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The mission of the UW PPC is to develop leaders who will improve the health of children with respiratory conditions through the provision of family-centered care.

The UW PPC maintains five main goals:

Provide interdisciplinary leadership training for graduate and post graduate professionals.
Provide services to children by facilitating family-centered, community based, culturally sensitive, comprehensive care.
Pursue basic science and clinical research relevant to pediatric lung disease.
Provide consultation and technical assistance in the planning and coordination of services at the local, state, regional and national levels.
Provide relevant regional and national continuing education for health care professionals at all levels.

UW PPC Group Photo

The University of Wisconsin Pediatric Pulmonary Center (UW PPC) is one of six centers in the nation funded by the U.S. Maternal and Child Health Bureau to train future leaders in the care of children with chronic illness.

Since 1985, the UW PPC has provided interdisciplinary, graduate and post-graduate training for graduate students in the core disciplines of nursing, social work, medicine, nutrition, and respiratory therapy.

The UW PPC leadership training takes place within the framework of serving children with respiratory conditions and their families in the mid-west region. We encourage hands-on involvement in education, product development, outreach and research. We offer a unique perspective as we serve a large geographic area that includes a diverse patient population in both urban and rural areas. The faculty and trainees commit to working together to improve the quality of life and care for children with chronic respiratory conditions. We collaborate with patients, families and trainees to develop continuing education offerings, academic course work and patient education materials.

The UW PPC is committed to interdisciplinary teaching and healing while providing family centered, community based, culturally competent, coordinated care.

Pediatric Pulmonary Center Informational Brochure

Pediatric Pulmonary Center Training Grant
Suite E5/417 CSC
600 Highland Avenue
Madison, WI 53792-4108

Patient Populations Served

The University of Wisconsin Pediatric Pulmonary Center follows approximately 1,000 children each year with a variety of pulmonary disorders including asthma, neuromuscular diseases, cystic fibrosis, tracheostomies, ventilators and bronchopulmonary dysplasia.


Asthma is the most common chronic disorder in childhood, currently affecting an estimated 6.2 million children under 18 years; of which 4 million suffered from an asthma attack or episode in 2003.

An asthma episode is a series of events that result in narrowed airways. These include: swelling of the lining, tightening of the muscle, and increased secretion of mucus in the airway. The narrowed airway is responsible for the difficulty in breathing with the familiar "wheeze."

Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the airways with reversible episodes of obstruction, caused by an increased reaction of the airways to various stimuli or triggers. Asthma breathing problems usually happen in "episodes" but the inflammation underlying asthma is continuous.

Neuromuscular Diseases

Neuromuscular Diseases is a very broad term that encompasses many diseases that affect the muscles and/or their nervous control. In general, problems with nervous control can cause spasticity or paralysis, depending on the location and nature of the problem. A large proportion of neurological disorders leads to problems with movement. Examples of neuromuscular diseases are Spinal Muscle Atrophy or Muscular Dystrophy.

Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a life-threatening predominately caucasion, genetic disease affecting approximately 30,000 people in the United States. For people with the disease, a defective gene causes the body to produce a faulty protein that leads to abnormally thick, sticky mucus that clogs the airways and can result in fatal lung infections. The mucus also obstructs the pancreas, causing difficulty for a person to absorb nutrients in food and can block the bile duct in the liver, eventually causing permanent damage in approximately six percent of people with CF.


A surgical opening through the neck into the trachea, through which an indwelling tube may be inserted to assist with breathing or maintaining an airway.


Machines that help a person breath when they are unable to do breath effectively on their own. Ventilators range in all sizes and capabilities to be in the ICU or home setting.

Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia

Bronchopulmonary dysplasia is a chronic pulmonary conditions that infants, with respiratory failure, in the first few weeks of life may develop. Immaturity, oxygen toxicity, and positive pressure ventilation have all been implicated in the origin of BPD.

