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In this episode Maria Rahmandar, MD, FAAP, explains ways pediatricians can identify suicide risk in adolescents. Hosts David Hill, MD, FAAP, and Joanna Parga-Belinkie, MD, FAAP, also talk with medical student Alexis Cacioppo about how food insecurity in caregivers can lead to discrimination. 


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Maria Rahmandar, MD, FAAP


Maria Rahmandar, MD, FAAP, is a board-certified pediatrician and adolescent medicine physician. She serves as the Medical Director for the Substance Use & Prevention Program at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and is an Associate Professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Rahmandar's passion for suicide prevention, mental health and substance use treatment was intensified after losing her brother to suicide about a decade ago. Within the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Rahmandar sits on the AAP Council on Adolescents and Young Adults where she is a co-author on a revised Clinical Report on suicide and co-facilitates learning collaboratives on suicide and mental health. Her clinical, research and advocacy interests include adolescent substance use, mental health and birth control. 

Alexis Cacioppo


Alexis Cacioppo is a medical student at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and a 2023-2024 Fulbright U.S. Student Program Grantee in the Philippines. She is driven to care for patients who disproportionately suffer from social, structural, and environmental determinants of health. Alexis hopes to center equity and biopsychosocial health in her work as a clinician, scholar, and advocate. 


Conflict of Interest Disclosure:

The interviewees have no conflicts of interest to disclose

Music Credits:
"Steadfast" by Blue Dot Sessions at
Theme music composed by Matthew Simonson at

*The views expressed in this podcast are those of the guests and not necessarily those of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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