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Dr. Nadia Hoekstra is a pediatric pulmonary fellow. Nadia grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina but spent much of her childhood in Trinidad and Tobago where her mother’s family lives. Nadia attended Boston College where she graduated with a Master of Arts in Sociology and a minor in Hispanic Studies. Following her undergraduate studies Nadia spent two years at the Yale School of Medicine conducting translational research on the mechanisms of acute diarrheal illness, a leading cause of childhood death worldwide. She then went on to graduate from UNC medical school in 2018. Following medical school, Nadia completed pediatric residency at the University of Colorado where she was a member of the Global Health Track and conducted research on screening practices for pediatric latent tuberculosis. Nadia started pediatric pulmonary fellowship at UNC in 2021, and following her first year she spent one year in Malawi conducting clinical research on severe pneumonia in infants as an NIH Fogarty Fellow. Nadia plans to pursue an academic career with a focus on improving the health of children with respiratory disease in the United States and globally, with an emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa.

Pneumonia is the leading infectious cause of death in children under-five in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Feeding-related aspiration has been implicated in child pneumonia deaths, however, validated techniques for detecting risk for dysphagia and aspiration in LMICs are lacking. In this study we aimed to establish a baseline of normative feeding-related variables in healthy, well breastfeeding infants and develop dysphagia risk scoring tools for infants in Malawi. We demonstrated that healthy, well Malawian infants exhibit variable feeding behaviors and vital signs during breastfeeding, and that such data can be used to develop dysphagia risk scoring tools. Next steps include applying the tools to infants with severe pneumonia to determine whether the scores adequately predict outcomes.

RSVP by 12 noon on Thursday, April 17 to get a lunch for the in-person event in Roper 4302. We will also host it live on zoom if you cannot attend in person (no RSVP needed) –