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Choosing Our Team

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At Cook Children's, you can depend on our network of extraordinary people – pediatricians, specialists, nurses, brilliant minds and big talents who devote their lives to helping children get and stay healthy. But we never forget that it all comes down to the one checkup, the one surgery, the one child that matters most: yours.

As part of our new Pediatric Urology department, the Genitourinary Research, Education and Treatment (GREAT) Kids program is led by a team of world-renowned medical professionals with expertise in both common and rare genitourinary diseases and conditions.

Meet our brilliant pediatric urologists

Get to know our team

Our incredible clinical psychologist

Cortney Wolfe-Christensen, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, Urology/Genitourinary Institute

Cortney Wolfe-Christensen, Ph.D.

Cortney Wolfe-Christensen, Ph.D., is a psychologist with Cook Children's Urology/Genitourinary Institute. She works with children, teens and families who are affected by genitourinary conditions.

Wolfe-Christensen offers behavioral help for children with voiding dysfunction (problems going to the bathroom) and other conditions. She also offers psychological support and therapy for parents of children with genitourinary conditions, including differences in sex development. She believes an essential part of her work is to help parents understand their child's diagnosis and become comfortable with it. Dr. Wolf-Christensen knows that children do best when their parents are comfortable with their condition and treatment. She also enjoys serving as a patient and family liaison for the program, to help patients and families understand all aspects of children's condition and care.

In addition to providing support and care to patients and families, Dr. Wolfe-Christensen does research on:

  • The psychosocial difficulties of children with voiding dysfunction
  • How parents and children adjust to a disorder of sexual development

She has published more than 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Urology, the Journal of Pediatric Urology and the Journal of Pediatric Psychology. The National Institutes of Health recently awarded her funding to develop an intervention to help parents cope when their child is born with atypical genitalia.

Dr. Wolfe-Christensen received her bachelor's degree in biopsychology and cognitive science from the University of Michigan and received her master's and Ph.D. degrees in clinical psychology from Oklahoma State University. She completed an internship in pediatric psychology and a fellowship in neuroimaging at the Children's Hospital of Michigan.

An avid sports fan, she loves all Detroit teams and the University of Michigan Wolverines.

Our awesome patient and family support director

Emily Haddad, LCSW, Patient and Family Support Director

Emily Haddad, LCSW

Emily Haddad, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker with the Cook Children's Urology/Genitourinary Institute. She specializes in and offers behavioral health support for children and families with bladder exstrophy, cloacal anomalies, anal rectal malformations, and disorders of sex development. She is passionate about educating children about their bodies, health history, and daily care to support their future goals.

Haddad is on the medical advisory board for the Association for the Bladder Exstrophy Community and facilitates local peer support groups. She acts as a medical liaison among specialties, provides individual, family and group therapy as a licensed clinical therapist, and is a patient advocate and educator.

Haddad received her Bachelors from the University of Vermont in Anthropology and Sociology with a minor in Art. She completed her MSW at the University of Michigan, School of Social Work where she was a graduate student instructor in Sociology. Her internships were completed at The Hospital for Sick Children, Department of Urology, in Toronto, Ontario and at Toledo Children's Hospital, NICU.

Our great nurse practitioners

Kala Bright, MSN, CPNP, Nurse Practitioner

Kala Bright, MSN, CPNP, Nurse Practitioner

Kala was born in Monroe, Louisiana and resided there until 2008 when she relocated with her family to the great state of Texas. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Northeast Louisiana University and her Master of Science in Nursing from Northwestern State University. Kala is a board certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and has worked in Pediatric Urology for almost 10 years. She feels blessed to have cared for infants, children and their families for 26 years and loves what she does. Kala's outside hobbies include spending time with family and friends, watching her boys play soccer, traveling and reading.

Lauren Mecke, MSN, CPNP, Nurse Practitioner

Lauren Mecke, MSN, CPNP, Nurse Practitioner

Lauren Mecke is a Board Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner who joined the GREAT Kids Pediatric Urology clinic at Cook Children's Health Care System in February 2017. She has extensive, specialized training in the field of pediatric urology, with a special interest in the spina bifida population.

