Meet the Research Center Team

Research Center Team

Michael R. Dribbon, PhD. Vice President of Business Development & Chief Research and Innovation Officer

Jill Harris, PhD. AVP, The Research Center and Coordinator, The Autism Program

Claire M. Marchetta, MPH. Research Liaison & Education Director

Jomah Y. Natsheh, MD, PhD. Research Lead, Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics

Mayank Seth, PhD. Research Lead, Physiatry

Amira Herstic, MS. Research Coordinator, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics

Uriel Richman, MA. Research Assistant, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics

Tomiko Hackett, MPH. Research Engagement Coordinator

Scientific Advisory Committee

We have developed a Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) to enhance communication across our campuses, and beyond, focusing on research endeavors and opportunities, as well as to facilitate senior scientist input and guidance for specific projects. More specifically, the SAC serves as a venue for research project networking and for providing input and guidance in select research related activities and processes, such as assistance with grant submissions and suggestions for lecture series speakers. Additionally, the SAC may provide study expertise through mentoring young researchers, reviewing proposals for study ideas, and tracking progress on current projects conducted at Children's Specialized Hospital to ensure that they meet acceptable standards of scientific rigor and merit, and are feasible given the research goals.

The SAC is comprised of key Children’s Specialized Hospital personnel, as well as leading scientists from the Child Health Institute of NJ, Cancer Institute of NJ, Institute for the Study of Child Development, Kessler Foundation, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, among others. The committee meets on a quarterly basis or more frequently as needed.


Vanessa H. Bal, PhD
Karmazin and Lillard Chair in Adult Autism and Associate Professor, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, Rutgers University-New Brunswick

John DeLuca, PhD
Senior VP for Research, Kessler Foundation
Professor of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and of Neurology & Neurosciences, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Emanuel DiCicco-Bloom, MD
Professor of Pediatrics and Neuroscience & Cell Biology, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Richard Drachtman, MD
Medical Director, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Professor of Pediatrics, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Michael Dribbon, PhD
VP for Business Development & Chief Research and Innovation Officer, Children’s Specialized Hospital

Sunanda Gaur, MD
Professor of Pediatrics, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Manuel Jimenez, MD, MS, FAAP
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics & Family Medicine and Community Health
Director of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Education, The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Developmental Pediatrician, Children's Specialized Hospital

Elizabeth Marcketta
Family Centered Care, Children’s Specialized Hospital

Kelly Keefe Marcoux, PhD, CPNP-AC, PPCNP-BC, CCRN
Vice President, Patient Care Services & Chief Nursing Officer, Children’s Specialized Hospital,

Michael Lewis, PhD
University Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Director, Institute for the Study of Child Development

Colin O’Reilly, DO, FAAP, FACOP, FCCM
Interim Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Children’s Specialized Hospital

Sallie Porter, DNP, PhD, APN, RN-BC, CPNP
Associate Professor, School of Nursing, Rutgers University

Arnold Rabson, MD
Director, Child Health Institute of New Jersey
Laura Gallagher Endowed Chair of Developmental Biology
Professor of Pediatrics, Pharmacology, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Deborah Spitalnik, PhD
Executive Director, The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities
Professor of Pediatrics, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Collaborators and Partners

Children’s Specialized Hospital Research Center collaborates on various research projects with the following best-in-class organizations:

  • Albert Einstein College of Medicine
  • Child Health Institute of New Jersey
  • Columbia University
  • Drexel University
  • Duke University
  • Kean University
  • Kessler Foundation
  • Pace University
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
  • Thomas Jefferson University
  • University of Pittsburgh

Specialized Pediatric Applied Research Collaborative: (SPARC)

Children’s Specialized Hospital is a member of SPARC, Specialized Pediatric Applied Research Collaborative, a seven-center research consortium of post–acute care hospitals in the northeastern United States pursuing a common research agenda. SPARC’s mission is to support and conduct evidence-based research in pediatric post–acute care. Since its inception, SPARC member hospitals have been collaborating on research that investigates evidence-based care for children with airway support needs.

To date, SPARC has:

  • Developed clinical guidelines for weaning children from mechanical ventilation in a post-acute setting.
  • Reported on the percentage of children who were weaned from ventilators during a post-acute care episode.
  • Studied the rates of home discharge vs. long-term care or acute hospitalization.
  • Examined the relationship between the level of airway support and discharge to home following post-acute hospitalizations.

At present, SPARC is working to develop a minimal data set for the transfer of care between hospitals to improve communication and safety for children with airway support. The group is also examining nonmedical barriers to discharge as well as best practices for the care of central lines.

Patient Stories

  • "She's happy, making progress, developing beautifully, and thriving. I credit this to the staff that works with her. They are devoted and never gave up on Sophia.

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  • “There are so many workshops, information resources, and people you can talk to at CSH,” said Katie. “The opportunities here are so valuable. CSH has done so much for our family; I never want Gracelyn to leave.”

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  • “Callie used to be embarrassed of using her equipment,” said Amanda. ”She is now so happy to use it and can’t wait to get to therapy every week, race to the toy closet, and pick something out.”

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Patient Stories

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