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Early Years Program

Infants and children who spent time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) are at higher risk for developmental and feeding difficulties and require close observation by a team of specialty providers. The Early Years Program is dedicated to providing evidence-based feeding management, neurodevelopmental follow-up care and psychosocial support for NICU graduates and their families.

A collaborative effort between the Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine and Riley Rehabilitation Services, the Early Years Program provides family-centered care by an expert multidisciplinary team including medical providers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists, psychologists, registered dietitians and social workers.


Population served are NICU graduates with:

  • Prematurity (<32 weeks)
  • Chronic lung disease of prematurity
  • Complex congenital heart disease
  • Neurologic complications
  • Any major surgery while in the NICU
  • Feeding challenges


  • Multidisciplinary feeding evaluation and management
  • Comprehensive neurodevelopmental assessment and treatment planning
  • Early identification initiatives for cerebral palsy and autism spectrum disorder
  • Family-centered care model that includes psychosocial support for parents managing the difficult transition from the NICU to home
  • Dedicated Infant Breathing Program clinic for patients with bronchopulmonary dysplasia
  • Dedicated feeding clinic and tube weaning program for patients requiring tube feeds

Program Faculty and Providers

Early Years Pediatrician, Early Years Program Medical Director
Dr. Emily Scott

Emily Scott, MD, MS, IBCLC

Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics

Dr. Scott is an Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Medical Director of the Riley Early Years Program.  In addition to her medical degree and a master’s degree in clinical research, she is an international board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) and has a certification in perinatal mental health. Dr. Scott’s clinical research interest is utilizing quality improvement methodology to improve outcomes for Indiana’s infants.  She is highly involved in advocacy work and is a past president of the Indiana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Read Bio Emily Scott, MD, MS, IBCLC

Early Years Program Director
19629-Hines, Abbey

Abbey C. Hines, PsyD, HSPP

Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics

Dr. Hines is a clinical psychologist with expertise in early childhood development and behavior. She specializes in the neurodevelopmental assessment of former NICU patients enrolled in the Early Years Program.

Read Bio Abbey C. Hines, PsyD, HSPP

Neonatal Physician Assistant, APP Lead
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Audrey Lee, PA

Audrey joined the IU Health team in 2021 as a physician assistant after 16 years as a research scientist, Biology professor, and physician assistant in Virginia. She has been published numerous times and is active in community engagement and volunteerism. She joined the Riley Early Years Program in 2022 as the NICU liaison and works collaboratively with both the inpatient NICU team and outpatient Early Years team. Through meeting with families, Audrey is striving to improve neonate outcomes and have caregivers feel supported during the transition to home. As a mom of four prior NICU graduates, she is a passionate advocate for parents navigating the post NICU journey. 

Early Years Pediatrician
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Signe Maria E. Finnell, MD

Early Years Pediatrician
44771-Gaston, Susan

Susan M. Gaston, MD

Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics

Read Bio Susan M. Gaston, MD

Early Years Pediatrician
10125-Harris, Mitchell

Mitchell A. Harris, MD

Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics

Read Bio Mitchell A. Harris, MD

Early Years Psychologist
12832-Hines, Elesia

Elesia N. Hines, PsyD

Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics

Read Bio Elesia N. Hines, PsyD

Early Years Psychologist
16677-Raches, Christine

Christine M. Raches, PsyD

Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics

Read Bio Christine M. Raches, PsyD

Early Years Nurse Practitioner
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Rebekah Hurst, NP