Sande O. Okelo, MD, PhD
Accepting new patients

Sande O. Okelo, MD, PhD

  • Pediatric Pulmonology
Santa Monica Pediatric Specialty Care | 1260 15th Street, Suite 1024, Santa Monica, CA 90404


Link to Dr. Okelo's complete CV >

Professional Experience


  • 2015 – present Associate Professor of Pediatrics
  • 2011 – Assistant Professor in Residence, Step IV, Department of Pediatrics, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital
  • 2011 – Director of the UCLA Pediatric Asthma Center of Excellence (PACE)
  • 2011 – Director of Clinical Research in the Division of Pulmonology, Department of Pediatrics, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA

Previous Positions Held

  • 2003 – 2011 Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University
  • 2003 – 2011 Director, Pediatric Cardiopulmonary Exercise Program, Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • 2007 – 2009 Director, Journal Club, Pediatric Pulmonology, Johns Hopkins Hospital

Professional Activites

Committee Service

  • 2003 – 2004 Data Safety and Monitoring Board , committee member, Johns Hopkins University

Community Service

  • 2005 – 2005 Pediatrics In-patient Teaching Attending, Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • 2007 – 2008 Advisor, Student National Medical Association, Johns Hopkins University
  • 2003 – 2004 Medical Advisory Board member, Amerigroup Medicaid MCO, Baltimore, Maryland

Professional Associations and Scholarly Societies

  • 2000 – present American Thoracic Society
  • 2008 – present Academic Pediatric Association
  • 1997 – 2005 American Academy of Pediatrics
  • 2003 – 2005 American College of Chest Physicians
  • 1998 – 2010 National Medical Association

Editorial Services

  • 2009 – present Ad hoc reviewer: European Respiratory Journal, Pediatric Pulmonology, Pediatrics

Lectures and Presentations

  • Top 5 Reasons for Poorly Controlled Asthma, Pediatric TRENDS, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, April 15, 2011
  • Asthma in the Inner-City, Johns Hopkins University CME Program on Respiratory Disease, Asthma and Allergy Center, Baltimore, MD, February 14, 2011
  • Applying the PACE Program to Underserved Communities, Oakland & San Francisco, CA, October 1, 2010
  • Practical Strategies to Identify & Address Suboptimal Medication Adherence in Patients with Asthma, Pediatrics for the Practitioners, Baltimore, MD, September 24, 2010
  • The roles of adherence and quality of life in asthma, Mexico City, July 15, 2009
  • Acute and Recurrent Bronchitis in Children, Hospital Panama Pacifica, May 23, 2009
  • Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) Guideline Recommendations for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma, Hospital Panama Pacifica, May 23, 2009
  • Utilizing Clinical Research Methodologies to Improve Asthma Outcomes in Children, Grand Rounds Department of Otolaryngology Johns Hopkins University, March 2, 2009
  • The Contribution of Physician Characteristics and Treatment Behaviors to the Quality of Asthma Care of Minority Patients Grand Rounds, University of California San Francisco, June 11, 2008
  • Disparities in Asthma Care: Causes and Potential Solutions Pediatrics Grand Rounds, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, March, 2008
  • Asthma Update: the 2007 NIH Asthma Guidelines Pediatrics Grand Rounds, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore, MD, October, 2007
  • Keeping Kids Active: Evaluation and Management of Exercise Limitation TRENDS in Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, April, 2007
  • “Titrating Asthma Therapy in Children” Grand Rounds, St. Agnes Hospital, Baltimore, MD, November, 2006
  • “Career Opportunities in the Medical Field”, Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP), Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD, July, 2006
  • “Titrating Asthma Therapy in Children” TRENDS in Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, April, 2006
  •  “Pulmonary Function Testing for General Pediatricians”, Johns Hopkins Community Physicians (JHCP), Baltimore, MD, October, 2005
  • Asthma Medications for Children, School Nurses of Maryland, Columbia, Maryland, June, 2005
Contact Information: [email protected]




Medical Board Certification

Pediatric Pulmonology, American Board of Pediatrics, 2004


Pediatric Pulmonology, Johns Hopkins Hospital, 2003


Pediatrics, Childrens Hospital - Oakland, 2000


PhD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2011
MD, Case Western Reserve Univ School of Medicine, 1997


  • Top Doctors, Los Angeles Magazine, 2021
  • NIH K23 Career Development Award, 2008 – 2013
  • National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Award, recipient, 2009 – 2011
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Hospital Affiliations


Does my Child Have Asthma and How Should it be Treated?
Pediatric Asthma Treatment



Dr. Okelo is interested in developing, testing, and implementing strategies to improve the quality of asthma care for children.



