Contact Madra Guinn-Jones - AAP Staff



Breena Welch Holmes, MD, FAAP is currently the Director of Maternal and Child Health for Vermont.  After finishing her pediatric residency at Seattle Children’s Hospital and a chief resident year at University of Massachusetts Medical School, she joined a rural private practice in Middlebury, Vermont, focusing on adolescent health. After receiving a license to teach health, Breena taught health literacy and decision making at a local high school for 2 years. After 15 years as a passive member of American Academy of Pediatrics, Breena became a member of Council on School Health and joined the executive board of the Vermont Chapter of the AAP.  In 2010, Breena was named the Maternal and Child Health Director which oversees the statewide WIC program, school health, child development clinic, children with special health needs as well as family planning, sexual violence prevention, as well as several other public health programs which affect children and families.



Mandy A. Allison, MD, MSPH, FAAP is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado, Denver.  Before medical school, Mandy was a school teacher in an impoverished community in Mississippi where she saw the effect of poor health on school children. This experience was formative. It prompted her decision to apply to medical school and led to her focus on pediatrics and preventive care.  Mandy completed her medical school training at the University of Utah in 2001 and continued there to complete her residency in Pediatrics in 2004. She then completed a Primary Care Research fellowship and MSPH at the University of Colorado, Denver.  During her fellowship, she became involved with Denver’s School Based Health Centers (SBHCs) and completed a research project about quality of care in the SBHCs. After fellowship, Mandy was at the University of Utah from 2006 to 2012 where she served as the physician consultant to the Salt Lake City School District school nurses and on the Utah School Health Advisory Committee in addition to seeing patients and teaching residents at a public health clinic. She returned to the University of Colorado, Denver in 2012. 

Mandy’s long term goal as a pediatrician and academician is to conduct teaching, research, clinical, and service activities that improve the health, mental health, and academic outcomes for underserved children by changing systems of care and increasing collaboration between pediatricians, public health officials, and schools. Her current research includes: studying systems to ensure that all children enrolled in child care programs are up to date for required and recommended immunizations, conducting national surveys of primary care providers about vaccine policy issues, evaluating the Bright Beginnings program’s effect on children’s language and cognitive development and school readiness, and using community-based participatory research methods to study how students’ access to health care affects school absenteeism.

Executive Committee Members



Richard Ancona, MD, FAAP is an Associate Professor in Clinical Pediatrics at SUNY - Stony Brook and a staff member at St. John's Hospital Smithtown. He is the school physician for Smithtown school district. Dr Ancona has held teaching positions at SUNY Stonybrook, Hofstra University, and Touro College and he has conducted research on the validity of the interpretation of iron deposition in Thalassemia Major patients as reported and interpreted from radiographic scans when comparing those results to iron deposition as reported from direct liver biopsy in the same patient. Dr Ancona completed his training, including a fellowship in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, at Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn where he also held a Chief Residency position.



Elliott Attisha, DO, FAAP completed his pediatric residency at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in 2001 and then worked as a pediatrician in Suburban Detroit for about 9 years. In September of 2010, he joined the Henry Ford Health System and began working in the School-Based and Community Health Program. The program operates 9 school-based centers each of which plays an integral role in alleviating barriers to health care for Detroit’s children. Soon after joining the school clinic program he was invited to become the medical director of a newly acquired pediatric mobile clinic, made possible through a partnership with Children’s Health Fund. The mobile clinic serves as a complement to Henry Ford’s School-Based Program, bringing pediatric services to underserved areas of Detroit. 

Over the past year Elliot has also served as a board member on the School Community Health Alliance of Michigan (SCHA-MI), a non-profit organization that advocates for and promotes school-based and school-linked health and prevention services. “My current work in both the school-clinics and mobile clinic has allowed my role as a pediatrician to become that of an advocate for some of our nation’s most underserved children.” Elliott also has a large interest in asthma and recently completed an asthma champion training course in hopes of addressing some of the current disparities.

Time outside of work is spent with his family. Elliott and his wife, who is also a pediatrician, have been married for 8 years and have 2 beautiful daughters. Aside from work and hanging out with his family, he also enjoys photography. “It isn't hard to guess who my favorite subjects are!”

