"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

Wenger TL, Perkins J, Parish-Morris J, Hing AV, Chen ML, Cielo CM, Li D, Bhoj EJ, Hakonarson H, Zackai E, McDonald-McGinn DM, Taylor JA, Jackson O, Sie K, Bly R, Dahl J, Evans KN. Cleft palate morphology, genetic etiology, and risk of mortality in infants with Robin sequence., Am J Med Genet A 2021 Jul

Lam AS, Bindschadler MD, Evans KN, Friedman SD, Blessing MS, Bly R, Cunningham ML, Egbert MA, Ettinger RE, Gallagher ER, Hopper RA, Johnson K, Perkins JA, Romberg EK, Sie KCY, Susarla SM, Zdanski CJ, Wang X, Otjen JP, Perez FA, Dahl JP. Accuracy and Reliability of 4D-CT and Flexible Laryngoscopy in Upper Airway Evaluation in Robin Sequence., Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2021 Jul1945998211027353

Noble AR, Cunningham ML, Lam A, Wenger TL, Sie KC, Perkins JA, Dahl JP. Complex Airway Management in Patients with Tracheal Cartilaginous Sleeves., Laryngoscope 2021 Jun

Wandell GM, Wang X, Whitlock KB, Weber AK, Sie KCY, Bonilla-Velez J. Are Spanish-Speaking Families Less Satisfied with Care in Pediatric Otolaryngology?, Laryngoscope 2021 07; 131(7):E2393-E2401

Collett BR, Wallace ER, Kapp-Simon KA, Johns AL, Drake AF, Heike CL, Kinter S, Luquetti DV, Magee L, Norton S, Sie K, Speltz ML. Cognitive, Motor, and Language Development of Preschool Children With Craniofacial Microsomia., Cleft Palate Craniofac J 2020 Dec1055665620980223