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Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH

Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, Northwestern University; Mary Ann & J Milburn Smith Senior Scientist in Child Health Research; Clinical Attending, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago; and Director, Science and Outcomes of Allergy and Asthma Research (SOAAR) Program

Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH, has more than 15 years experience as a board-certified pediatrician and health researcher and currently serves as the director of the Science and Outcomes of Allergy & Asthma Research Program (SOAAR), where she is actively involved in clinical, epidemiological, and community-based research. 

Dr. Gupta completed her undergraduate and medical education at the University of Louisville and completed her medical residency at Children's Hospital & Regional Medical Center, University of Washington in Seattle. She completed her pediatric health services research fellowship at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and went on to receive her Master of Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health. 

She is nationally recognized for her groundbreaking research in food allergy and asthma epidemiology, specifically for her research on childhood food allergy prevalence. She has also significantly contributed to academic research surrounding the:

- Economic impact of food allergy; 

- Pediatric management of food allergy and asthma, including decreasing emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations and improving the quality of life of children and caregivers; and

- Implementing community interventions in schools for students with food allergy, asthma and other health conditions.

Dr. Gupta is the author of the Food Allergy Experience, has written and co-authored over 70 peer-reviewed research manuscripts and has had her work featured on major TV networks and in print media. She strives to improve the lives of children and their families through her research and hopes to continue finding answers and shaping policies surrounding pediatric food allergy and asthma.  

Research Professorship Award

On January 25th, Dr. Gupta was awarded the "Mary Ann and J. Milburn Smith Research Professorship for a Sr. Scientist in Child Health Research" chair at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago's Research Scholar Investiture Ceremony. Dr. Gupta was recognized for her tremendous contributions to pediatric food allergy and asthma research. This honor was bestowed upon her by both Patrick M. Magoon, President & CEO of Lurie Children's Hospital and Thomas P. Shanley, Chair, Department of Pediatrics and Founders' Board Centennial Professor in Pediatrics, Pediatric & Chief Research Officer, Stanley Mann Children's Research Institute. 

To read more about this honor, click here.


                                    TEAM SOAAR


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Lucy A. Bilaver, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Dr. Bilaver has successfully coordinated a number of SOAAR research projects including being the co-investigator on the Medicaid project and the Peanut Allergy Guidelines Assessment Clinician, Pediatrician, and Parent surveys. She also assists with analysis of the Natural History study’s severity and family history data. Dr. Bilaver earned a PhD from the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration and completed her post-doctoral training in health services research through an Integrated Fellowship at Feinberg. As an assistant professor of pediatrics at Northwestern Medicine, her child health services research program spans several areas of children with special health care needs including autism, asthma, obesity, and food allergy.


Kathy Boon, MPH, Research Project Manager

In her role as a Research Project Manager, Mrs. Boon manages the SOAAR team as well as all aspects of the Improving Technology-Assisted Recording of Asthma Control in Children (iTRACC) study, such as coordinating patient recruitment, clinic participation, IRB submissions, and environmental lab testing. In addition, Mrs. Boon manages the Student Media-based Health Research Team (SMHRT) study. Throughout her career, Ms. Boon has served as a public health advocate, especially for under-served Chicago communities. Ms. Boon earned a Master of Public Health with a focus in Health Policy and Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Alexandria Bozen, Research Assistant

Ms. Bozen received a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management with a minor in Biology and Pre-Med track from Saint Louis University in May 2017. Upon graduating, she joined SOAAR as an intern and has now become a full-time research assistant. In her position, she works on multiple projects including the iTRACC, FORWARD, and Natural History studies. Ms. Bozen is also developing a survey that will examine the economic cost of food allergy on a global scale and is collaborating with multiple countries to do so.


Jennifer Chung, Administrative Assistant

Ms. Chung supports the SOAAR team with administrative tasks including scheduling meetings, preparing presentations and organizing Dr. Gupta's speaking engagements and travel. Ms Chung joined SOAAR in 2017 after teaching for Chicago Public Schools. She graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary English Education and a minor in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). 


Ashley Dyer, MPH, Part-time Research Project Manager

Since 2011, Ms. Dyer has managed SOAAR research projects on childhood asthma, food allergy, and school health. Her current work is a collaboration with Northwestern University's Segal Design Institute and  focuses on integrating patient-centered research with human-centered design methods to improve young adults with food allergies transition to college. Ms. Dyer is finishing her first year of doctoral studies in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine at Pacific College of Chinese Medicine, Chicago and is completing Northwestern University's Osher Center for Integrative Medicine's Faculty Scholars Program. Ms. Dyer earned her Master of Public Health in Community Health Sciences and Maternal and Maternal and Child Health with a concentration in Global Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Jialing Jiang, Research Coordinator

In her role as a Research Assistant, Ms. Jiang supports the Natural History, FORWARD, and iREACH studies. Additionally, she helped develop the Peer-to-Peer Food Allergy Videos and the Research and Medicine Program. Ms. Jiang received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she also underwent the Pre-Medicine track and minored in Spanish.