Nathaniel Savio Beers, MD, MPA, FAAP is currently Chief Operating Officer for DC Public Schools and a general and developmental behavioral pediatrician at Children’s National Health System.  At DCPS, he was previously the Chief of Specialized Instruction from 2011-15.  Previously, he was the Director of the Children’s Health Center, the largest provider of primary care in DC, and the Deputy Director for the Community Health Administration and the Title V Director for the DC Health Department.  He has served on the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Child Welfare, Mayor’s Early Childhood Advisory Council and Children with Special Health Care Needs Advisory Board.  He has served as President of DC Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Chair of the National Committee on Membership and Chair of Section on Residents.  He is newly elected to the Council on School Health for the AAP.  Nathaniel graduated from GWU Medical School, completed his residency at Children’s National.  He was the Dyson Advocacy Fellow at Children’s Hospital of Boston and Chief Fellow of General Pediatrics.  He got a Master’s of Public Administration at Kennedy School at Harvard University.



Cheryl Duncan De Pinto, MD, MPH, FAAP is a pediatrician board certified in general pediatrics and is a public health professional with over a decade of experience in the field of school health. Cheryl is the Medical Director for the Office of School Health at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.  She is also a Senior Associate Faculty at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where she received recognition in 2012 for “Excellence in Teaching” as the instructor for the “Schools and Health” course.  Cheryl has worked in public health for eighteen years focusing on school health program development and implementation, policy development, consensus building, professional development and training including being a preceptor for the Preventive Medicine Residency Program at Johns Hopkins.  She has influenced Maryland policy and legislative agendas in the areas of children with special health care needs, school based health centers, school health, asthma management and asthma friendly schools, obesity prevention, the role of health departments in school health, and child care health and safety.

Cheryl has worked in both community and school based health settings. Her public health work has given her opportunities to bridge clinical practice and public health particularly in the area of school health services program implementation.  As a partner with the Maryland Department of Education, she works to develop school health services practice guidelines, improve school nursing practice, and address issues related to the role of schools in the health care system particularly how schools can be used to assure access to quality health care for children. Cheryl is committed to providing an evidence based perspective to policy initiatives and to fostering not only school health services but also promoting the CDC’s coordinated school health framework. Her areas of interest include developing standards and guidelines to assure quality improvement for school health services programs, developing and implementing strategies for improving community health care provider involvement in school health programs, how community health care providers can partner with local school health programs to improve health outcomes of children and how pediatricians can work with families to impact academic success.

Cheryl completed her medical training at the University of Pennsylvania, her Adolescent Medicine Fellowship at the University of Maryland and received an MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Peter A. Gorski, MD, MPA joined The Children’s Trust of Miami-Dade County as Chief Health and Child Development Officer in December 2011. In addition, he serves as Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Humanities, Health & Society at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Florida International University and Professor of Public Health, Pediatrics & Psychiatry at the University of South Florida.  Originally trained in Pediatrics and Child Development at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Gorski led academic divisions of developmental-behavioral pediatrics at UC San Francisco, Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Children's Hospital.  Dr. Gorski has authored more than fifty peer-reviewed publications on infant and early childhood behavior and development, relationships and early brain development, social determinants of health and community health.  Dr. Gorski studies the relational roots of health and partners with communities to build the social capital and distributive justice essential for the healthy development of children.  Within the AAP, Dr. Gorski has served as a member of the Executive Committee (and Policy Director) of the Council on Community Pediatrics, the Executive Committee of the Section on Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, Chairperson of the Committee on Early Childhood, Adoption and Dependent Care, early childhood specialist on the past two Bright Futures Expert Panels and is currently AAP Liaison to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Training & Education Committee.  I currently serve an appointed position as member of the Health Systems Workgroup of the National Collaborative on Education and Health, Washington, DC.


Chris Kjolhede, MD, MPH, FAAP is an Attending Pediatrician and Research Scientist at Bassett Healthcare in Cooperstown, NY. He received his medical degree from Michigan State University, and his Masters in Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. Dr. Kjolhede did his pediatric training at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York. His career pursuit formerly included children’s health and nutrition in foreign countries (Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, Mozambique, Kenya, Zambia, Guatemala, and Belize) and research studies in micronutrient deficiencies. Upon moving to rural upstate New York, his initial research interest was on the relationship between maternal obesity and lactation success. He is currently focusing his research on addressing the problem of childhood obesity and on the evaluation of school-based health care. His clinical practice in Cooperstown, NY, includes a primary care clinic with part-time hospital coverage and he is the director of a School-Based Health Program that has 19 school-based health centers in 14 school districts. Dr. Kjolhede is Vice Chairman for the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at the Bassett Research Institute. He is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a member of its Council on School Health. He serves on the Board of Directors for the New York State Coalition for School-Based Primary Care and is a member of the National Assembly for School-Based Health Care. He is also an Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics for the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York.



