Pediatric Anesthesiology Fellowship

To give anesthesia is not difficult; but to give safe anesthesia is.
- Dr. Donald E. Hale Chairman of Anesthesiology Cleveland Clinic (1946-1967)

The Pediatric Anesthesiology fellowship training program at Cleveland Clinic was established in 1999 under the leadership of Dr. Julie Niezgoda, the section head for pediatric anesthesiology, and Dr. Emad Mossad, the section head for congenital heart anesthesiology. Thus far, 58 pediatric anesthesiologists have completed the fellowship and 18 pediatric fellowship-trained physicians now cover nearly 8,000 cases per year in eight dedicated pediatric operating rooms and more than seven remote locations. The staff is active in resident and fellow education in pediatric anesthesia as well as in training student nurse anesthetists, pediatric and emergency medicine residents, and critical care transport personnel. The department has undergone tremendous growth and has developed a dedicated team that focuses on caring for the smallest and often very complicated Cleveland Clinic patients.

The Department of Pediatric Anesthesiology was formed in 2006, and falls under the umbrella of the Anesthesiology Institute.

The Cleveland Clinic Department of Pediatric Anesthesiology is a great place to learn, not only because the hospital gives all its patients, children and adults, world-class care, but also because of the great variety and complexity of the cases we handle here. Residents and fellows are given the opportunity to experience the tremendous variety of cases that come through our world-renowned Pediatric service and because of the Clinic's specialty in cardiac cases, trainees are exposed to congenital cardiac cases. Because our department has the wherewithal and reputation to handle the youngest and sickest patients, residents and fellows in Pediatric Anesthesiology are provided a comprehensive and unique experience.

Fellowship Contact Information:

Pilar Castro, MD, MEd

Pilar Castro, MD, MEd
Director, Pediatric Anesthesiology Fellowship
Phone: 216.636.7011 | Fax: 216.444.9247
Email: castrop2@ccf.org

Nada Johnson, BA
Program Manager
Phone: 216.444.0263
Email: Johnson1@ccf.org

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Program Leadership

Program Leadership

Pilar Castro, MD, MEd 

Pilar Castro, MD, MEd
Program Director

A child’s surgery is a stressful time for patients and their families. As an anesthesiologist, I often meet family’s minutes before surgery, and I use that time to do what I can to put everyone at ease.

When I first started residency here, I didn’t know anyone in Cleveland. I told myself the best way to make friends is to be kind to people and to smile. We spend more time at work than at home. Kindness and having the disposition to always be helpful to others is the least we can do.

I love being part of a talented and collegial anesthesia team, where everyone is committed to do the best for each and every child we care for. Nurses, surgeons, technicians and the entire anesthesia team are constantly seeking opportunities to improve the quality of care.

Lauren Licina, MD 

Lauren Licina, MD
Associate Program Director

As a native Clevelander, returning home to the Cleveland Clinic after my medical education and training was one of the best decisions I have made.

We have a very tight knit group who cares for complicated pediatric patients, and at the same time for each other. Our group has a family type feel, and ample mentoring opportunities for trainees and junior staff. We are fortunate to work at a renowned hospital filled with some of the best surgeons, interventionalists, nurses and other team members to provide cutting edge treatments for our pediatric patients.

Our fellowship is smaller, allowing fellows to participate in many index cases and tailor their clinical experience to their goals and interests. Education is a passion and mission for our department and we look forward to working with fellows dedicated to the field of pediatric anesthesia.

Education Curriculum

Education Curriculum

The goal of the Cleveland Clinic Pediatric Anesthesiology Fellow’s curriculum is to facilitate the development of the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to provide advanced perioperative care which includes general anesthesia or sedation for routine and critically ill pediatric patients requiring surgery or non- painful procedures. Our fellows have Monday afternoon protected education time in which they meet with a variety of faculty members to learn about a variety of topics to further their exposure to Pediatric Anesthesia and unique or complex cases.

