Steve Allen, MD

Steve Allen, MD, is CEO of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, a position he has held since 2006. Nationwide Children’s treats children from around the world as an elite, destination, pediatric teaching hospital and research institution. He leads an organization that has defined a new model for delivering state of the art care and generating new cures in an environment of unsurpassed quality. Nationwide Children’s shares its knowledge by teaching the next generation of providers and developing innovative community outreach programs to address critical healthcare needs. All this is firmly wrapped in the hospital’s 130-year mission to provide every child with the finest medical care regardless of their families’ ability to pay.


Dr. Allen is gratified to lead such a purpose-driven organization. Nationwide Children’s success is fueled by an environment of continuous improvement. He derives remarkable insights from asking all levels of staff and families for their ideas on how the organization can do even better. While there are successful healthcare executives who come from a broad background, his perspective gained from the practice of medicine not only influences how he prioritizes the work, but also how he leads.

His passion for population health and wellness drives participation in legislative advocacy at the state and national level. This focus is critical to advancing children’s healthcare. Dr. Allen was appointed Chair of the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) 2016 Board of Trustees.

Carlos E. Alvarez, PhD

Carlos E. Alvarez, PhD, is a principal investigator in The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and associate professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. His lab’s biomedical research program is focused on two areas: dog and human genetics, and signal transduction. His studies have been funded by National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, Canine Health Foundation and Morris Animal Foundation.

Anthony Audino, MD

Dr. Audino is a pediatric oncologist in Hematology/Oncology & BMT at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. His clinical and research interests include adolescent and young adult oncology, specifically solid tumors such as sarcoma and lymphoma. He has piloted, with grant support, a year-long program for AYA outreach education.

Mary Bates, PhD

Mary a freelance science writer and blogger based in Boston. Her favorite topics include biology, psychology, neuroscience, ecology, and animal behavior. She has a BA in Biology-Psychology with a minor in English from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, and a PhD from Brown University, where she researched bat echolocation and bullfrog chorusing.

Gina Bericchia

Gina is the director of Media Relations at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She has a background in health care public relations. She previously worked at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and is a graduate of Otterbein College.

Elise Berlan, MD, MPH

Dr. Berlan is a physician in the Section of Adolescent Medicine at Nationwide Childcare’s Hospital and associate professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.  She is a researcher, educator, clinician and advocate for young women’s reproductive health. As founder and director of the BC4Teens/Young Women’s Contraception Program at Nationwide Children’s, she leads the hospital’s diverse efforts in teen pregnancy prevention. Dr. Berlan is also an active participant in local efforts in public health to reduce infant mortality.

Ray Bignall, MD

O. N. Ray Bignall II, MD, is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Nephrology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Dr. Bignall received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Howard University, a Doctorate of Medicine from Meharry Medical College, and a Certificate in Health Policy at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at Meharry. He completed his general pediatrics residency, clinical fellowship in nephrology, and a National Institutes of Health T32 post-doctoral research fellowship in the Center for Treatment Adherence and Self-Management, all at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Dr. Bignall’s academic interests include social determinants of health, population health, and health disparities in pediatric kidney disease and transplantation. He is a recipient of the American Academy of Pediatrics Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) award, and was appointed a John E. Lewy Fund Advocacy Scholar of the American Society of Pediatric Nephrology (ASPN). He currently serves as a member of the Public Policy Committee of the ASPN, and the Policy and Advocacy Committee of the American Society of Nephrology. In addition, Dr. Bignall is involved in a variety of community and child health advocacy efforts, including the Healthy Neighborhoods, Healthy Families initiative, and the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust.

Michael T. Brady, MD

Michael T. Brady, MD, is associate medical director at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, co-medical director for Patient Safety, a member of the hospital’s Division of Infectious Diseases and a Professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. An infectious disease specialist for more than three decades, Dr. Brady began focusing on the emerging HIV epidemic in the mid-1980s and its implications for infants, children and adolescents. He created the country’s first family-centered pediatric HIV program at Nationwide Children’s in 1987. While still involved with the HIV program, his interests in recent years have included promoting immunization in children, reducing healthcare associated infections and providing guidance on emerging infections.

Dr. Brady served as physician-in-chief at Nationwide Children’s from 2005 to 2013 and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at OSU’s College of Medicine from 2006 to 2013. Under his leadership, OSU’s Pediatrics faculty nearly doubled in size. Dr. Brady also oversaw the development of Physician Direct Connect at Nationwide Children’s, a service that puts community pediatricians in nearly immediate contact with specialists for consultations. He is a long-time member of Nationwide Children’s Graduate Medical Education Committee, influencing the training of the next generation of physicians.

