New surgeon-in-chief named at Norton Children’s Hospital

Cynthia D. Downard, M.D., has been named surgeon-in-chief of Norton Children’s Hospital and chief of pediatric surgery in the Department of Surgery at the University of Louisville.

Cynthia D. Downard, M.D., has been named surgeon-in-chief of Norton Children’s Hospital and chief of pediatric surgery in the Department of Surgery at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.

In the role of surgeon-in-chief, Dr. Downard succeeds Mary E. Fallat, M.D., who has been named medical director of surgical quality.

Dr. Downard is a general pediatric surgeon with Norton Children’s Surgery, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine. Her specific clinical interests are focused in laparoscopy, thoracoscopy and neonates with congenital anomalies. Currently, her research is aimed at finding new solutions to difficult clinical situations, with a specific focus on necrotizing enterocolitis and congenital diaphragmatic hernias. She is a Louisville native who has been with Norton Children’s Hospital for 13 years and serves as the program director of the pediatric surgery fellowship.

She completed her undergraduate and medical degrees from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and her general surgery residency at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. In Boston, Massachusetts, she completed a critical care fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital and earned a master’s degree in translational research at Harvard Medical School. She finished her pediatric surgery fellowship at Emory Healthcare/Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta – Egleston Hospital in Georgia in 2007.

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Dr. Downard has been very active in the American College of Surgeons, the American Pediatric Surgical Association and the Section on Surgery of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). She embraces advocacy opportunities for children at the local, state and national levels. Outside of the hospital, Dr. Downard enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, playing tennis and frequenting a wide variety of restaurants in Louisville.

Dr. Fallat has continually provided outstanding leadership since 2002. She has held many leadership positions in pediatric surgery regionally and nationally, most notably as a past president of the American Pediatric Surgical Association. She also was the first surgeon to chair the National Committee on Bioethics for the AAP.

Dr. Fallat will continue her clinical duties at Norton Children’s Surgery, while remaining heavily involved in our pediatric surgery program as medical director of surgical quality. She will devote much of her time to initial verification of our surgical program through Optimal Resources for Children’s Surgical Care and the American College of Surgeons. We are tremendously grateful for all that she accomplished in her time as surgeon-in-chief.


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