Pediatric General Surgery

Meet Our Team

Nicole Chandler, M.D. Surgery - Pediatric

Dr. Chandler is the director of pediatric surgery research at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. Her areas of interest are minimally invasive surgery including pectus excavatum, and pediatric cancer surgery. She is a member of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Chandler was named Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital physician of the year in the 2017 Johns Hopkins Medicine Clinical Excellence Awards.
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Henry Chang, M.D. Surgery - Pediatric

Dr.  Chang is a pediatric surgeon at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. His clinical focus includes minimally invasive surgery and colorectal conditions. He is also an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University on the Baltimore, Maryland, campus. He primarily sees patients at AdventHealth Tampa, Brandon Regional and Tampa General Hospital. 
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Paul Danielson, M.D. Surgery - Pediatric

Dr. Danielson specializes in general surgery and serves as chief of the division of pediatric surgery at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. He was an early adopter of minimally invasive surgical techniques and has expertise in treating chest wall deformities. Dr. Danielson was named Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital physician of the year in the 2015 Johns Hopkins Medicine Clinical Excellence Awards. He joined the hospital staff in 2009. Dr. Danielson is director of innovative training and education at Johns Hopkins All Children's and an associate professor of surgery in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He retired as a colonel from the U.S. Army Reserve in 2017 after serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
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Raquel Gonzalez, M.D. Surgery - Pediatric

Dr. Gonzalez is a pediatric and surgical critical care surgeon at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. She joined the hospital staff in 2017.  She was previously the surgical critical care fellowship program director at the Detroit Medical Center and also served as a member of the American Pediatric Surgical Association Surgical Critical Care Committee. Dr. Gonzalez received her medical degree from the University Of Puerto Rico School Of Medicine and trained in general surgery at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey. Dr. Gonzalez then completed a surgical critical care fellowship at University of Michigan Health Systems & CS Mott Children’s Hospital and a pediatric surgery fellowship at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan.  She subsequently completed a Master’s in Health Care Management at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She is fluent in Spanish.
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David Kays, M.D. Surgery - Pediatric

Dr. Kays is the medical director of the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) program in the Department of Surgery. He also serves as director of the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) program and co-director of the Fetal Diagnosis/Treatment program. He joined the medical staff in 2016.
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Drew Rideout, M.D. Surgery - Pediatric

Dr. Drew Rideout is surgical director of the intestinal rehabilitation program in the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Maternal, Fetal & Neonatal Institute. He specializes in minimally invasive surgery in newborns, children and adolescents. He joined the pediatric surgery program at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in 2013. Dr. Rideout also travels to Latin America and Africa to support intestinal rehab and other surgical programs. He primarily sees patients at AdventHealth Tampa, Brandon Regional and Tampa General Hospital.
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Charles Smithers, M.D. Surgery - Pediatric

Dr. Smithers is a pediatric surgeon who specializes in esophageal and airway treatment (EAT) in the Department of Surgery at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. He joined the medical staff in 2019 and leads the EAT program. He sees patients on the Johns Hopkins All Children’s main campus and at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg and Tampa General Hospital. Dr. Smithers previously served as a surgeon in the pediatric surgery division at Boston Medical Center and Boston Children’s Hospital. His clinical specialties are minimally invasive surgery, surgical critical care, esophageal atresia, airway malformations and congenital diaphragmatic hernia.
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Christopher Snyder, M.D. Surgery - Pediatric

Dr. Snyder is a pediatric surgeon at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and the medical director of the pediatric trauma program at the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital/Bayfront Medical Center joint trauma program. He joined the medical staff in 2018.
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Keith Thatch, M.D. Surgery - Pediatric

Dr. Thatch specializes in pediatric surgery at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and is certified in in surgery, pediatric surgery and surgical critical care. He joined the hospital staff in 2018. He primarily sees patients at AdventHealth Tampa, Brandon Regional and Tampa General Hospital.
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Katherine W. Gonzalez, M.D.

Katherine W. Gonzalez, M.D. Surgery - Pediatric

Dr. Gonzalez is a pediatric surgery fellow at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. She earned her medical degree at the University of Florida College of Medicine and completed her general surgery residency as chief resident at Texas A&M Health Science Center, Baylor Scott and White General Surgery Residency Program. She completed a surgical critical care fellowship and a surgical scholar clinical research fellowship at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. Dr. Gonzalez has written more than 25 articles in the area of pediatric general surgery and has been honored with induction into Phi Beta Kappa, AOA and the Gold Humanism Honor Society.


