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Pediatric cardiologist and pulmonary hypertension specialist, Dr. Michelle Sykes joined Valley Children’s and the Akers Specialty Care Center team in Visalia in 2018.

Dr. Sykes brings extensive academic and industry-sponsored research experience beyond her doctorate degrees, including the Harvard Catalyst Program in clinical and translational science. She has served as principal investigator, sub-investigator and medical monitor for pharmaceutical trials. Dr. Sykes is passionate about high-quality and meaningful research that greatly improves children’s health and well-being. Her current studies related to COVID-19 and its related illness to multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) are particularly relevant in the midst of a global pandemic.

Dr. Sykes’ route to medical practice and research was unusual. Her bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering fostered an interest in hemodynamics. She went on to pursue dual doctorates in medicine and bioengineering.

After residency in general pediatrics at Children’s Medical Center Dallas, Dr. Sykes completed fellowship training in pediatric cardiology at Boston Children’s Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School. With a long-standing interest in pulmonary hypertension, she also completed an advanced fellowship at Stanford University School of Medicine. Prior to joining Valley Children’s, she practiced as a general pediatrician and a clinical trial investigator.

Since joining Valley Children’s, Dr. Sykes has enjoyed practicing general cardiology, forging relationships and offering specialized care to patients and families in Visalia. She has also worked to establish and develop a pulmonary hypertension program for all of Valley Children’s patients, and she hopes to begin incorporating a research component into the growing program. She has been fascinated by the pathophysiology of pulmonary vascular disease and knows that a better understanding of why this happens and how to treat it can be life-changing for many children and their families.

When not in the clinic or hospital, you can look to the sky to find Dr. Sykes flying her airplane. Or you may find her wearing a bee suit and tending her apiary. She lives in the foothills of the Sierras and loves learning about its history, the land and the wildlife.

Medical Education

  • Medical SchoolMedical College of Georgia, Augusta, Georgia
  • Graduate SchoolPhD in Bioengineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia
  • FellowshipBoston Children’s Hospital/Harvard University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
  • FellowshipLucile Packard Children’s Hospital/Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California
  • ResidencyChildren’s Medical Center Dallas/UT Southwestern School of Medicine, Dallas, Texas