The Preventive Care Program for Urban Children with Asthma

Lab Members

The Preventive Care Program for Urban Children with Asthma team has the fortunate opportunity to work closely with the Rochester community while emphasizing the importance of continued learning. The following quotes are reflections on how our experiences have affected us.

Principal Investigator

Jill Halterman, M.D., M.P.H.
Professor of Pediatrics
Co-Vice Chair for Research

"In my view, our greatest privilege has been the opportunity to develop the relationships that we have with the community. In particular, the city school district and the nurses have been so supportive of our programs, and have worked diligently to improve care for children with asthma." – Jill Halterman

Study Team

Maria Fagnano, M.P.H.
Associate Director of Clinical Research
Senior Health Project Coordinator

"I feel very fortunate to work with a wonderful research team that cares about children’s health with great enthusiasm. Our research team always seeks to better understand the families that we work with to ultimately provide better health care to these children." – Maria Fagnano

Paul Tremblay, R.N.
Project Nurse

"To be in a position to contribute as a nurse within this dynamic research team is both meaningful and rewarding. Our work together leads to a better understanding of significant gaps and disparities in the asthma care of urban underserved children. Thanks to visionary leadership we are in a unique position to test community-based interventions that address children’s relievable suffering and improve quality of life for Rochester families. Many memorable experiences with bright-eyed children, concerned parents, committed school nurses and local pediatric providers have left their impressions. One former elementary school child was particularly enthusiastic. Through meetings with his mom and dad, I heard about their struggles with long-standing smoking habits. He was able to breathe noticeably better when he received his preventive asthma medicine through school and his parents wanted to take steps to eliminate smoke exposure at home. At the end of the school year we asked this child if he would pose for a picture; he could not contain his excitement and performed cart wheels for us on his front lawn. His mother smiled big too, sharing his joy and looking very proud. The upside down image of this excited boy later became part of the logo we designed for our School-Based Preventive Asthma Care Technology (SB-PACT) study. We’re able to make a difference for real people and learn what it takes to make asthma a chronic condition that children can live well and lead full lives with." – Paul Tremblay

Susan Blaakman, Ph.D.
Project Nurse

"I have learned a great deal about what it takes to run a major research project while upholding the highest respect both for science and the care of the families who participate. It was my greatest honor to be invited to a home by a family participating in the NICU study pilot and to be introduced to a now healthy and thriving baby who was at birth ‘the smallest baby ever born at Strong Memorial Hospital.’ I’ll never forget being able to hold a miracle (dressed in pink) in my arms that day!" – Susan Blaakman

Heather Holderness
Health Project Coordinator

"It is a true privilege to be a part of such a dynamic research team that not only conducts the highest quality research but also serves to provide the utmost care and compassion for our community. The families in our community with whom we work experience significant barriers to good health, but the relationships and interactions we are able to build with them help us to better understand these gaps so that we are ultimately able to help break down these barriers and improve their, and our community’s health." – Heather Holderness

Reynaldo Tajon, B.A.
Health Project Coordinator

"Watching our school-based programs evolve into what will potentially be a new model of care for childhood asthma is both challenging and rewarding. In some ways, our approach to asthma care is much like taking apart an outdated vehicle and rebuilding it with more efficient and economical parts. What is very exciting at the moment is that some schools and state health departments across the country are starting to take notice of our approach to school-based asthma care and are trying to implement similar programs! Our overall goal is for these programs to be sustained and disseminated elsewhere, and while we know we have our work cut out, we are looking forward to the challenge. With every study, we are exploring new grounds to provide high-risk children with asthma with the best possible care." – Reynaldo Tajon

Hillary F. Goldman
Research Analyst

"Just about the greatest feeling in the world is to hear firsthand from families and nurses that our program has benefited their children. This feedback fuels my motivation to continue working for the ever evolving Preventive Care Program for Urban Children with Asthma. What a joy it is to work for a program whose outcomes are so in line with my personal values!" – Hillary F. Goldman

Elise Wiesenthal, B.S., R.N.
Research Analyst

"Working with the asthma study team has given me so many opportunities to grow, both professionally and personally. I have had the chance to work with and learn from an amazing group of dedicated, compassionate individuals. I have gained an understanding of the effort that goes into each large scale project, and I am really enjoying the opportunity to become involved in many different aspects of research. Additionally, the interactions we have with families in our programs allow us to shape our studies to the needs of the community. It is so rewarding to be welcomed into the home of a subject, and see the positive effects of our asthma research on a child's life." – Elise Wiesenthal

Charles Gillett
Research Analyst

"During my time here with the study team, my understanding of what it takes to conduct 'good' research has expanded far beyond the scope of just having 'good' data printed on a sheet. Good research is about the development of theories and the experience of taking those ideas and materializing them. Good research is about the people who work together on that process. In research, it not only takes a good idea, but just as importantly is requires a good team of individuals to nurture those ideas and help you to develop better ones. Working here has been a great experience as I have had the chance to work with individuals who are always seeking to improve themselves and the quality of their work. The dedication to the work and to the community has definitely been a major contributor to the team's past successes and it will continue to promote future success. It’s such an honor to be a part of this team." – Charles Gillett

Rebecca Holman
Research Associate

Peggy Collins
Research Associate

Stefanie Thorsness
Research Associate

Jason Noomani
Research Associate

Lamie Nguyen
Research Associate

"The unique relationship that our research team has with the community and Rochester City School District has made it possible for us to do what we are passionate about and try to give back to Rochester.  It is inspiring to come to work every day and be surrounded by people who care deeply about the work they do, and work hard to meet the needs of the people we serve.  We work hard and challenge ourselves and each other every day to be innovative, empathetic, and dedicated team members." – Lamie Nguyen

Kerry Blauvelt
Motivational Interviewing Counselor

"In the Asthma Team, I have found an environment that is helping me to grow immensely as a professional. Along with the experience I am gaining as a Motivational Interviewing Counselor, I have encountered a variety of opportunities to expand my skills. Whether it’s trying to figure out how to present abstracts and data in a clear, concise poster, or facilitating a presentation and discussion about a research project with a diverse audience of community members, or finding creative solutions to connect with teens and caregivers that are difficult to reach, I am continuously being challenged to think and act in new ways. I’ve only been with the team for a few months and I am eager to see what challenges and opportunities the rest of my time here will hold!" – Kerry Blauvelt

Dhristie Bhagat
Medical Student Summer Intern

Nicole Itzkowitz
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Katelyn Cappotelli
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Jennifer Selland
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Meghan Doran
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Hannah Slavin
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Angela Kluzniak
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Jessica Parmelee
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Eleni Wechsler
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Michelle Benassai
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Jacob Marling
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Christina Sanchez
High School Student Summer Intern

Former Team Members

David Chaves Lopez
Research Associate

"The greatest benefit of being part of The Preventive Care Program for Urban Children with Asthma is that I have the opportunity of working directly with caring parents, kind and enthusiastic youth and sincere school nurses.  In addition to this, my co-workers are supportive and professional, making our research become more significant and beneficial for our Rochester Community, particularly the families whom we work with." – David Chavez Lopez

Contact Us

Jill Halterman Lab
Saunders Research Building
General Pediatrics
Room 3.420
601 Elmwood Avenue
Box 777
Rochester, NY 14642

Phone: (585) 275-5798
Fax: (585) 276-2206
Asthma Study Team