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Clinical Services

The state-of-the-art neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Brenner Children’s Hospital provides the highest level of patient care in the region to critically ill infants and newborn babies. Each year, more than 450 infants from throughout northwest North Carolina, southwest Virginia and eastern Tennessee receive exceptional care from the doctors and other health care professionals at Brenner Children's NICU. The treatments we provide, using the latest in technology and clinical advancements, are individualized and customized to each newborn’s specific needs. 

Our expansive health care professional team includes doctors specially trained in neonatology and a range of other multidisciplinary experts, including pediatric surgeons, nurse specialists, pharmacologists, nutritionists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, lactation consultants, social workers and pastoral counselors. 

Expert Clinical Professionals Providing the Best Possible Care for Your Child 

Cherrie Dawn Welch, M.D.The Brenner Children's NICU is led by Cherrie D. Welch, MD, MPH, who is the medical director for both the NICU and Brenner Children’s intermediate nursery. Throughout her medical career, Dr. Welch has focused exclusively on the health of newborns and infants. She and her team work closely with you to ensure we maintain the highest level of communication about your baby’s care. 

Dr. Welch, the 12 other specially trained neonatology clinicians and the many nurses and support staff at the NICU are committed to ensuring that your child receives the best possible care. 

Other Services 

In addition to the NICU, Brenner Children's provides a range of other services for critically ill infants and newborns: 

NICU Follow-up Program

Located at Amos Cottage, the Follow-up Program is specially designed to provide long-term follow-up care for infants who were patients of a NICU. The program's multidisciplinary team monitors your child’s emotional and physical development carefully. Our experts spot problems early, if they arise, and take steps to help your child get back on track. 

Discharge Planning 

From the moment your baby becomes a patient at Brenner Children's, our team begins the process of creating a discharge plan. We work closely with you to make sure that when your child is discharged, all of your questions are answered and you are fully prepared to provide the needed care for your child at home. There are two private parenting rooms in the NICU where you will be able to stay with your baby before he or she is discharged. This helps you start to feel comfortable providing independent care for your child, while still having access to a full medical staff just outside your door, if needed. 

Kangaroo Care 

Kangaroo Care is a type of therapy in which there is skin-to-skin contact between you and your baby. In this treatment, your baby is held upright against your bare chest for at least one hour. Research has shown that there are many benefits to this novel type of therapy. 

  • It can decrease the time a baby stays in the hospital. 
  • Babies treated with Kangaroo Care have fewer pauses in their breathing and a lower heart rate. 
  • Direct bonding with your child helps him or her through this very stressful time. 
  • Kangaroo Care gives you a more in-depth level of participation in your baby’s care. 

Ask your nurse to show you how to provide Kangaroo Care; we’re here to help you use this unique and special therapy with your baby. 

Birth Defects (Congenital Anomalies) 

An entire team at Brenner Children's is dedicated just to the treatment of birth defects, health conditions that occur while a baby is developing in the womb. Our expert health care professionals work closely with expecting mothers and their doctors to develop a plan of care for when the baby is born. 

Lactation Consulting 

Starting to breastfeed can be a stressful experience for a new mother and a simple consultation with a lactation consultant can make a big difference. Our lactation consultants work with new mothers every day to answer questions, provide guidance and support and answer questions about breastfeeding strategies, breast pumps and storing breast milk for babies. 

Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) 

ECMO support provides oxygen to neonatal and young children during periods of time when their hearts and lungs are not working properly. The ECMO circuit at Brenner Children’s is staffed by a team of trained specialists that uses this powerful treatment system to make sure our pediatric patients receive optimal oxygenation. Our ECMO program is one of the busiest in the nation. 

Transport Team 

Each year, more than 450 infants and children are transported to Brenner Children's NICU via Wake Forest Baptist Health’s specially equipped transport ambulances and AirCare. Wake Forest Baptist’s transport team consists of experienced registered nurses and respiratory therapists who specialize in the care of critically ill children. The transport team’s scope of expertise includes advanced intubations, the placement of intravascular catheters and chest tube placement. Care is provided at the referring community hospital and during the patient’s transfer to Brenner Children's. 

Brenner Children’s Transport Team’s is one of just 3 critical care transport teams in North Carolina that is capable of transporting a baby on Inhaled Nitric Oxide (INO).

Care AlwaysTM Support Group

Care AlwaysTM is a support program for families that have a fetus or baby that is diagnosed, in-utero or after birth with a life-limiting condition. The program provides care that focuses on quality of life for infants with complex medical conditions and end of life care for dying infants and their families. Christine Bishop, MD, a neonatologist and director of Brenner Children’s neonatal and perinatal palliative care program created the Care Always program two years ago. Her support team now includes a nurse practitioner clinician and coordinator as well as parent and community partners. 

If your community group is interested in helping to raise awareness for the Care Always program, please email us. You can also make a donation to support families in this program. 

  • Neonatology (NICU)
  • 336-713-6428

  • Hours

    24 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week