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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.

Maki Okada – Nurse Practitioner
Maki Okada, RN, MS, CPNP, is a pediatric nurse practitioner for our LIFE program. She cares for patients with history of leukemia and lymphoma. Mrs. Okada has her master's degree in nursing from University of California at San Francisco. She joins us after five years of experience in pediatric oncology in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York.

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.

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.

Leah Reichman - Clinical Research Coordinator
Leah Reichman, MPH, is the Clinical Research Coordinator for our LIFE program. She helps to maintain our patient database and determines patient eligibility and enrollment in our late effects studies. Mrs. Reichman has her Masters degree in Epidemiology from Columbia University in NY and joined our team from the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York.

Corissa Pacillas – Program Assistant
Corissa Pacillas, BA, is the LIFE Program Assistant. She answers the LIFE phone line and organizes the administrative details of the program. Ms. Pacillas graduated with a BA in Philosophy from Azusa Pacific University and she joined the Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Disease in 2006.

Rosa Garcia – Patient Assistant Liaison
Rosa Garcia has worked at our hospital for 17 years. She started as a Financial Counselor in the hematology/oncology division in 2000 and then became a Patient Assistant Liasion (PAL) in 2002. Ms. Garcia is responsible for scheduling patient appointments and coordinating ancillary appointments.  She came to our hospital in 2004 and joined the LIFE team in 2007.

Kathy Meeske – Investigator
Kathleen Meeske, PhD, Director, Health Outcomes and Cancer Control Research, HOPE Program; Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California
Dr. Kathleen Meeske has a MS in nursing, MS in Applied Biostatistics/Epidemiology, and a PhD in Epidemiology. She completed a two-year post doctoral fellowship at the Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research at University of Southern California. Dr. Meeske has worked in pediatric oncology for more than 25 years. Her research interest is cancer survivorship. Her research has focused on the physical and psychological late effects associated with cancer therapy and on health promotion among long-term survivors of childhood cancer. Dr. Meeske is a member of the Long-Term Follow-up Center at the University of Southern California, which is developing of a national registry for childhood cancer survivors.

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.

Susana Gantan – Health Educator
Susan Gantan, MPH, is the program coordinator for the HOPE Resource Center, managing its daily operations and facilitating its use by patients, parents, other family members, members of the healthcare team, and the community. Ms. Gantan also coordinates the Health and Wellness Fair in the annual Celebrate Life with HOPE event, honoring and celebrating childhood cancer survivors, their families and their community. She received her Master of Public Health, Community Health Studies from San Jose State University in 1998 and Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from UCLA. Ms. Gantan has been at Children's Hospital Los Angeles since 2002.