Donna Hallas headshot

Donna M Hallas


Clinical Professor
Program Director, Pediatrics NP

1 212 998 5295

433 First Avenue
Room 526
New York, NY 10010
United States

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Professional overview

Dr. Donna Hallas is a certified pediatric nurse practitioner and a certified pediatric mental health specialist. She is a Fellow of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) and a Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (FAANP). Dr. Hallas is a Faculty Scholar of the International Qualitative Institute at Alberta Canada. At NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing, Dr. Hallas prepares pediatric nurse practitioner students to provide quality health care services for infants, children, adolescents and young adults within a family centered framework. She maintains a practice as a PNP in primary care for high risk children. She has presented at national and international conferences on implementation of evidence-based practice in ambulatory pediatric health care centers. Her research focus is on improving health care outcomes for pediatric patients. She has presented the results of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to improve the social-emotional development of toddlers and improve maternal confidence in caring for toddlers at research conferences. She presented a qualitative study on the social and emotional development of adolescents whose mothers died during their pre-teen and teenage years. She implemented a funded study on oral health care for newborns and young children. She worked collaboratively with dental faculty to improve the oral health care of children from diverse populations. She is published in peer reviewed journals on the oral health care needs of young children and has designed a new approach for oral health assessment in young children office based practices. She was a content expert for the American Academy of Pediatrics for the design of a web-based program for pediatricians, nurse practitioners, and all primary care providers on oral health assessments, management, and referrals for children and adolescents to improve the oral health care and status of this population. She served as an expert panel member for the systematic evaluation of oral health programs through a grant from Robert Woods Johnson. She is the PI on a funded study and will conduct a “RCT to Reduce Vaccine Hesitancy in Prenatal Women and Mothers of Newborns” in 2016-2017. She is also the PI on a funded HRSA grant to develop “An Innovative Academic-Clinical Partnership: Primary care Practitioner Preceptor Development Program” (2016-2019). She is the recipient of the 2016 AANP Nurse Practitioner Award for Excellence in Clinical Practice (New York State). 


PhD, 1999, Adelphi University
MS, 1991, State University of New York
BS, 1990, Adelphi University
MS, 1979, Indiana University
BS, 1974, University of Hartford
Diploma, 1971, St. Mary’s Hospital School of Nursing

Honors and awards

American Association of Nurse Practitioners New York State Award for Excellence; (2016)
Named One of the Top Pediatric Nurse Practitioners Faculty in the U.S. (2014)
New York University College of Dentistry Distinguished Educator Award; (2012)
Fellow of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (2011)
Nelms-Miller Editorial Award, National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (2011)
Nurse Practitioner of the Year, Nurse Practitioner Association of Long Island (2010)
Award for Excellence in Education Sigma Theta Tau, Kappa Gamma Chapter (2009)
Outstanding Contribution Team Award, President, Pace University NCLEX Success Team (2006)
National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioner’s Presidents Award for Excellence for the Manuscript (2003)
Award for Excellence in Nursing Leadership , Sigma Theta Tau, Kappa Gamma Chapter (1993)
Fellow, National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (1991)
Health and Public Affairs Scholarship Winning Essay (1990)
Induction Sigma Theta Tau, Kappa Gamma Chapter, International Honor Society for Nurses (1990)
Honors Graduate, Adelphi University (1990)


Primary care
Mental health

Professional membership

National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP)
American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)
Fellows AANP
National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty (NONPF)
Association of Faculties of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners Faculties (AFPNPF)
International Institute of Qualitative Methodology
Eastern Nursing Research Society
Sigma Theta Tau, Kappa Gamma Chapter and Upsilon Chapter
Greater New York Chapter of NAPNAP



Traditional and Nontraditional Collaborations to Improve Population Health Using Geospatial Information SystemMaps: Analysis of the Opioid Crisis

Hallas, D., Klar, R., Baldyga, J. A., Rattner, I., Waingortin, R., & Fletcher, J. (2019). Journal of Pediatric Health Care. 10.1016/j.pedhc.2018.10.006
Introduction: The study aims were to analyze interprofessional practice collaborations among traditional and nontraditional health care providers and to educate nurse practitioner preceptors and students on population health, specifically, implementation of geospatial information system (GIS) maps and the correlation with the opioid crisis. Methods: A descriptive analysis was used to examine New York State data on the opioid crisis in comparison to outcome data from GIS maps of opioid use in two boroughs in New York City. Web-based modules were designed for analysis of GIS maps of opioid use near practice settings. Results: New York State data provided context for local opioiduse, while GIS maps identified specific areas of the New York City boroughs that were most affected by the opioid epidemic. Discussion: The importance of local GIS maps is that the information is available in real-time, and thus interventions can be designed, evaluated, and changed quickly to meet the immediate needs of the community.