Pediatric Pulmonary Centers: History & Goals

PPC History

For much of this century, children with respiratory disorders did not live beyond infancy. As more children survived because of improved treatments, training was required to ensure that children with respiratory conditions were diagnosed appropriately and received the best care possible. To provide children with respiratory disorders with effective treatment and ongoing care, the federal government funded 13 pediatric pulmonary centers (PPCs) in 1967. In 1973, the federal Office of Maternal and Child health (OMCH) took over the administration of the PPC grants. OMCH recognized the importance of training multidisciplinary teams to address the complex needs of children with pulmonary conditions, and it changed the grants’ focus to include multidisciplinary training of physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, nutritionists, and social workers. Another area of emphasis added to the PPCs was a population-based, public health focus.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, several additional shifts occurred in the field of pediatric pulmonary medicine. Newborns were now surviving as a result of technological interventions. Chronically ill children were entitled to receive an education in the same settings as their peers. Comprehensive care moved from hospital into homes and schools. In response to these shifts, PPCs changed their emphasis as well. Rather than focusing exclusively on medical interventions, centers now provide family-centered, culturally appropriates, developmental, and psychosocial support of children and their families. Interdisciplinary team members also work with the public health system at local, regional, and national levels to achieve these goals.

Currently, more than 7 million children in the United States have lung-disabling conditions, including asthma and cystic fibrosis. Respiratory conditions are the cause of most hospitalizations for children ages 1 through 9 in the United States and are also responsible for many days of missed school. The Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) pediatric pulmonary centers training program is designed to do the following: (1) improve the health status of children with acute and chronic respiratory conditions; (2) develop and sustain community-based systems of care; and (3) advance knowledge in the pediatric pulmonary field.

Program Characteristics

The purpose of the interdisciplinary pediatric pulmonary centers training program is to prepare health professionals for leadership roles in the development, enhancement, or improvement of community-based care for children with chronic respiratory diseases and for their families. These PPCs provide interdisciplinary training of health professionals, engage in active partnerships with state and local health agencies and health professionals, and serve as models of excellence in training, service, and research related to chronic respiratory conditions in infants and children.



PPC traineeships are available in pulmonary medicine, nursing, nutrition, pharmacy, respiratory therapy, and social work. The program trains at both the graduate and postgraduate levels in the primary program setting as well as in diverse community settings. Faculty engage in relevant research. Both faculty and trainees provide consultation and technical assistance to develop or to improve community-based services. Additionally, the program collaborates with state Title V programs to improve community capacity by integrating services and resources, conducting needs assessments, and jointly developing continuing education and consultation efforts.


The program prepares trainees for leadership by providing not only clinical training, but also curriculum that includes a broad public health perspective consisting of, among other things, the development and implementation of systems of care, advocacy, public policy formulation, and legislation. PPCs also provide ongoing continuing education activities through community-based workshops and seminars, conferences, and other activities designed to enhance skills or disseminate new information.

Program Profile

In 2010, MCHB funded six PPCs around the country.

Present Grant Recipients

Additional information about the PPCs

The University of Wisconsin PPC Goals

  • To provide interdisciplinary leadership training for graduates and post graduate professionals.
  • To provide services to children by facilitating family-centered, community based, culturally sensitive, and comprehensive care.
  • To pursue basic science and clinical research relevant to pediatric lung disease.
  • To provide consultation and technical assistance in the planning and coordination of services at the local, state, regional and national levels.
  • To provide relevant regional and national continuing education for health care professionals at all levels.



Vivek Balasubramaniam, MD

balasubramaniam [at] pediatrics [dot] wisc [dot] edu (Vivek Balasubramaniam, MD)
Director & Pediatric Pulmonary Faculty

Vivek is the Director and a Pediatric Pulmonology Faculty Member for the UW PPC, and a Pediatric Pulmonologist at the American Family Children's Hospital.

Vivek graduated from the University of Pittsburg Medical School and completed where he completed is Pediatric residency. He completed his Pediatric Pulmonary and Critical Care fellowship at the University of Colorado. Vivek has an active laboratory focused on investigating the pathogenesis, treatment, and prevention of lung disease that is the result of premature birth. He is an active member of the Society for Pediatric Research, serving both on their Council and as co-Chair of the Advocacy Committee, and is a member of the Pediatric Policy Council that advocates for child health issues.

Mary Marcus, MS, RD

mmarcus [at] uwhealth [dot] org (Mary Marcus, MS, RD)
Co-Director & Nutrition

Mary is the Co-Director of the UW PPC and is a Clinical Nutritionist in the Pediatric Specialty Clinics at the American Family Children's Hospital.

