Investigators & Staff

Find information on the research investigators and staff members that work on projects related to tobacco use and secondhand smoke (SHS) through the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Julius B. Richmond Center of Excellence.

AAP Richmond Center Investigators

Erika Avila-Tang, MHS, PhD
Erika Avila-Tang Dr. Avila-Tang is an Epidemiologist with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Dr. Avila-Tang obtained her MHS in Epidemiology at the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico and her PhD in Epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Previously, she worked as an Epidemiologist with the Institute for Global Tobacco Control at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health for more than 10 years. Her experience includes support of literature databases to the 2004 Surgeon General's Report on active smoking, the 2006 Surgeon General's Report on involuntary smoking, and the 2003 Tobacco-free Japan report. Additionally, she has collaborated in the development and execution aspects of study design, implementation, analysis, and reporting of various multi-country studies related to SHS exposure using questionnaires, air samples, and biomarkers around the world. She also is working on determining exposure to nicotine among tobacco farming households in Brazil and continues to work in policy-relevant research projects on tobacco control and capacity building. Dr. Avila-Tang is working with the AAP Richmond Center on international tobacco control projects.


Pat Breysse, MD
Pat Breysse Dr. Breysse is a Professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with joint appointments in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Chemical and Bimolecular Engineering. Dr. Breysse is the Co-Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Childhood Asthma in the Urban Environment and faculty member of the Institute for Global Tobacco Control where he directs the Secondhand Smoke Exposure Assessment Laboratory. Dr. Breysse has collaborated on smoking-related asthma morbidity intervention research and has conducted SHS exposure assessments in the US and around the world in support of tobacco control policy development. Current research includes the relative importance of thirdhand smoke exposure pathway through investigating tobacco-related contaminants in dust and on surfaces in homes. He is currently the Co-PI of the AAP Richmond Center Measurement Core project.


J. Michael Collaco, MD, MBA, MPH, FAAP
J. Michael Collaco Dr. Collaco is an Assistant Professor and practicing pediatric pulmonologist in the Eudowood Division of Pediatric Respiratory Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His research focuses on environmental modifiers of pediatric respiratory diseases, including SHS. Dr. Collaco and his collaborators, Drs. Sharon McGrath-Morrow and Patrick Breysse have been funded by the Johns Hopkins University Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute Center of Excellence to study the effects of SHS in infants born prematurely with lung disease.


Mark Gottlieb, JD
Mark Gottlieb Mark Gottlieb is a consultant for the AAP Richmond Center. He previously conducted a project through the Center on legal and regulatory issues of tobacco control, which provided vital information for the development and implementation of new policies and laws to reduce children's exposure to SHS in multiple settings. Mr. Gottlieb is the Executive Director of the Public Health Advocacy Institute at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston. The Institute's nine attorneys conduct legal research and policy analysis around the intersection of law and public health. For the past 15 years, he has focused his research on legal approaches to reduce the harm caused by tobacco industry products. Mr. Gottlieb consults with the AAP Richmond Center on the law and policy implications of the Center's research projects within the field of tobacco control.


Judith Groner, MD, FAAP
Judith Groner Dr. Groner is the PI for the Vascular Endothelial Status project for the AAP Richmond Center. Dr. Groner is a practicing pediatrician, a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the Ohio State University College of Medicine, and an attending physician in the Primary Care Network at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. She is also the Director of the Academic General Pediatrics Fellowship Program at Nationwide Children's. Dr. Groner's research focuses on SHS exposure during childhood as a risk factor for vascular changes which can lead to cardiovascular disease during adulthood. Her previous funding has been through the National Institutes of Health, the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute, and the American Lung Association, among others. Dr. Groner is also active at her institution in pediatric residency training in protecting children from SHS and decreasing parental tobacco use.


Jonathan Klein, MD, MPH, FAAP
Jonathan Klein Dr. Klein is Associate Executive Director of the AAP, and founding Director of the AAP Richmond Center. Dr. Klein is an expert in adolescent medicine and child and adolescent health services research. His research addresses tobacco prevention and control, access and quality of care, obesity screening in primary care, and other child and adolescent preventive services.

Dr. Klein attended Brandeis University, UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, and the Harvard School of Public Health. He completed his residency in pediatrics and a chief residency at the Boston Floating Hospital, New England Medical Center, and was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He joined the University of Rochester faculty in 1992 where he served as Associate Chair for Community and Government Affairs in the Department of Pediatrics and as Professor of Pediatrics, Preventive and Community Medicine, and Family Medicine. He became Associate Executive Director of the AAP in September 2009.


