58,000 GSF of newly renovated space with core facilities including high-end imaging, mass spectrometry, gene editing, cell sorting, flow cytometry, tissue banks and biocontainment. The high-tech auditorium, Board Room and video conferencing center serve as venues for speakers to present their research to CDI scientists, professors and medical students. An additional ~60,000 GSF of lab space is available for fellows to be active members of their chosen laboratory, attend journal clubs and laboratory meetings, and pursue independent research projects under the supervision of their mentors.

CDI Research


Core didactic curriculum covers all major topics in perinatal physiology/pathophysiology, development of the fetus and newborn and subspecialty topics including cardiology, genetics, endocrine, neurology and many others. Board Review Series is incorporated into the didactic curriculum and is aimed at preparing fellows for the board exam. Research Course Series covers major topics in biostatistics and research methodology.

Educational Conferences

During the three-year fellowship, fellows will actively participate in a variety of conferences. The goal of these conferences is to:

  • Improve critical thinking
  • Improve understanding and interpretation of the literature
  • Improve the management of complex neonatal patients
  • Improve the understanding of ethical/palliative care principles in neonatology

Fellows are mentored by faculty for presentations.

Major educational conferences are listed below.

Conference Frequency
Quality Conference/Morbidity & Mortality Monthly
Chronic-Care Conference Bi-monthly
Neonatal Radiology Conference Monthly
Journal Club Quarterly
Bioethics Conference Quarterly
Therapeutic Protocol Quarterly
Research Seminar Quarterly
Fetal Care Conference Monthly

Didactic Conference (core curriculum)

Discharge Planning Weekly
Research Course Series Quarterly
Neonatology Board Review Monthly
Fellows Meeting Monthly
Surgical Case Conference

(Cardiac, general surgery, surgical subspecialties)


Research & Innovation

A formal scholarly oversight committee (SOC) will be established to mentor and guide each fellow during the fellowship program. The SOC will be composed of at least four individuals, including the research mentor, a mentor for clinical and career development, and additional mentors with expertise in the particular area of scholarship that is being pursued by the fellow. Fellows have a choice of basic, clinical or quality improvement research. Our faculty is involved in clinical research, basic science and QI science/methodology. We have been members of Vermont Oxford for over 15 years.

The specific goals of the SOC are:

1. To meet with the fellow a minimum of 2 times per year. In the first year, the SOC will meet quarterly to ensure adequate development of the program and at least biannually in the second and third year.

2. Complete evaluation/progress reports after each meeting to assess progress and detail accomplishments.

3. Review and approve the proposed research plan for the first-year fellows.

4. Evaluate the fellow’s written product of scholarly activity.

Each fellow is expected to formalize their hypothesis and submit their written proposal by the end of year one and will present their research proposal/initial data at the yearly research seminar at the end year. SOC is committed to ensure progression of the fellow’s project and that their research is on trajectory for completion by the end of the 3rd year of training. Fellows are expected to present research at the yearly research seminar and at local, regional, and national meetings. Manuscript submission at the end of the training program is required. The research mentor oversees all research presentations.

Clinical Rotations

Clinical training consists of rotations at the Regional Perinatal Center at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital (JMSCH). Our hospital has a large delivery service, approximately 5,500 deliveries/year and approximately 900 admissions/year to the NICU. Fellows will be exposed to a variety of clinical cases. Our 48-single bed NICU offers state-of-the-art services including:

  • Whole body cooling for neonates with HIE
  • Mechanical ventilation/high frequency ventilation
  • Inhaled nitric oxide therapy
  • Dedicated small baby unit
  • Transport services
  • Surgical/pediatric subspecialty support

Fellows gain most of their clinical experience during the beginning of their training, with increasing research opportunities in the second and third year.

Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) Clinic:

Fellows will rotate 2wks/year and observe the evaluation and management of high-risk pregnancies in the ambulatory and inpatient settings, including labor and delivery. They will also participate in the counseling of women with high risk pregnancies, observe fetal interventions, and attend ultrasound clinics. Fellows will also have a unique exposure to high-risk mothers who have been diagnosed with placenta accreta at the Center for Abnormal Placentation.

Clinical Echocardiography:

Functional echocardiography is taught by our cardiology faculty and will be focused on the fellow mastering focused bedside echocardiography. The objective of this rotation is to understand basic principles of ultrasound, acquire skills to recognize various cardiac structures of a normal heart, assessment/identification of shunts (PFO/PDA), and assessment of cardiac function (contractility and filling volume). Fellows are encouraged to assess cardiac function for patients in the NICU under supervision of cardiology faculty in order to continue to build competence.

High Risk Follow-up Clinic:

The fellow will attend a high-risk, follow-up clinic throughout the 3-year fellowship. By the end of training, the fellow will independently be able to perform developmental assessments and recommend appropriate services for premature/high risk neonates.

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