Division of Pediatric Neurology Welcomes New Faculty Member Elissa Ortolani, MD

June 16, 2021

Elissa K. Ortolani, MD, will join the Brain Care Institute at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh in August. Dr. Ortolani is a stroke and pediatric stroke specialist who will have dual practices in the Division of Pediatric Neurology at UPMC Children’s while also seeing adult patients in the Department of Neurology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Dr. Ortolani earned her medical degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Science. She then traveled to the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine for her residency in pediatrics and child neurology while practicing at UPMC Children's. Dr. Ortolani served as one of the chief neurology residents during her fifth year. Dr. Ortolani next completed a combined pediatric and adult fellowship in vascular neurology at UPMC. She returns to Pittsburgh after holding appointments as an assistant professor of pediatrics and neurology at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia.

During her child neurology residency, she developed a strong clinical and research interest in pediatric vascular disease and stroke. These conditions are regularly seen at UPMC Children's and can have a devastating impact on lifelong disability, yet their causes, pathophysiology, and treatment are poorly understood. Dr. Ortolani’s goal is to practice a combination of both adult and pediatric vascular neurology, with the intention of translating knowledge from the more developed adult experience to pediatric practice.

During her fellowship training, Dr. Ortolani was instrumental in developing protocols and clinical effectiveness guidelines for pediatric stroke in the UPMC Children’s Emergency Department and the UPMC Children’s Ventricular Assist Device program. She continued that line of work during her time at the Children’s Hospital of Atlanta in the Departments of Neurology and Hematology.  

Dr. Ortolani is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha, the American Academy of Neurology, the American Heart Association, and the Child Neurology Society. Her research interests include the care and outcomes of pediatric patients with in-hospital acute ischemic stroke.

“We are pleased to have Dr. Ortolani return to UPMC Children’s and the Brain Care Institute to further expand our child and adult neurology partnerships in clinical care, education, and research,” says Ira Bergman, MD, PhD, chief of the Division of Pediatric Neurology at UPMC Children’s.