Note: As of November 30th, 2012, the Robert Wood Johnson Physician Faculty Scholars program has closed.

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Ruchi S. Gupta, M.D., M.P.H. (RWJ)

Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Northwestern University School of Medicine
2009-2012 Cohort
Project Title:  “The Impact of Community Factors on Childhood Asthma and Asthma Disparities”

About the Project:

This project was designed to allow fifteen students with asthma to become researchers to identify personally-relevant community factors and barriers affecting their asthma, and to address these factors through student-produced Public Service Announcements to raise public awareness.


Ruchi S. Gupta, M.D. M.P.H. is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, with a joint appointment to Northwestern University’s Institute for Healthcare Studies and the Smith Child Health Research Program at Children’s Memorial Hospital.  She is also on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Asthma Consortium and the Steering Committee of the Alliance for Research in Chicagoland Communities.  Dr. Gupta received a B.S. in Biology and an M.D. from the University of Louisville, where she was awarded the Guaranteed Entrance to Medical School Scholarship.  She completed her residency at the University of Seattle and was honored with the Fitzhugh Mullen Resident Leadership Award and the American Medical Association’s National Leadership Award.  Following residency, Dr. Gupta entered the National Research Service Award (NRSA) T32 Pediatric Health Services Research Fellowship at Children’s Hospital Boston and received an M.P.H from the Harvard School of Public Health.  She then continued as a NRSA fellow at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, where she is currently on faculty. Dr. Gupta’s research interests include childhood asthma and food allergy.

As an academic pediatrician, Dr. Gupta’s primary goal is to reduce childhood asthma prevalence, severity and disparities.  Her interest in childhood asthma began early in her career, while a resident in an inner-city practice.  Dr. Gupta was amazed at how common asthma was among her low-income, minority patients, many of whom were debilitated with frequent exacerbations and hospitalizations.  Driven to improve the lives of these children and their families, Dr. Gupta began her study of asthma as a fellow, where she collaborated on two studies assessing disparities in childhood asthma.  Since that time, she has conducted several studies and published multiple papers investigating asthma and asthma disparities. 

Dr. Gupta’s current research indicates that childhood asthma rates in Chicago vary significantly by neighborhood, even among adjacent communities and neighborhoods with a similar racial/ethnic distribution.  As a Physician Faculty Scholar, Dr. Gupta worked to gain a better understanding of community factors contributing to this finding, focusing specifically on Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood.  Her project was entitled “The Impact of Community Factors on Childhood Asthma: The StudenT Asthma Research Team (START).” Dr. Gupta is now uniquely positioned to conduct this START program in other communities throughout Chicago and in the US to help determine specific community factors impacting asthma, increase awareness by community children themselves and develop personalized interventions.   This will empower students to improve their disease through their research and become leaders in educating their communities and peers to help make positive change in their communities.  She will then have the skills to work with community organizations, leaders, and residents of other communities throughout the US to develop effective community interventions to improve childhood asthma and reduce disparities.

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