Current Fellow

Amy Lawrence, MD. Amy is a general surgery resident at the University of Rochester in New York.  She is currently a research fellow at Nationwide Children’s Hospital under the mentorship of Drs. Deans and Minneci. Prior to studying medicine, she was the director of a non-profit organization for impoverished indigenous children in Guatemala and did research in maternal-fetal medicine. Her current research dossier focuses on the surgical care of adolescent females. Specifically she is currently studying methods for reducing unnecessary oophorectomies in pediatric patients with ovarian masses; understanding disparities in the diagnosis and treatment of abdominal pain in adolescent girls at children’s hospitals compared to hospitals that primarily treat adults; and evaluating racial and gender- based disparities in opioid prescribing following surgery.

​​​​Avery's Angels Fellowship 



Katie Bergus, MD is the current fellow. Katie is a general surgery resident at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. She is currently a research fellow at Nationwide Children’s Hospital under the mentorship of Dr. Peter Minneci. Prior to her entry into medicine, she was a successful national competitor and coach of high school and collegiate speech and debate. Her current research dossier focuses on pediatric trauma and burns care and treatment of ovarian neoplasms in children. 

The inaugural Fellowship has been made in Honor of Navaiah Fulk. This fellowship is specifically designed to study the outcomes of patients with gastroschisis within the Mid-West Pediatric Surgical Consortium (MWPSC). Avery’s Angels intend to fund this program for the lifetime of the foundation. The inaugural Fellow selected is Charlene Dekonenko MD –a current surgical resident that will hold the title as Avery’s Angels Gastroschisis Foundation Fellowship in memory of Navaiah Fulk.


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Midwest Pediatric Surgery Consortium

Amelia Rogers, MD. Amelia is a general surgery resident at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. She is currently a research fellow at Indiana University under the mentorship of Dr. Matthew Landman. Concurrently, she is the guidelines fellow for the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) and an American College of Surgeons-Accredited Education Institute (ACS-AEI) surgical education research fellow. Prior to her entry into medicine, she was a Division I college athlete in Equestrian. Her current research dossier focuses on the pediatric trauma care and the treatment of pilonidal disease in children. Specifically, she is currently studying how the COVID-19 pandemic affected injury patterns and trauma care in kids and the effectiveness of the GIPS procedure in children.​

Past Fellows

James A. Fraser, MD was born in Montreal, Canada and grew up in Los Angeles, California where he completed his undergraduate training at the University of Southern California (USC). He attended medical school in Hamden, Connecticut at the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine and has finished his third year of General Surgery training at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is currently a research fellow in the Surgical Scholars Program within the department of pediatric surgery at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. 

 James is currently working on a study titled: “Evaluating the Risk of Peri-Umbilical Hernia after Sutured or Sutureless Gastroschisis Closure” and will present this data at the American College of Surgeons 2021 Clinical Congress with submission of a manuscript of the same title in the near future.



Charlene J. Dekonenko, MD of Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City (CMH) was selected for the Fellowship as she has been an excellent research fellow this year at CMH and will continue on as a research fellow with us next year as well. She is incredibly hard working, diligent, and focused and is able to produce excellent research.
Charlene was born in Texas and did her undergraduate training in San Antonio, TX at St. Mary’s University. She then went to medical school at University of New Mexico and has finished her third year general surgery resident at the University of Kansas. She has taken time off from her general surgery residency to pursue additional training in pediatric surgery research as a Surgical Scholar at Children’s Mercy Kansas City. Dr. Dekonenko is married and has one young child
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Midwest Pediatric Surgery Consortium Research Scholar Application

 The MWPSC is seeking applicants for its Research Scholarship who are highly motivated, intelligent, hard-working, and committed to improving the outcomes of pediatric surgical patients through rigorous clinical research. The MWPSC Research Scholarship is a two-year position with potential for partial funding and is focused on the development of multi-institutional clinical research skills through the design, execution, and management of projects across the 11 member institutions of the MWPSC. Applicants who have completed at least 2 years of clinical training can apply from any ACGME accredited general surgical training program. Scholars should be planning on performing their research years with a PI from one of the MWPSC institutions, where their primary mentorship will occur. The host institution is responsible for the salary support in full, unless funding, up to 25% is approved by the committee and will be reviewed on a case by case basis. The scholar’s research portfolio will include a variety of clinical research projects reflective of a diverse group of methodologies in order to ensure a broad-based educational experience in clinical research. Scholars will have the opportunity to collaborate with principal investigators from all MWPSC sites and will attend the biannual in-person MWPSC meetings. Scholars may attend educational seminars and courses on research methods, analytic techniques, scientific writing, grant preparation, and career development with support from their host institution.

Next fellowship application will begin in Fall, 2023 for a position beginning July 1, 2024. 

Avery Angels past fellows


​Derek R. Marlor, MD is the current fellow. He was born in Colorado Springs Co and grew up in the outdoors hunting, fishing, and playing sports period he completed his undergraduate training at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT. He attended medical school at the University of Colorado in Aurora, CO. He completed his third year of general surgery training at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas. He's currently a research fellow in the Surgical Scholars Program within the Department of Pediatric Surgery at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO 

Derek is currently working on evaluating the outcomes of necrotizing enterocolitis in patients with gastroschisis, as well as evaluating the treatment of intestinal atresia in patients with gastroschisis. Additionally, Derek has research interests in trauma and education.