A photo of Laura Ward.

Medical Director, Mercy Hospital Anderson Nurseries

Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



Board Certified

"My goals are to build a partnership with families and provide compassionate, evidence-based, patient-centered care."

My Biography & Research


As a neonatologist, or baby doctor, I take care of healthy, full-term newborns and preterm and sick infants. I also have an interest in breastfeeding medicine, and I enjoy working with families to reach their breastfeeding goals.

I was inspired to be a physician by my grandfather, who was a surgeon here in Cincinnati. But my grandmother, who worked in the lab at a pediatrician's office, led me to the field of pediatrics.

My goals are to build a partnership with families and provide compassionate, evidence-based, patient-centered care. I feel close to families with sick newborns since I was also the mother of a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). My oldest son was born prematurely and had immature lungs.

I received the Cardosi Physician of the Year Award at Mercy Hospital Anderson in November 2014. This award, named after its first recipient Dr. John F. Cardosi, recognizes a member of the medical staff who demonstrates excellence in the practice of medicine and a commitment to serve the community. I was also selected as the Medical Honoree at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction in November 2017.

In my research, I am involved in several quality improvement collaboratives to increase the amount of breast milk that babies receive. My research focuses on understanding why some mothers struggle with low milk supply and finding ways to improve it. I have also participated in studies to determine the best ways to treat Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome (NOWS). This syndrome is caused by exposure to certain drugs before birth — usually opioids — although some prescription drugs can also cause NOWS. The baby then goes through withdrawal after birth.

During my spare time, I enjoy running, cooking, hiking with my family and music.

Clinical Interests

Neonatology; quality improvement; breastfeeding; necrotizing enterocolitis

Research Interests

Neonatal abstinence syndrome; breastfeeding

Academic Affiliation

Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics

Clinical Divisions

Neonatology, Perinatal

Research Divisions


My Education

MD: St. Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, 1994.

Residency: Pediatrics, Children’s National Medical Center, Washington DC, 1994-1997.

Fellowship: Neonatology, Children’s National Medical Center, Washington DC, 1997-2000.

Certifications: Pediatrics, 1997; Neonatology, 2003; International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, 2013.

My Publications

Breastfeeding Disparities and Their Mediators in an Urban Birth Cohort of Black and White Mothers. Morrow, AL; Mcclain, J; Conrey, SC; Niu, L; Kinzer, A; Cline, AR; Piasecki, AM; Defranco, E; Ward, L; Ware, J; et al. Breastfeeding Medicine. 2021; 16:452-462.

Predictors of the Provision of Mother's Milk Feedings in Newborns Admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Piwoszkin, LM; Corley, M; Meganathan, K; Narendran, V; Nommsen-Rivers, L; Ward, LP. Breastfeeding Medicine. 2021.

Impact of Institutional Breastfeeding Support in Very Low-Birth Weight Infants. Ward, LP; Tonnis, R; Otuneye, AT; Clemens, N; Akinbi, H; Morrow, AL. Breastfeeding Medicine. 2021; 16:238-244.

First-Day Use of the Newborn Weight Loss Tool to Predict Excess Weight Loss in Breastfeeding Newborns. Smith, AP; Ward, LP; Heinig, MJ; Dewey, KG; Nommsen-Rivers, LA. Breastfeeding Medicine. 2021; 16:230-237.

Physiologic Indirect Response Modeling to Describe Buprenorphine Pharmacodynamics in Newborns Treated for Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome. Mizuno, T; McPhail, BT; Kamatkar, S; Wexelblatt, S; Ward, L; Christians, U; Akinbi, HT; Vinks, AA. Clinical Pharmacokinetics. 2021; 60:249-259.

Reply to Letter to the Editor by Frank Nice. Nommsen-Rivers, L; King, E; Wagner, E; Riddle, S; Ward, L; Thompson, A. Journal of Human Lactation. 2020; 36.

Pharmacokinetics of Oral Methadone in the Treatment of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome: A Pilot Study. Wiles, JR; Isemann, B; Mizuno, T; Tabangin, ME; Ward, LP; Akinbi, H; Vinks, AA. Journal of Pediatrics. 2020; 167:1214-20.e3.

Buprenorphine pharmacotherapy for the management of neonatal abstinence syndrome in methadone‐exposed neonates. Taleghani, AA; Isemann, BT; Rice, WR; Ward, LP; Wedig, KE; Akinbi, HT. 2019; 1:33-38.

Feasibility and Acceptability of Metformin to Augment Low Milk Supply: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. Nommsen-Rivers, L; Thompson, A; Riddle, S; Ward, L; Wagner, E; King, E. Journal of Human Lactation. 2019; 35:261-271.

Contribution of Maternal Obesity to Medically Indicated and Elective Formula Supplementation in a Baby-Friendly Hospital. Colling, K; Ward, L; Beck, A; Nommsen-Rivers, LA. Breastfeeding Medicine. 2019; 14:236-242.