Selected Publications


  1. A Clinical-Decision Instrument Improves Assessment of Asthma Disease Status in Pediatric Emergency Department Patients Goldberg EM, Laskowski-Kos U, Wu D, Gutierrez J, Bilderback A, Okelo SO, Garro A. J Asthma, Dec. 4, 2013
  2. Pediatrician Qualifications and Asthma Management Behaviors and their Association with Patient Race/Ethnicity Okelo SO, Riekert KA, Eakin M, Bilderback A, Rand CS, Diette GB, Yenokyan G. J Asthma, 2014 Mar;51(2):155-61
  3. Validation of Parental Reports of Asthma Trajectory, Burden and Risk Using the Pediatric Asthma Control and Communication Instrument Okelo SO, Eakin MN, Riekert KA, Teodoro A, Bilderback AL, Thompson D, Loiaiza-Martinez A, Rand CS, Diette GB, Patino CM. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2014 Mar-Apr;2(2):186-192.e7.
  4. Asthma Treatment Decisions by Pediatric Residents Do Not Consistently Conform to Guidelines nor Improve with Level of Training? SO Okelo, GK Siberry, BS Solomon, M Yamazaki, T Hetzler, C Ferrell, N Dhepyasuwan, JR Serwint for the CORNET Investigators. Academic Pediatrics, March 11, 2014
  5. Pediatricians' perceptions of family socioeconomic status in asthma care SB Johnson, BJ Gordon, JM. Jennings, MH. Bair-Merritt, NE. Adler, SO Okelo. Pediatr Allergy Immunol Pulmonol. 2014 Sep 1;27(3):120-125.
  6. Asthma identification and Medication Administration Forms in New York City Schools Reznik M, Bauman LJ, Okelo SO, Halterman JS. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2015 Jan;114(1):67-68.e1.
  7. Differences in spirometry values between US children 6-11 years and adolescents 12-19 years with current asthma, 2007-2010. Kit BK, Simon AE, Tilert T, Okelo S, Akinbami LJ. Pediatr Pulmonol. 2015 Jul 7
  8. Racial Disparities in Asthma Morbidity Among Pediatric Patients Seeking Asthma Specialist Care. SJ Mitchell, AL Bilderback, SO Okelo. Acad Pediatr. 2015 Aug 29. pii: S1876-2859.
  9. Predicting Future Emergency Department Visits and Hospitalizations for Asthma using the Pediatric Asthma Control and Communication Instrument - Emergency Department Version (PACCI-ED) DJ Wu, E Hipolito, AL Bilderback, SO Okelo, A Garro. J Asthma. Accepted Oct. 28, 2015

In the News



  • Aetna
  • Anthem Blue Cross
  • Blue Shield of California
  • Centivo
  • Cigna
  • First Health
  • Health Net of California
  • Interplan (part of HealthSmart)
  • L.A. Care
  • MultiPlan
  • UFCM Health System
  • Prime Health Services
  • Private Healthcare Systems (PHCS)
  • UnitedHealthcare

The list of health care plans above may not be comprehensive and could change. 
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Honors and Special Awards
  • Top Doctors, Los Angeles Magazine, 2021
  • NIH K23 Career Development Award, 2008 – 2013
  • National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Award, recipient, 2009 – 2011
  • National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Award, recipient, 2001 – 2004
  • Summer Research Fellow, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH, 1994 – 1996
Research Grants and Fellowships Received
    • ATS Foundation/Breathe California of LA Research Grant, 2016 – 2018
    • Reducing Asthma Morbidity in High Risk Minority Preschool Children, NHLBI, $560,510. The purpose of this study is to test the effectiveness of a home-based asthma education intervention with demonstrated efficacy, when delivered in the context of a Head Start–wide asthma education program. - 2011
    • Standardization of Videofluoroscopic Swallow Studies for Bottled-fed Children, NIDCD, $278,706. The purpose of this project is to test a new standardize method of translating the x-ray findings into meaningful clinical information that improves the accuracy of swallowing diagnosis and guides swallowing treatment. - 2011
    • A+ Head Start Intervention for Smoke Free Homes, NHLBI, $492,044, 2008 – 2013 The purpose of this study is to test the effectiveness of an ETS reduction intervention with demonstrated efficacy, when delivered in the context of an overall EPA-based Head Start ETS reduction education program. NHLBI - 2008
    • K23 Career Development Award, Development of a Pediatric Asthma Control and Communication Instrument, NHLBI, Principal Investigator, $662,258, 2008 - 2013. The purpose of this study is to develop and validate an asthma decision-support Tool designed to improve communication with parents of high-risk children with asthma. - 2008
    • Thrasher Research Fund, The role of human metapneumovirus (hMPV) infection in asthmatic exacerbations in pediatric patients, 2007 – 2009. The purpose of this case-control study is to compare children with asthma exacerbations with a group of age-matched control asthmatic children with signs and symptoms of upper respiratory infection in the absence of wheezing in order to determine the role of hMPV in pediatric asthma exacerbations. - 2007
    • Minority Investigator Research Supplement, Improving Asthma Care for Minority Children in Head Start, NHLBI, 2006 – 2008. The purpose of this study is to survey pediatricians to assess how their attitudes towards interventions designed to improve shared decision-making among low income inner-city parents of minority children with asthma. - 2006
    • Minority Postdoctoral Supplement, NIEHS, 2002 – 2003. The purpose of this study is to evaluate racial differences in coronary artery disease and treatment recommendations in a Veterans Administration patient population. - 2002