At the national level, Dr. Brady has served as chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Infectious Diseases. He is currently the associate editor of Red Book, the comprehensive infectious disease reference from the AAP. He is also a member of the editorial panel for Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Exposed and HIV-Infected Children: Recommendations from the NIH, CDC, HIV Medicine Association, PIDS and AAP. Other activities have involved global immunization advocacy, ongoing education of pediatricians across the country and service on task forces handling issues ranging from circumcision to meningococcal vaccines.

Katie Brind'Amour, PhD, MS, CHES

Katherine (Katie) Brind’Amour is a freelance medical and health science writer based in Pennsylvania. She has written about nearly every therapeutic area for patients, doctors and the general public. Dr. Brind’Amour specializes in health literacy and patient education. She completed her BS and MS degrees in Biology at Arizona State University and her PhD in Health Services Management and Policy at The Ohio State University. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist and is interested in health promotion via health programs and the communication of medical information.

Irina Buhimschi

Irina A. Buhimschi, MD, is the director of the Center for Perinatal Research at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She is also a tenured professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Obstetrics/Gynecology at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. A story on her recent research discoveries in preeclampsia can be found in another article, “Thinking Outside the (Tool)Box.” Dr. Buhimschi is funded by numerous federal and international organizations and conducts a wide range of research on perinatal health conditions associated with preterm birth and maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality.  Her laboratory has a special interest in studying preeclampsia, a pregnancy-associated hypertensive disease of yet unknown cause.

Deena Chisolm, PhD

Dr. Chisolm is the director of the Center for Innovation in Pediatric Practice at the Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and is an associate professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health. She is a health services epidemiologist whose research is focused on measuring and improving the effectiveness, efficiency, and equity of pediatric health care.

Much of her current research is focused on the role of health care technology in improving pediatric health care quality. She is also interested in research investigating the factors associated with use of e-health services by at-risk youth. In addition, Dr. Chisolm serves as a resource to Nationwide Children’s Hospital clinical researchers on issues including: the use of clinical and administrative data in research, cost-effectiveness analysis, and quality indicator development.

Timothy Cripe, MD, PhD

Dr. Cripe is chief of the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Blood and Marrow Transplantation at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. His clinical interests include gene and viral therapies for solid tumors in children, including brain tumors, neuroblastoma and bone and soft tissue sarcomas. Dr. Cripe’s current research focuses on developing and testing new therapies for pediatric solid tumors and translating those findings into clinical studies. He was among the first in the country to launch clinical trials of attenuated oncolytic viruses in children.

Nancy Cunningham, PsyD

Nancy Cunningham, PsyD, director of Community Engagement and Development, Big Lots Behavioral Health Services, is a psychologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital who has provided child and adolescent clinical services and overseen program development in their behavioral health department. Dr. Cunningham currently works with external community providers and organizations to develop partnerships that result in improved access to care and integration of services on behalf of children and their families.

Lauren Dembeck, PhD

Lauren Dembeck, PhD, is a freelance science and medical writer based in New York City. She completed her BS in biology and BA in foreign languages at West Virginia University. Dr. Dembeck studied the genetic basis of natural variation in complex traits for her doctorate in genetics at North Carolina State University. She then conducted postdoctoral research on the formation and regulation of neuronal circuits at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in Japan.

Bailey Dye

Bailey is a PhD candidate in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program at The Ohio State University, pursuing her graduate studies in the Center for Cardiovascular Research in The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.  Her present research is dedicated to determining the molecular mechanisms of heart valve disease.  She enjoys promoting science education to a broad audience through elementary and middle school classroom visits, mentoring high school and undergraduate students, and adult science outreach programs, with the goal of improving science accessibility for everyone.  Bailey earned her BS in Biology at Otterbein University, where she conducted research in plant pathology, focusing on red maple toxicosis in equines.  She contributes to Pediatrics Nationwide and PediatricsOnline.


Jonathan Finlay, MB, ChB, FRCP

Jonathan L. Finlay, MB, ChB, FRCP is the program director of Neuro-Oncology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Dr. Finlay is a tenured professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. He is an internationally recognized expert in pediatric brain tumors and has authored or co-authored over 200 peer-reviewed publications in leading medical journals and over 80 review articles and book chapters.

Rachael Hardison

Rachael is a PhD candidate in Biomedical Sciences at The Ohio State University and is completing her graduate studies at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis. She contributes to Pediatrics Nationwide and PediatricsOnline, an online newsletter for specialists.

