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About Us


The Walter R. G. Baker Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is located on the ninth floor of the hospital's Irving unit. As you enter the NICU, you may find yourself in a place that is different from anywhere you've ever been. The unfamiliar sights and sounds of high-tech medical equipment may be overwhelming. Both you and your baby are experiencing a new world for the first time — together.

To help you through this journey, Crouse's NICU team - the most experienced in the region - is committed to providing care specific to the needs of you and your baby. So, while we work tirelessly to ensure that your newborn grows and develops properly, you'll be able to witness his or her young life unfold right before your eyes. In stages, you will be able to hold your baby, feed your baby and be a partner in the care of your baby, right in the NICU.

Our state-of-the-art facility houses 57-beds (isolettes), where we treat more than 900 critically ill and premature infants each year. Here, in a nurturing environment, our fragile patients receive the personalized care that allows them to thrive.

Who We Serve

New York State Regional Perinatal Center

Crouse Hospital is the Regional Perinatal Center for the Central New York region. As a designated Regional Perinatal Center, Crouse is dedicated to working with the New York State Department of Health and our 19 affiliate hospitals to continuously promote healthy outcomes for women and children within the 15 different counties we serve. The region spans from St. Lawrence County in the northern part of the state, to Broome and Tioga counties in the southern tier.

Even if you don't live in Syracuse, you can still receive the exceptional care offered by the Crouse Hospital NICU. An average of 70% of our neonates are born at Crouse, but approximately 30% of NICU babies are transported by the Crouse NICU team from our affiliated birthing hospitals throughout the region.


In New York State, hospitals providing maternity services are designated by one of four levels based on the ability to provide care for pregnant women and newborns. Crouse Hospital is designated as a Level IV hospital.

  • Level I - Low risk mothers and newborns
  • Level II - Moderate risk mothers and newborns (must have a "special care" nursery)
  • Level III - High risk mothers and newborns (must have sub-specialty care/neonatal intensive care nursery "NICU")
  • Level IV - Regional Perinatal Center (RPC) - Highest risk mothers and newborns. Provides consultation and support, the highest available technology for diagnosis and treatment of sick mothers and newborns, maternal and newborn transport, education and quality of care in affiliated hospitals.

Central New York Regional Perinatal Center

The Central New York Regional Perinatal Program (CNY-RPP) aims to promote healthy outcomes for women and children by ensuring that high-risk mothers and their infants have timely access to a continuum of specialized care.


To learn more about the programs and services of the Central New York Regional Perinatal Program/Center, please contact one of the Regional Perinatal Nurse Coordinators for the Central New York Region:

  • Janet N. Press, RNC,BSN,CT, the Perinatal/Obstetrical Coordinator and its Perinatal Bereavement Services Coordinator: 315/470-7372.
  • Lynn Givas, RN, Perinatal/Neonatal Coordinator: 315/470-7687.

Transport/Reverse Transfer Services

Our Transport Team, including specially trained neonatal nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists, and occasionally a physician or a nurse practitioner, will provide the safe transport of your newborn to and from Crouse Hospital from an outlying hospital.

Meet Our Specialists

The NICU Team
Your baby will need constant care from a specially trained team of staff during your stay in the NICU. Here are some of the many different people you may meet, depending on your baby’s needs.
Parents are the most important member of the team! If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to ask your bedside nurse or any other member of your baby’s medical team!
Registered Nurse
The bedside nurses will care for your baby 24 hours a day. Nurses are the first person to ask if you have concerns or questions about your baby’s care. They will closely monitor your baby’s condition and feed, diaper, and provide other needed care; they will help you to learn the best way to care for your baby.
Lactation Consultant
Lactation consultants are trained to focus on the breastfeeding needs of the mother and baby. They can help you with breastfeeding and pumping.
Charge Nurses
Charge Nurses are the shift to shift leaders who coordinate the daily flow of the nursery and support the nursing staff, parents and families.
Nursing Leadership
The Nurse Manager and two Clinical Supervisors are responsible for the overall operation and leadership of the NICU.
Social Worker
A Social Worker is a professional with advanced training who can help you with concerns about money, arrangements for caring for your baby while in the hospital or after discharge, or other personal concerns.
Respiratory Therapist
Respiratory therapists help to care for your baby when your baby needs help breathing. You will see them if your baby needs a ventilator, oxygen or special breathing treatments.
Technicians are medical staff who come to the NICU to perform specific tests (x-rays, ultrasounds) ordered by the doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant.
Neonatologists are doctors who are specially trained to work with sick newborns and premature infants. They lead the team providing care for your baby. At least one of neonatologists is always available 24 hours a day.

  • Rebecca Barnett, DO
  • Ellen Bifano, MD
  • Michelle Bode, MD
  • Boura’a Bou Aram, MD
  • Thomas Curran, MD
  • Steven Gross, MD
  • Bonnie Marr, MD
  • Melissa Nelson, MD
  • Beverly Roy, MD

 Consulting Physicians
Consulting Physicians are specialty doctors who care for specific issues a baby may have, such as heart problems, genetic problems, kidney problems or the need for surgery.
Nurse Practitioner (NP)
Nurse Practitioners are registered nurses who have highly advanced training in working with premature and sick newborns. They work with the baby’s doctors to coordinate care, and also perform physical exams and procedures. They write some orders concerning your baby’s care.

Nurse Practitioners & Physician Assistants:

  • Carolyn Barnett, CNNP
  • Joanne Blaney-Lyon, CNNP
  • Beth Bruce, CNNP
  • Janice Coleman, CNNP
  • Sharon Dowd, CNNP
  • Pollyanne Gallerini, RPA
  • Michele Grosser, CNNP
  • Danielle Healy, RPA
  • Allison Lewis, RPA
  • Lacey Pfau, RPA
  • Lisa Smith, CNNP

Physician Assistant (PA)
Physician Assistants are health professionals who have advanced medical training, and who work with your baby’s doctors to coordinate care and perform physical exams and procedures. They write some orders concerning your baby’s care.
Occupational Therapist
Occupational Therapists have special training to look at the development of your baby. Occupational Therapists help parents learn to understand their baby’s cues. They help teach parents how to touch, comfort and interact with their baby.
Speech Pathologist
A Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) evaluates and treats babies who have difficulty swallowing milk or feeding with a bottle or nursing. An SLP will help identify what part of the swallowing process might be making it difficult for your child to eat, such as coordinating mouth and throat structures and muscles, or breathing appropriately while eating.
A pastor, minister, or other religious leader will offer spiritual support to you, your baby and your family. Spiritual Care personnel are available by contacting the Pastoral Care Department or your family religious leader may visit.
Hospital volunteers are people who come to the NICU to help the nursing staff. They may hold your baby when he/she needs extra comforting when you are not available. All volunteers receive orientation and training by the hospital before being allowed in the NICU.
Care Conferences
A Care Conference is a formal meeting with the Neonatologist, Consulting Physicians, Nursing Leadership, Nurses, Social Work, Patient and Guest Relations. You may request a Care Conference if you have many questions about your baby or your baby has many complicated things going on.


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