Our Staff

Elizabeth A. Isakson, MD, FAAP

Co-Director

liz@docsfortots.org

Elizabeth A. Isakson, MD, FAAP

Elizabeth A. Isakson, MD, FAAP

Dr. Isakson is Co-Director of Docs for Tots. She is a pediatrician and public health practitioner with 15 years of experience with Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) and the New York Zero-to-Three Network (NYZTT). Her passion and support for early childhood systems integration (health, education, family) stems from her exposure to the short- and long-term human outcomes of an under-funded and misaligned system for families with young children.

Dr. Isakson has published multiple publications with the National Center for Children and Poverty (NCCP) across the systems of early care and education, health and family economic security. With NCCP and Susan Ochshorn of ECE PolicyWorks, she envisioned and executed the policy forum: Paid Family Leave: Getting it Right from the Start. Dr. Isakson sat on the executive committee of the board for the New York Zero-to-Three Network from 2008-2013, where she authored the 2008 report Unequal from the Start: a Check-up on NYC’s Infants and Toddlers. In addition to publications, she is a sought after speaker on issues of community and state systems to support healthy development in early childhood.

Dr. Isakson trained in General Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of New York where she served as Chief Resident. She received her MD from University of Connecticut Medical School and is completing her MPH from the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University.

Dina Lieser, MD, FAAP

Co-Director

dina@docsfortots.org

Dina Lieser, MD, FAAP

Dina Lieser, MD, FAAP

Dr. Lieser is Co-Director of Docs for Tots. Dr. Lieser serves on numerous committees that help to promote the integration of health, education and social support for families in the earliest years of life. She is a member of the New York State Early Childhood Advisory Committee where she co-chairs the Promoting Healthy Development Workgroup. As an active member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Lieser holds a number of positions including Chairwoman of the AAP National Council on Early Childhood.

Dr. Lieser is Director of Ambulatory and Community Pediatrics at Nassau University Medical Center and a practicing pediatrician at Nassau University Medical Center.

Dr. Lieser has written multiple issue briefs and articles on the health benefits of early childhood initiatives, the early childhood medical home, and early childhood mental health and has spoken in major national and state conferences and webinars around these issues.

Dr. Lieser attended New York University School of Medicine followed by a residency in pediatrics at New York Presbyterian- Cornell Medical Center.

 

Melissa Passarelli, MA

Project Director

melissa@docsfortots.org

Melissa Passarelli

Melissa Passarelli, MA

Melissa Passarelli is Project Director for Docs for Tots. Melissa has a background in mental health, early learning, and working across systems to affect sustainable change. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Public Policy from The George Washington University, during which time she worked for non-profits such as A Wider Circle, Fiver Children’s Foundation, and First Book that focused on providing equal opportunities for education and healthy development for children of all socioeconomic backgrounds. In 2014 Melissa earned her M.A. in International Disaster Psychology from the University of Denver and worked as a trauma therapist with refugees, homeless women and children, and survivors of sexual assault. Her training included international work in India, disaster response, cultural and body-based clinical interventions for trauma, and global mental health. From 2013-2014 she helped establish and coordinate the Trauma and Disaster Recovery Clinic in Denver, Colorado.

Melissa has been associated with Docs for Tots since 2011 and has been directing the developmental screening project since 2014.

Ikadshi Thukral

Project Assistant

ikadshi@docsfortots.org

3J6A7348-5

Ikadshi Thukral is the Project Assistant for Docs for Tots. She received her Bachelors of Arts degree from St. John’s University in 2014 and majored in Government and Politics. Ikadshi is very interested in public policy and it’s affects on our youngest and most vulnerable population. In 2010 Ikadshi conducted a study comparing gender roles and domestic violence in first generation Indian immigrants and second generation Indian Americans; for which she became a National Semo-Finalist in the Young Epidemiology Contest Sponsored by College Board. Prior to joining Docs for Tots, Ikadshi was the marketing manager/ Designer for NY Commercial real estate from 2012-2014.

Latest News

Are We, as Early Childhood Professionals, Asking the Right Questions?

The other day I was asked by a 4-year-old boy: “Have you ever been to prison? My daddy’s been to prison.” Jay and his . . .
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Ikadshi

2015: A Year of Building Better Systems for Young Children in New York

Docs for Tots is proud of the work accomplished in 2015 towards our mission of creating connections between young children’s doctors, policymakers, early childhood practitioners, and other stakeholders to . . .
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A-Waiting Opportunity

Dr. Dina Lieser is Co-Director of Docs for Tots and Director of Community Pediatrics and Ambulatory Pediatrics at Nassau University Medical Center.     . . .
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Investing in quality early learning programs is the most efficient way to affect school and life success and to reduce social expenditures later.

James Heckman, economist, Nobel laureate