Our Team

Hematologic Malignancy Program

Our Team

We bring together a team of experts in each type of leukemia and lymphoma, and each treatment option to develop a comprehensive care plan together with our patients' families that ensures the best possible outcome.

Dr. Lisa Gennarini is the Director of the Hematologic Malignancy (Leukemia/Lymphoma) Program. She has specific expertise in caring for patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  She is involved in designing and conducting clinical trials for children diagnosed with leukemia or lymphoma, through her leadership and advisory roles in a number of cooperative groups, including the Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Consortium and the Children’s Oncology Group (COG). She is the site principal investigator for all studies.

Dr. Leanne Ostrodka leads the REACT (Reassessment and Evaluation After Cancer Treatment) Clinic for survivors of childhood cancer and is a member of the leukemia/lymphoma service.  Her clinical research focuses on maximizing the quality of life for children affected by blood disorders and cancer.  Dr. Ostrodka’s translational research focuses on assessing the utility of novel anti-cancer agents in children with leukemias and sarcomas. Dr. Ostrodka cares for patients who have completed treatment for a malignancy during childhood, and patients with various blood disorders and cancer.

Dr. Adit Tal is a member of the leukemia/lymphoma service and joined the division recently after her Pediatric Hematology/Oncology fellowship at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore. Dr. Tal’s clinical focus is in the treatment of pediatric leukemia and lymphoma, and the supportive care of children with cancer. She also performs translational research on identifying new targetable pathways in the treatment of metastatic osteosarcoma. As the assistant fellowship director and vice chair of the ASPHO Well-being Special Interest Group, she is also interested in prevention and treatment of burnout within the pediatric hematology/oncology community. 

Megan Duggan, CPNP is the Nurse Practitioner for the Hematologic Malignancy Program. She has been at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore for 10 years and is active in our consortium with the Children's Oncology Group and  Dana Farber Cancer Institute and the execution of their studies here at Montefiore. In addition to clinical care, Megan's main focus is the day-to-day impact on children and families and her aim is to alleviate the stress and disruption to normalcy that cancer can bring to both the children and everyone involved in their care. 

Rigoberto Tomala, LMSW has been a bilingual (English/ Spanish) oncology social worker at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore since 2004.  As an oncology social worker, he recognizes the emotional, financial and psychosocial burden placed on the patient and their family upon diagnosis.  A multimodal approach is considered in assisting the patient and family in addressing barriers in their care.  His extensive experience in behavioral health allows him the ability to utilize cognitive behavioral interventions, and meaning centered psychotherapy to the patient and their families which provides them the support at every stage in their treatment.

Denise Velazquez, LCSW, (Senior Social Worker) has been a social worker since the mid-1990's and at     Montefiore since 2007.  Her multi-focal role within the medical team is to assist families navigate the various ways our patients' medical needs and their lives are mutually impacted during the various phases of care. As an active member of the Association of Pediatric Oncology Social Workers she continues to build her skills/knowledge base to provide relevant/flexible interventions (grounded in mindfulness) including supportive and crisis counseling, advocacy, resource linkage, successful discharge planning and stress reduction. She developed and co-leads the Support for Education Team (SET), a multidisciplinary group whose focus is to help our patients maximize their educational experience during and after treatment. Providing consultation to patients, parents, staff and school teams regarding specific classroom interventions and accommodations needed due to physical and/or neurocognitive sequelae from disease or disease related treatment.

Annette Pedro is the Clinical Research Program Manager for the Pediatric Oncology Clinical Trials Office. She has been at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore for 15 years and has spent the last 4 years in the Clinical Trials Office supporting pediatric oncology research at CHAM. She serves as our site’s Lead Clinical Research Associate for the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) and is a member of the Dana Farber Cancer Center Pediatric ALL Consortium. Annette oversees the administration and coordination of a robust clinical research portfolio with a focus on study participant engagement and research education for her staff and colleagues.