In 2013, the co-directors of the Center for Violence Prevention (CVP), formerly the Violence Prevention Initiative, sought the input and expertise of a multi-disciplinary group of clinicians and researchers from across Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to help set direction and priorities for the new initiative. CVP’s Scholars and Associates offer a unique perspective to the causes and impact of violence on our children and youth, as well as solutions.
The result is a powerful network of violence experts that helps CVP to be strategic and practical in its efforts, as well as nimble in our ability to respond to violence and crisis in our communities. Continue reading to learn more about each Scholar and Associate and their specific area of expertise.
CVP Research Scholars
Joel Fein, MD, MPH
Joel Fein, MD, MPH is Co-Director of CHOP’s Center for Violence Prevention, Research Co-Director of the National Network of Hospital-based Violence Intervention Programs, and an Attending Physician in the Emergency Department at CHOP. Dr. Fein’s work takes a public health approach to violence prevention and includes a focus on community-based participatory research. His areas of interest include violence prevention, mental health, and pain management in children and adolescents.
Nancy Kassam-Adams, PhD
Nancy Kassam-Adams, PhD is the Associate Director of Behavioral Research at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention and Director of the Center for Pediatric Traumatic Stress. Her research focuses on posttraumatic stress in ill and injured children and their parents and on developing screening and secondary prevention protocols that can be integrated in pediatric health care settings.
Polina Krass, MD
Polina Krass, MD is an Attending Physician at CHOP and a National Clinical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Krass is collaborating with CVP and PolicyLab to build a firearm policy portfolio at CHOP.
Stephen Leff, PhD
Stephen Leff, PhD is Co-Director of CHOP’s Center for Violence Prevention and a Psychologist at CHOP. His research into aggression, bullying, and social skills promotion has developed and validated several aggression interventions for school-aged youth.
Rachel Myers, PhD, MS
Rachel Myers, PhD is the Research Director for CVP’s Violence Intervention Program (VIP). In this role, she oversees the day-to-day operations of the VIP and supports the research and data collection efforts of the Program. Her research interests include children’s exposure to violence in the home and adolescent intimate partner violence.
Brooke Paskewich, PsyD
Brooke Paskewich, PsyD is the Behavioral Health Research Manager within CVP’s Bullying Prevention Programs. Her research focuses on development, implementation, and evaluation of school-based prevention programming, particularly those that address aggression and bullying. Dr. Paskewich's research interests include developmental and clinical psychology, program implementation science, aggression and bullying, and violence prevention.
Tracy Evian Waasdorp, PhD, MEd
Tracy Evian Waasdorp, PhD, MEd is a Research Scientist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Dr. Waasdorp’s research focuses on the prevention and intervention of bullying and aggression through improving children’s social and emotional skills.
CVP Practice-based Scholars
Ruth Abaya, MD, MPH
Ruth Abaya, MD, MPH is an Attending Physician in the Emergency Department at CHOP and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She has an interest in firearm violence prevention, specifically focusing on access to firearms among high-risk adolescents, as well as patient-centered approaches to prevention that draw on the experiences of the youths themselves.
India Azzinaro, BSW
India Azzinaro, BSW is the Medical Advocacy Supervisor at Lutheran Settlement House and CHOP. In her role at CHOP, India provides supervision to Medical Advocates, participates in hospital task force and administration meetings, and supports Medical Advocacy staff in tabling events and trainings as needed, along with other related duties. Within CHOP's STOP IPV program, India provides support at The Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pediatric Center for families affected by intimate partner violence.
Consuelo Cagande, MD is the Division Chief of the Community Care and Wellness Program and Senior Associate Program Director/Fellowship Advisor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at CHOP.
Jeremy Esposito, MD, MSEd
Jeremy Esposito, MD, MSEd is an Attending Physician in the Emergency Department at CHOP and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. His interests and research focus involves increasing awareness and screening of mental health concerns during patient encounters, improving care for behavioral health patients, improving follow-up through better communication once these patients leave the emergency department, and advocating for additional resources.
Sandyaa Iyengar, MD, MPH is an Attending Physican with the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at CHOP. Dr. Iyengar’s research focuses on quality improvement, helping primary care doctors screen for developmental conditions, promoting healthy lifestyles for children with autism spectrum disorder, and learning about the impact of adverse childhood experiences on development.
Ashlee Murray, MD, MPH
Ashlee Murray, MD, MPH is Director of the Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Taskforce and an Attending Physician in the Emergency Department at CHOP. The IPV Taskforce, in collaboration with Lutheran Settlement House, is a multidisciplinary group committed to educating the CHOP community about IPV and its effects, screening for patients and caregivers, and providing a safe place for families and employees to discuss their IPV concerns. Dr. Murray is also a CPHI (Center for Public Health Initiatives) fellow and an MPH (Master of Public Health) instructor at the University of Pennsylvania. Her areas of interest include adverse childhood experiences, IPV, healthcare access, pediatric ER utilization, and quality improvement.
Dorothy Novick, MD
Dorothy Novick, MD is an Attending Physician at CHOP’s South Philadelphia Care Network. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine and serves on the board of the Education Law Center. Her 20 years of experience caring for urban families over multiple generations fuels her interest in interrupting the cycle of poverty by providing trauma-informed care, developing community partnerships, and interrupting the school-to-prison pipeline.
Christopher Renjilian, MD is an attending physician with the Division of Adolescent Medicine and the Division of Orthopedics at CHOP. Dr. Renjilian serves as a consultant to the Violence Intervention Program, providing valuable expertise on issues related to Adolescent Medicine for complex cases requiring advanced coordination of medical care. Dr. Renjilian provides consultation when youth have identified needs in the areas of homelessness/marginal housing, concerns related to sexual and reproductive health, gender identity and sexuality, behavioral health, and musculoskeletal or head injuries related to trauma.
