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Meet Our Investigators

All of our faculty are actively engaged in research and scholarly activities. For more information about our faculty, please click here.

Research Leadership

Elizabeth Alpern, MD, MSCE

Division Head

Dr. Alpern is Head of the Division of Emergency Medicine at Lurie Children's and a Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She is both a pediatric emergency physician and clinical epidemiologist. Her research interests include the use of large databases within research networks to improve the quality of emergent care and decrease disparities of care delivered to children through application of evidence-based work. Dr. Alpern was the Principal Investigator on a project funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to develop and leverage the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) Registry to establish quality benchmarks for urgent and emergent care. She is also funded by the National Institutes of Health (NICHD) as the Principal Investigator for the PED Screen study utilizing electronic health record data to identify risk of sepsis in pediatric emergency department patients. Dr. Alpern serves on the mentorship teams for multiple K-level career development awards and has a longstanding interest in academic medicine mentorship. Currently Dr. Alpern serves as a standing member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Informatics and Digital Health study section. She has published over 150 peer-reviewed articles and has lectured nationally and internationally.

Todd Florin, MD, MSCE

Director of Research

Dr. Florin is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Head of the Grainger Research Initiative in Pediatric Emergency Research, and Director of Research for the Division of Emergency Medicine at Lurie Children’s. Dr. Florin is a nationally recognized expert in the field of respiratory infectious diseases in the acute care setting. He is the principal investigator of Catalyzing Ambulatory Research in Pneumonia Etiology and Diagnostic Innovations in Emergency Medicine (CARPE DIEM), a prospective cohort study of children with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). Current national and international studies led by Dr. Florin focus on the development of risk stratification tools and use of biomarkers to improve outcomes in children with pneumonia at the point-of-care. His work also centers on resource utilization, variation in care, antimicrobial stewardship, and use of clinical trials to improve treatments for respiratory tract infections in children. Dr. Florin has received funding from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the Gerber Foundation. Dr. Florin is passionate about developing the science of pediatric emergency medicine (PEM) practice through rigorous collaborative research efforts and fostering the next generation of PEM clinician-scientists.

Pediatric Emergency Medicine Faculty in Research

Mark D. Adler, MD

Dr. Adler is a Professor of Pediatrics (Emergency Medicine) and Medical Education at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and an attending physician at Lurie Children’s. His research interests include simulation-based healthcare education, curricular design and implementation, assessment of learners, and the use of current validity frameworks to support the use of assessment tools. Dr. Adler is a member of the Executive Committee of the International Network for Simulation-based Pediatric Innovation, Research and Education (INSPIRE), a Co-Chair for the Scholarly Activities Committee for the International Meeting for Simulation in Healthcare. He has served as the Chair for the past two years. He is an inaugural member of the National Academy of Distinguished Educators in Pediatrics (NADEP). He is an editorial board member of Simulation in Healthcare.

Erin M. Augustine, MD

Dr. Augustine’s clinical and academic interests involve medical education and healthcare delivery. 

Jacqueline B. Corboy, MD

Dr. Corboy’s clinical and educational efforts lie in both the academic and community hospital setting and focus on promoting quality in the subspecialty of pediatric emergency medicine. Following completion of a master's degree through Northwestern's Graduate Program in Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety, her primary effort has been in quality improvement and its ability to transform care within our division, the hospital, the medical school and among our community partnerships. Education and exposure to quality improvement initiatives at the medical student level will enable future physicians to provide care which is safe, equitable, efficient, effective, timely and patient-centered. Through implementation of initiatives across both academic and community sites, care can be optimized and coordinated, ensuring evidence-based practice regardless of where their care is obtained. As Co-Director of Quality within the Division of Emergency Medicine, her goal is focused on building a sound foundation for quality improvement efforts and the promotion of rigorous QI methodology, which will allow our efforts to extend beyond Lurie Children's walls both locally and nationally.

Colleen D. Fant, MD, MPH

Dr. Fant is a pediatric emergency medicine attending physican at Lurie Children's. Her particular areas of interest are in global health and medical simulation. Dr. Fant’s passion is working with providers caring for acutely ill children in Sub-Saharan Africa particularly in resource variable settings to help improve capabilities through simulation practice, faculty development, and point-of-care-ultrasound (POCUS) education. She currently has partnerships with institutions in Tanzania and Kenya and serve as the Assistant Director of Global Health Simulation within the Northwestern Institute for Global Health.

