Sara Handley, MD, MSCE, is an epidemiologist and health services researcher focused on evaluating the impact of the perinatal health care system, including structure, culture, and process, on perinatal outcomes and outcome variation. Perinatal health system factors in her research include perinatal regionalization (i.e. levels of care, risk-appropriate care delivery), organizational culture (i.e. culture of patient-centered care), and neonatal care processes (i.e. delivery room and in unit resuscitation, umbilical cord management at birth). Although trained as a neonatologist, Dr. Handley is interested in the interrelated health of the infant and mother and the impact of discordance in health system factors between maternal and neonatal care on outcomes for the mother-infant dyad as a whole. Her research is in collaboration with colleagues and experts in neonatology, maternal-fetal medicine, biostatistics, and health care management.
Dr. Handley received her Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School. She was a pediatric resident at the University of California San Francisco, where she participated in the Clinical and Translational Research Pathway. While a fellow at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia she was supported by a training grant from the National Institute of Health and received her Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology from the University of Pennsylvania.
Education and Training
MD - University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN
Pediatrics - University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Pediatrics - University of California, San Francisco, CA
Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine - Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, PA(Chief Fellow)
Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine – American Board of PediatricsPediatrics – American Board of Pediatrics
Titles and Academic Titles
Instructor, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Departments and Services
Salazar E, Handley SC, Greenberg LT, Edwards EM, Lorch SA. “Measuring Quality of Care in Moderate and Late Preterm Infants.” J Perinatology. 2022. Mar 30. doi: 10.1038/s41372-022-01377-7. PMID: 35354940.
Handley SC, Salazar EG, Greenberg LT, Foglia EE, Lorch SA, Edwards EM. “Variation and temporal trends in delivery room management of moderate and late preterm infants.” Pediatrics.2022. Jul 19; e2021055994. doi: 10.1542/peds.2021-055994. PMID 35851607.
Handley SC, Salazar EG, Greenberg LT, Foglia EE, Lorch SA, Edwards EM. Variation and Temporal Trends in Delivery Room Management of Moderate and Late Preterm Infants. Pediatrics. 2022 Aug 1;150(2):e2021055994. doi: 10.1542/peds.2021-055994. PMID: 35851607; PMCID: PMC9721105.
Bamat NA, Orians CM, Abbasi S, Morley CJ, Ross Russell R, Panitch HB, Handley SC, Foglia EE, Posencheg MA, Kirpalani H. Use of ventilation/perfusion mismatch to guide individualised CPAP level selection in preterm infants: a feasibility trial. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2022 Sep 14;. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2022-324474. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 36104165.
Handley SC, Kumbhat N, Eggleston B, Foglia EE, Davis AS, Van Meurs K, Lakshminrusimha S, Walsh M, Watterberg KL, Wyckoff MH, Das A, DeMauro SB. Exposure to umbilical cord management approaches and death or neurodevelopmental impairment at 22-26 months' corrected age after extremely preterm birth. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2022 Oct 17:fetalneonatal-2022-324565. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2022-324565. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36253076.
Montoya-Williams D, Mullin AM, Handley SC, Flannery DD, Lorch SA, Elovitz MA, Burris HH. Disparities in SARS-CoV-2 positivity among pregnant patients with limited English proficiency. J Perinatol. 2021 Oct;41(10):2564-2565. PubMed PMID: 34497337; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8425017.
Handley SC, Passarella M, Srinivas SK, Lorch SA. Identifying Individual Hospital Levels of Maternal Care using Administrative Data. BMC Health Serv Res. 2021 Jun 2;21(1):538. doi: 10.1186/s12913-021-06516-y.PMID: 34074286
Burris HH, Passarella M, Handley SC, Srinivas SK, Lorch SA. Black-White disparities in maternal in-hospital mortality according to teaching and Black-serving hospital status. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2021 Jan 13:S0002-9378(21)00027-2. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2021.01.004. Online ahead of print. PMID: 33453183
Kumbhat N, Eggleston B, Davis AS, DeMauro SB, Van Meurs KP, Foglia EE, Lakshminrusimha S, Walsh MC, Watterberg KL, Wyckoff MH, Das A, Handley SC, and the Generic Database Subcommittee of the NICHD Neonatal Research Network: Umbilical Cord Milking vs Delayed Cord Clamping and Associations with In-Hospital Outcomes among Extremely Premature Infants. Journal of Pediatrics(232), 87-94, May 2021.
Handley SC, Bell S, Nembhard IM: A Systematic Review of Surveys for Measuring Patient-centered Care in the Hospital Setting. Medical Care 59(3): 228-237, March 2021.