Madeleine Kanaley, Behavioral Research Coordinator

Ms. Kanaley joined the SOAAR team in December 2016 and primarily supports the implementation of the iTRACC Study by recruiting and enrolling participants and sharing with them comprehensive asthma education and management strategies. She was also one of the leads for the Spotlight on Campus Allergies Project, a collaboration with Northwestern University's Segal Design Institute to improve young adults with food allergies transition to college by using patient-centered research with human-centered design methods. Ms. Kanaley graduated from Marquette University in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Health Studies.


Lauren Kao, MA, Research Associate

Ms. Kao joined SOAAR in 2016 and assists with writing and preparing publications and grants. She earned a Master of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Northwestern University. 

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Lisa Lombard, PhD, Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Lisa Lombard, a licensed clinical psychologist with over 25 years of experience in private practice, earned her Ph.D. in psychology/human development from the University of Chicago. She provides psychotherapy to children, teens, and families with a particular emphasis on anxiety, stress-mediated health concerns, and complex chronic pain. She is developing a clinical specialization treating children and families managing life-threatening allergies, consults in a preschool/elementary school, and partners with Sarah Boudreau-Romano, M.D., Director of the Food Allergy Support and Education (FASE), to offer "hangouts" for children with food allergies. With Dr. Gupta, she is working on a manuscript about food allergies and anxiety, behavioral restrictions, and family activities. As a member of SOAAR, she is developing a qualitative study of the trajectory of psychosocial needs following food allergy diagnosis, and plans to interview allergists and patients.  


Pamela Newmark, Research Project Coordinator

Ms. Newmark joined SOAAR in 2016 and is currently recruiting patients for the Natural History of Food Allergy and iTRACC studies. In addition, she educates iTRACC patients and supports the FORWARD study. Ms. Newmark received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from University of Wisconsin.


Brenda Silvia-Torma, MEd, Part-time Communications Coordinator

Ms. Silvia-Torma joined the SOAAR team in March 2017 to promote the team's research projects. In addition to developing content for blog articles, a monthly newsletter, social media posts and an engaging and educational website, Ms. Silvia-Torma creates
marketing materials and infographics to share with potential funders and industry members. Prior to joining SOAAR, Ms. Silvia-Torma managed the nationwide Anaphylaxis Community Experts program at Allergy & Asthma Network. She is a part-time graduate student at George Mason University (Fairfax, VA) where she is completing her certificate in nutrition. Ms. Silvia-Torma earned her Master of Education in Health Education from Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the State University of New York, College at Oswego.


Bridget Smith, PhD, Research Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics at Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University

Dr. Smith provides statistical/methodological consultation for the SOAAR team and works on a variety of projects including the Prevalence and FORWARD studies. Her expertise is in health economics, statistical methods, and research design. She received her Doctorate from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, Bloomington and she has a joint appointment as a Research Health Scientist at the Center of Innovation for Complex Chronic Healthcare at Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital.


Christopher Warren, PhD(c), Part-time Research Coordinator

Since 2011, Mr. Warren has coordinated a wide variety of food allergy and asthma-related projects with Dr. Gupta. He is currently analyzing and disseminating national adult and childhood food allergy prevalence data gleaned through SOAAR's latest food allergy prevalence study. In addition, Mr. Warren works on the FORWARD project, leads a project aiming to characterize and reduce barriers to patient adherence to recommended food allergy management practices and assists in designing the iREACH study and its grant application. Mr. Warren is in his fourth year of doctoral studies in Population Health Sciences at Keck School ofMedicine's Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California. In 2008, Mr. Warren earned his undergraduate degree in cognitive science from Northwestern University.


Justin Zaslavsky, Part-time Research Assistant

Mr. Zaslavsky, a rising senior at Tufts University, is studying Community Health with a minor in Philosophy. As a child, he was diagnosed with both asthma and life-threatening food allergies. Mr. Zaslavsky is primarily working on the FAMILY study, which examines the mechanisms behind food allergy disparities amongst children. In addition to his studies and work at SOAAR, Mr. Zaslavsky is an EMT and a health educator at Boston high schools.