Meet Our Team

Johns Hopkins All Children's pediatric surgeons are specially trained to care for the unique needs of children.

Becoming a pediatric surgeon requires completion of one of the longest training pathways in the United States medical system. After graduating medical school and completing an accredited residency program to achieve board certification in general surgery, a pediatric general surgeon performs an additional fellowship exclusively devoted to children’s surgery. The typical pediatric surgeon completes nine years of training after medical school and has passed two certifications administered by the American Board of Surgery, one in general surgery and one in pediatric surgery.

Our Surgical Team

The pediatric surgeons at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital take care of the surgical needs of all children from newborns through teenagers. While specialization among adult surgeons usually focuses on a particular organ or region of the body, pediatric surgery is a subspecialty that deals with a defined age group. This means pediatric surgeons have a laser-focus on the unique needs of children. To learn more about the special qualifications and training of a pediatric surgeon, visit the American Board of Surgery or the American Pediatric Surgical Association. The American Pediatric Surgical Association is the professional society of pediatric surgeons in the United States and Canada. There are fewer than 1,000 pediatric general surgeons practicing in the United States and Canada.

Nicole M. Chandler, M.D., FACS, FAAP

Nicole M. Chandler, MD, FACS, FAAP
Dr. Nicole Chandler is director of pediatric surgery research. She is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Mass., where she completed her general surgical residency. She also was a Research Fellow in Surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, and was principal investigator for a grant that focused on overcoming chemoresistance in pancreatic cancer.

In June 2008, Dr. Chandler completed her fellowship in pediatric surgery at Johns Hopkins University Hospital and School of Medicine, Baltimore, with training in laparoscopic and advanced miniature access surgery. Dr. Chandler is board certified in both general surgery and pediatric general surgery and is a member of the American College of Surgeons.

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Henry Leonard Chang, M.D.

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.

Dr. Chang earned his medical degree at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine. He completed his general surgery residency at University of Mississippi Medical Center and four fellowships: Pediatric Surgical Research at Surgical Research Laboratories Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School and Clinical Research, Surgical Critical Care and Pediatric Surgery at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

He is certified in advanced cardiac life support, advanced trauma life support and pediatric advanced life support and is a member of the American Board of Surgery in General Surgery, Surgical Critical Care and Pediatric Surgery.

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Paul Colombani, M.D., M.B.A., FACS, FAAP

Paul Colombani, M.D., M.B.A., FACS, FAAP

Dr. Colombani is the Robert Garrett Professor of Pediatric Surgery and Professor of Surgery, Oncology and Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In 1991, he was named the Children's Surgeon-in-Charge at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and chief of the division of pediatric surgery. He also directs the Pediatric Transplant Program at Johns Hopkins Hospital. In December 2012, he was appointed Chair of the Department of Pediatric Surgery at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital.

Dr. Colombani is a graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. His general surgery residency was done at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C. Upon completion of his pediatric surgery residency at Johns Hopkins in 1983, he joined the Hopkins faculty. He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and member of the sections for Surgery and Critical Care of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Colombani has been a consultant and/or committee member for the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, US Pharmacopoeia, United Network of Organ Sharing, and the Residency Review Committee for Surgery of the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education. He is a member of multiple professional societies in pediatric surgery and transplantation. His research interests focus on transplant pharmacology and immunology, chest wall reconstruction and hepatobiliary surgery. Dr. Colombani holds an M.B.A. from Johns Hopkins University.

During the past year, Dr. Colombani has spent considerable time on the Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital campus, working with members of the pediatric surgical staff on the development of clinical research and teaching programs along with opportunities for new areas of expertise.

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Paul D. Danielson, M.D., FACS, FAAP

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.

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 William Kays, M.D.

Nicole M. Chandler, MD, FACS, FAAP

Noted pediatric surgeon David Kays, M.D., is medical director of the Johns Hopkins All Children's Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Program.

