Why Choose Us?

Experience and Comfort

Mother, child, & physicianWhether your child is in need of a common, minor procedure or a complex surgery, our team has the experience, expertise and training to take care of just about anything. Our goal is to not only to produce great outcomes, but to make you and your child comfortable during your time with us. We are passionate about what we do and take great pride in the lifelong relationships we build with our patients and their families.

  • Over 40 years combined experience of pediatric surgical experience
  • Performed over 10,000 children’s operation over the past five years
  • Ranked by U.S. New and World Report as a top Pediatric GI Surgery Program
  • Top Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia program in the country

Innovative Research

In addition to our great patient experience and expertise, we are a part of an academic medical center. This means we lead research efforts that push children’s medical care forward. We conduct multidisciplinary research studies and collaborate with other medical professionals around the country and around the world. These studies lead us to new methods of treatment and new surgical techniques that improve comfort, outcomes, and even survival. Here are just a few highlights of our research efforts:

  • Our pediatric surgical team leads clinical research that advances the treatment of congenital diaphragmatic hernia, a potentially fatal birth defect. The UF Health team has published widely, including survival rates that lead the nation, and bring patients from around the country seeking treatment at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital.
  • Dr. Saleem Islam leads a national database on newborn abdominal wall defects, gastroschisis and omphalocele, which is defining the best techniques to assure the best outcomes in these areas.
  • Dr. Shawn Larson’s research work focuses around necrotizing enterocolitis, the leading cause of sepsis and death in newborns. He is defining the deficits in the newborn immune system that can lead to such overwhelming and life-threatening infections. 

Teaching the Surgical Leaders of Tomorrow

We also train medical students, residents and even fellows, who are board-certified general surgeons that are steps away from their own certification in pediatric surgery. Does this educational role compromise the care your child in anyway?  Simply put, no, it enhances the care of your child. 

We are all parents ourselves. Our first and highest responsibility is the safety of your child. The people we train watch carefully over your loved one, greatly extending the reach of our eyes, our ears and our hands. None of us could embrace teaching if it lessened the care for your child, but in fact it does the opposite.

Our pediatric surgery fellowship program includes all of the traditional realms in pediatric surgery, with special attention to minimally invasive techniques, neonatal surgery including congenital diaphragmatic hernia, ECMO, burn and trauma care, and oncologic surgery. The graduates of our residency program have gone on to pursue academic surgical careers. We are proud to develop well-rounded pediatric surgeons who excel in patient care and in research that will advance surgical care for all. 

Why choose us?  A note from the Director

Dr. Saleem IslamWe know you want the best for your child. So why trust the pediatric surgical team at UF Health?

First, each of our surgeons is board-certified in pediatric surgery. We were trained and board certified in general surgery first, then spent an additional two years training in children’s surgery only. Finally, we each passed rigorous tests to obtain board certification specifically in pediatric surgery. There is no substitute for a board-certified pediatric surgeon caring for your child. 

Second, every children's hospital in the country is clamoring for academic affiliation. The marriage of clinical care with academics defines the pinnacle of medical care. At UF Health Shands Children's Hospital, we ARE an academic institution, not merely affiliated with one. It’s part of our DNA, and your child benefits from our innate drive to find a better way.

We know that given the need, you would travel great distances to get the best care for your child. Well, that’s just what families do from all over Florida to get to us, some even travelling across the entire country.

These are just some of the reasons so many families have chosen us to care for their children over the years, and we thank them, and you, for your trust. Rest assured, we will care for your child as if they were our own. 


Saleem Islam, MD
Chief, Pediatric Surgery
UF Health