Meet some of our current students!
Nathaniel W. Anderson is a fifth year doctoral student in Health Policy and Management. His research interests are in population health, health equity, and child and youth well-being. For his dissertation, he is exploring methodological improvements to indices of child well-being and applying these indices as tools for assessing how public policy impacts population health. He has also worked on several projects aimed at quantifying trends in health equity within the U.S. population.
Previously, he worked for the UCLA Center for Health Advancement’s Win-Win Project since August 2015, building simulation models for how various interventions impact health and other outcomes, including health equity. Prior to that, he was a research associate for the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center. He completed his B.A. in mathematical economics from Pomona College.
My research is centered around the ways in which health reform shifts health financing arrangements in Latin American countries, particularly in Mexico; specifically, how health reform prescriptions of structural adjustment induced changes to the public-private mix in the financing and delivery of health services. In my dissertation I explore how the private sector responds to a population demand unmet by the public healthcare system, particularly among individuals who are not affiliated to a social security institution. I contextualize this work within the structural adjustment reforms that took place during the past three decades, whose effects we continue to observe in increasing levels of individual private spending. I have also engaged in numerous research projects that pursue the reduction of access and quality disparities in healthcare among Latino immigrants in the United States. Prior to coming to UCLA, I coordinated various studies at the Institute on Social Justice and Sustainable Development on nutrition, child and maternal health and health care provider training in Mexico.
I hold a BSc in Psychology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and a MSc in Public Policy and Administration from the Center for Research and Training in Economics (CIDE) with a semester at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
Katherine L. Chen, MD, is a clinical instructor in the Division of General Internal Medicine & Health Services Research at UCLA. She completed her B.A. at Yale University and her M.D., residency training, and chief residency in Internal Medicine at UCLA prior to beginning her health policy research training as a fellow in the National Clinician Scholars Program at UCLA. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Health Policy & Management via UCLA's NRSA T32 Primary Care Research Fellowship and the Specialty Training and Advanced Research program. Her research explores the role of place and policy in shaping population health, focusing on strategies to reduce health disparities by improving equity in housing, transportation, and neighborhood environments. Her dissertation work focuses on the connections between housing affordability, residential displacement, and population health. She currently practices primary care and supervises clinical trainees at a Federally Qualified Health Center in Los Angeles.
Wilson graduated from the University of Virginia in 2014 with a BA in Anthropology. As an undergraduate, she focused on food insecurity and political and social violence in Brazil. Upon finishing her undergraduate studies, Wilson worked in public schools in New Orleans, an experience which sparked her interest in addressing gun violence and access to mental health services. While pursuing her MPH at the University of Washington, Wilson worked on global mental health and implementation science projects in Mozambique and independent study of incidents of firearm violence in the greater Seattle area. Her master’s thesis evaluated the preliminary effects on retention in HIV treatment of a lay-counselor-delivered mental health intervention integrated into public HIV care in Mozambique. Wilson is active in the APHA's gun violence prevention advocacy and policy workgroup, and her research interests include addressing the political and social determinants that increase risk of common mental disorders, incarceration, and firearm injury.
Ashwini Nagappan is a first-year PhD student in Health Policy and Management. Her research interests lie in direct-to-consumer medicine and related emerging technologies and treatments. In particular, she wishes to examine the rise of the healthcare consumer, how technology innovations are reshaping care delivery, and how regulators are adapting to this change. Prior to pursuing her PhD, Ashwini received a BA in Global Pubic Health/Sociology at NYU (2018), and an MBE (Master of Bioethics) at the University of Pennsylvania (2019).
Monika is a first-year in Health Policy & Management intending to complete a cognate Population Health Sciences. Her primary research interests lie at the intersections of adolescent health and wellness and sexual and reproductive health. She is hoping to study how political and policy landscapes shape the health and experiences of young people, with particular attention to sexual and reproductive healthcare access, sex education policy, and social and economic policy pertaining to young people. She hopes to couple her past experience in public opinion research with these topical interests and further develop skillsets in data visualization, survey methodology, and policy analysis to understand questions regarding population health and policy. Monika grew up outside of St. Louis and graduated with a B.A. from Boston University in Political Science with minors in Public Health and Statistical Methods.
Carlos Irwin A. Oronce, MD, MPH is a fellow in the UCLA National Clinician Scholars Program and a primary care physician at the Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System. He received his MD and MPH from Tulane University and completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center. His work focuses on the role of the health system in improving population health, advancing health equity, and delivering better value in care. His research interests include: (1) examining the relationship between public spending on the social determinants and community health, (2) understanding the impact of value-based care and payment policy on quality and outcomes with a focus on vulnerable patients, and (3) evaluating interventions that improve quality and value while reducing disparities for racial/ethnic minorities and low-income populations. .
My primary research goals are to explore the value of measuring spatial equity to support alternative payment reform with an interest in advancing population health outcomes. Specifically, I am keen on leveraging spatial information to better understand how neighborhood level factors can influence the integration of community resources and health spending.