Geri Hewitt, MD

Geri D. Hewitt, MD, is chief of the Section of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and a professor of Clinical Obstetrics in the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Dr. Hewitt’s primary interests are caring for the gynecologic and reproductive health needs for young girls as well as adolescents. Dr. Hewitt is an examiner for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Hewitt is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and a co-editor for the Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology Tips for Clinicians section.

Cody Hostutler, PhD

Cody Hostutler, PhD, is a pediatric primary care psychologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University.  He received training in integrated primary care at Lehigh University, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Nemours/A.I. DuPont Hospital for Children, and Geisinger Health System.  His research interests include evaluating the effect that integrated primary care has on the quadruple aim (i.e., patient and provider satisfaction, clinical outcomes, reducing healthcare costs) as well as identifying and reducing health disparities.

Kelly Kelleher, MD, MPH

Dr. Kelleher is a pediatrician whose research interests focus on accessibility, effectiveness and quality of health care services for children and their families, especially those affected by mental disorders, substance abuse or violence. He has a longstanding interest in formal outcomes research for mental health and substance abuse services. Dr. Kelleher is director of the Center for Innovation in Pediatric Practice and vice president of Health Services Research at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Dr. Kelleher is also professor in the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

Anna Kerlek, MD

Dr. Kerlek is a child psychiatrist specializing in the treatment of children who have experienced maltreatment and exposure to violence. She works at Nationwide Children’s Family Support Program at The Center for Safety and Healing.

Tiasha Letostak, PhD

Tiasha is the senior strategist for Clinical & Research Communications at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She provides assistance to investigators in The Research Institute and clinician-scientists at Nationwide Children’s for internal and external communication of clinical studies, peer-reviewed journal articles, grant awards and research news. She is also the editor-in-chief for Research Now, Nationwide Children’s monthly, all-employee e-newsletter for research, as well as a writer for Pediatrics Nationwide.

Joy Lincoln, PhD

Joy Lincoln, PhD, is a principal investigator in The Center for Cardiovascular Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University. Dr. Lincoln’s research is focused on understanding mechanisms of heart valve development and the etiology of congenital and acquired valve disease, with the goal of developing novel therapeutics.

William Long, MD

Dr. Long has been a primary care pediatrician for more than 26 years. He is the president of Children’s Practicing Pediatricians (CPP) in Columbus, Ohio. He serves as clinical faculty at The Ohio State University College of Medicine and as chief medical informatics officer at Pediatrics Associates, Inc. 

Adrianna Matos-Nieves

Adrianna is a 5th year Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Vidu Garg’s laboratory in the Center for Cardiovascular Research. Her research focuses on identifying novel genetic pathways involved in the development of the embryonic mouse heart. Outside of the lab, Adrianna is committed to ending science education disparities by facilitating community outreach events between scientists and the Columbus, Ohio community. She is set to graduate this Fall.

Brianne Moore

Brianne is interning as a science writer and editor for Clinical & Research Communications at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She contributes to a variety of publications, including Pediatrics Nationwide and PediatricsOnline.

Jill Neff, DO

Dr. Neff completed medical school at the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Athens, Ohio, and a pediatrics residency at the Doctors Hospital of Stark County, Ohio. She is the owner/pediatrician of Hometown Pediatrics in Jackson, Ohio.

JoAnna Pendergrass, DVM

JoAnna Pendergrass, DVM, is a veterinarian and freelance medical writer in Atlanta, GA. She received her veterinary degree from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine and completed a 2-year postdoctoral research fellowship at Emory University’s Yerkes Primate Research Center before beginning her career as a medical writer.

As a freelance medical writer, Dr. Pendergrass focuses on pet owner education and health journalism. She is a member of the American Medical Writers Association and has served as secretary and president of AMWA’s Southeast chapter.

In her spare time, Dr. Pendergrass enjoys baking, running, and playing the viola in a local community orchestra.

Jeb Phillips

Jeb is a senior writer and editor for Clinical & Research Communications at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He contributes feature stories and research news to PediatricsOnline, the hospital’s electronic newsletter for physicians and other health care providers, and to Pediatrics Nationwide. He has served as a communications specialist at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at The Research Institute and came to Nationwide Children’s after 14-year career as daily newspaper reporter, most recently at The Columbus Dispatch.

Sanjana Rajan

Sanjana is a graduate student in the Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology program at Ohio State. She is pursuing her PhD under the mentorship of Dr. Ryan Roberts at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Her research focuses on understanding intra-tumor heterogeneity, the mechanisms by which some cancer cells can survive the genotoxic stress from chemotherapy, and tumor-host interactions that allow for increased capacity of osteosarcoma cells to colonize the lung.