Behavioral pediatric healthcare for nurse practitioners: A growth and developmental approach to intercepting abnormal behaviors

Hallas, D. (2018). Springer Publishing Company. 10.1891/9780826116819
This book uses a developmental approach to behavioral health for the entire pediatric population. Each section of this book is dedicated to the traditional developmental ages. Each opening chapter within the specific developmental age provides information for pediatric primary care providers to assess, identify, and intercept potential behavioral health problems through the use of a developmental approach to behavioral health assessments (infants, toddlers, preschool-age children, school-age children, and adolescents,). Assessment, screening, intervention, and treatment strategies are provided through analysis of the best available evidence by experts in the field of pediatric practice. Cutting-edge topics written by experts in the fields of pediatric primary care and pediatric behavioral health are highlighted in this book and include: infant brain development and outcomes from ineffective parenting; social determinants of health and effect on behavioral health; building resiliency in children; infant depression; behavioral problems in children with inborn errors of metabolism; autism, global developmental delays, and genetic syndromes; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and comorbidities. The topics also include bullying social media and behavioral health; eating disorders; the autistic adolescent in residential treatment facilities; child behaviors within military families; foster care; toxic stress; trauma-informed care; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adolescent; and holistic and integrative care, and holistic care, integrative medicine, and behavioral health. Within each developmental section, there are case studies that provide exemplary practices for assessing, diagnosing, and evaluating children presented with the particular behavioral health problem. Case studies include the following topics: failure to thrive in infancy; infant colic; toilet training; sleep disorders in children with autistic spectrum disorder and ADHD; toddler impulsive behaviors; nail biting; and adolescent substance abuse.

Case study

Dalina, K., Katinas, M. E., Ashmawi, S. M., & Hallas, D. (2018). In Behavioral Pediatric Healthcare for Nurse Practitioners: Adolescent with a substance use disorder (pp. 375-386). Springer Publishing Company. 10.1891/9780826116819.0028
This chapter discusses the case study of adolescent with a substance use disorder. Confidentiality is defined as an agreement between patient and provider that information discussed during the encounter will not be shared with other parties without patient permission. A confidentiality statement must be provided to adolescents at every healthcare visit. The confidentiality statement assures adolescents that information provided to the pediatric primary care provider (P-PCP) during the office visit is a standard of care that supports full disclosure and trust between the adolescent and the P-PCP, without punitive consequences for the adolescent. P-PCPs must be knowledgeable about the laws in the state in which they practice to provide accurate information to the adolescents with admitted substance use problems. The key to intercepting these behaviors is effective office-based screenings and an immediate intervention with prompt referral to treatment and interprofessional collaborative initiatives at the national, state, and local community levels.

Identifying and intercepting behavioral health problems in infancy

Hallas, D. (2018). In Behavioral Pediatric Healthcare for Nurse Practitioners (pp. 69-81). Springer Publishing Company. 10.1891/9780826116819.0006
Infancy is a wonderful time for healthy parents and healthy infants to grow together within healthy home and community environments that support the social-emotional development of infants, thus establishing the foundation for lifelong behavioral and mental health. Pediatric primary care providers (P-PCPs) must acknowledge the paradigm shift to attain behavioral health for all by viewing behavioral health as beginning at the moment of conception and existing on a continuum throughout the life span, delicately balancing between behavioral/mental health and well-being versus behavioral health disorders/mental illness and malady. This chapter examines, analyzes, and evaluates the best available evidence to identify and intercept behavioral health problems prior to conception, post-delivery, and during the first year of life. P-PCPs must assess the mother-infant bonding and attachment relationship, maternal nurturing behaviors, and maternal responses to the infant, as well as the infant’s social-emotional developmental patterns, at every primary care encounter.

Infant depression

Hallas, D. (2018). In Behavioral Pediatric Healthcare for Nurse Practitioners (pp. 83-89). Springer Publishing Company. 10.1891/9780826116819.0007
Infant depression has been studied as a phenomenon within psychology and psychiatry since the early 1970s. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Health Disorders (fifth edition; DSM-5) eliminated the terminology “disorders usually classified in infancy, childhood, and adolescence” and classified them as neurodevelopmental disorders removing infantile depression as a discrete condition. Pediatric primary care providers (P-PCPs) who provide care to infants need to be familiar with the best available evidence for recognizing signs of infantile depression to avoid missing the opportunity for early recognition of this problem. Recognizing the signs of infant and/or maternal depression affords the opportunity for P-PCPs to implement strategies to intercept negative emotional infant development to positive emotional outcomes. This chapter discusses research on infant depression, signs and symptoms of infantile depression, and provides strategies to enable mothers and other caregivers to actively engage the emotional development of infants throughout the first year of life.

