Henley Smrt didn’t arrive in this world easily. She was born with a hole in her diaphragm. Her intestines were in her chest cavity. And she had only a 20 percent chance of survival.

As soon as she was born, she needed the support of an ECMO machine that acted as her heart and lungs until she was strong enough to breathe on her own. Now Henley is a toddler who loves books and is starting to talk. 

Henley’s success story is just one of many achieved every day by our advanced neonatology program, which was ranked No. 12 in the nation in the 2016-17 list of Best Children’s Hospitals published by U.S. News & World Report.

We provide care to more than 21,000 newborns born each year at 14 hospitals in and near Cincinnati. We also care for more than 2,500 critically ill infants a year at five neonatal intensive care units. We support the tiniest preterm infants and we provide advanced surgical care to newborns with the rarest, most complex birth defects.

Our Division of Neonatology is part of the Perinatal Institute at Cincinnati Children’s, which also includes our divisions of Perinatal Biology, Reproductive Sciences, Pulmonary Biology, Developmental Biology and the Cincinnati Fetal Center.

“We strive to provide the best clinical care for all newborns, including those with complex conditions, says James Greenberg, MD, co-director of the Perinatal Institute. “We conduct fundamental research to determine the causes of preterm birth and birth defects, and we are working with community partners throughout our region to improve access to high-quality prenatal care and optimize pregnancy outcomes.”

Why We Stand Out

  • Our regional newborn care system is unique in the United States. By staffing all of the major birthing centers in Greater Cincinnati, we get a bird’s-eye view of the care provided to an entire community of newborns and we can introduce innovations at a wider scale than most other neonatology programs. 
  • We are international leaders in developmental and reproductive research. Our 60-member faculty receives more than $10 million in direct annual grant support. Our work includes discovering genetic and molecular factors that can set the stage for adult diseases and continued improvements to treatments such as artificial surfactant, which has saved thousands of preterm infants born with underdeveloped lungs. 
  • Our leading role in the Cradle Cincinnati program is reducing social causes of infant mortality by educating families about smoking cessation, safe sleep, and spacing out pregnancies. Meanwhile, our Center for Prevention of Preterm Birth studies the genetic factors and other causes that may explain the stubbornly high numbers of premature births in Greater Cincinnati. 
  • Our Familial Preterm Birth Clinic helps women at high risk of preterm delivery with preconception counseling, early pregnancy planning and other strategies to prevent early labor and premature birth. 
  • And our new Milk Lab promotes infant health by providing sterile, safe storage of breast milk for use when infants receive intensive care.