Marc Lerner, MD, FAAP has been a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics since 1982 and is a past president of Chapter 4 California AAP.  He chaired the State Governmental Affairs Committee for AAP- California and was the 2009 recipient of the AAP-California Martin Gershman Award as California Pediatrician Advocate of the Year. A member of the Ambulatory Pediatrics Association and the Society for Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, Dr. Lerner has served as a clinical investigator and pharmacotherapist in NIMH-sponsored studies of ADHD in preschoolers and school-aged children (PATS and MTA studies). He served as consulting pediatrician at the UCI Child Development Center and the ‘For OC KIDS’ Neurodevelopmental Center. For this work, Dr. Lerner has been recognized as a 'Best Doctor in America' and an Orange County Medical Association 'Physician of Excellence'.  As a sub-boarded developmental pediatrician and parent of a child with special needs, Dr. Lerner has demonstrated a career-long commitment to schools.  He was a founding board member of the Prentice School, which serves children with language learning disorders in Southern California. A recipient of the Halo Award from the Orange County School Nurse Association in 2007, Dr. Lerner was the director of the AAP Chapter 4’s School Readiness Nurse grant from the County’s Children and Families Commission.  In August of 2011 Dr. Lerner became the inaugural Medical Officer for the Orange County, California Department of Education.


Adrienne Weiss-Harrison, MD, FAAP is a graduate of Cornell University and Cornell University Medical College. She is a board-certified pediatrician, who was in office-based pediatric practice before taking her position as Medical Director/School Physician for the City School District of New Rochelle in 1994. There, she manages the individual and public health needs of the fourteen thousand children who attend the public and private schools in New Rochelle. Under her leadership, New Rochelle Schools have developed top notch school day care of students with Asthma, Diabetes, Seizure Disorders, and Food Allergies. The many students with rarer serious healthy conditions also have individual care plans developed to meet their needs.

Dr. Weiss has always taken on new challenges and projects with the goal of improving the lives of the children and adolescents. She serves on the Boards of the American Lung Association of the Northeast and Westchester Children’s Association, a local children’s advocacy organization. Under Dr. Weiss’ guidance, the District’s Health Services and Athletics Departments have worked together closely to optimize the health and safety of their student athletes, and as leaders in Westchester County in the developments of a program to manage head injury/concussion.

Dr. Weiss serves on the faculty of the New York Medical College School of Health Sciences and Practice and Institute of Public Health as a Visiting Lecturer, and she co-chairs the AAP District II Chapter 3 Northern Regions School Health Committee.


Thomas Young, MD, FAAP is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Kentucky where he is Chief of the Behavioral-Developmental Section of the Academic Pediatric Department.  Four half days a week, Dr Young serves in elementary schools doing behavioral and ADHD consultations. 

Dr Young started his work in school health in the late 70’s during his ambulatory pediatrics fellowship during which he served as a school physician.  Subsequently, he helped start four SBHC’s.  Dr Young was previously a member of the AAP Section and Committee on School Health.  His interests include global health as reflected by his leadership of Shoulder to Shoulder Global, which currently has projects in Ecuador and India.


Nina R. Fekaris, MS, BSN, RN, NCSN is the President-elect for the National Association of School Nurses (NASN).  She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Graceland University and her Master in Science degree from Central Missouri State University.  Prior to beginning her work as a school nurse, she worked at the Veteran’s Medical Center in Kansas City and was the Director of Health Services for the Greater Kansas City Chapter of the American Red Cross.  She has been a practicing school nurse in the Beaverton School District in Beaverton, Oregon for the past 27 years.  Over these years, she has seen the dramatic rise in chronic and acute health conditions being diagnosed in children and the impact those conditions have on the child as they attend school.  It is providing a ‘level playing field’ for these students that has driven her advocacy efforts and inspired her to work at a national level.  She works with students in all grade levels, supervises nurses who provide one-to-one care for medically fragile students and provides direct school nursing services to 4000 students.

Nina became a Nationally Certified School Nurse in 2008 and was honored to be chosen National School Nurse of the Year by NASN in 2009. She has always been active in her state school nurse organization, Oregon School Nurses Association (OSNA), and in 2009 she was elected to be OSNA’s representative on the Board of Directors for NASN. .  While there, she served on the Finance, Governance, and Research committees, and served on the Executive Committee for two years.  She was elected by the national body to President-elect in 2015. She will serve in this position for a two year term, before becoming President in 2017.