Jennifer Hoffmann, MD

Dr. Hoffmann is a pediatric emergency physician with an interest in improving care for children and adolescents who visit the emergency department for mental health conditions. Her research has focused on describing trends in emergency department utilization and health disparities in pediatric emergency mental health conditions. As a scholar in the K12 ACCELERAT program, she is currently working to develop and implement quality measures for acute agitation management in the emergency department that are informed by multidisciplinary perspectives including patients and families. She will subsequently determine whether a quality improvement initiative driven by clinical decision support improves the quality of care for acute agitation management. As the recipient of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Emergency Medicine PEMCRC research prize, she is leading a multicenter retrospective study within the PEMCRC research network to determine the prevalence of clinically significant neuroimaging findings among youth who present to the emergency department with psychosis.

Michelle Macy, MD, MS

Dr. Macy’s research focuses on healthcare decisions within the context of acute care. She has expertise in analysis of administrative datasets, survey methodology, and the development and testing of pediatric measures for quality improvement. She also designs and evaluates interventions for primary prevention of unintentional injury. She is the Principal Investigator of an R01 project funded by the NICHD to test the efficacy of an ED-based mobile health intervention to promote size-appropriate child passenger safety behaviors with the goal of reducing preventable injuries and deaths from car crashes. Dr. Macy serves as the Co-Chair of the Injury Control Special Interest Group of the Academic Pediatric Association. She is a decision editor for Academic Emergency Medicine. 

Karen A. Mangold, MD, MEd

Dr. Mangold has been an attending physican at Lurie Children's since graduating in 2011. She is involved in the kidSTAR Medical Education program, and she is the Program Director for the Pediatric Emergency Medicine fellowship. She also runs the McGaw Medical Education Clinical Scholars program. She is interested in the development and assessment of educational curricula, especially at the graduate medical level. Dr. Mangold uses simulation often in these curricula to teach medical management, team communication and leadership skills. She is interested in learner assessment, mentorship and in training other physicians to be better medical educators in order to have successful careers as clinical educators.

Mary C. Pierce, MD

Dr. Pierce’s research interest focuses primarily on injuries in children with an emphasis on differentiating abusive from accidental trauma. Dr. Pierce collaborates with a multi-disciplinary lab with emphasis on injury biomechanics. This lab combines the expertise of medicine and engineering and utilizes both a clinical and an experimental approach. Dr. Pierce’s research focus is the development of injury plausibility models, including clinical decision rules, for differentiating abusive and accidental trauma in the young child that combines medical, social, biologic, and engineering knowledge. Her interest is also in epigenetics, psychosocial risk factors, factors, ecologic factors, and how child maltreatment confers health problems later in life. This collaborative work results in translational research that is guided by case-based studies with clinical, social, and basic science research, experiments, and modeling directly linked to pertinent clinic issues.

Elizabeth C. Powell, MD, MPH

Dr. Powell is a pediatric emergency physician with advanced training in public health. Her research interests include epidemiology, public health and injury prevention, and pediatric emergency care delivery. She has supervised numerous single site and multicenter observational studies and clinical trials in the emergency department. She has collaborated nationally in the development of clinical decision rules. Her ongoing work includes a multicenter study to identify children and adolescents at risk for the development of pulmonary embolus and an analysis of the effectiveness of ondansetron to reduce emergency department resource use.

Sriram Ramgopal, MD

Dr. Ramgopal is a pediatric emergency medicine attending physician who seeks to obtain expertise with data science and machine learning methodologies to better elucidate phenotypic characteristics and more precisely identify interventions in the pediatric acute care setting. He derives satisfaction from treating pediatric patients with acute care conditions in the pediatric emergency department in a team with residents, nurse practitioners, and nurses. With respect to research, the work Dr. Ramgopal has performed to date demonstrates an avid interest in clinical and health services research in a variety of domains within pediatrics and emergency medicine. His long-term, primary career goal is to identify precision medicine approaches toward the management of pediatric respiratory disease in the acute care setting using data science and machine learning approaches within health systems.