Handley SC, Mullin AM, Elovitz MA, Gerson KD, Montoya-Williams D, Lorch SA, Burris HH. Changes in Preterm Birth Phenotypes and Stillbirth at 2 Philadelphia Hospitals During the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic, March-June 2020. JAMA. 2020 Dec 7. doi: 10.1001/jama.2020.20991. Online ahead of print. PMID: 33284323 No abstract available.
Handley SC, Pouppirt N, Zucker E, Coughlin KA, Ades A: Improving the Resident Experience in a Level IV Neonatal/Infant Intensive Care Unit through Goal Identification and Feedback. Pediatric Quality & Safety 5(6): e352, Oct 2020.
Placental transfusion and short-term outcomes among extremely preterm infants. Kumbhat N, Eggleston B, Davis AS, Van Meurs KP, DeMauro SB, Foglia EE, Lakshminrusimha S, Walsh MC, Watterberg KL, Wyckoff MH, Das A, Handley SC; Generic Database Subcommittee of the NICHD Neonatal Research Network; undefined. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2021 Jan;106(1):62-68. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2019-318710. Epub 2020 Jul 30.
Bamat NA, Ekhaguere OA, Zhang L, Flannery DD, Handley SC, Herrick HM, Ellenberg SS: Protocol adherence rates in superiority and noninferiority randomized clinical trials published in high impact medical journals. Clinical Trials 17(5): 552-559, Oct 2020.
Handley SC and Nembhard IM: Measuring patient-centered care for specific populations: A necessity for improvement. Patient Experience Journal 7(1): 10-12, April 2020.
Handley SC, Srinivas SK, Lorch SA. Regionalization of Care and the Maternal-Infant Dyad Disconnect. JAMA. 2019 Aug 13;322(6):503-504. doi: 10.1001/jama.2019.6403.PMID: 31282951
Sillers L, Handley SC, James JR, Foglia EE. Pulseless Electrical Activity Complicating Neonatal Resuscitation. Neonatology. 2019;115(2):95-98. doi: 10.1159/000493357. Epub 2018 Oct 23.PMID: 30352434
Handley SC, Passarella M, Lee HC, Lorch SA. Incidence Trends and Risk Factor Variation in Severe Intraventricular Hemorrhage across a Population Based Cohort. J Pediatr. 2018 May 10. pii: S0022-3476(18)30510-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2018.04.020. [Epub ahead of print].
Handley SC, Ebbert RP, Edwards TM, Flibotte J. A Newborn Infant with Giant Omphalocele and Peeling Skin. NeoReviews. 2017 Apr; 18(4):e253-e257.
Quanbeck AE, Russell JA, Handley SC, Quanbeck DS. Kinematic analysis of hip and knee rotation and other contributors to ballet turnout. J Sports Sci. 2017 Feb;35(4):331-338. Epub 2016 Mar 25. PubMed PMID: 27015006.
Handley SC, Steinhorn RH, Hopper AO, Govindaswami B, Bhatt DR, Van Meurs KP, Ariagno RL, Gould JB, Lee HC. Inhaled nitric oxide use in preterm infants in California neonatal intensive care units. J Perinatol. 2016 Aug;36(8):635-9. doi: 10.1038/jp.2016.49. Epub 2016 Mar 31. PubMed PMID: 27031320; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4963282.
Handley SC, Sun Y, Wyckoff MH, Lee HC. Outcomes of extremely preterm infants after delivery room cardiopulmonary resuscitation in a population-based cohort. J Perinatol. 2015 May;35(5):379-83. doi: 10.1038/jp.2014.222. Epub 2014 Dec 18. PubMed PMID: 25521563; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4414658.
Handley SC, Mader NS, Sidman JD, Scott AR. Predicting surgical intervention for airway obstruction in micrognathic infants. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2013 May;148(5):847-51. doi: 10.1177/0194599813478801. Epub 2013 Feb 20. PubMed PMID: 23426711.
Tonsager SC, Mader NS, Sidman JD, Scott AR. Determining risk factors for early airway intervention in newborns with micrognathia.Laryngoscope. 2012 Dec;122 Suppl 4:S103-4. doi: 10.1002/lary.23788. PubMed PMID: 23254599.
Handley, SC and Posencheg, MA. Hemolytic Disease of the Fetus and Newborn, In: Neonatal Transfusion Practices, ed. DA Sesok-Pizzini, Springer, 2017.
Posters and Presentations
Handley SC, Pouppirt N, Zucker E, Coughlin KA, Carroll J, Ades A: Improving the Resident Educational Experience in a Level IV Neonatal/Infant Intensive Care Unit. Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD- Poster April 2019.
Handley SC, Passarella M, Lorch SA: The Impact of Volume and Neonatal Level of Care on Outcomes of Lower Risk Infants. Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD- Poster April 2019.