Heather Nolan, M.D.

Heather Nolan, M.D. Surgery - Pediatric

Dr. Nolan is a pediatric surgery fellow at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. She earned her medical degree at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and completed her general surgery residency at Mercer University School of Medicine/The Medical Center-Navicent Health in Macon, Georgia. She completed a fellowship in fetal surgery at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She also earned a Master’s of Science in Clinical and Translational Research at the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Nolan has written numerous articles in the area of pediatric general surgery and is board certified by the American Board of Surgery.


Jason Robertson, M.D.

Jason Robertson, M.D. Surgery - Pediatric

Dr. Robertson is a pediatric surgery fellow at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. After graduating from the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, Dr. Robertson completed his residency and a surgical research fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis along with a surgical critical care fellowship at the University of Michigan/C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Dr. Robertson is board certified in general surgery and surgical critical care. He is also a member of the American Pediatric Surgical Association, American College of Surgeons, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.


Matthew P. Benson, PA-C

Matthew P. Benson, PA-C

Matthew has worked at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in Pediatric General Surgery/Trauma since February 2013. He graduated with his Bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training/Sports Medicine from Central Michigan University in 2003. He received his Master’s Degree in Clinical Medical Science in the Physician Assistant Program at Barry University in 2012. His previous health care experience includes an Athletic Training internship with the New York Yankees at their rehabilitation facility in Tampa, FL. He was the Head Athletic Trainer for the Tampa Bay Storm in the Arena Football League for 3 seasons from 2005-2007. He was also the Head Athletic Trainer for a local High School, Seminole High School from 2004-2010. He is a nationally board certified Physician Assistant by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. He is also a licensed Physician Assistant by the state of Florida. He is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants as well as the Florida Association of Physician Assistants.


Vivian Buchanan, PA-C

Vivian Buchanan, PA-C

Vivian Buchanan is a physician assistant in pediatric surgery at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. She joined the hospital staff in 2017. Before joining Johns Hopkins All Children’s, she was a physician assistant in pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgery at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts and Science in chemistry from the University of South Florida followed by a Masters of Clinical Medical Sciences in Physician Assistant Studies from Barry University in St. Petersburg, Florida.


Amanda Connor, PA-C

Amanda Connor, PA-C

Amanda has worked at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in Pediatric Trauma/Surgery since April 2012. She graduated with her Bachelor's degree in Zoology from the University of Florida in 2009. She received her Master's Degree in the Medical Sciences and Physician Assistant Studies from Barry University in 2011. Amanda has been involved in several medical research studies at the University of Florida, including hypertension research through the Pharmcodynamics department and reproductive studies research in the Zoology Department. She is nationally board certified as a Physician Assistant by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. She is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the Florida Association of Physician Assistants.


Kelsey Grant, APRN

Kelsey Grant, APRN

Kelsey Grant, A.P.R.N., joined the Pediatric Surgery department at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in November 2015. She has been with Johns Hopkins All Children’s for nine years caring for complex congenital heart patients as well as patients with normal cardiac anatomy requiring ECMO for various reasons. Kelsey graduated from University of South Florida with a Master of Science and also earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from St. Petersburg College. Kelsey is the Heart Center Preceptor Committee Chair at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and also a Preceptor Advisory Group member.


Paul J. Kainec, PA-C, EMT-P

Paul J. Kainec, PA-C, EMT-P

Paul has worked as a board-certified Physician Assistant at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital since 2006 with the combined Pediatric Surgery/Trauma service. He graduated with honors from Tri-C’s surgical physician assistant program in 2006. He received his B.S. in biology from the University of South Florida in 2000. In addition, he received an A.S. in emergency medical services from St. Petersburg College in 1995. Prior to his career as a physician assistant, Paul spent 10 years working as a field paramedic and emergency medical dispatcher for Sunstar Emergency Medical Services here in Pinellas County. During that tenure, he also trained both new EMT’s and paramedics to Sunstar as well as perspective students from St. Petersburg College. Paul is currently a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, American Academy of Surgical Physician Assistants, and the Florida Academy of Physician Assistants.


