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About Us


Community Neonatal Associates is a group of neonatologists, pediatricians, and neonatal nurse practitioners that provides care for premature and sick infants within the Holy Cross Health System. With close to 10,000 births annually, including nearly 1,500 high-risk deliveries, ours is the largest neonatal intensive care program in the state of Maryland.


Our dedicated team works collaboratively with neonatal nurses, therapists, dietitians, social workers, chaplains, and care coordinators to provide optimal care for babies with a broad range of conditions, including extreme prematurity, birth defects, and surgical conditions, including complex congenital heart disease.


Due to the myriad needs of our patients, we partner with other specialists at Children's National Medical Center and in private practices to provide the best comprehensive care for our patients and families.

Our services include:

  • Prenatal Consultation

  • Feeding and Breastfeeding Support

  • Social Work Services

  • Care Coordination

  • Never Alone Program

  • Spiritual Care

Family-centered Care
We embrace a partnership between staff and families in all aspects of care. We encourage parents to be present in the NICU and participate in hands-on care of their infants right from the start, including doing "kangaroo" (skin-to-skin) care as soon as is safely possible. We strive for clear and open communication at all times. Families are updated throughout the day and night by the nursing staff and daily by the medical team on their infant's specific progress and plan. Families are welcome and encouraged to participate in weekly multidisciplinary rounds.


Breastfeeding Support

Breast milk provides optimal nutrition for infants and is a critically important part of the care of premature infants, in particular. We encourage mothers to pump breast milk while their infants are too small or sick to breastfeed, and then we help mothers and infants learn to breastfeed together. Our nurses are highly experienced in supporting breastfeeding, and we have certified lactation consultants who work with mothers to optimize breast milk production and, eventually, breastfeeding itself. We provide bottles, labels, and in-hospital freezers to store breast milk for our infants, and we assist families with obtaining a breast pump to use while their infant is in the hospital. 


Clinical Excellence

We are committed to clinical excellence for each and every baby. Our NICU participates in several research and quality improvement networks, including the national Vermont-Oxford Network and the Maryland Perinatal Research Collaborative.


A neonatologist is a physician specially trained to care for sick and premature newborn infants, having completed a 3 year fellowship in neonatal-perinatal medicine after a 3 year pediatric residency.

A neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP) is an advanced practice registered nurse who assesses, supervises, and manages NICU patients in consultation and collaboration with the neonatologists. 
A pediatric hospitalist is a physician who has completed a 3 year pediatric residency and dedicates his or her practice to the hospital setting.


Neonatal and Pediatric Physicians


NICU Graduates Annually


Years Experience


Neonatal Nurse


Neonatal Care Team
Caring Providers


Chrys Gaitatzes, M.D., Ph.D.


Medical Director, Holy Cross

Silver Spring

Zaneta Forson-Dare, MBBS


Sharon Kiernan, M.D.


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Johnna Mahony, M.D.


Jessica McAdoo, M.D.


Vice President, CNA

Matthew Picard, M.D., M.P.H.


Treasurer, CNA

John Rouhani, M.D., M.B.A.


Medical Director, Holy Cross Germantown

President, CNA

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Stephanie Sheppard, M.D.


Secretary, CNA

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Ashley Sherwood, M.D.


Part time Neonatologist

Jay Dintaman, M.D.


Gregory Downing, D.O.


Dora Rioja Mazza, M.D.


Janel Hino, M.D.


Dawn Walton, M.D.



Susan Basile, NNP-BC

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Jenny Berg, NNP-BC

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Cheri Byrd, NNP-BC

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Lilly Hull, M.S.N., NNP-BC

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Mary Smith, NNP-BC

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Laura Rogers, M.S.N., NNP-BC

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Alison Newman M.S.N., NNP-BC

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Lee Walker, NNP-BC

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Susanah Reed, NNP-BC

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Alanna Dessouky, NNP-BC

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Debbie Ryan, NNP-BC

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner


Anand Bundi, M.D.

Pediatric Hosptialist

Simran Kalra, M.D.

Pediatric Hosptialist


Nicole Gignac


Our twin daughters surprised us and entered the world at 29 weeks gestation.  We were supposed to deliver at a different hospital, but they were full and redirected us to Holy Cross. We are thankful this happened because the moment we first laid our eyes on our daughters in the NICU, we knew they would be in good hands until they were able to come home.  


The nurses in the Holy Cross NICU have really taken the time to get to know our kids and to know us.  With all the different machines, sounds, and alarms, the NICU could be a scary place.  Instead of that reality, the nurses explain the purpose of each machine and they also incorporate us into our daughters' care.  As first time parents, we are learning from sincere professionals during this experience. 


They also have outstanding nurse practitioners and doctors.  They include you in deciding the care plan for your children, explain the reasons behind all of their decisions, and take the time to answer any and all questions you have. This brings us a level of ease and comfort while our girls are still in the hospital.   


We have learned so much during this experience from people who genuinely care about our family, and want the best for our daughters. While the extended hospital stay is challenging, we know every single day they are in good hands with the NICU staff at Holy Cross and we are thankful for it.

~ The Berger / Marshall family

La experiencia mas buena fue el cuidado de mi niño Jayson. La maquinaria que usaron el cuidado de el fue muy delicado y fue la experiencia mas buena que tuve. Gracias a todas las enfermeras y doctoras que cuidaron de el. Gracias.

~ S. Martinez


My baby was born at 24 weeks. He weighed 723 grams (1 pound 9 ounces). IT WAS SCARY!!! But the NICU staff were awesome. The nurses made sure I was comfortable each time I came to visit (and my visits lasted HOURS). They answered all my questions. Some I asked several times. The doctors were GREAT. I had daily updates, detailed updates. The doctors and nurses encouraged me and assured me my little boy was going to be okay. We stayed in the NICU 95 days!!! As difficult as it was, the NICU staff made it "doable." They made smiling possible.


~ L. Achu

Success Stories


Send Us Mail

Community Neonatal Associates

1500 Forest Glen Road

Silver Spring, Maryland 20910

Call Us

Holy Cross Hospital NICU: (301) 754-7600

Holy Cross Germantown Hospital NICU: (301) 557-6600

Billing Office: (866) 256-1146

Administrative Office: (301) 754-7490

Contact Us
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