Karen M. Sheehan, MD, MPH

Dr. Sheehan is a Professor of Pediatrics, Medical Education, and Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. As a Northwestern University Medical Student over 30 years ago, Dr. Sheehan was a founding volunteer of the Chicago Youth Programs (CYP), a community-based organization that works to improve the health and life opportunities of at-risk youths. In addition to being trained in pediatric emergency medicine, Dr. Sheehan provides primary care to CYP children through the clinic located at Lurie Children’s. Dr. Sheehan is Associate Chair of Advocacy, Medical Director of the Patrick M. Magoon Institute for Healthy Communities, and Medical Director of Lurie Children’s Injury Prevention & Research Center. Her research interests are community-based injury, violence prevention and youth development. 

Research Professionals

Jillian Benedetti, MPH

Manager, Clinical Research

Jillian is the Manager, Clinical Research in Emergency Medicine at Lurie Children’s. She has a background in clinical research project management and learning health system research. Jillian completed her undergraduate degree at the Pennsylvania State University and her graduate studies at Thomas Jefferson University School of Public Health. Her research interests, broadly speaking, are in the areas of decision-making, health communication, health disparities and infectious emergencies.

Bethany Pollock, MPH, CPST

Lead Behavioral Research Coordinator

Bethany is a Behavioral Research Coordinator Lead in the Division of Emergency Medicine who joined Lurie Children’s in June 2019. Prior to coming to Lurie Children's, Bethany spent 10 years working in various roles in the field of injury prevention research at the University of Michigan Injury Prevention Center. Bethany has expertise in managing research studies and emergency department-based prevention interventions. Bethany holds a Master of Public Health in Health Behavior, Health Education from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice from the University of Michigan. In 2011, Bethany became a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) and recertified in 2019. In her spare time, she enjoys snow and water skiing, golfing, and spending time with her husband and daughter.

Leo Castillo

Behavioral Research Coordinator

Leo is a member of the Division of Emergency Medicine. He currently works with Dr. Michelle Macy on a child passenger safety study, and has worked in the areas of health and social research for over 14 years. Before joining Lurie Children’s he worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator at the UIC Cancer Center, as a Project Research Coordinator at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and as a Bilingual Program Researcher at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. He has a master’s degree in Applied Linguistics from UCLA, as well as a BA in Philosophy from the California Polytechnic University and a BFA in Visual Communications from Northern Illinois University.

Kelsey Julian

Behavioral Research Coordinator

Kelsey Julian is a Behavioral Research Coordinator in the Division of Emergency Medicine. She recently graduated with her Master of Clinical Psychology from the University of Dayton, where she also completed her undergraduate studies. Her Master's thesis examined the relationship between childhood maltreatment and alcohol use patterns in young adults. Prior to this role, she served as a research coordinator for a study that assessed how stress and trauma are related to epigenetic factors among families. She hopes to continue researching the impacts of trauma and obtain her PhD to become a licensed Psychologist.

Liliana San Miguel

Behavioral Research Coordinator

Lili is a Behavioral Research Coordinator in the Emergency Department working on Dr. Macy’s Child Passenger Safety Study. She has a Bachelor’s in Applied Psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her journey into research began at UIC in 2015, she started at the Cancer Center as an intern and over the course of a few years, she ended as Program Coordinator. She thoroughly enjoys working with the team, participant population, and in this area of study.

Jack Kapes

Clinical Research Coordinator

Jack Kapes is a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Division of Emergency Medicine who joined Lurie Children's in August 2021. He completed his undergraduate degree at Elon University and his graduate studies at Rush University. Prior to joining Lurie Children's, he worked as a Research Coordinator at the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center where he was involved in multiple clinical trials. He is enthusiastic to continue his involvement in clinical research with kids.

Marissa Samuels

Clinical Research Coordinator

Marissa was born and raised in Philadelphia where she studied Art History at the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating, she decided to pursue a career in medicine, completing a post-baccalaureate program at Thomas Jefferson University and working in research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s emergency department. Marissa is thrilled to continue her work in clinical research in Pediatric Emergency Medicine as she applies to medical school.  

Danielle Cory, MENG

Clinical Research Coordinator

Danielle Cory is a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Division of Emergency Medicine. She recently graduated from the University of Louisville with her Master of Engineering in Bioengineering, where her research focused on pediatric injury biomechanics. Her thesis work involved the biomechanical characterization and assessment of short-distance falls involving children in a childcare setting.