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UPMC Newborn Medicine Program Welcomes Nicole R. Dobson, MD

June 8, 2022

The UPMC Newborn Medicine Program is pleased to welcome Nicole Radich Dobson, MD, to the Division. Dr. Dobson is a professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in the Division of Newborn Medicine and serves as the director of the UPMC Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship Program. Dr. Dobson also is the director of simulation education for the Division of Newborn Medicine. 

Training and Clinical Experience

Dr. Dobson earned her undergraduate degree from Lehigh University and earned her medical degree from Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, New Jersey, where she earned the School’s Academic Achievement Award for graduating first in class. 

Dr. Dobson attended medical school with a four-year scholarship from the Army Health Professions Scholarship Program. Upon completing her degree, she began Active Duty in the United States Army while completing her general pediatrics residency, immediately followed by a neonatal-perinatal medicine fellowship at the National Capital Consortium/Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland.

"Initially, my interests gravitated toward infectious diseases. The Army has always had tremendous clinical and research programs around infectious diseases and a long track record of humanitarian missions around the globe to help combat old and emerging disease threats, and this was very attractive to me at the time. I then discovered I had a great interest in critical care and resuscitation and ultimately ended up concentrating my efforts there and specifically in the discipline of neonatal-perinatal care,” says Dr. Dobson.

For more than two decades, Dr. Dobson held numerous leadership positions within the United States Army, retiring from her commission at the rank of Colonel (promoted in 2018) prior to joining UPMC.

Dr. Dobson’s clinical experience in the Army includes Medical Director of the Intensive Care Unit at Craig Joint Theater Hospital in Bagram, Afghanistan, in 2009, and from 2014 to 2016, she was the Chief of Neonatology at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Prior to joining UPMC, Dr. Dobson was the Director of the National Capital Consortium Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship Program from 2016 to 2021. At the same time, she was Division Chief of Critical Care Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Dobson was promoted to Professor in the University in 2021.

Awards and Recognitions

Dr. Dobson has earned numerous distinctions and awards during her training and career in the United States Army. She graduated first in her medical school class at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and earned numerous research and young investigator awards early in her medical career. She received a Bronze Star Medal for her service in Afghanistan and a Meritorious Service Medal for her leadership efforts at Tripler Army Medical Center. Dr. Dobson was a 2020 Finalist for the Military Health System Female Physician Leadership Award in the Senior Leadership Category.

This last honor is given to only one individual each year from each branch of the armed services and is a testament to the overall leadership capabilities and accomplishments of Dr. Dobson during her career, providing exceptional patient care while training new generations of doctors.

Research Interests

Dr. Dobson’s research interests have included the effects of intermittent hypoxia and caffeine therapy on the developing brain. She has published more than 20 manuscripts and two textbook chapters, and she has been an invited speaker at regional, national, and international meetings. She serves on the Executive Board of the American SIDS Institute and the American Association of SIDS Prevention Physicians.

Teaching and Training

Teaching and training medical students and residents were a significant component of Dr. Dobson’s career in the United States Army and continues at UPMC.

"Early on in my career, I developed a passion for education and teaching. It was an incredibly rewarding opportunity to train medical students and military physicians during my career in the Army and I am excited to continue these efforts at UPMC directing the training for our neonatal-perinatal fellows," says Dr. Dobson.

As the neonatal-perinatal fellowship director, Dr. Dobson oversees the curriculum, instruction, and mentorship of 12 fellows.

"The size of our fellowship program reflects both the busy nature of the neonatal-perinatal services within the system and the high degree of patient acuity and diversity we care for, which provides fellows tremendous training opportunities," says Dr. Dobson.

Dr. Dobson also is responsible for coordinating simulation training within the Division, an important and ongoing program for clinical providers to learn new techniques and skills and to expand this knowledge further into the community hospitals to better prepare clinical staff should they encounter a neonatal patient in emergency care or other settings.

“It’s difficult to provide training for some aspects of neonatal care, such as intubations or respiratory support outside of the NICU,” says Dr. Dobson. “Simulation training plays a critical role for physicians, students, advanced practice providers, and nursing staff to be prepared when presented with the unique complexities of neonatal care.”