Nina understands the connection between health and learning.  She believes it is the school nurse’s role to be the connection between the child’s medical home and the school. By working together we can reduce barriers and help improve academic achievement. Better Health. Better Learning.™ 

When she is not working to improve the lives of the students on her case load and supporting school nurses nationally, you can find her cooking, sewing, camping and enjoying all the wonderful things Oregon has to offer with her husband and two daughters.



Linda M. Grant, MD, MPH is a pediatrician, board-certified in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. She practices at Boston Medical Center and is Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine. In addition, as the Medical Director for the Boston Public Schools, she advises the district on health issues and provides administrative support to the school nurses and related school health programs.

Dr. Grant received her MD from New York Medical College and completed a three-year residency at University of Connecticut Pediatric Program. After residency she simultaneously completed a Masters of Public Health degree from Harvard School of Public Health and a fellowship in psychosomatic medicine at Boston Children's Hospital. This was followed by a Robert Wood Johnson fellowship in High Risk Youth and A NIDA fellowship in Addiction, both at Boston City Hospital. In 1983 she joined the faculty of Boston University School of Medicine where she has been integral in the establishment of an Adolescent Medicine training program.

Dr. Grant has a special interest in the intersection of child health and education reform. At the local level, she has worked in the Boston Public Schools to build an accountable health services unit and linkages between the school system and community health and human service programs. She is the past chairman of the Committee on School Health  for Massachusetts Chapter  AAP. She is also the Chair of the Physician Section for ASHA and was appointed as an ASHA fellow in 2011. She spent 8 years with the National AAP , first on the executive committee on the Section for School Health , then transitioning to the executive committee of the Council on School Health (COSH). She  was  the COSH Contributing Section Editor (CSE) for AAP Grand Rounds for 4 of those years.

Veda Charmaine Johnson, MD, FAAP

Bio coming soon.


Sheryl Kataoka, MD, MSHS is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. A child psychiatrist, Dr. Kataoka's research has focused on improving the access to and quality of mental health care for ethnic minority children and their families, especially through non-traditional delivery systems such as schools. She received her MD from George Washington University and her MSHS from UCLA. In an analysis of several national data sets, Dr. Kataoka examined who has unmet need for child mental health services and was the first to document the level of unmet need for these services on a national level.

Building on that work, Dr. Kataoka has been investigating alternative ways of delivering guideline-based mental health care in schools to low income, primarily minority students. Dr. Kataoka is a co-principal investigator of The Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools program (CBITS), a collaborative project with the Los Angeles School District (LAUSD) that provides mental health screening and treatment in schools for students who have been exposed to violence. She is also piloting the CBITS program in the faith-based community, in collaboration with QueensCare Health and Faith Partnership, a non-profit organization that promotes health care to a network of faith organizations in Los Angeles.

In addition, Dr. Kataoka is examining the quality of mental health services for special education students through a grant from the MacArthur Foundation, and in an NIMH grant, she will be studying development and implementation of a quality improvement program for special education counselors focusing on use of evidence based practices.

Sandra Leonard, DNP, RN, FNP

Bio coming soon.

Immediate Past Chairperson


Jeffrey Okamoto MD, FAAP is a strong advocate and collaborator with schools for children with disabilities and behavioral problems.  He is board certified in both Pediatrics and Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics (DBP).  In addition to being a subspecialty faculty member at the John A. Burns School of Medicine in Honolulu, he is the acting chief of the Developmental Disabilities Division of the Hawaii State Department of Health.  He currently sits on the Interagency Work Group on High School Student Transitions coordinated by the Hawaii Developmental Disabilities Council.

Dr Okamoto received a federal grant from the Office of Special Education through which he disseminated a curriculum for training medical students and residents in schools around children with medical and behavioral issues nationwide.  He continues such training activities with professionals in early intervention programs and schools. 

In 2006, he received the “Outstanding Community Contribution to Persons with Disabilities” award from the Center on Disability Studies at the University of Hawaii.  In 2010 to 2011, he was a Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation Public Policy Fellow in Washington DC.  He was placed with Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) in her Subcommittee for Children and Families within the Committee for Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.  In that context, he was able to work on legislation including ESEA, WIA and appropriations.


Site Map | Contact Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Statement | About Us | Home
American Academy of Pediatrics, 141 Northwest Point Blvd., Elk Grove Village, IL, 60007, 847-434-4000