Photo by John O’Donnell
Allen J. Dozor, MD, is combating what he warns has become a health epidemic: asthma. The chief of the Pediatric Pulmonology, Allergy and Sleep Medicine Division at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla—by far the largest pediatric pulmonary division in New York State—reports that respiratory disease is the No. 1 reason that children miss school, visit doctors, are hospitalized, are rushed to the emergency room, and die. “One-third of children wheeze before their third birthday,” the 61-year-old Armonk resident says.
That’s why Dr. Dozor’s pediatric pulmonary division cares for 15,000 children with respiratory disease, and each week about 100 evaluations are requested for new patients. A principal investigator for the American Lung Association Asthma Clinical Research Center at New York Medical College and the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, Dr. Dozor says that all families in Westchester County are affected by respiratory disease. “The dramatic worldwide increase over the last forty years in the incidence of asthma can’t be due to changes in our genes; it must be related to changes in our environment,” he says. “People don’t realize that Westchester’s air quality is notoriously poor.”
Dr. Dozor’s adamancy to fight kids’ pulmonary problems led him to help create and direct the Children’s Environmental Health Center (CEHC) of the Hudson Valley. One of its missions is to teach families, pediatricians, and school districts about dangerous environmental contaminants—everything from mold and dust to 100,000 chemicals. In addition, the CEHC studies and analyzes the quality of indoor environments and their effects on children.
Dr. Dozor also leads The Armond V. Mascia, MD Cystic Fibrosis Center in Hawthorne, which is the only facility of this type in Westchester that passed—and has passed for 40 years—the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s rigorous
accreditation process. The Center’s mission is to care for patients, do research, and teach about this horrific genetic disease that affects about 200 Westchesterites, whose median age of survival is only 38 years.