Rush Craniofacial Center Team

Christina Tragos, MD, codirector of the Rush Craniofacial Center, is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon. She completed a craniofacial surgery fellowship at Seattle Children’s Hospital, one of the premier training centers for craniofacial surgeons. Her extensive experience equips her to treat even the most complex head and face anomalies.

Alvaro Figueroa, DDS, MS, codirector of the Rush Craniofacial Center, is a dentist with specialized training in orthodontics and pediatric dentistry. He helped invent distraction osteogenesis — a way to make a longer bone out of a smaller one. This procedure, now performed across the United States, has helped many patients with head and face anomalies.

Figueroa’s other clinical and research interests include treatment outcomes, naso-alveolar molding for infants, and orthodontic and surgical management of head and face anomalies.

He has dedicated his entire career to patients with these conditions. In the process, he has participated in overseas treatment trips, served on various boards and published about 100 articles in peer-reviewed medical journals. He is fluent in Spanish and English.

Alexander Figueroa, DMD, is a dentist with specialized training in orthodontics and temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, dysfunction. (The temporomandibular joint is commonly called the jaw.) He is actively involved in research on disorders and anomalies of the head, face, teeth and jaws. He is fluent in Spanish and English.

Michelle Greene, PhD, a clinical psychologist, works with the craniofacial team to understand families’ experiences, provide education and, when helpful, provide referrals for additional psychosocial services. Her overall area of interest involves helping families of youth with complex conditions best promote psychological well-being.

Nicole Heller, DNP, is a family nurse practitioner with extensive experience caring for children. She serves as the nurse practitioner and coordinator for the Rush Craniofacial Center. Her clinical interests include cleft lip and cleft palate, plagiocephaly, craniosynostosis, and patient education before and after surgery.

Jill Jeffe, MD, a pediatric otolaryngologist, cares for children with ear, nose and throat conditions. As a member of the craniofacial team, she helps treat breathing, airway disorders, swallowing and hearing problems in children.

Carolyn Jones, MD, PhD, is a clinical geneticist with training in pediatrics. Her areas of clinical expertise include genetic testing  and congenital anomalies. She helps families understand their genetic risk of head and face anomalies.

Lorenzo Munoz, MD, a neurosurgeon, completed fellowships at both Children's Memorial Hospital and the University of Illinois Medical Center. His clinical expertise includes acoustic neuroma, brain aneurysm, brain tumor, Chiari malformations, hydrocephalus, medulloblastoma, meningioma, metastatic brain cancer, endoscopic neurosurgery, pediatric neurosurgery, pituitary tumors, sinus and skull base tumors, spinal tumors and vascular malformations. He is fluent in Spanish and English.

Michael Nelson, PhD, a clinical psychologist, specializes in the neurodevelopmental and cognitive assessment of children with complex conditions. He has performed more than 20,000 assessments on children ranging in age from newborn to young adult. A widely published researcher, he has also received three grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Laura Pabalan, MD, is a pediatrician. She works with the craniofacial team to make sure children get the routine medical care they need. Her special interests include improving health care access and caring for children with complex conditions. She is fluent in Spanish and English.

Pallavi P. Patwari, MD, is the medical director for pediatric sleep medicine. Board-certified in general pediatrics and pediatric critical care medicine, she oversees comprehensive sleep medicine services for infants and children affected by the full spectrum of sleep disorders, including those with rare or complex medical issues. She has a special interest in pediatric hypoventilation and the influence of critical illness on sleep in pediatrics.

Akbar Razvi is a clinical audiologist. As a member of the craniofacial team, he helps diagnose and treat children with hearing conditions.  His services include diagnostic evaluation and vestibular assessment and rehabilitation. He also offers auditory rehabilitation, including amplification and auditory osseointegrated implants (Baha).

Behnoosh Shayegan, MD, is a pediatric anesthesiologist. She has experience in caring for patients of all ages (including preterm infants) with complex conditions.  Her clinical interests include airway management  in children and anesthesia for complex head and face procedures.

Karen Tessler, PhD, is a speech-language pathologist. Fluent in Spanish and English, she helps children with speaking or feeding problems. She has been manager of clinical education for the speech-language pathology program at Rush. She’s also presented at state and national conferences on the topics of innovative education practices, craniofacial anomalies, clinical care and student supervision.