Philip Scribano, DO, MSCE
Philip Scribano, DO, MSCE is an Attending Physician and Director of Safe Place: The Center for Child Protection and Health at CHOP. Dr. Scribano is also the Program Director of CHOP’s Child Abuse Pediatrics Fellowship and is one of just over 200 board certified Child Abuse Pediatrics subspecialists in the U.S. His pediatrics career has focused on prevention interventions to address intimate partner violence; and, the medical and psychological aspects of child maltreatment.
Stephen Soffer, PhD
Stephen Soffer, PhD is a psychologist in the Center for Management of ADHD and the Director of the Outpatient Program in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at CHOP. Dr. Soffer works with a team of colleagues on youth suicide prevention initiatives, informed by Zero Suicide-based approaches to improving suicide prevention in health care settings. Dr. Soffer and his team focus their efforts on enhancing staff education, improving the reliability of suicide risk assessment, and developing care pathways for patients with elevated suicide risk.
Laura Vega, DSW, LCSW serves as the Manger of Clinical Program Operations for CVP’s Violence Intervention Program. Dr. Vega works exclusively with assault-injured youth and their families. Her research interests are in organizational support to address secondary traumatic stress.
Christine Waanders, PhD
Christine Waanders, PhD is a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania and a clinical consultant for CVP where she works to find new ways to incorporate CVP’s expertise in aggression and peer relations within various CHOP departments.
Marné Castillo, PhD, MEd
Marné Castillo, PhD, MEd is a Research Scientist in the Adolescent Initiative at CHOP. Dr. Castillo works in conjunction with a diverse community coalition to identify and change structural barriers that impact adolescent health. Her research interests include community-based prevention research, HIV and STI prevention, and epidemiology.
Nadia Dowshen, MD
Nadia Dowshen, MD is an Attending Physician in Adolescent Medicine, Director of Adolescent HIV Services, and co-founder of the Sexuality and Gender Development Program at CHOP. She is also an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and Assistant Medical Director of Covenant House in Philadelphia. Her clinical and research interests involve issues around sexually transmitted diseases and HIV prevention/treatment, as well as achieving health equity for other marginalized youth including LGBT and homeless adolescents.
Christine Forke Young, PhD, MSN, CRNP
Christine Forke Young, PhD, MSN, CRNP is a nationally certified, licensed Pediatric Nurse Practitioner specializing in adolescent health and epidemiologic methods. Her targeted area of interest is understanding the intergenerational impacts of exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and intimate partner violence and identifying factors that can mitigate risk for children, adolescents, and families.
Linda Hawkins, PhD, LPC
Linda Hawkins, PhD, LPC is the Family Services Specialist for the Department of Family Services and Clinical Programs, as well as Co-Director of the Gender and Sexuality Development Program at CHOP. In her role, Dr. Hawkins provides consultation and training throughout the CHOP Network to increase competence around LGBT patient and family experiences.
Jason Lewis, PhD is a psychologist and Associate Director of the Outpatient Program in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at CHOP. Dr. Lewis collaborated on CVP’s Department of Pediatrics Chair’s Initiative – Communicating and Connecting Mental Health Needs of Patients.
Gary Nace, Jr., MD, FACS, FAAP is an attending pediatric surgeon with the Division of Pediatric General, Thoracic and Fetal Surgery, and the Trauma Center at CHOP.
Michael Nance, MD, FACS, FAAP
Michael Nance, MD, FACS, FAAP is the Director of the Pediatric Trauma Program at CHOP. Dr. Nance has conducted extensive research and is a nationally recognized expert in the field of pediatric trauma, specifically examining firearms injury in children, solid organ injuries, and traumatic brain injury. His research has also focused on broader issues related to pediatric trauma, such as access to trauma care and injury prevention.
Thomas Power, PhD
Thomas Power, PhD is the Director of the Center for Management of ADHD and Chief Psychologist in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at CHOP. Dr. Power’s research focuses on the assessment and treatment of children with ADHD. He also has a special interest in health promotion in schools and the delivery of services for children with ADHD in urban settings.
Roy Wade, Jr., MD, PhD, MPH, MSHP
Roy Wade, Jr., MD, PhD, MPH, MSHP is an Instructor of Pediatrics at CHOP in the Department of General Pediatrics. As a clinical scholar, Dr. Wade completed a study of Adverse Childhood Experiences amongst low-income youth in Philadelphia. Recently, Dr. Wade was awarded a Stoneleigh Foundation Fellowship to build a youth-informed childhood adversity measure and promote its adoption amongst health and social service organizations in Philadelphia. His research interests focus on the intersection between poverty, adversity, and childhood well-being. Through his work, he aims to translate research on the science of childhood adversity and toxic stress into effective strategies to improve community level systems of care in economically distressed communities.
Carl Wolfarth, MA, LPC, ACS
Carl J. Wolfarth, MA, LPC, ACS is the Operations Manager of the Children’s Intensive Emotional and Behavioral Program (CIEBP) at the CHOP Care Network Mays Landing, NJ facility. In this role, he manages the clinical and daily operations of a psychiatric partial hospital program for children ages 5 to 12.
Beth Rezet, MD
Beth Rezet, MD is a Clinical Professor of Pediatric and came to CHOP in 1989 as a Primary Care Community Pediatrician. Over the years her interests led to a role in education which includes Director of Primary Care Resident Education, Director of the Residency Advocacy Training Program, and Associate Director of the Pediatric Residency Program. Her research and community interests include both education and childhood obesity.
To contact any of our Scholars or Associates, please use our Contact Us form.