Hengameh Raissy received a Pharm.D. degree in 1999 from University of New Mexico, college of Pharmacy. Name. Following her Pharm.D. degree, she completed a 2-year fellowship in Pediatric Pulmonary and Pharmacology at the University of New Mexico, School of Medicine.

Personal Statement

My primary research interest is asthma pharmacotherapy in the pediatric population.

Areas of Specialty

Pediatric and adult asthma and cystic fibrosis, clinical trial design

Achievements & Awards

2019 Department of Pediatrics, Faculty Service Award
2020 Faculty Research Excellence Award in Clinical Science
2020 Outstanding Mentorship for Faculty Research: Clinical



Research and Scholarship

1.Pediatric Asthma Pharmacology - Asthma is the most common chronic disease among children in the United States, affecting 7.1 million children in 2009 with four million children reporting at least one asthma attack in the previous year. Asthma prevalence remains at historically high levels and adverse outcomes remain an ongoing challenge for providers as well as parents. Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) are recommended by the National Asthma Expert Panel Report-3 guideline as the cornerstone of asthma management; however, optimal doses of ICS need to be determined in order to reduce risk and increase benefits of these agents. My early research and publications focused on developing noninvasive methods for comparing the therapeutic index of ICS in children. As a practicing pharmacist clinician, I was able to identify research questions relevant to patients regarding the use of new medications/indications. For example, with the increasing use of dry powder inhalers, technique and dose delivery in the pediatric population became a concern for parents. We found that there is significant variability among children in their ability to use a dry powder inhaler, even if they meet the minimum age requirement approved by FDA. In another investigator-initiated study, I investigated use of levalbuterol (Xopenex®) therapeutic index compared to the traditionally used racemic compound, albuterol. We found that high doses of levalbuterol do not have an acute deleterious effect on bronchodilation, as had been suggested in the literature. In 2007, the FDA issued a warning for use of long-acting beta agonists and increased risk of mortality from asthma in African American patients. As a result, advertisements on television promoted use of montelukast for management of asthma. In response, we compared the effect of montelukast to the standard of care (pretreatment with albuterol) in children with exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB). The results of the study became particularly pertinent the year it was completed and published (2008), since the FDA approved an EIB indication for montelukast. Our publication reported that albuterol is more effective than montelukast for prevention of EIB. In this trial, we were able to explore use of another noninvasive tool, exhaled breath condensate collection, to measure inflammatory mediators in the lungs of children. In these trials, we were able to provide evidence in pharmacotherapy of asthma and assessment of the systemic effects of ICS. I served as the principal investigator for all these trials and the IND owner for the investigational product.
2. Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP) -CAMP remains the longest and largest asthma clinical trial with more than 1000 children (5-12 years) being enrolled from 9 centers (122 from Albuquerque) and followed for more than 20 years to adulthood (mean age of 24.9 years). The available cumulative CAMP data from baseline, active treatment, and follow-up phases provided a valuable and precise data set in the safety and efficacy of ICSs. We found that ICSs improved airway hyperresponsiveness and control of asthma; however, the lung function did not differ. For the first time, we reported that growth suppression occurs with use of inhaled corticosteroids and is sustained into adulthood, although the effect is small (1.2 cm on average) and not cumulative.
3. Childhood Asthma Research and Education (CARE) -The CARE network is a NHLBI-funded network with a mission to fill gaps in the scientific literature, per the National Asthma Expert Panel Report-3: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma. In CARE we investigated management of recurrent wheezing in a preschool-age population and reported that children with recurrent or intermittent wheezing without symptoms in between episodes may benefit from intermittent use of controller medication. Since our previous reports (including CAMP) demonstrated growth retardation with daily use of inhaled corticosteroids, treatment approaches should be individualized for the best results. In the CARE network, we also investigated use of intermittent inhaled corticosteroids as a step-down approach for children 6-18 years of age with well-controlled mild asthma on low-dose inhaled corticosteroids.
4. AsthmaNet - AsthmaNet is a nationwide clinical research network funded by NHLBI for exploring alternative methods of asthma management. Given the variability in response to inhaled corticosteroids, AsthmaNet is committed to investigating the contribution of pharmacogenomics, phenotypes, and environmental factors. As PI of the Albuquerque site, I have participated in six pediatric trials in the network where we have designed studies to learn about alternative management for preschool children with recurrent wheezing episodes, as well as phenotype data on medication response.