Introducing the 2022 Pediatric Pandemic Network Scholars

  • Published November 30, 2022
PPN Scholars collage

In October, the Pediatric Pandemic Network (PPN) selected its first cohort of PPN Scholars. The six scholars represent diverse geographic regions, backgrounds, and disciplines, including emergency medicine, pediatrics, and trauma program management. Through the PPN Scholars program, they will work with mentors on community- and hospital-based research projects focused on ensuring all children have access to high-quality care before, during, and after disasters and pandemics.

“We were so impressed by the quality of applicants for this first year,” PPN Scholars Program co-lead Rachel Stanley, MD, MHSA, says. “With their experience, passion, and diverse perspectives, we’re confident that these scholars will play an important role in ensuring equitable pediatric care in crises.”

The PPN Scholars program is modeled on a similar opportunity initiated in 2021 by Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC), which recently selected and announced its new EMSC Scholars and EMSC Fellows.

“Our EMSC Scholars had a fantastic first year working on important issues in pediatric readiness,” says Corrie Chumpitazi, MD, MS, FAAP, FACEP, who co-leads the Scholars and Fellows programs for both EMSC and PPN. “We’re thrilled to bring the Scholars approach to PPN, with a focus on weaving community engagement and health equity into pediatric everyday preparedness.”

Meet the PPN Scholars

Jefferson Barrett, MD, MPH, FAAP (New York, NY), is a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine: “I had limited experience with pediatric disaster preparedness and disaster medicine in residency but have always been interested in the field, as it combines many of my interests in medicine. In my pediatric emergency medicine fellowship (at Boston Children’s), I was lucky to have a great mentor in Dr. (Sarita) Chung, who introduced me to the field, helped me get started, and continues to mentor me as I gain experience.”

Erin Hanlin, MD, FAAEM, FACEP (Durham, NC), is a professor of emergency medicine and medical director for emergency preparedness at Duke University Hospital, associate medical director for Durham County Emergency Medical Services, and medical director for the NC 400 State Medical Assistance Team: “In my role as medical director for emergency preparedness, we are working on rewriting our pediatric mass casualty plan, and through that work, I've been drawn into pediatric disaster preparedness… I hope to improve my skills and knowledge in pediatric disaster preparedness, including pediatric hospital-based mass casualty planning.”

Ashley Kourgialis, PA-C (Weehawken, NJ), is a physician assistant in the emergency department at Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital: “My passion for disaster readiness and planning started in Washington, DC. I realized the great need there is for pediatric disaster planning, especially post-disaster reunification planning. My area of interest is centered around reunification plans for the pediatric population, and more specifically for our children with special needs.”

Chris Ottolini, EMT, BS (Roseville, CA), is a paramedic and training captain with Coast Life Support District and project director for the Rural Emergency Medical Services Training Collaborative: “Outside of the Advanced Life Support ambulance services that Coast Life Support District provides, there is a significant lack of all forms of medical care for visitors and residents in the (rural northern California) region… Services are developing for the adult population, but very little is centered on the pediatric population.”

Renita Pushparajah Mak, MD, FAAP (Little Rock, AR), is a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Arkansas Children’s Hospital: “I started my career in medicine as an EMT prior to becoming a physician. I enjoy working with prehospital providers and educating individuals on providing pediatric care and ensuring equitable care for all… I hope to obtain the skills and mentorship needed to improve disaster preparedness and pediatric readiness for communities in Arkansas.”

Tanya Trevilian, MSN, RN, CCRN-K, CPN, CPST (Roanoke, VA), is the pediatric trauma program manager at Carilion Children’s Hospital: “Building a successful pediatric trauma program has been an incredible opportunity to use my nursing experience to improve care of injured children… What I hope to accomplish from this program is to gain knowledge of how to build an effective regional plan to care for injured children and their families in a mass casualty or disaster event.”