Lauren currently plays several critical roles, as she practices in both the inpatient and outpatient settings. On the inpatient side, Lauren consults on various hospital units within Cook Children's main campus, she provides pre-operative care and planning for reconstructive surgeries, she provides post-operative care to patients, and she educates the nursing staff. On the outpatient side, Lauren is a core member of the multidisciplinary dysfunctional elimination clinic team. She also performs biofeedback and urodynamics, she offers clean intermittent catheterization and bladder irrigation teaching, and she provides post-operative care.

Prior to joining Cook Children's, Lauren was a pediatric urology nurse practitioner with San Antonio Surgery Associates while also participating in multidisciplinary clinics within the hospital systems in San Antonio. Lauren earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from University of Oklahoma, and her Master of Science in Nursing degree from University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. She also holds a Bachelor degree in Allied Health from the University of Texas A&M.

Lauren has been active in the local spina bifida association, including providing education on neurogenic bladder and bowel for patients and families. She has a passion for education, providing her knowledge of genitourinary conditions to patients and their families, hospital staff/nurses, and urology residents.

What is genitourinary?

Genitourinary refers to the genitourinary system which is made up of the genital and urologic organs and parts of the body. Pediatric Urology at Cook Children's focuses on conditions of the kidneys, renal system, pelvis, bladder, urethra, ureter, penis and vagina.

Cook Children's Pediatric Urology specializes in providing advanced care for newborns, infants, children, teens, and young adults with genitourinary conditions. We treat a wide variety of diagnoses, some of them very rare and requiring unique services such as robotic surgery and our clinical research in urodynamics.

  • Circumcisions
  • Hypospadias
  • Undescended testicles (UDT)
  • Hernias/hydroceles
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Incontinence/bedwetting
  • Bowel and bladder dysfunction
  • Vesicoureteral reflux (VUR)
  • Kidney stones
  • Hydronephrosis
  • Genitourinary tumors
  • Ambiguous genitalia
  • Disorders of sex development (DSD)
  • Spina bifida
  • Neurogenic bladder
  • Anorectal malformations/cloacal anomalies
  • Bladder exstrophy
  • Kidney transplant/chronic kidney disease
  • Prune belly
  • Posterior urethral valves

Advanced technology

At Cook Children's our goal is to constantly improve the care we deliver to our patients. To keep that commitment we provide the absolute latest technology and treatments available. Today that means making complicated surgeries simpler, so kids can get better, heal faster, and be home quicker.

The da Vinci Xi Surgical System provides minimally invasive surgery, but the robotic technology also allows the surgeons performing the procedure the latest in technology to operate the precision control system.

Performed by our renowned urology robotic surgical team, the surgery itself looks like a cross between the latest in futuristic robot technology and the coolest video game you could ever play. The surgeon sits in a chair and looks into a screen that looks similar to what people wear to play a virtual reality game. Using the video screen and a gloved device the surgeon directs the robot arm to deliver the most precise and meticulous operation possible.

Along with the precision of the surgery itself, the minimally invasive procedure reduces much of the pain and many complications associated with open procedures surgeons usually perform. This means safer surgeries, with much faster recovery times for the kids we see.

An amazing advancement for surgery, the da Vinci Xi robotic technology allows us to provide minimally invasive surgery on any number of procedures, ranging from the most routine to the most complex cases.

Of course, no surgery seems routine when it is your child. But because the surgery is minimally invasive, we are able to return your children home more quickly than most parents ever thought possible—sometimes as early as the same day or the next day. At Cook Children's, our goal is to return your child back to being a kid as quickly as possible.

Exceptional network of care

When it comes to your child, you want the best care possible. Our team of genitourologists has undergone rigorous education and training in pediatrics, urology, and other related specialties. Many of them are also noted educators and pioneers in research.

Because of its complexity, the genitourinary system often affects other systems in the body. This means your child may be seen by other pediatric specialists such as: a urologist, nephrologist, neonatologist, perinatologist, pediatrician, surgeons, transplant surgeons, geneticists, endocrinologists, neurologists, neurodevelopment specialists, psychologists, nutritionists and/or dietitians and social workers. You and your child also have access to variety of patient and family support such as our Child Life specialists and parent mentors.