Boss Lab

The Boss Lab's research focus is on patient experience, health disparities, and surgical outcomes and utilization. Studies include shared decision-making, communication, and patient/parent-reported outcomes for elective surgery in children; patient satisfaction metrics, outcomes, and health correlates in surgery and pediatrics; patient and family-centered care and communication in surgery and pediatrics; racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in pediatric surgical care utilization and outcomes; and quality and safety in pediatric surgical care

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The Boss Lab Team

Johns Hopkins Baltimore Team

Emily F. Boss, MD, MPH, FACS

Emily F. Boss, MD, MPH, FACS (nee Rudnick) is the lead PI for Project CONNECTS.  She is the Director of Pediatric Otolaryngology and a Professor of Otolaryngology, Pediatrics, and Health Policy & Management at the Johns Hopkins University Schools of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is passionate about organizational and interpersonal performance improvement in healthcare delivery. Her widely recognized and federally funded research focuses on mitigating health disparities in pediatric surgical care through optimized patient-family-centered communication and decision-making. She was a national leader in the development and assessment of quality and performance measures in pediatric otolaryngology. She has an active clinical pediatric otolaryngology practice specializing in treatment of complex ear, nose, throat, and neck disorders in children. A physician leader at Johns Hopkins, she is the medical director for Revenue Cycle Performance Improvement for Johns Hopkins Medicine and a physician advisor for Care Coordination/Clinical Resource Management at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Emily Boss.

Anne Links, MS, MHS

Anne Links, MS, MHS is a research program manager with the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, in the departments of Medicine, Otolaryngology, and Pediatrics. Ms. Links has academic training in public health and psychology, with research interests including implicit bias, clinician/family communication, and shared decision-making. She has engaged in multiple projects evaluating clinician/patient/family communication and corresponding experiences with healthcare, including projects evaluating implicit bias, communication, and shared decision-making in pediatric elective surgical consultations. Ms. Links continues this research as the project manager for Project CONNECTS.

Anne Links.

Angele Kelly, MSPH, BS

Angele Kelly, MSPH, BS is a Research Program Coordinator for Project CONNECTS at Johns Hopkins clinics throughout Baltimore and a recent Master's of Science in Public Health recipient from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She aids in the recruitment and enrollment of patients, as well as data collection and analysis. Additionally, she coordinates study efforts between the parent site at Hopkins and the participating sites in Seattle and Dallas. Her research interests are centered around equitable health communication and access, health education and promotion, respectful communication between physicians and patients, health literacy, shared decision-making, and the impact human rights violations have on health.

Angele Kelly.

Liliana Rodriguez, BS

Liliana Rodriguez, BS is a Research Program Coordinator for Project CONNECTS and a recent graduate of Johns Hopkins University. She recruits and enrolls participants to the study at various Johns Hopkins clinics around Baltimore, as well as leads team meetings and assists with data analysis. She has always had an interest in pediatric and public health-centered research that focuses on improved treatment and health outcomes for children. She is incredibly grateful to be working with the Project CONNECTS team, and excited to contribute to future research with the lab.

Liliana Rodriguez.

Michele Massa, BS

Michele Massa comes to the Project CONNECTS team as our RIAS coding expert. Her professional background is in theatre, linguistics, education and health science. She studied at The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, Yale University, The New School University, and Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She began her work with Johns Hopkins University in 2007, and has RIAS coded over 5000 medical encounters, across more than 40 studies in various health contexts, during her career.

Michele Massa.

Mary Catherine Beach, MD, MPH

Mary Catherine Beach is a professor in the School of Medicine, with appointments in the Center for Health Equity and the Berman Institute of Bioethics, at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Beach’s research focuses on humanizing healthcare by promoting respect for patients as well as improved patient-clinician communication. This communication scholarship spans a range of philosophies and methods, including conversational analysis, motivational interviewing, Roter Interaction Analysis System (RIAS), Verona Coding Definitions of Emotional Sequences (VR-CoDES), and shared decision-making. In addition, she has led several clinical trials demonstrating improvements in communication (clinician training) and attitudes towards patients with sickle cell disease (brief film intervention). Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Greenwall Foundation.

Mary Beach.

Alya Ahmad, BA

Alya Ahmad, BA is a research assistant working with Dr. Mary Catherine Beach. She helps with patient recruitment and enrollment for Project CONNECTS across the Johns Hopkins sites.