Education offerings within the program include (but are not limited to):

  • Congenital Cardiac Lecture Series
  • Dedicated pain curriculum
  • Formal career mentoring
  • Grand Rounds series
  • M&M
  • Oral Board Review Course
  • Pediatric Anesthesiology Fellow Lecture Series
  • Pediatric Anesthesiology Fellow Orientation Series
  • Pediatric Anesthesiology Fellow Boot Camps
  • Perioperative Teaching by Pediatric Anesthesia Faculty
  • Professional Development Series
  • Simulations
Clinical Experience

Clinical Experience

The 13 module (4 weeks per module) Pediatric Anesthesiology Fellowship consists of:

  • 20 weeks Pediatric Operating/GENA
  • 12 weeks Pediatric Cardiac experience
  • 4 weeks ICU
  • 4 weeks Advanced Pediatric Care
  • 4 weeks Pediatric Acute Pain service
  • 4 weeks Pediatric Ambulatory
  • 15 vacation days
  • 5 days for meetings and personal time

The Pediatric Anesthesiology Fellowship at Cleveland Clinic has a strong clinical experience with approximately 8,000 cases per year shared by:

  • 6 Pediatric Operating Rooms
  • 2 Pediatric Cardiac Operating Rooms
  • 2 Pediatric Catheterization labs
  • 2 Outpatient Ambulatory Surgery Center ORs
  • Pediatric Electrophysiology labs
  • Several remote areas which include the following:
    • Cardiovascular Diagnostic Lab (CVDL)
    • Position Emission Tomography Scan (PET scan)
    • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR)
    • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
    • Neurointerventional Radiology (NIR)
    • Radiation therapy in the cancer institute
  • CT, Interventional and Other Radiology Sites

Special highlights include:

  • Robust Pediatric Transplant Program (heart, liver, kidney, and multivisceral organs)
  • Fetal Surgery
  • World Class Pediatric Cardiac Program
  • Pediatric Pain Service
Career Development

Career Development

Faculty Mentoring

At a formal level, incoming fellows are paired with an experienced faculty mentor. The role of the mentor can vary but is ultimately to help support the fellow needs: whether guidance on career paths, involvement in academic projects, or general assistance with day-to-day fellow life.

Board Preparation

Each year between the months of February and April a dedicated group of faculty further help prepare our fellows for the ABA APPLIED Exam. Directed by actual ABA board examiners and other faculty members with expertise in medical education, this preparation can include:

  • Routine group discussions with faculty moderators
  • Mock Standardized Oral Examination (SOE) sessions
  • Mock Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) sessions

Teaching Opportunities

Fellows have an opportunity to assist in teaching medical students and anesthesiology residents in dedicated pediatric simulation sessions and during cases.

Scholarly Activities

Fellows are required to participate in at least one academic research project during the course of their fellowship year for which academic days will be allocated and mentorship will be provided. The research project could involve participation in an ongoing clinical or basic science research project or initiation of a new project.

Clinical Supervisory Experience

During the final quarter of the fellowship year and during the Advanced Pediatric Care rotation, the fellow will take on a clinical teaching/supervisory role with junior anesthesiology residents in the pediatric operating room. This opportunity allows the fellow to gain experience in supervision while still enjoying direct faculty oversight and support as needed.

Current Fellows

Current Fellows

Meet our 2023-2024 Fellows

Ashley George, MD 

Ashley Mariam George, MD

  • Hometown: Port Jefferson Station, NY
  • Medical School: West Virginia University School of Medicine
  • Residency: Penn State University - Milton S Hershey Medical Center
  • Hobbies/Interests: Plating music, dancing and traveling

Ahmad Mousa, MD 

Ahmad Mousa, MD

  • Hometown: Damietta, Egypt
  • Medical School: Cairo University Faculty of Medicine
  • Residency: Cairo University Hospital
  • Hobbies/Interests: Hiking, soccer, table tennis, watching basketball (let's go Cavs!)

Samar Mkhayel, MD 

Samar Mkhayel, MD

  • Hometown: Beirut, Lebanon
  • Medical School: LAU Gilbert and Rose-Marie Chagoury School
  • Residency: American University of Beirut
  • Hobbies/Interests: Listening to music, hiking, reading and tutoring
Application Process

Application Process

Our program at the Cleveland Clinic is led by 19 faculty which includes 14 pediatric anesthesiology trained physicians, diagnostic radiologists, pediatric critical care physicians and nationally renowned faculty with a commitment to mentoring fellows and providing professional development opportunities. We are committed to ensuring that our graduates gain the scholarly experience, team leadership skills, and supervisory experience expected of future leaders in the field of pediatric anesthesiology.

The Pediatric Anesthesiology fellowship offers three positions each year. All positions are filled through the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP).

How to apply

All application materials must be sent directly to San Francisco Match. In order to register and apply. Please visit SF Match and follow online instructions.

  • CV
  • Personal Statement
  • USMLE and/or COMLEX scores
  • ABA In-training scores & Basic Exam Score
  • Three letters of recommendation (one must be from the Program Director)
  • ECFMG Certificate (if applicable)

Application timeline

Important dates for fellowship application and match process can be found at SF Match.



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