Heart Transplant Team :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Patrick McConnell, MD - Surgical Director, Lung and Heart-Lung Transplant Program

Photo of Dr. Patrick McConnell

Patrick McConnell, MD, Attending Surgeon, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Assistant Professor of Surgery, The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

Dr. McConnell received his medical degree from University of Nebraska Medical Center and completed Surgery residency at the University of Utah. He completed fellowships at New York Medical College, Oregon Health & Science University, The Ohio State University Medical Center and Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Dr. McConnell’s clinical interests include congenital cardiothoracic surgery to include adult congenital heart disease and pediatric mechanical assist devices. His primary research interests involve the use of mechanical assist devices and associated therapies targeting heart recovery.

Mark Galantowicz, MD - Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Lung and Heart-Lung Transplant Program

Mark Galantowicz, MD

Mark Galantowicz, MD, is the Surgical Director of the Lung, Heart, and Heart-Lung Transplant Programs at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He is also the Co-director of Nationwide Children’s Heart Center, Chief of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Nationwide Children’s and an associate professor of Surgery at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. After receiving his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania, he was awarded the Fulbright Scholarship to conduct molecular biology research at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. He received his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College and completed his surgical training, including a fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery, at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. His clinical interests are in the areas of cardiopulmonary transplantation and the surgical repair of newborns with heart disease. His research interests focus on the development of innovative, less-invasive strategies for the management of cardiopulmonary disease.

Robert Gajarski, MD - Medical Director, Heart Failure & Heart Transplant Program

Robert J. Gajarskik MD, MHSA, FAAP, FACC
Robert J. Gajarski, MD, MHSA, FAAP, FACC, is Section Chief of The Heart Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and a Professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. After graduating from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, he completed his pediatric residency at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA, followed by a fellowship in Pediatric Cardiology at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, TX. Dr. Gajarski’s research interests include clinical research in the area of heart failure and cardiac transplantation, cardiac critical care medicine, and health care reform post ACA implementation. Dr. Gajarski is board certified in Pediatrics and Pediatric Cardiology.

Deipanjan Nandi - Physician Team, Heart Failure & Heart Transplant Program

Deipanjan Nandi, MD Deipanjan "Deip" Nandi, MD, is a cardiologist with the Heart Transplant & Heart Failure Program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Originally from Fort Worth, Texas, he went on to receive an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from Harvard University, and his medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine. He also obtained a Master’s of Science in Health Policy as a US-UK Fulbright Scholar from the London School of Economics. Dr. Nandi completed his internship and residency at CS Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan. He then moved to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where he completed his general cardiology fellowship as well as an advanced fellowship in Heart Transplant & Heart Failure. His clinical interests include pediatric heart failure, cardiomyopathies, transplantation and mechanical circulatory support. His research interests include comparative-effectiveness research focusing on the management of pediatric heart disease, as well as outcomes research in pediatric heart transplantation.

Christina Phelps, MD - Transplant Cardiologist, Heart Transplant Program

Photo of Dr. Christina Phelps

Christina Phelps, MD, Pediatric Cardiologist and Cardiac Intensivist, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

Dr. Phelps is an assistant professor of Pediatrics and a member of the Section of Cardiac Critical Care Medicine and the Heart Transplant Program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University College of Medicine. She received her medical degree from SUNY Upstate Medical University. After completing her pediatric residency at Virginia Commonwealth University, her postgraduate training included a pediatric cardiology fellowship followed by an additional year of fellowship in cardiac critical care at The Children’s Hospital in Denver. Her research interests include mechanical and pharmacological support prior to and following heart transplantation, acute graft rejection, and acute kidney injury after cardiac surgery.

Heather Missler RN, BSN – Heart Failure/Heart Transplant Coordinator

Heather Missler is a registered nurse who completed her Bachelor of Science in nursing at Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio. She provides clinical care to infants and children with heart failure including cardiomyopathy, complex congenital heart disease and heart transplant. She is an active member of the National Association of Transplant Professionals (NATCO) and the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplant (ISHLT).

Tina Cole MSW, LISW – Heart Transplant Social Worker


Tina Cole is a licensed independent social worker who earned her Bachelors of Art degree in psychology at Wittenberg University and her Master of Social Work degree from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Tina has worked as a social worker at Nationwide Children's Hospital for the past four years. Her clinical interests include improving the quality of life of post transplant patients, creating patient to patient support groups and helping patients transition back to school or work after transplant.

Julie Miller, Pharm D - Heart Transplant Clinical Pharmacist


Julie Miller, PharmD is the Clinical Pharmacy Specialist for the transplant team at Nationwide Children's Hospital. She is also an adjunct clinical assistant professor with both Ohio Northern University and The Ohio State Univeristy Colleges of Pharmacy. She earned her Doctor of Pharmacy degree at the Mercer University Southern School of Pharmacy in Atlanta Geogia and completed a Pediatric Pharmacy Practice Residency at Nationwide Children's Hospital. Julie is the Clinical Pharmacy Specialist for the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU), the inpatient cardiac unit and Heart, Lung and Heart-Lung transplant patients. Her clinical interests include thoracic organ transplant, medication management of the pediatric, young adult and adult patient with congenital heart disease and medication teaching.

Other Members of Our Team and Their Role in your Care Include:

Anesthesiologists: These physicians administer the general anesthesia that will put you to sleep for the surgery. Throughout the surgery the anesthesiologists will monitor your blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen saturation.

Cardiologists: These are the physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease. Patients requiring a cardiac evaluation will see the cardiologist for the pre-transplant evaluation.

Nurse Clinician/Discharge Planner: Works in collaboration with the transplant coordinator to plan and implement any discharge needs. This includes OT,PT, nursing services, equipment,  and follow up appointments.

Cardio-Thoracic Surgical Nurse Clinician: Are nurses who are the liaison between the surgeons, cardiologist and referring primary doctors. They provide pre-operative teaching for patients and families about surgical wounds and expected medical equipment used in the ICU setting following surgery.

Nursing Staff: Nurses in the Cardiothoracic ICU and C5 step down unit are experienced in the care of children and adults who have complex congenital heart disease and have undergone open heart surgery including heart transplant.  Nurses communicate with physicians regarding patient status, tend to the patients needs during hospitalization and provide patient teaching

Respiratory and physical therapists: The therapists will work with you to develop an individualized pulmonary rehabilitation exercise program. These exercises may include walking, biking and using a treadmill. The purpose of this is to get you as strong as possible before transplant. Pre-transplant pulmonary rehabilitation has been proven to make recovery after transplant easier.

Psychiatrists/Psychologists: These are the physicians who are trained in psychiatry and psychology. They will meet with you prior to the transplant surgery and will be available for ongoing counseling if needed.

Dietician: The dietician will help you achieve and maintain optimum nutritional status that will help minimize your recovery time.

Financial Coordinator: The financial coordinator, along with the nurse transplant coordinator and the social worker, will assist you in all aspects of coordinating your financial and insurance concerns and questions.

Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000