Suzanne Reed

Dr. Reed’s clinical interests focus on pediatric leukemia. She has a research interest in medical education, specifically in the teaching of communication and breaking bad news skills. Dr. Reed has a programmatic interest in medical education and is developing a communication curriculum for the pediatric residency program, for which she serves as an associate program director. Dr. Reed received her medical degree from The Ohio State University College of Medicine, and she completed both her residency and fellowship at Nationwide Children’s.

Louise Rodino-Klapac, PhD

Lousie Rodino-Klapac, PhD, is a principal investigator in the Center for Gene Therapy, Neurology, Neuromuscular Disorders and Neurosciences in The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She is also associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Her translational research program focuses on the development of adeno-associated viral vectors to treat both Duchenne and Limb-Girdle muscular dystrophies. She was recently named one of Columbus Business First’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2017.

Abbie Roth

Abbie Roth, MWC, is a passionate communicator of science. As the managing editor for science communication at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, she shares stories about innovative research and discovery with audiences ranging from parents to preeminent researchers and leaders. Before coming to Nationwide Children’s, Abbie used her communication skills to engage audiences with a wide variety of science topics. As a subject-matter expert, she developed content for science education materials for McGraw-Hill Education, bringing science concepts to life for middle and high school aged students. She also provided technical editing for manuscripts spanning the American Chemical Society journal portfolio, in addition to serving as production lead for ACS Synthetic Biology. Abbie earned her BS in Life Sciences at Otterbein University while working at the Tan & Cardinal newspaper and minoring in Public Relations. She is a Medical Writer Certified®, credentialed by the American Medical Writers Association.

Emre Sezgin, PhD

Emre Sezgin, PhD, is a digital health scientist (IT project scientist) at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

David Stukus, MD

Dr. Stukus is director of the Complex Asthma Clinic and a physician in the Section of Allergy/Immunology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He is also assistant professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. His clinical and research interests focus on asthma and food allergies, especially improving education and adherence for patients and families. As part of his research, Dr. Stukus has created novel technology and educational tools using mobile health apps to improve the care of patients, for which he was recognized with the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Department of Pediatrics Junior Faculty Award for Innovation in November 2013. Dr. Stukus has been an active member of the medical advisory team for Kids with Food Allergies since 2009 and was elected to the Board of Directors for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America in 2014.

Elizabeth Varga, MS, LGC

Ms. Varga is a licensed genetic counselor in the Division of Hematology/Oncology/ Bone Marrow Transplant. Ms. Varga has 12 years of experience as a genetic counselor and has specialized in pediatric Hematology/Oncology for the past 5 years. She currently provides clinical genetic counseling and participates in research related to genetics of blood and cancer.

Susan Colace, MD

Dr. Vear is the co-director of the Program for Personalized Medicine and Pharmacogenomics in Hematology/Oncology/Blood and Bone Marrow Transplant at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and assistant professor at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Her research interests include chemotherapy toxicities and pharmacogenomics. Clinically, she sees oncology patients with a focus on leukemia and cancer predisposition syndromes.

Pedro Weisleder, MD, PhD

Dr. Weisleder is an attending pediatric neurologist at Nationwide Children’s. He is professor of Clinical Pediatrics and director of the Pediatric Neurology Residency Program at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Dr. Weisleder serves as director of the Center for Pediatric Bioethics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He is also co-chair of the Nationwide Children’s Integrated Ethics Committee.  Dr. Weisleder’s research interests include medical ethics and the interactions between medicine and the law. Dr. Weisleder has edited two books “Current Topics in Pediatric Epilepsy” and the “Manual of Pediatric Neurology.”

Natalie Wilson

Natalie Wilson is a marketing strategist for research communications. She’s passionate about sharing the incredible work of researchers and other health care professionals at Nationwide Children’s with a variety of audiences. Natalie previously worked in other nonprofit spaces, including higher education and entrepreneurial incubation. She served as a marketing and program coordinator for the Wake Forest Fellows Program and Office of Personal & Career Development at Wake Forest University and as a marketing coordinator for Winston Starts, holding a deep interest in supporting both innovation and discovery and the people who make possible those innovations. Natalie studied sociology at Wake Forest University, where she also minored in women’s, gender & sexuality studies and interdisciplinary writing, served as an executive editor of the student newspaper, the Old Gold & Black, and gained marketing experience as an intern at Wake Forest University School of Law.

Nicholas Yeager, MD

Dr. Yeager is the director of the AYA Program at Nationwide Children’s. His clinical interests include bone tumors, soft tissue sarcomas and malignancy in AYA patients. He is also director of the pediatric Hematology/Oncology fellowship program and is involved in the Orthopedic Oncology Clinic.