Our Multidisciplinary Team Members and Their Roles
In many cases, treatment can mean caring for multiple problems, so we address all aspects of a child’s illness in one place. Our unique multidisciplinary approach has brought together the best individuals and practices throughout the hospital to provide complete care and heal the whole patient.
Our Core Team
Cynthia J. Wetmore, MD, PhD, is Division Chief of the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders and Medical Director of the Neuro-Oncology Clinical and Research program. Dr. Wetmore earned her Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude in history of science from Harvard University, Medical Degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School, and Doctorate in neurobiology from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. She completed her residency training in pediatrics at the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic and completed fellowship training in hematology/oncology and neuro-oncology at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Following fellowship, Dr. Wetmore joined the faculty at Mayo Medical School in 2001 as an assistant professor, where she founded the first multi-disciplinary clinic for pediatric brain tumor patients. Dr. Wetmore had joint appointments in the Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Neurology. She provided clinical care to children battling brain tumors and also directed a basic research laboratory investigating the role of Sonic hedgehog pathway in the growth of normal and neoplastic neural stem cells.
In 2010, Dr. Wetmore was recruited back to St. Jude, where she directed the Developmental Therapeutics program for neuro-oncology and also served as director of the Molecular Clinical Trials Core, a shared resource that supports the conduct of clinical trials at St. Jude. In April 2014, Dr. Wetmore was recruited to the Department of Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine, where she served as the inaugural director for the newly established Center for Clinical and Translational Research for the Department of Pediatrics and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and vice chair for research in the Department of Pediatrics. She also served as the director of the Developmental Therapeutics Program at Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and was promoted to professor of pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine.
Dr. Wetmore is actively involved in bringing new, targeted agents to Phase I/II clinical trials for the treatment of children with cancer. While her clinical area of focus is providing care for children with central nervous system tumors, she brings more than two decades of basic science research experience to the design and conduct of molecularly-based therapeutic protocols for children. As division chief of the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Phoenix Children's, she will be responsible for the scientific and medical direction of the Center and mentoring faculty, fellows, advanced practice providers and nursing staff in the care of children with cancer and blood disorders. She will also continue to be active in providing clinical care to neuro-oncology patients and work to lead and increase the number of novel therapeutic clinical trials based at Phoenix Children's for children battling cancer and blood disorders.
Michael M. Etzl Jr., MD has been a member of the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Hematology/Oncology faculty since 1987. A native of Philadelphia, Dr. Etzl received his bachelor’s degree in Biology from LaSalle University and his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine. His pediatric residency training was at Emory University / Grady Memorial Hospital and his pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship training was at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Dr. Etzl is committed to improving the survival and quality of life for Arizona’s children through comprehensive, family centered care, education, and research. His special interest is in clinical research, specifically in the area of pediatric brain and spinal cord tumors. He is an active participant in the Children’s Neuro-Oncology Consortium as well as the Children’s Oncology Group and the Society of Neuro-Oncology. He is a member of the American Society of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, The Phoenix Pediatric Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Etzl is ABMS board certified in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Pediatrics.
P. David Adelson, MD, FACS, FAAP is the Medical Director of the Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and the Division Chief of Neurosurgery. An internationally recognized neurosurgical and neuroscience expert in head injury and epilepsy in children, Dr. Adelson has been a member of the Phoenix Children’s Hospital faculty since 2009. While at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, he served as the A. Leland Albright Professor of Neurosurgery/ Pediatric Neurosurgery and Vice Chairman, (Research) at the University of Pittsburgh - School of Medicine. He also served as the Director of Pediatric Neurotrauma, the Surgical Epilepsy Center, Brachial Plexus and Peripheral Nerve Center and Clinic, Center for Injury Research and Control, and Walter Copeland Neurosurgical Laboratory.
Dr. Adelson, whose work has been published in numerous medical and scientific journals, is the principal investigator of a National Institute of Health (NIH) clinical trial to evaluate whether hypothermia can improve the outcome for children following severe traumatic brain injury. His other clinical and research interests include pediatric epilepsy, brachial plexus and peripheral nerve injury, and pediatric brain tumors. He is active in multiple scientific and professional societies, including his participation with executive committees and leadership boards such as the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, AANS/ CNS Section on Neurotrauma and Critical Care, the American College of Surgeons, and the American Academy of Pediatrics to name a few.
Dr. Adelson also has been the recipient of multiple awards, including The Best Doctors in America, Young Investigators Award of the Brain Injury Association, Congress of Neurological Surgeons Clinical Investigation Award and Outstanding Physician Award. Dr. Adelson received his medical degree from Columbia University, and completed his neurosurgical residency program at the University of California, Los Angeles - School of Medicine as well as a fellowship in pediatric neurosurgery at Children's Hospital of Boston and Harvard Medical School in Boston. He is board certified in Neurological Surgery and Pediatric Neurosurgery.
Ruth Bristol, MD, is a pediatric neurosurgeon who made the transition to Phoenix Children's Hospital with the other pediatric specialty practitioners, and is proud to remain part of the Barrow Neurological Institute. She remains a member of the Barrow Children's Cleft and Craniofacial Center, which offers a team approach to children with craniosyonostosis and other skull anomalies. Dr. Bristol treats all areas of pediatric neurosurgery, including brain and spine tumors, neurotrauma, and developmental anomalies. Her research interests include brain tumors and craniosynostosis Dr. Bristol believes that a supportive and involved family is very important for healing in children. Many children do not have the ability to understand complex medical problems, so gaining their trust and making them feel safe are essential to providing good care.
David Shafron, MD, a pediatric neurosurgeon and fellow of American Association of Neurological Surgeons and Congress of Neurological Surgeons, has been published extensively, including authoring book chapters on gene therapy for cerebrovascular disease, approaches to the thoracic spine, and pediatric neurosurgery. He arrived at Phoenix Children’s in 2000, initially to receive additional training, and later joined the faculty. Dr. Shafron earned his medical degree at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, before completing an internship in General Surgery and residency in Neurosurgery at University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville, Florida. Shafron finished his training with fellowships in Pediatric Neurosurgery at University of Pittsburgh and the University of Arizona School of Medicine. He is board certified in Neurological Surgery and Pediatric Neurosurgery. Dr. Shafron has a special interest in the care of patients with cerebral palsy and other complex movement disorders, utilizing medication, Botox, intrathecal baclofen therapy, and more invasive techniques. His other areas of interest include minimally invasive correction of craniosynostosis, neuroendoscopy, and the management of hydrocephalus.
Neuro-Oncology Nurse Coordinator:
Annie Gieseking, RN, BSN, CPON is the Neuro-oncology Program Coordinator at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Gieseking, a native of Arizona, graduated from the University of Arizona in 1983 and has worked almost exclusively at Phoenix Children’s Hospital since then. She is a certified pediatric oncology nurse and a member of the Association of Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurses (APHON) both locally and nationally. She has been the treasurer of the local chapter for many years. Collaboratively with patients, families, physicians, and other health care providers she coordinates the multidisciplinary care of children and adolescents with primary CNS tumors. She works across the health care continuum and facilitates transitions between inpatient, outpatient, and community based care. Gieseking is fluent in Spanish, which is an asset to the team in caring for Spanish-speaking patients and families.
Clinical Research Coordinator:
Alan Holzkopf, M.Ed., CCRC