“The ECHO Program is intended to pilot and implement an observational study of mothers and infants that will serve as an institutional resource for future grant-funded research,” says Dr. Fjolla Hyseni Vokshi, Albanian researcher who has joined the project since 2019.
She is a certified Radiologist from the University of Kosovo Clinical Center. Beginning in 2016 and up to date Dr. Vokshi is an Official National Delegate at the European Society of Radiology, an international medical society based in Vienna, Austria. In 2012 she received her Doctor of Medicine Degree from the University of Prishtina, Faculty of Medicine. A certified physician and sonographer, she is currently with a research team at New York University Langone Health at the Division of Environmental Pediatrics while pursuing her PHD at the University of Zagreb School of Medicine. The nationwide research program focuses on how genes and the environment influence children’s health with major ramifications not only for medical science but other areas of life.
Prior to her current position with the research team at NYU Environmental Pediatrics Division, Grossman School of Medicine that began in 2019, Dr. Hyseni Vokshi has been part of several studies with NYU Langone Health as a researcher in the Department of Urology. What stands out most, in her numerous tasks as a sonographer and a well-qualified researcher, is her tenacity and undaunted drive for delivering timely, accurate and detailed interpretation of radiology data. The research program is reported to be part of a nationwide study called ECHO – The Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes Program, that combines information from about 50,000 children and their families at about 200 locations in the United States. Dr. Hyseni Vokshi, a wife and mother of two young children, explains that the study aims to increase our understanding of the relation between the environment and its impact on children’s health and development, and its interaction with genetic information. Dr. Vokshi appreciates the scope and complexity of the project that tackles “how genes and the environment work together to influence children’s health” she says, and requires following the participants in the study for a long period of time through clinical trials, systematic reviews, meta-analyses and case reports. She condenses the program in one sentence: “Genes may affect how our bodies respond to the environment, and the environment may affect how our genes work.”
Dr. Vokshi was born in Prishtina, Kosovo and is a graduate of University of Prishtina, Faculty of Medicine. Her father, Nexhmi Hyseni, an esteemed doctor in Kosova, now retired, has been a source of inspiration to always strive towards the betterment of humanity. Throughout her years in college and residency as well as in her career, she applies a high degree of creativity, foresight and maturity, while aiming to make her father and family proud.
Dr. Vokshi considers it an honor to work under the Principal Investigator of the NYU Langone Study, Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP, an internationally renowned leader in children’s environmental health. A lead Investigator on numerous other NIH-funded projects, Dr. Trasande is a Harvard graduate and has served on various scientific committees and expert panels. One of the lessons of the era of the pandemic has been the impact of health policies on the economy. Here Dr. Trasande has been proven right since his research has focused on identifying the role of environmental exposures in childhood obesity and cardiovascular risks, and documenting the economic costs for policy makers of failing to prevent diseases of environmental origin in children proactively. So, while the ECHO program holds important value in the medical area, its significance goes beyond the effects of the environment on children’s health and development and its interactions with genetic information. The study calls attention to the high cost of not being proactive in our health policies.
Dr. Vokshi says that she feels that her extensive knowledge of imaging and diagnostic procedures, as well as in clinical trials are an asset for the NYU Langone research team. Among a long list of tasks and responsibilities, her specific role “as a research scientist and a sonographer is to provide ultrasound imaging measurements and review measurements of abdominal protocol, kidney protocol and cardiac protocol,” she clarifies.
When asked about her motivation and interests in the topic of Environmental Pediatrics, Dr. Vokshi indicated that she is focused on “its mission to improve the health of children for generations to come. The ECHO Program is intended to pilot and implement an observational study of mothers and infants that will serve as an institutional resource for future grant-funded research leveraging existing bio specimen and questionnaire data.” With regard to the timeline of the study, Dr. Vokshi explains that “the ECHO program proposes to address the longitudinal impact of pre-natal (before birth) peri-natal, and post-natal (after birth) and continue until adulthood environmental exposures on pediatric development and health outcomes with high public health impact.”
Dr. Vokshi is a dedicated healthcare provider at heart who at this point in her career is “primarily interested in experimental research applied to the broad array of early environmental influences on child development and health.” She is also very passionate about the upcoming “technological advancements that will further revolutionize patient care.” Still in her thirties, she has contributed and co-authored numerous articles for the medical journals and has been part of the Kosovo delegation at various conferences. While pursuing her doctoral degree at the University of Zagreb, School of Medicine, Dr. Vokshi has joined the program at New York University Langone Health at the Division of Environmental Pediatrics as a sharp minded well accomplished Albanian physician and sonographer.
Dr. Vokshi sets the goals high and then puts all of her determination and efforts toward reaching them. She feels that she can do it all here.