Sharon McGrath-Morrow, MD, MBA, FAAP
Sharon McGrath-Morrow Dr. Sharon McGrath-Morrow is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine with a joint appointment in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. McGrath-Morrow is a pediatric pulmonologist and is currently the Pediatric Pulmonary Fellowship Program Director. Dr. McGrath-Morrow’s interests include the impact of SHS exposure on postnatal lung growth in neonates with and without chronic lung disease. She is also interested in characterizing long-term changes in lung structure and function caused by SHS exposure in early childhood and the relationship between early SHS exposure and risk of early onset chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in adult life. Her work is in part funded by the Johns Hopkins University Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute Center of Excellence and the National Institutes of Health. She is currently collaborating with Drs. Collaco and Breysse to study the effects of SHS on respiratory outcomes in a vulnerable population of preterm infants with chronic lung disease.


Robert McMillen, PhD
Robert McMillen Dr. McMillen is the PI of the Data and Datasets for the AAP Richmond Center. Dr. McMillen's research applies computer-assisted telephone interview methods as well as Web- and school-based survey methods to measure the social climate surrounding health issues. The annual Social Climate Survey is one product of this research, and is an ongoing collaboration between the Mississippi State Social Science Research Center and the AAP Richmond Center. In recognition of his research contributions, he was awarded the 2006 Prevention of Cancer in Mississippi Award by the Mississippi Partnership of Comprehensive Cancer Control. His research has been supported by the Centers for Disease Control, the Mississippi State Department of Health, The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi, the American Cancer Society, and the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program. Dr. McMillen is an Assistant Professor with a joint appointment with the Social Science Research Center and the Department of Psychology at Mississippi State University.


Christina Pabelick, MD
Christina Pabelick Dr. Pabelick is an Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Physiology, and a Consultant in Pediatric Anesthesiology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Dr. Pabelick obtained her medical training at the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, Germany and her anesthesiology and critical care training at Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany. She has been at Mayo Clinic since 1995 when she first started as a research fellow. She completed a second residency in anesthesiology (during which time she was the recipient of two awards for outstanding research). Dr. Pabelick is a member of the Division of Pediatric Anesthesiology at Mayo and is the Director of the Pediatric Anesthesia Fellowship Program. Research in the Pabelick laboratory (Airway Biology laboratory) focuses on the physiology and pathophysiology of lung disease, with particular emphasis on the role of airway smooth muscle.


Susanne Tanski, MD, MPH, FAAP
Susanne Tanski Dr. Tanski is the PI of the Messaging project for the AAP Richmond Center. Dr. Tanski is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and a practicing pediatrician at the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Working within the Cancer Risk Behaviors Group at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth, her current research endeavors focus on visual media influences on adolescent smoking and drinking, and communication between pediatric clinicians and parents regarding SHS exposure of children. Dr. Tanski currently chairs the AAP Tobacco Consortium, a national group of researchers who take a family-centered approach to tobacco control issues that affect children. Previously, she has been involved in a number of epidemiologic studies examining parents' patterns of smoking and cessation attempts, parents' rules against smoking in homes and vehicles, and parents' attitudes towards pediatric practitioners' advice and assistance with quit attempts.


Karen Wilson, MD, MPH, FAAP
Karen Wilson Dr. Wilson is an Associate Professor and Section Head of Pediatric Hospital Medicine at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora, CO. Dr. Wilson received her undergraduate degree at St. Lawrence University, and her Master's in Public Health and MD at the University of Rochester. Dr. Wilson's research interests include hospitalizations for respiratory illness, and the impact of SHS on inflammatory markers, and outcomes, in hospitalized children. In addition, she is interested in the population-level impact of tobacco smoke exposure on children. She is PI of the AAP Richmond Center Respiratory Illness and Secondhand Smoke Exposure in Kids (RISSK) project which studies biomarkers of inflammation in smoke-exposed children. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the Pediatric Research in Inpatient Settings network, as well as co-chair of the AAP Section on Hospital Medicine Research Subcommittee.


Jonathan Winickoff, MD, MPH, FAAP
Jonathan Winickoff Dr. Winickoff is a practicing pediatrician and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. He has training and experience in health services research, medical ethics, neurobiology, statistics, and behavioral theory. Dr. Winickoff has drafted key tobacco control policy for the AAP, the American Medical Association, and the American Pediatric Association. He has served as a scientific advisor to the Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program, Indiana Tobacco Control Program, and the US Surgeon General through the Interagency Committee on Smoking and Health. The national program he developed out of his research through the AAP Pediatric Research in Office Settings program is known as CEASE — Clinical Effort Against Secondhand Smoke Exposure — and program materials are available for free at www.ceasetobacco.org.