"Through my interactions with patients and their families, I realized that helping children to communicate more effectively helps them in their socialization, self-confidence, language and cognitive development. With changes in medicine and technology, families and children have many choices today that were not available even ten years ago."


Kathleen Sie, a pediatric otolaryngologist, focuses on treating children with communication challenges such as speech delays and hearing loss. She started several programs at Seattle Children's Hospital including the Velopharyngeal Insufficiency Clinic, the Microtia Program and the Cochlear Implant Program. In 1999 when the hospital administration was planning for the new millennium, she proposed starting the Childhood Communication Center to consolidate the efforts to help children communicate effectively.

The mission of the Childhood Communication Center is to  (1) advance family-centered state-of-the-art care, (2) provide advanced training to professionals in the Pacific Northwest, (3) advocate for the needs of children with communication challenges, and (4) perform clinical research to help improve the outlook for children with communication challenges. With the full support of Seattle Children's Hospital, the Childhood Communication Center was established in 2001. The center has been instrumental in supporting Early Hearing Loss Detection Diagnosis and Intervention (EHDDI) in Washington state, providing family-centered care to children who are deaf and hard of hearing or have complex speech delays.

With the support of the community, she has developed clinical programs such as the loaner hearing aid and FM system bank, Family Information Sessions, and Sign Language Tuition Assistance. These programs make precious resources available to all families, regardless of their ability to pay. She has worked with members of the center to perform clinical research to develop metrics to understand the quality of life of children with velopharyngeal insufficiency and youth and adolescents who are deaf or hard of hearing. Through research, the Childhood Communication Center will actively advance the care of children.


Undergraduate Education: University of Michigan, 1981

Medical School: University of Michigan Medical School, 1984

Internship: University of Washington General Surgery, 1984-1986

Residency: University of Washington Otolaryngology-HNS, 1986-1990

Fellowship: Harvard University Pediatric Otolaryngology, 1991-1992

Other Training: Post graduate research fellowship, 1990-1991

Board Certification: Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 1991

Memberships: Fellow American College of Surgeons, American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology

Awards and honors 

2018: UW Otolaryngology-HNS Trachy Award for Resident Research Mentorship
2014: Top Docs, Seattle Metropolitan Magazine cover story 
2014: University of Washington Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Resident Teaching Award
2012: Charles Ferguson Award for Clinical Research, Second Prize. Validation of a VPI- specific Quality of Life Instrument, Skirko J, Weaver E, Kinter S, Perkins J, Sie K. American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology
2012: Charles Ferguson Award for Clinical Research, Third Prize. Concensus in developing a VPI Video Instruction Tool. Tieu D, Gerber M, Parikh S, Yoon P, Perkins J, Sie K. American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology
2011: "Top Doctors", Hall of Fame, Seattle, Wash. 
2010: Charles Ferguson Award for Clinical Research, Role of CMV in Childhood Hearing Loss, Misono S, Sie, KCY, Boeckh M, Norton S, Yueh B. American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology. 
2007: Family Choice Award, Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center 
2005: Ron Trachy Award for Resident Research Teaching, Dept. of Otolaryngology-HNS, University of Washington 
2005: Honor Award, American Academy of Otolaryngology HNS 
2005 - present: "Best Doctors in America", Best Doctors, Inc., Boston, Mass. 
2003: Charles Ferguson Award for Clinical Research, Speech Outcomes after Sphincter Pharyngoplasty, B Cilento, J Perkins, L Eblen, J Gruss and K Sie American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology 
2001: Driftwood Award for Resident Teaching, Dept. of Otolaryngology-HNS, University of Washington 
2000 - 2003: Medical Staff Caring for Children Award, Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center 
2000: "Special" specialist, VCFS/DiGeorge Family Support Network of Washington 
1996 - present: "Top Doctors", Seattle, Wash. 
1995: Ron Trachy Award for Resident Research Teaching, Dept. of Otolaryngology-HNS, University of Washington 

Academic interests 


Dr. Sie's clinical interests are focused on communication issues in children, specifically hearing loss and velopharyngeal dysfunction. She is also interested in reconstruction of congenital ear malformations.



Dr. Sie performs clinical research in childhood hearing loss and management of childhood speech disorders. She has developed validated measures to descirbe quality of life in youth and adolescents who are deaf or hard of hearing and who have velopharyngeal dysfunction.


Recent Publications

Mitchell RM, Christianson E, Ramirez R, Onchiri FM, Horn DL, Pontis L, Miller C, Norton S, Sie KCY. Auditory comprehension outcomes in children who receive a cochlear implant before 12 months of age., Laryngoscope 2019 May

Miller C, Bly R, Cofer S, Dahl JP, de Serres L, Goudy S, Hartzell L, Jabbour N, Kacmarysnki D, Macarthur C, Messner A, Milczuk H, Rastatter J, Swibel Rosenthal LH, Scott A, Tollefson T, Woolley A, Zdanski C, Zopf DA, Sie K. Multicenter Interrater Reliability in the Endoscopic Assessment of Velopharyngeal Function Using a Video Instruction Tool., Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2019 Apr; 160(4):720-728

Luquetti DV, Speltz ML, Wallace ER, Siebold B, Collett BR, Drake AF, Johns AL, Kapp-Simon KA, Kinter SL, Leroux BG, Magee L, Norton S, Sie K, Heike CL. Methods and Challenges in a Cohort Study of Infants and Toddlers With Craniofacial Microsomia: The Clock Study., Cleft Palate Craniofac. J. 2019 Aug; 56(7):877-889

Purcell PL, Edwards TC, Wisneski M, Chan DK, Ou H, Horn DL, Skirko JR, Sie KCY. Unilateral Hearing Loss in Youth: Development of Candidate Items for a Condition-Specific Validated Instrument., Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2018 Aug194599818797092

Purcell PL, Sie KC, Edwards TC, Doyle DL, Neidt K. Identification of oral clefts as a risk factor for hearing loss during newborn hearing screening., J Early Hear Detect Interv 2018 ; 3(1):21-28