The opportunity to witness the miracle of birth every day is what attracted Laura Jackson, MD, to neonatology. But now serving in the role, she’s discovered another favorite part: cheering a family on as they are discharged from the hospital after a NICU stay. Whether it’s a few days or a few months, nothing brings her greater joy.
As Akron Children’s newest neonatologist in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital and our Special Care Nursery, Boardman, Dr. Jackson considers it an honor to be part of the very first medical team caring for a newborn after birth. She spends her days providing the highest level of intensive care to sick and premature babies, with a special interest in extreme prematurity, fetal abnormalities, neonatal palliative care and prenatal counseling.
Dr. Jackson wants her patient families to know that she continues to think about them long after her shift has ended and long after they’ve been discharged from the hospital. After all, her goal is to ensure patient families truly understand they are not on this journey alone — they are in this together.
Why did you choose to come to Akron Children’s Hospital?
Over the years, I have heard great things about Akron Children’s and its mission to provide outstanding pediatric care to the area’s children. Many of my physician colleagues have joined the hospital in previous years and they could not say enough good things about the community and hospital system. When the opportunity to join the group arose, the timing was perfect for me to make the transition into this new role.
Describe your role at Akron Children’s and what you hope to accomplish.
I am a neonatologist at Akron Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital and the Special Care Nursery at our Beeghly Campus. I look forward to providing excellent neonatal care to the newborns in this area.
What is your area of expertise and how did you choose it?
I am board certified in general pediatrics and neonatal-perinatal medicine. I have been a practicing neonatologist for almost 5 years. Within the realm of neonatal medicine, I have a special interest in periviability (extreme prematurity), fetal abnormalities, neonatal palliative care and prenatal counseling.
I chose neonatology as my subspecialty because it provides me the unique opportunity to care for both neonates and their families. It is a true privilege to be part of the first medical team caring for a baby after they are born. The medical care of neonates can be a challenge, but newborns are truly resilient and their strength inspires me daily.
What do you like most about being a provider?
The best part about being a physician is the unique opportunity it affords me to meet people at what may be their greatest time of need and to have the honor of helping them through whatever challenges they are facing. It is truly a privilege to provide care for newborns and their families.
What impression do you hope to leave your patients with each day?
I hope my patients feel like they have been listened to and heard. I hope the patient families that I care for know that I continue to think about them long after my shift has ended and long after they have been discharged from the NICU. I also hope that I have provided compassion and the sense that the patient and their family are not on this journey alone, but instead we are in this together.
What is the best part of your job?
One of the greatest parts of my job is having the privilege to witness the miracle of birth on a daily basis. However, the absolute best part of my job is cheering a family on as they are discharged from the hospital after a NICU stay. Whether it is just a few days or a few months, there is no greater joy!
What achievements are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the awards I have received after being nominated by my peers. Most recently, I was awarded one of the top attending physician educators by the pediatric residents at the institution where I previously worked. I believe educating future generations of medical providers is incredibly important, so receiving this recognition was an honor.
What excites you most about medicine?
I’m most excited about the endless possibilities for continued innovations to provide better care to our patients. Medicine is evolving at an incredible rate, and our ability to care for the smallest, most premature infants has advanced tremendously. I am very excited to see how our care of this population continues to evolve during my career.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in “the only town in Pennsylvania” — Bloomsburg. I have lived in Pennsylvania my whole life. I completed my undergraduate studies at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, my medical training at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, and my Pediatric Residency and Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh.
Who makes up your family?
I have been married to my husband, Dustin, for more than 10 years. We met in medical school and he is an anesthesiologist near Pittsburgh. I have 2 daughters: Clara (3.5 years old) and Greta (1.5 years old). We are also anticipating the birth of our son this summer!
What’s one thing on your bucket list?
My husband and I are attempting to visit every national park during our lifetime. So far, we have visited more than one-third of them, and we are excited to see the rest in the future!
What’s one thing about you that most people don’t know?
I started taking piano lessons when I was 5 years old and continue to play to this day.
How would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered most importantly as compassionate, caring and kind, as well as someone who is always willing to go the extra mile to help others.