Bamat N, Zhang L, Ekhaguere O, Flannery DD, Handley SC, Herrick HM, Ellenberg S: Trial Protocol Adherence Rates Between Non inferiority and Superiority Randomized Control Trials. Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD- Platform Presentation April 2019.
Handley SC, Herrick HM, French H, Josephsen JM, Lioy J, Soghier L, Strand M, Wetzel E, Ades A. Complex resuscitations in neonates and infants: Managing High Acuity Low Occurrence (HALO) events. Workshop, 2018 Pediatric Academic Society Annual Meeting, Toronto, Ontario. May 5, 2018.
Handley SC, Passarella M, Lorch SA, Lee HC. Preterm Neuro-Centric Practice Variation Across California and the Impact on Preterm Infants. Poster presented at Eastern Society of Pediatric Research. Philadelphia, PA. March 16, 2018.
Handley SC. Passarella M, Lorch SA, Lee HC. Preterm Neuro-Centric Practice Variation Across California. Platform presentation, Southeastern Conference on Perinatal Research. Clearwater Beach, FL. February 2018.
Handley SC, Passarella M, Lorch SA, Lee HC. Incidence and Risk Factor Variation of Severe Intraventricular Hemorrhage in a Population Based Cohort. Poster presented at Pediatric Academic Societies San Francisco, CA. May 9, 2017.
Handley SC, Passarella M, Lorch SA, Lee HC. Incidence and Risk Factor Variation of Severe Intraventricular Hemorrhage in a Population Based Cohort. Platform presentation, Eastern Society for Pediatric Research. Philadelphia, PA. March 2017.
Handley SC, Steinhorn, RH, Hopper AO, Govindaswami B, Bhatt DR, Van Meurs KP, Ariagno RL, Gould JB, Lee HC. Patterns of Inhaled Nitric Oxide use in California NICUs. Poster presented at Pediatric Academic Societies. San Diego, CA. April 26, 2015.
Handley SC. "Birth Volume, Geographic Distribution, and Proximity of Obstetric Hospitals in the United States". Pediatric Academic Societies Virtual Meeting. Virtual platform presentation.
Handley SC. "Umbilical Cord Management _Practices and Neurodevelopmental Outcomes at 22-26 months Corrected Age after Extremely Preterm Birth". Pediatric Academic Societies Virtual Meeting. Virtual platform presentation.
Handley SC. "Associations between Maternal Level of Care at Delivery and Perinatal Outcomes Among High Risk Women", Pediatric Academic Societies, Philadelphia, PA (Cancelled due to COVID-19). Presented as a live webinar.
Handley SC. Epidemiology and outcomes of in fants after cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the neonatal and pediatric intensive care unit in a national registry. Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA (Cancelled due to COVID-19). Presented as a live webinar.
Handley SC. "Associations between Maternal Level of Care at Delivery and Perinatal Outcomes Among High Risk Women", AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting, Boston, MA (Cancelled due to COVID-19)
Handley SC. "Outcome Variation: Patient Process, and Structure." The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Division of Neonatology Research Conference, Philadelphia, PA. May 2018.
Handley SC."Preterm Neuro-Centric Practice Variation Across California." Southeastern Conference on Perinatal Research. Clearwater Beach, FL. Feb 2018.
"Understanding Severe Intraventricular Hemorrhage: A First Stepin Improving Preterm Infant Neurologic Care." California Perinatal Quality Care Collaborative/California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative Research Conference. Stanford, CA. Feb 2018.
"Incidence and Risk Factor Variation of Severe Intraventricular Hemorrhage in a Population Based Cohort." Eastern Society for Pediatric Research. Philadelphia, PA. Mar 2017.
Awards and Honors
2017, Fellow Research Fund Award, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
2017, National Institutes of Health Training Grant
2013-2014, Resident Research Funding, Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, University of California San Francisco
2012, Medical Student Achievement Award, University of Minnesota
2012, Alpha Epsilon Iota Foundation Award, University of Minnesota
2011, Gold Humanism Honor Society
2011, Martin Brandforbrener Scholarship Arts Medical Association
2010-2011, Minnesota Medical Foundation Student Research Grant
Editorial and Academic Positions
Academic and Institutional Committees
2018-2020, Fellowship Teaching Initiative Committee
2016-2020, NICU Interprofessional Education Steering Committee
2015-present, NICU Codes Committee
Leadership and Memberships
Memberships in Professional Organizations
2017-present, Society for Pediatric Research
2012-present, American Academy of Pediatrics
- 2015-present, Section on Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine
Patient Experience Ratings
About the Patient Experience Rating System
The Patient Experience Rating is an average of all responses to the care provider related questions shown above from our nationally-recognized Press Ganey Patient Satisfaction Survey. Patients that are treated in outpatient or hospital environments may receive different surveys, and the volume of responses will vary by question.
Responses are measured on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best score.
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