Intercepting behavioral health problems

Hallas, D. (2018). In Behavioral Pediatric Healthcare for Nurse Practitioners: A conceptual model (pp. 3-16). Springer Publishing Company. 10.1891/9780826116819.0001
The overarching goal for providing behavioral and mental health services in pediatric primary care settings is to provide immediate and effective services to children, adolescents, and their families to change the course from potential adverse behavioral health outcomes to supportive positive directions in growth and developmental behavioral health. This textbook provides an analysis of evidence-based behavioral health practices to foster growth and developmental behavioral health through early behavioral health screenings and assessments with the goal of intercepting behavioral development and characteristics that are not within the “norm” of pediatric and adolescent development. The conceptual model for Intercepting Behavioral Health problems focuses on identifying the very earliest presentation of even one symptom that may lead to a behavioral health problem and immediately beginning the process for intercepting the potential problem with evidence-based treatments. Pediatric primary care providers play a unique role in caring for children with behavioral health problems.

Social-Emotional Development of Toddlers: Randomized Controlled Trial of an Office-Based Intervention

Hallas, D., Koslap-Petraco, M., & Fletcher, J. (2016). Journal of Pediatric Nursing. 10.1016/j.pedn.2016.11.004
Purpose: During the toddler years, temper tantrums and impulsive behaviors are the norm. These behaviors can frustrate even the most experienced mothers. Design and Methods: A prospective, double blind, randomized controlled trial using pre-test/post-test experimental design was used to examine the effectiveness of an office-based educational program to improve maternal confidence and the social-emotional development of toddlers. The Toddler Care Questionnaire (TCQ) was administered to all mothers as a pre and post intervention test. The treatment intervention was a videotaped (DVD) parenting skills intervention on the social-emotional development of toddlers and on maternal confidence in caring for toddlers. Results: Sixty mothers and 60 toddlers entered the study with 29 mothertoddler dyads randomized to the treatment group and 31 to the control group. Twenty-six (26) mother-toddler dyads in the treatment and 25 mother-toddler dyads in the control group completed the study. Pairwise comparisons of adjusted means showed significant improvements for both toddler groups on the Brigance toddler screen, and no statistically significant difference in gains between the groups. The mixed model results for the TCQ showed an overall significant improvement from preto post-test, and a non-significant interaction between group and time indicting no significant difference in gains seen by treatment groups. Conclusions: Brief educational programs on DVD's are an efficient way to offer information to mothers while in the office waiting area. Practice Implications: Pediatric nurses who encounter mothers who struggle with caring for their toddlers may find brief-office based interventions a valuable tool for educating parents.

Haber et al. respond

Haber, J., Hartnett, E., Allen, K., Hallas, D., Dorsen, C., Lange-Kessler, J., Lloyd, M., Thomas, E., & Wholihan, D. (2015). American Journal of Public Health, 105(5), e3-e4. 10.2105/AJPH.2015.302648

Management of a child with nutritional rickets, multiple cavities, enamel hypoplasia, and reactive attachment disorder

Hallas, D., Herman, N. G., Benichou, L., Morales, E. L., & Touchette, L. (2015). Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 29(3), 283-288. 10.1016/j.pedhc.2014.11.010

OHEP: An Oral Health Education Program for Mothers of Newborns

Hallas, D., Fernandez, J. B., Lim, L. J., Catapano, P., Dickson, S. K., Blouin, K. R., Schmidt, T. M., Acal-Jiminez, R., Ali, N., Figueroa, K. E., Jiwani, N. M., & Sharma, A. (2015). Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 29(2), 181-190. 10.1016/j.pedhc.2014.11.004
Introduction: The purposes of the study were to determine (a) the knowledge base of mothers of newborns on oral health for newborns and young infants and (b) the effectiveness of an oral health education program provided to mothers of newborns prior to discharge from the postpartum unit. Methods: Ninety-four mothers of healthy newborns on a postpartum unit were randomized to the treatment or control group. A pretest was administered to each mother to assess the mother's knowledge of infant oral health. The treatment intervention was a DVD designed collaboratively by an interprofessional team of nurse practitioners and dental faculty to educate the mothers on oral health care for their newborns. The control intervention was a DVD on newborn nutrition. All participants received routine newborn nursery discharge instructions by the postpartum nurses and physicians. Follow-up appointments were scheduled 6 and 12months later for administration of the posttest to the mothers and for oral health assessments of the infants. Results: Pretest questionnaire results revealed that most mothers lacked knowledge about oral health care for infants and young children, especially concerning vertical transmission of streptococcus mutans through food-sharing practices. In addition, 28.4% of the mothers were not aware of the benefits of fluoride as a prevention strategy for dental caries. A significant no-show rate for the planned follow-up visits in the dental clinic hindered our plans to evaluate the effectiveness of the oral health educational program on prevention of dental white spots or decay when the study infants were 6 and 12months old, respectively. Discussion: The knowledge deficit of mothers of newborns regarding oral health care for infants may be one of the contributing factors to the high prevalence rate of dental caries in children younger than 71months. An oral health educational program provided to mothers on the postpartum unit prior to discharge from the hospital may help increase mothers' knowledge about oral health care and prevention of dental caries in infants and young children.