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We are a comprehensive team of specialists with years of experience and a special focus on survivorship.

The LIFE program staff includes:

  • Pediatric oncologist
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Social worker
  • Psychologist 
  • Health educator
  • Patient assistance liaison
  • Nurse researchers

Other medical specialists from within our hospital, and from the community, are consulted as needed.

Meet the Team

David Freyer - Director
Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California

David Freyer, DO, MS, joined Children's Hospital Los Angeles in January 2008. As Director of the LIFE Program, he oversees all aspects of its services, which include clinical assessments of more than 350 patients annually, research regarding their long-term outcomes, and training of fellows, residents and other health care professionals in the care of childhood cancer survivors.

Dr. Freyer's clinical and research activities have focused principally on cancer survivorship and cancer control, including the recognition, management and prevention of short- and long-term morbidity of treatment, as well as health care transition for young adult survivors of childhood cancer, adolescent and young adult (AYA) oncology, palliative care, and decision-making at the end of life. Dr. Freyer is a member of the Children's Oncology Group, where he serves as chair of the AYA Committee, on the Steering Committees for the Survivorship & Outcomes and Cancer Control Committees, and on several protocol and administrative committees.

He graduated magna cum laude from DePauw University, obtained his medical degree from the Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery, and completed post-graduate medical training at Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine and Hospitals, Rush University Medical Center and the University of Michigan Medical Center. In 2007, he obtained a MS degree in Clinical Research Design and Statistical Analysis from the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

David Tishler, MD – Associate Physician
Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California
David Tishler is an Attending Physician in the Solid Tumor Program in the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplantation. He is the Chair of the Division Performance Improvement Committee. Dr. Tishler has care and advocated for cancer survivors throughout his medical career. Currently he provides clinical physician support to the LIFE program, in particular for patients with solid tumors. Dr. Tishler's administrative and research activities are focused on Performance improvement and Quality Outcomes. He provides instruction and supervision to clinical fellows in the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplantation as well as medical students at the Keck School of Medicine.

Dr. Tishler graduated with honors from Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles and received the Physician & Surgeon degree from the Autonomous University of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. He completed post-graduate pediatric training at the University of California, Irvine affiliated hospitals and a fellowship in Pediatric Hematology Oncology at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. He is board certified in Pediatric Hematology Oncology. 

Kasey Rangan – Nurse Practitioner
Kasey Rangan RN, MSN, CPNP, has worked with the survivors of neural tumors as a nurse practitioner since 2003. Mrs. Rangan graduated from University of California at Los Angeles with a masters of science in nursing with emphasis in pediatrics in 2003. She has been a Hematology/Oncology nurse in both the inpatient and outpatient wards at our hospital since 1996, and is an active member of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and National Association of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Nurses.

Yael (Ellie) Rosenthal – Nurse Practitioner
Yael Rosenthal, RN, MSN, CPNP, is the nurse practitioner who cares for patients with history of leukemia, lymphoma, bone and soft tissue tumors. She earned her BSN and MSN from the University of Pennsylvania. Mrs. Rosenthal has worked at our hospital since 2001 and she joined the LIFE team in 2005.

Barbara Habell, MSN, CPNP – Nurse Practitioner
Barbara Habell is a certified pediatric nurse practitioner. She graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor's degree in Nursing and began her career as a nurse at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital. There, she worked with a diverse pediatric population with a multitude of severe disease processes. She earned her Masters of Science degree in Nursing with an emphasis in pediatrics in 2008 and has been working as a pediatric nurse practitioner since 2009.

Lisl Schweers – Clinical Social Worker
Lisl Schweers, LCSW, is the clinical social worker for the LIFE program. Ms. Schweers conducts psychosocial assessments and provides supportive interventions and resource referrals to survivors and their families. She earned her Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas in Arlington.  Ms. Schweers came to our hospital in 1999 and joined the LIFE team in April 2008.

Laura Bava, PsyD – Clinical Psychologist
Laura Bava, PsyD joined the LIFE Program at Children's Hospital Los Angeles in October 2011. As a pediatric psychologist, she leads the Achieving Best Cognitive Outcomes after Childhood Cancer (ABCs) service, a clinical-research initiative focusing on assessment and monitoring of cognitive long-term effects of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) treatment, and additional psychosocial determinants that impact academic performance in pediatric survivors. Dr. Bava earned her doctorate in Clinical-Community Psychology from University of La Verne as well as a graduate degree in psychology from Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina and is a licensed psychologist in California. She completed both American Psychological Association (APA) accredited pediatric psychology internship and 2-year fellowship at CHLA. She is an APA Minority Fellow, a Hispanic Scholarship Foundation scholar and a CAPIC/MHSA grant recipient for her work with underserved populations.
 
Diana Palma, BS, CCRP – Clinical Research Coordinator
Diana has extensive research experience and has worked at Children's Hospital Los Angeles since October 2013. She is a Clinical Research Coordinator with a focus on supportive care and cancer survivorship studies.

Kathy Ruccione – Investigator and Program Founder
Kathleen Ruccione, MPH, RN, FAAN, first came to our hospital as a student nurse and received her nursing diploma from the Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing. She is a national leader in pediatric oncology nursing and a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. She completed her graduate training in public health from California State University, Northridge, with a focus on wellness. She founded the LIFE Program and has co-edited/co-authored two landmark books on childhood cancer survivorship. Ms. Ruccione pioneered programs for education to empower patients and families coping with cancer, culminating in the development of our HOPE Resource Center and the incorporation of health educators as members of the multidisciplinary health care team. She is active in program development, research, publishing, teaching, and mentoring graduate and postgraduate students in nursing, health education, and health communication. Her current research is focused on family-centered care, health literacy, health communication, and cancer survivorship. She is a doctoral student in health behavior research at the University of Southern California.

Nancy Ascencio – Patient Assistant Liaison
Nancy Ascencio came to CHLA in December 2006. She has worked in both inpatient and outpatient clinical settings. Her current role as Patient Assistant Liaison in the LIFE Program began in September 2014. She is responsible for securing insurance pre-authorizations, scheduling patient appointments and coordination ancillary appointments. She also provides financial counseling services to our patients and families