A photo of Meera Kotagal.

Pediatric Surgeon, Division of Pediatric General and Thoracic Surgery

Director, Pediatric Surgery Global Health Program

Assistant Professor, UC Department of Surgery


Board Certified

My Biography & Research


As a pediatric surgeon, I specialize in colorectal surgery, surgical oncology (renal tumors and neuroblastoma) and trauma. As part of my global surgery focus, I also work in Uganda, in partnership with Ugandan pediatric surgeons, to help strengthen the health care system’s ability to care for children with surgical diseases.

My approach to patient care is to do what is right for the patient. My focus is always on doing what is best for each child and their family. I believe that we must tailor what we do to account for each individual child’s values and preferences as well as those of the family.

I chose to be a physician and ultimately a pediatric surgeon because I care about equity and access to care. I want to ensure that all children have access to the care they need to live full, healthy lives — here in the US and abroad. I want to reduce the impact of poverty and the lack of resources on children’s health outcomes. Whether or not children live healthy lives shouldn’t depend on where or to whom they are born.

In 2020, I was chosen as one of four Future Trauma Leaders (FTL) in the US by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma (COT). Through the FTL program, I have opportunities on the COT to work on equity, diversity and inclusion as well as understanding social determinants of health and mitigating their impact on violence in our communities.

The focus of my research is on variations in care and reducing those variations. This work includes understanding disparities in care and outcomes. We seek to standardize how we care for patients so that we provide the best possible care for ALL children. We want to ensure that we close the gaps between people with and without resources — both in Cincinnati and worldwide — so that where children are born does not determine their health outcome.

I like to spend my free time with my family and to hike, ski, travel and be outdoors.

Clinical Interests

Trauma, pediatric colorectal surgery; pediatric surgical oncology; neonatal surgery

Academic Affiliation

Assistant Professor, UC Department of Surgery

Clinical Divisions

Inflammatory Bowel Disease IBD, Surgery - General and Thoracic

Research Divisions

General and Thoracic Surgery

My Locations

My Education

MD: Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, 2009

Residency: University of Washington, Seattle WA, 2009-2016

Research Fellowship: Surgical Outcomes Research Center (SORCE), University of Washington, Seattle WA

Fellowship: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio 2016-2018

MPH: Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 2014

My Publications

Selected Publication

Perioperative mortality rates in lowincome and middle-income countries: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Ng-Kamstra, JS; Arya, S; Greenberg, SL M; Kotagal, M; Arsenault, C; Ljungman, D; Yorlets, RR; Agarwal, A; Frankfurter, C; Nikouline, A; et al. BMJ Global Health. 2018; 3:e000810-e000810.

Thoracoscopic posterior tracheopexy for tracheomalacia: A minimally invasive technique. Polites, SF; Kotagal, M; Wilcox, LJ; de Alarcon, A; Benscoter, DT; von Allmen, D. Journal of Pediatric Surgery. 2018; 53:2357-2360.

Management of Pediatric Intestinal Failure. Wessel, J; Kotagal, M; Helmrath, MA. Advances in Pediatrics. 2017; 64:253-267.

Ketorolac use and postoperative complications in gastrointestinal surgery. Kotagal, M; Hakkarainen, TW; Simianu, VV; Beck, SJ; Alfonso-Cristancho, R; Flum, DR. Annals of Surgery. 2016; 263:71-75.

Global access to surgical care: A modelling study. Alkire, BC; Raykar, NP; Shrime, MG; Weiser, TG; Bickler, SW; Rose, JA; Nutt, CT; Greenberg, SL M; Kotagal, M; Riesel, JN; et al. The Lancet Global Health. 2015; 3:e316-e323.

Improving ultrasound quality to reduce computed tomography use in pediatric appendicitis: The Safe and Sound campaign. Kotagal, M; Richards, MK; Chapman, T; Finch, L; McCann, B; Ormazabal, A; Rush, RJ; Goldin, AB. American Journal of Surgery. 2015; 209:896-900.

Use and definitions of perioperative mortality rates in low-income and middle-income countries: a systematic review. Ng-Kamstra, JS; Greenberg, SL M; Kotagal, M; Palmqvist, CL; Lai, FY X; Bollam, R; Meara, JG; Gruen, RL. The Lancet. 2015; 385 Suppl 2:S29-S29.

Surgical delivery in under-resourced settings: Building systems and capacity around the corner and far away. Kotagal, M; Horvath, K. JAMA Surgery. 2015; 150:100-102.

Perioperative hyperglycemia and risk of adverse events among patients with and without diabetes. Kotagal, M; Symons, RG; Hirsch, IB; Umpierrez, GE; Dellinger, EP; Farrokhi, ET; Flum, DR. Annals of Surgery. 2015; 261:97-103.

Limited Impact on Health and Access to Care for 19- to 25-Year-Olds Following the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Kotagal, M; Carle, AC; Kessler, LG; Flum, DR. JAMA Pediatrics. 2014; 168:1023-1029.