A physician with a passion to help children with complex medical conditions breathe better is heading up the medical school’s new Division of Pediatric Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine.
The new division provides continuity of care for pediatric patients with respiratory diseases in clinic and hospital settings and allows providers to build long-term relationships with patients and their families, said Dr. Mariam Ischander, a pediatric pulmonologist and an assistant professor in the medical school’s Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine who serves as the division’s chief.
Joining Dr. Ischander in the new division are Dr. Mark Goetting, associate professor in the Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Dr. Myrtha Gregoire-Bottex, an adjunct associate professor, Dr. Andrey Leonov, a clinical assistant professor, and Dr. Roua Azmeh, clinical assistant professor.
“We want to create a center of excellence in pediatric pulmonology and sleep medicine locally here in Kalamazoo, and we want to provide outstanding care to children with respiratory diseases including asthma, chronic lung disease of prematurity, cystic fibrosis, pneumonia, neuromuscular disease, home mechanical ventilation, rare lung disease, sleep disordered breathing and insomnia,” Dr. Ischander said.
The Division of Pediatric Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine offers a multidisciplinary team approach to several diseases, including cystic fibrosis, asthma, chronic lung disease of prematurity, tracheostomy and home mechanical ventilation dependent children, Dr. Ischander said. The medical school’s multidisciplinary team includes a physician, a pharmacist, a dietician, a medical social worker, a respiratory therapist, a pharmacy technician, a medical assistant, a clinical psychologist and two registered nurses for care coordination. Patients from all over Southwest Michigan come to Kalamazoo to see the multidisciplinary care teams, who provide comprehensive care and use up-to-date, evidence-based medicine not often found in other local communities.
Dr. Ischander and Dr. Goetting also see patients for the management of insomnia, central apnea, obstructive apnea, excessive daytime sleepiness, parasomnias and other conditions.
Dr. Ischander joined the medical school faculty as an assistant professor of Pediatric Pulmonology in March 2018. Prior to joining the medical school, she worked as a pediatric pulmonology and sleep medicine physician and director of the neuromuscular program at Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon.
She earned her medical degree from the Alexandria School of Medicine in Egypt in 1991. She is board certified in pediatrics, pediatric pulmonology and sleep medicine.
Dr. Ischander completed her fellowship in pediatric pulmonology at the University of California-Irvine. She worked as an instructor and then as an assistant professor of pediatrics at University of California-Los Angeles for four years. She went on to work as an assistant professor of pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Allergy and Pulmonology at Loma Linda University for three years, where she also served as medical director of the Pediatric Home Ventilator Program.
“I put in a lot of time and training to do things right so I can help patients with complex medical problems be able to breathe better,” Dr. Ischander said. “This is an area that needs a lot of expertise.”