Mary has her BA in Biology from Ripon College and MS in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Wisconsin. She is a former UW Pediatric Pulmonary Center Trainee.

Carrie Barker, MD

ckbarker [at] pediatrics [dot] wisc [dot] edu (Carrie Barker, MD)
Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine Education Faculty

Carrie is a Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine Education Faculty for the UW PPC and a Pediatric Pulmonologist at the American Family Children’s Hospital.

Carrie earned her medical degree from the University Of Iowa College Of Medicine. She completed her residency at the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics. She completed her fellowship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. She is board certified in pediatrics and pediatric pulmonology. Her clinical interest is a broad range of pulmonary conditions including cystic fibrosis, asthma, spinal muscular atrophy, and chronic lung disease of infancy.

Camilla Matthews, MD

ckmatthews [at] pediatrics [dot] wisc [dot] edu (Camilla Matthews, MD)
Sleep Medicine Education Coordinator

Cami is the Sleep Medicine Education Coordinator for the UW PPC and is a Pediatrician at the American Family Children’s Hospital.

Cami received her medical degree from the University of Iowa and completed her residency at the Golisano Children's Hospital, Rochester, NY. She completed her fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is a board-certified pediatrician in sleep medicine. Her clinical interests cover a range of pediatric sleep disorders including obstructive sleep apnea, parasomnias like sleepwalking or night terrors, restless leg syndrome and insomnia.

Lori Anderson, PhD, RN, CPNP

lsanderson [at] wisc [dot] edu (Lori Anderson, PhD, RN, CPNP)
Nursing (PhD prepared)

Lori serves as a teaching team faculty member for the UW PPC interdisciplinary academic course and she consults and/or serves as academic advisor for student trainees conducting research as part of their required training.

Lori received her BS, MS, and PhD from UW-Madison. She is a board certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and an Assistant Professor at the UW-Madison School of Nursing. Lori's research focus is children with special health care needs, family adaptation, and the care coordination between healthcare, home, and school settings. She is the project director for eSchoolCare, a web-based resource for school nurses on caring for children with chronic health conditions.

Shelly Eagen, NP

seagen [at] uwhealth [dot] org (Shelly Eagen, NP)

Shelly is the nursing faculty for the UW PPC and a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at American Family Children’s Hospital. Shelly has a special interest in caring for children with neuromuscular disorders.

Shelly received her undergraduate degree at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh School of Nursing and her graduate degree at University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing. She is a former University of Wisconsin PPC trainee.

Rhonda Yngsdal-Krenz, MBA, RRT

ryngsdal-krenz [at] uwhealth [dot] org (Rhonda Yngsdal-Krenz, MBA, RRT, hPS)
Respiratory Care

Rhonda is the Respiratory Care Manager of American Family Children's Hospital at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics. For the UW PPC, she is the Respiratory Care Education Director. She is also the ECMO coordinator for the AFCH and serves on the Asthma Coalition of Wisconsin.

Rhonda has her Masters Degree in Business Administration from Lakeland College and Respiratory Therapy Degree from Madison College.

Craig Becker, MSSW

cbecker [at] uwhealth [dot] org (Craig Becker, MSSW)
Social Work

Craig is a Social Worker at the American Family Children's Hospital. He covers both in and out patient services for Children with Chronic Pulmonary Disease. He serves as the Social Work Education Director for the UW PPC.

Craig received his Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to joining the Pediatric Pulmonary Center in July of 1993, he worked in Chicago at a dialysis center. While there, he served a very diverse population and developed an interest in diversity, culture and resilience. During his time with the UWPPC, Craig has been an advocate for smooth transitioning from pediatric to adult care. He serves on the advisory board of the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Stefanie Gerberding

sgerberding [at] wisc [dot] edu (Stefanie Gerberding)
Family Leader

Stefanie is the Family Leader for the UW PPC.

Stefanie received her undergraduate degree at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in Health Care Administration. Her role will be to bring the patient and family perspective to the interdisciplinary team and educate trainees and healthcare professionals about patient and family’s perspective.

Last updated: 05/24/2017
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Questions regarding the UW PPC Training Grant: info [at] uwppc [dot] org