Mary Beth Layfield, PA-C

Mary Beth Layfield, PA-C

Mary Beth is a physician assistant in general surgery at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. She joined the hospital staff in January 2008. Mary Beth manages new admissions, evaluations and post-operative pediatric patients. She also manages trauma patients, including first response to trauma alerts, and assists in the operating room. Mary Beth earned a Master of Science/Physician Assistant Studies from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Philadelphia.


Sara M. Lefkowitz, APRN

Sara M. Lefkowitz, APRN

Sara began her career in healthcare as a paramedic, receiving an associate degree in EMS from St. Petersburg College in 2000. She received her ADN from St. Petersburg College in 2003. She began her tenure at Johns Hopkins All Children's as a nurse in the Cardiovascular ICU in 2004. She expanded her role as a specialty nurse with the Critical Care Transport Team in 2006. After completing her master's degree from the University of South Florida in 2007, Sara began working with the Pediatric Trauma/Surgery Service as an advanced practice nurse. She is double boarded as a pediatric nurse practitioner by the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, and as a family nurse practitioner by American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Sara continues her work with the Transport Team and remains active with the local emergency medical services.


Joy Perkins, RRT, RN

Joy Perkins, RRT, RN Coordinator, Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Program

Joy Perkins started her career in healthcare as a respiratory therapist in 1999 at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. In 2001, she moved to Gainesville and began working as a neonatal/pediatric respiratory therapist at UF Health and quickly became involved with the ECMO program. In 2003, she began transporting patients with ShandsCair. During her time on the transport team, Joy returned to school and earned her Associate of Science in Nursing from Santa Fe College in 2011. During her time at UF Health, Joy developed a passion for the care of children with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH). In 2012, she became the coordinator for the congenital diaphragmatic hernia program at UF Health. Joy joined Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital as the coordinator of the congenital diaphragmatic hernia program in January 2016. In this role, she serves as healthcare liaison for families of children with CDH, provides education to staff regarding the care of CDH patients and coordinates care for CDH patients from initial consultation through post discharge follow-up.


Kelly Rausch, PA-C

Kelly Rausch, PA-C

Kelly graduated from Barry University with a master of Clinical Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies, and received her Bachelor of Science in Education: Exercise and Sport Science from the University of Georgia. Her current Florida Physician Assistant Licensure includes NCCPA Certification CPR/AED, ACLS and PALS Certifications. Kelly formerly worked as a Physician Assistant at Florida Pediatrics/Fountainhead Practice Management at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital. She is a member of Florida Academy of Physician Assistants and the American Academy of Physician Assistants.


Kristine Rogers, APRN, M.S.N., B.C., CWON

Kristine Rogers, APRN, M.S.N., B.C., CWON

Kristine is a wound service nurse practitioner at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. She joined the hospital staff in February 2016. Kristine treats pediatric patients with wounds, burns, ostomy issues in both outpatient and inpatient settings, and works with the general surgery and plastic surgery teams. Kristine earned her Bachelor’s in Nursing from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, followed by her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida.


Tiffany S. Wroe, APRN

Tiffany S. Wroe, APRN

Tiffany has worked at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in Pediatric Trauma/Surgery since May 2012. She graduated with her bachelor's degree from University of Southern Indiana in 2000. She received her master's degree in the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program at the University of South Florida in 2011. Her previous nursing experience includes pediatric intensive care, pediatric cardiac intensive care, as well as general medical surgical pediatrics where she served as a charge nurse. She has received her certifications as certified pediatric nurse as well as certified pediatric critical care nurse through The Pediatric Nursing Certification Board. She worked at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital of Tampa for 12 years prior to coming on board to the Johns Hopkins All Children's Trauma/Surgery team. She is nationally board certified as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner by The Pediatric Nursing Certification Board, and is a member of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.


 Alissa Zaharis, MS, CPNP-BC

Alissa Zaharis, MS, CPNP-BC

Alissa Zaharis joined the pediatric surgery nursing program at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in 2016. She has more than a decade of pediatric nursing experience. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of South Florida and a Masters of Science in nursing from University of South Florida. Alissa is a member of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.