A photo of Meera Kotagal.

Meera Kotagal, MD, MPH

  • Director, Trauma Services
  • Pediatric Surgeon, Division of Pediatric General and Thoracic Surgery
  • Assistant Professor, UC Department of Surgery
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.
Meera Kotagal, MD, MPH



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.

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

MD: Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.

Residency: University of Washington, Seattle, WA.

Fellowship: Cincinnati Children's, Cincinnati, OH.


Pediatric surgery; trauma services; surgical oncology; colorectal surgery

Services and Specialties

Trauma Services, Surgery - General and Thoracic


Health equity; social determinants of health and injury

Research Areas

James M Anderson Center for Health Systems Excellence

Insurance Information

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Microaggressions: Privileged Observers' Duty to Act and What They Can Do. Hackworth, JM; Kotagal, M; Bignall, ON R; Unaka, N; Matheny Antommaria, AH. Pediatrics. 2021; 148:e2021052758.


Venous thromboembolic risk stratification in pediatric trauma: A Pediatric Trauma Society Research Committee multicenter analysis. Labuz, DF; Cunningham, A; Tobias, J; Dixon, A; Dewey, E; Marenco, CW; Escobar, MA; Hazeltine, MD; Cleary, MA; Kotagal, M; et al. Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery. 2021; 91:605-611.


Strategies for Trauma Centers to Address the Root Causes of Violence: Recommendations from the Improving Social Determinants to Attenuate Violence (ISAVE) Workgroup of the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma. Dicker, RA; Thomas, A; Bulger, EM; Stewart, RM; Bonne, S; Dechert, TA; Smith, R; Love-Craighead, A; Dreier, F; Kotagal, M; et al. Journal of the American College of Surgeons. 2021; 233:471-478.e1.


Admission for Isolated Low-Grade Solid Organ Injury May Not Be Necessary in Pediatric Patients. Butt, E; Kotagal, M; Shebesta, K; Bailey, A; Moody, S; Falcone, R. Journal of Trauma Nursing. 2021; 28:283-289.


Catching the red eye: A retrospective review of factors associated with retinal hemorrhage in child physical abuse. Casar Berazaluce, AM; Moody, S; Jenkins, T; Farooqui, Z; Shebesta, K; Kotagal, M; Falcone, RA. Journal of Pediatric Surgery. 2021; 56:1009-1012.


Gastroenteropancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors. Kotagal, M; von Allmen, D. Seminars in Pediatric Surgery. 2020; 29:150928.


Aggressive pediatric renal tumors. Kotagal, M; Geller, JI. Seminars in Pediatric Surgery. 2019; 28:150860.


Perioperative mortality rates in low-income 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.


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


Campaigns Against Ionizing Radiation and Changed Practice Patterns for Imaging Use in Pediatric Appendicitis. Richards, MK; Kotagal, M; Goldin, AB. JAMA Pediatrics. 2015; 169:720-721.

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