Dr. Kays also serves as director of the ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) Program and co-director of the Fetal Diagnosis/Treatment Program.

Dr. Kays brings more than two decades of clinical and research leadership in the treatment of congenital diaphragmatic hernia, a life-threatening birth defect, to the Department of Surgery and the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Maternal, Fetal & Neonatal Institute. His research has focused on defining the best treatment strategies for this challenging neonatal diagnosis and contributed to significant advances in surgical repair. Dr. Kays and his team achieved an 88 percent survival rate for surgical repair of congenital diaphragmatic hernia over a 20-year period.

He comes to St. Petersburg after more than 20 years at UF Health and Shands Children’s Hospital, where he was surgeon-in-chief, medical director of the congenital diaphragmatic hernia program and medical director of pediatric respiratory and ventilator support. He also was a professor of surgery and chief of the division of pediatric surgery in the University of Florida College of Medicine, Department of Surgery. He is the author or coauthor of 50 peer-reviewed original science publications and speaks nationally and internationally on congenital diaphragmatic hernia repair.

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Drew Rideout, M.D.

Drew Rideout, MD

Dr. Drew Rideout is a pediatric surgeon and has specialized training in advanced minimally invasive surgery for both newborns and adolescents.

He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (BS) and Stony Brook School of Medicine (MD). He completed his general surgery residency at the University of South Florida and his pediatric surgery fellowship at Emory University. He also completed a research fellowship at the University of South Florida and was principal investigator on a grant studying the improvement in obesity-related diseases after gastric bypass. He grew up in Nigeria, where his parents were missionary teachers. He has taught high school math and science, coached wrestling, and has a Master of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary.

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Christopher Snyder, M.D.

Drew Rideout, MD

Dr. Snyder is a pediatric surgery fellow with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. He is also a staff surgeon with the U.S. Air Force Medical Service at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., a trauma and acute care surgeon with the University of South Florida and an affiliate assistant professor at the University of South Florida.

Previously, Dr. Snyder was a staff surgeon with the U.S. Air Force Medical Service at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska.

After graduating from the University of Florida, Dr. Snyder completed a residency and research fellowship at the University of Alabaman at Birmingham.

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. In his spare time he enjoys participating in crossfit, playing basketball and softball, and traveling.

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.

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. In her spare time she enjoys watching UF football, going to the beach, traveling and spending time with family and friends.

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. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, sports, music, and spending time with family and friends. 

Kelsey Grant, ARNP

 Sara M. Lefkowitz, ARNP
Kelsey Grant, A.R.N.P. 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.   

Sara M. Lefkowitz, ARNP

 Sara M. Lefkowitz, ARNP
 
A native to the Tampa Bay area, Sara began her career in healthcare as a paramedic, receiving an associate degree in EMS from St. Petersburg College in 2000. She has been serving the people of Pinellas County ever since. Sara went on to receive her ADN, also from St. Petersburg College, in 2003, and began her tenure at Johns Hopkins All Children's as a nurse in the Cardiovascular ICU in 2004. She further 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. Sara 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.

 Tiffany S. Wroe, ARNP

Tiffany S. Wroe, ARNP 

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. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her two children and husband, sporting events, running, and outdoor activities.

 Alissa Zaharis, MS, CPNP-BC

Tiffany S. Wroe, ARNP 

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 in 2—3 and a Masters of Science in nursing from University of South Florida in 2013.

Alissa is a member of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.

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

 Sara M. Lefkowitz, ARNP

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.

Joy is married with 2 sons and 3 dogs. In her spare time, she loves to spend time with family, attend concerts and athletic events and spend time on the water. She is also finishing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Florida and will graduate in August.
 

Contact Us

Schedule an appointment online or call 727-767-4170, or 800-456-4543, ext. 4170, for more information.

Appointments and More Information

For more information, visit Pediatric General Surgery. To make an appointment or to ask questions, please call (727) -767-4170.