The Division of Neonatology’s mission is to improve the neonatal outcome of pregnancy by providing the region’s best evidence-based neonatal clinical care, educating the next generation of neonatal caregivers and advancing neonatal scholarship.

The Neonatology division faculty provides daily clinical service and medical direction at five regional neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). The 19-bed NICU at Seattle Children’s Hospital provides care for critically ill newborns and infants with a wide variety of problems including prematurity, infection, and cardiac and surgical birth defects. Key services include inhaled nitric oxide treatment, high-frequency ventilation, tracheostomy, dialysis and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). Seattle Children’s NICU received level IV designation in June 2013, the first unit in Washington to achieve this recognition. The University of Washington Medical Center NICU is equipped to handle some of the highest-risk obstetrical deliveries in the nation, and its 50-bed NICU specializes in the care of extremely preterm infants and stabilization of newborns with birth defects. The 29-bed NICU at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett serves high-risk newborns in the northern end of the Seattle metropolitan region, and receives many neonatal referrals north of Everett. The 18-bed NICU at Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue serves patients on the eastern side of Lake Washington. The Franciscan Health System hospitals include the level III NICU at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma and the level II Special Care Nursery at St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way. The faculty works closely with Children’s neonatal nurse practitioners at St. Joseph, St. Francis, Providence, Overlake and Seattle Children’s. The Neonatology division also provides support to Children’s pediatric hospitalists at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia and Skagit Valley Hospital in Mount Vernon. In addition, division faculty provide oversight of the level III NICU at Kadlec Hospital in Richland.

Division faculty provide neonatal education to UW medical students and pediatric residents. In addition, the division directs an ACGME-accredited neonatal fellowship training program that focuses on training academic neonatologists. Several fellows choose to combine training in neonatology with a complementary MPH, and there has been an increasing interest in global neonatal health research training. Division faculty also participate in and direct regional educational programs in the WWAMI region, notably the Children’s Infant Transport Program, Airlift Northwest, the Children’s Physician Consultation Line and the UW Center on Human Development and Disability’s High-Risk Infant Follow-Up Clinic.

Current divisional bench lab research programs are focused on developmental neurobiology, including biomarkers for brain injury in a model of perinatal asphyxia; novel fetal and neonatal neuroimaging techniques; and the effect of extremely preterm birth on the developing cerebellum. Current clinical research programs are focused on the neuroprotective effects of erythropoietin (EPO) on the developing brain (with a large multicenter clinical trial currently underway); biomedical informatics (bringing the bench to the bedside); medical education (using newborn infant simulators); global neonatal health; epidemiology of birth defects; and neonatal/perinatal ethics.

Leadership and Faculty

Michael Lee Astion, MD, PhD, Director


Academic Title: Professor

Dr. Astion is a clinical pathologist who is Division Chief of Laboratory Medicine at Seattle Childrens Hospital. For almost two decades he worked at the University of Washington, Department of Laboratory Medicine where he was a Professor and... cont.


  • Anna Bruett Hedstrom, MD
  • Shaun O'dell, MD
  • Eric Peeples, MD
  • Vij Rangarajan, MD
  • Jayalakshmi (Ammu) Ravidran, MD
  • Stacey Soileau, MD

Team Member Spotlight

Jaime Ruddell


Our use of evidence-based practice helps move cures from the research lab to the bedside. Not long ago, I helped care for a critically ill newborn whose treatment, as part of a research protocol, included therapeutic hypothermia and high-dose erythropoietin. We don’t know what the outcome would have been without the therapy, but I am happy to say that he is developing normally almost a year later.