A photo of Jilda N. Vargus-Adams.

Attending Physician, Division of Rehabilitation Medicine

MBB Program Director for Cerebral Palsy

Professor, UC Department of PediatricsUC Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine



Board Certified

Best Doctors logo

"I believe that every child, including those with cerebral palsy, should get to live the biggest life possible. We can’t cure cerebral palsy, but we can listen to kids and their families and help them find ways to reach their potential and be happy."

My Biography & Research


I am a pediatric rehabilitation doctor who specializes in cerebral palsy. I’m board certified in pediatrics and in physical medicine and rehabilitation. I also hold a certificate in pediatric rehabilitation medicine.

I believe that every child, including those with cerebral palsy, should get to live the biggest life possible. We can’t cure cerebral palsy, but we can listen to kids and their families and help them find ways to reach their potential and be happy.

I have always enjoyed spending time with children, and from the time I was a teenager I planned to be a pediatrician. While in medical school, I discovered how rewarding it was to work with children with special needs. I was drawn to pediatric rehabilitation medicine because it lets me have long-term relationships with my patients and their families, and I can help ensure that they meet their goals.

At Cincinnati Children’s, our interdisciplinary cerebral palsy team clinics are unique. We have truly specialized providers from across the medical center who work together with families in real time so that kids have their issues identified and addressed in an ideal and efficient fashion. We offer virtually every treatment that is shown to benefit children with cerebral palsy, and we provide all these benefits to every child we see.

Working with children with disabilities, especially as director of our Cerebral Palsy Clinic, has given me the opportunity to witness incredible achievements and to appreciate the little victories as well. I believe that our interdisciplinary care models really do work better for our patients and that together we can do so much more than we can individually. Cincinnati Children's has built an amazing team of providers that really does enable kids with cerebral palsy to live their biggest lives.

In 2019, I was honored to be the president of the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine. In 2020, I will assume a position on the American Academy of Pediatrics Executive Committee for the Council on Children with Disabilities. I am also a member of the Board of Directors for Stepping Stones, a Cincinnati advocacy group providing services for people with disabilities.

In addition to helping patients, I’m involved in research that explores new methods for identifying cerebral palsy early and providing the best possible treatments at the right time. My colleagues and I are also seeking to learn which treatments work best, for which kids and when.

In my spare time, I have two teenage daughters who keep me busy and entertained with their many endeavors. I like to cook, knit and run, and I also enjoy traveling, particularly when it allows me to indulge my love of historic architecture.

Clinical Interests

Cerebral palsy; epidemiology; evidence-based practice

Research Interests

Use of medication for spasticity in cerebral palsy; health-related quality of life in cerebral palsy; outcomes research in cerebral palsy; clinical effectiveness in cerebral palsy 

Academic Affiliation

Professor, UC Department of PediatricsUC Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine

Clinical Divisions

Rehabilitation Medicine, Cerebral Palsy

Research Divisions


My Locations

My Education

BA: Brown University, Providence, RI, 1990.

MD: Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, 1995.

MS: Harvard School of Public Health, Epidemiology, Boston, MA, 2002.

Residency: Pediatrics / Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, 1995-2000.

Fellowship: Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine Research, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, 2000-2002

Certification: Pediatrics, 2000.

Sub-specialty: Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 2001; Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine, 2007.

My Publications

Selected Publication

International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) as a framework for change: revolutionizing rehabilitation. Vargus-Adams, JN; Majnemer, A. Journal of Child Neurology. 2014; 29:1030-1035.

Population pharmacokinetics of oral baclofen in pediatric patients with cerebral palsy. He, Y; Brunstrom-Hernandez, JE; Thio, LL; Lackey, S; Gaebler-Spira, D; Kuroda, MM; Stashinko, E; Jr, HA H; Vargus-Adams, J; Stevenson, RD; et al. Journal of Pediatrics. 2014; 164:1181-1188.e8.

The GMFM, PEDI, and CP-QOL and perspectives on functioning from children with CP, parents, and medical professionals. Vargus-Adams, JN; Martin, LK; Maignan, SH; Klein, AC; Salisbury, S. Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine. 2011; 4:3-12.

Homozygous mutation in SAMHD1 gene causes cerebral vasculopathy and early onset stroke. Xin, B; Jones, S; Puffenberger, EG; Hinze, C; Bright, A; Tan, H; Zhou, A; Wu, G; Vargus-Adams, J; Agamanolis, D; et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2011; 108:5372-5377.

Domains of importance for parents, medical professionals and youth with cerebral palsy considering treatment outcomes. Vargus-Adams, JN; Martin, LK. Child: Care, Health and Development. 2011; 37:276-281.

Pharmacologic treatment of spasticity in children. Tilton, A; Vargus-Adams, J; Delgado, MR. Seminars in Pediatric Neurology. 2010; 17:261-267.

Practice parameter: pharmacologic treatment of spasticity in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy (an evidence-based review): report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology and the Practice Committee of the Child Neurology Society. Delgado, MR; Hirtz, D; Aisen, M; Ashwal, S; Fehlings, DL; McLaughlin, J; Morrison, LA; Shrader, MW; Tilton, A; Vargus-Adams, J. Neurology. 2010; 74:336-343.

Measuring what matters in cerebral palsy: a breadth of important domains and outcome measures. Vargus-Adams, JN; Martin, LK. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2009; 90:2089-2095.

Understanding function and other outcomes in cerebral palsy. Vargus-Adams, J. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America. 2009; 20:567-575.

Health-related quality of life in childhood cerebral palsy. Vargus-Adams, J. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2005; 86:940-945.