As a doctor in Children’s Division of Emergency Medicine and Trauma Services, Robert Freishtat has seen a fair share of patients with asthma. “Children in Washington, DC, have some of the worst cases of asthma in the world, and Children’s National treats 1 percent of all the emergency department visits for asthma in the country,” he says.
As a result, Dr. Freishtat became interested in learning why children in Washington, DC, develop chronic asthma at a much higher rate than children in other parts of the nation and the world. He hopes through his research program AsthMap to discover what genetically predisposes a child to develop asthma, and how environmental factors, such as smoking, can increase a child’s likelihood of developing the illness. Dr. Freishtat and his research team hope to apply the genetic information they collect in the laboratory to clinical settings.
“We’re finding some very interesting things that I think can ultimately lead to improved care for kids in Washington, DC, with asthma,” he says.
Dr. Freishtat spends some of his time writing grants, analyzing data, and writing research papers. His favorite aspect of his job is spending time in the lab. He loves the thrill of discovering something new.
“I think that getting the data from a group of patients, and analyzing it, and finding an answer to the question I had is the most exciting part for me.”
He loves working at Children’s because of the collaborative nature of its employees. “Children’s is unique in the fact that it’s a community where everyone knows one another, and working together we can be a lot more productive.”
When he’s not in the laboratory, Dr. Freishtat enjoys going to Nationals games with his wife and two sons.