Som Saha, MD, MPH

Som Saha, MD, MPH received his medical degree and post-graduate training in internal medicine from the University of California, San Francisco. He completed post-doctoral training in the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program (RWJCSP) at the University of Washington, where he obtained a master’s degree in public health. Dr. Saha’s research focuses on the influence of race and ethnicity in the doctor-patient relationship, its relation to racial disparities in the quality of health care, and its implications for diversity in the health care workforce. He has been recognized for his work with Herbert W. Nickens Awards from the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM) and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), for commitment to diversity, equity, and justice in health care and medical education. He has served on the governing Council of SGIM, the National Advisory Committee for the RWJCSP, and the advisory committee for the AAMC Holistic Review Project. He also served for 10 years as Chair of the Oregon Health Services Commission and Health Evidence Review Commission, groups charged with prioritizing health services, developing evidence-based guidelines, and guiding coverage policy for Oregon’s public insurance programs. He currently serves on the editorial board for the journal Health Services Research. At Johns Hopkins, Dr. Saha serves as Director of the TL1 Clinical Research Training Program within the Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, and co-directs the Epidemiology course for 1st-year medical students.

Som Saha.

Daniela C. Rodríguez, DrPH, MPH

Daniela C. Rodríguez, DrPH, MPH, studies how politics, public health, and evidence intersect in policies that impact vulnerable communities around the world. For Project CONNECTS, Dr. Rodríguez provides technical inputs around qualitative methods, and engaging with Latinx families through the project.

Daniela C. Rodríguez.

Chenery Lowe, ScM, CGC, PhD

Chenery Lowe, ScM, CGC, PhD is a genetic counselor, healthcare communications researcher, and current postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University. Her research interests include clinical communication, implicit bias, health literacy, shared decision-making, and ethical dimensions of patient-provider relationships. Within Project CONNECTS, she is conducting an analysis of pediatric surgery consultations using methods that include the Roter Interaction Analysis System (RIAS) to better understand racial disparities in patient care and outcomes.

Chenery Lowe.

Grace Leu, MD

Grace Leu, MD is a resident in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Johns Hopkins and graduated from Tufts University School of Medicine. Prior to starting residency, she spent a year doing research under the mentorship of Dr. Emily Boss focused on patient and family-centered communication between surgeons and parents of pediatric patients undergoing elective pediatric surgeries.

Grace Liu.

Ellie Thompson, MD, PhD

Ellie Thompson, MD, PhD  is a resident in the department of Otolaryngology enrolled in the research track. Prior to residency, she completed a PhD in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Northwestern University followed by a medical degree at Emory University. As part of the Project CONNECTS team she is broadening her skills in qualitative research through projects focusing on optimizing communication to improve health outcomes.

Ellie Thompson.

University of Texas South Western pSite Team

Ron Mitchell, MD

Ron Mitchell, MD is a Professor of Otolaryngology and Pediatrics and Chief of Pediatric Otolaryngology, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Children's Medical Center Dallas. He was the Chair of the update to the guideline “Tonsillectomy in Children” published by the American Academy of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery in 2019. He has been involved in research into the clinical aspects of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in children for the last 20 years and was a site PI for the Childhood Adenotonsillectomy Study (CHAT) study and the Pediatric Adenotonsillectomy Study for Snoring (PATS) and has more than 180 peer-reviewed publications (as well as books, book chapters, editorials, and reviews) on OSA. He is the site PI for Project CONNECTS and clinically, directs the otolaryngology and sleep medicine divisions at UT Southwestern/Dallas Children’s Medical Center and is the past president for the American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology (ASPO).

Ron Mitchell.

Francesca Chambers

Francesca Chambers is a Clinical Research Coordinator for UTSW Otolaryngology pediatric department. She has been in research for over 10 years.

Francesca Chambers.

Claudia (Erica) Rivera, CMA

Claudia (Erica) Rivera, CMA works as a Research Coordinator for UTSW. She has been in research for a little over 5 years. Erica is so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the future and to make life easier for children. She loves to make great friendships with the lives touched through research every day.

Claudia Rivera.

Seattle Children’s Hospital pSite Team

Sanjay R. Parikh, MD FACS

Sanjay R. Parikh, MD FACS is a pediatric otolaryngologist and the Site Primary Investigator for Project CONNECTS at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Dr. Parikh is Professor at the University of Washington and Associate Surgeon-In-Chief at Seattle Children’s Hospital where he has a focus on advancing complex airway surgery in children.

Sanjay R. Parikh.

Alyssa Taira, BS

Alyssa Taira, BS is a clinical research coordinator at Seattle Children’s Hospital. She works on recruiting and enrolling families to the Project CONNECTS study at the Seattle Children’s Hospital site.

Alyssa Taira.

Eunkyoung (Hannah) Hong, PhD

Eunkyoung (Hannah) Hong, PhD is a clinical research coordinator in Project CONNECTS, responsible for organizing and overseeing the research efforts. She is genuinely passionate about improving healthcare outcomes.

Eunkyoung Hong.

Beatriz Cruz

Beatriz Cruz works as a Program Coordinator for Seattle Childrens Hospital. She is able to use her bilingual skills to contribute to Project CONNECTS grant. She is grateful for the opportunity to be able to raise the voices of the BIPOC community within this team and through Project CONNECTS.

Beatriz Cruz.