Julianna developed her interest in understanding the life course outcomes and service system needs of transition-age youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as an MPH student at Drexel University. While attending Drexel University, she worked at A.J. Drexel’s Autism Institute publishing research that highlighted the prevalence and correlates of criminal justice involvement among youth with ASD. Prior to joining UCLA, she worked as a science policy analyst at the National Institute of Mental Health’s Office of Autism Research Coordination focusing on federal ASD research policies. As a PhD student, Julianna plans to expand her research interests and study mental health services research along with furthering her current interests.
Taylor B. Rogers is a third-year Ph.D. student studying Health Policy and Management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. She also holds an M.P.H. in Health Equity and B.S. in Community Health from the University of Maryland, College Park. Taylor’s journey in public health began in community engagement and health education. Frustrated with focusing on individual behavior change, She pursued a M.P.H. and Ph.D to understand and address racism as a structural determinant of health and healthcare.
Her research interests include addressing structural racism and discrimination in health care delivery, medical school education and curriculum, and cancer prevention and control. Taylor is a Student Affiliate of the UCLA Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice & Health. She is serving her second term as a member of the AcademyHealth Disparities Interest Group Advisory Board and is the Principal Investigator of the Health Services Research Workplace Culture Study.
Jeffrey E. Rollman, MPH, NRP is a PhD student (public policy concentration) in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Prior to graduate school, Jeff worked as a corporate safety specialist, 911 paramedic and EMS safety officer in central Pennsylvania. He has research interests in regulatory policy, primary care coordination, injury prevention and prehospital care systems. In addition to his doctoral studies and graduate student researcher position at the Veterans Health Administration, Jeff continues to work part-time as a paramedic in the Los Angeles area. He holds a Master of Public Health in Health Systems and Policy from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
My research efforts are mainly focused on the issue of resource allocation, which I study from two broad perspectives. First, through the application of health economics and decision analysis tools, I work on the appraisal, development and implementation of strategies to increase efficiency in resource allocation and to ensure investment decisions are made through formal, explicit and legitimate processes. In this realm, my work includes cost-effectiveness analysis, priority setting strategies, disinvestment and value assessment. Second, through an upstream political economy lens, I seek to understand how economic and political factors shape the observed levels of resources allocated to health systems. In other words, instead of taking for granted the existing levels of resource scarcity within the health sector, I aim to understand how broader societal processes determine the distribution of resources within different sectors. Additionally, I have been involved in numerous research projects in population health and health services research such as the impact of early childhood environments on adult health outcomes and the impact of Covid-19 on the use of health services among older adults. Prior to coming to UCLA, I completed a Master of Science in Public Health with concentration in Health Economics at the University of British Columbia, a Bachelor of Pharmacy at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and have over a decade of work experience in the pharmaceutical field.
Heidi West is a PhD student in the department of Health Policy and Management, Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA. She works at the intersection of migration, gender and health, primarily in the global context, and explores links between international frameworks and health system responses to migration. Her current work includes projects in Myanmar, Bangladesh, and cross-country comparisons using binational data and the DHS surveys. Heidi’s research is bolstered by over a decade of international program development and management experience where she used evidence-based approaches to build capacity and improve collaboration for diverse institutions. With a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from UC Berkeley, and a Master's in Ethics, Peace and Global Affairs from American University, Heidi takes an interdisciplinary and mixed methods approach to producing innovative and timely evidence to inform the design and implementation of policy interventions that improve health equity.
Dr. Mariah Blegen is a general surgery resident at UCLA. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Biology from Macalester College. After a research fellowship in neuroscience at the National Institutes of Health, she earned a medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry. During medical school, she was a member of Alpha Omega Alpha and Gold Humanism Honor Societies and investigated opioid over-prescription in vascular surgery. As an NCSP scholar, Dr. Blegen will collaborate and work clinically with the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.
Dr. Thomas Ellilot's interests include investigating community based innovations in pediatric mental healthcare delivery to alleviate socioeconomic barriers to health in vulnerable urban populations.
Dr. Jessica Faiz graduated from Brown University where she received her B.S. in Human Biology. In 2012, she went on to work as a New York public school teaching assistant in the South Bronx, where she developed a passion for promoting diversity and social justice. Jessica received her medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, where she founded a pipeline program to recruit high school students to medicine and the sciences. She was accepted into the emergency medicine residency program at Boston Medical Center in 2017 where she continued her training in a mission driven and safety-net hospital. During her residency, she served as the chair of the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee and on the national stage, chaired the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association. In 2020, Jessica was elected Chief Resident and earned the honor of being selected as the Massachusetts College of Emergency Physicians’ Resident of the Year in 2021. As an NCSP Scholar, Jessica will collaborate and complete clinical requirements with the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs hospital.
Dr. Geoff Gusoff graduated from Brown University with a BA in Public Policy and Religious Studies. He has worked with social medicine projects in Peru and El Salvador and completed a theology degree in social ethics at Boston College. He received an MD/MBA degree from the University of Pennsylvania where he helped to develop an immigrant-owned construction cooperative to overcome rampant wage theft and workplace injuries among day laborers. In 2018 he was accepted into Penn’s Family Medicine Residency where he co-chaired the URM Recruitment Committee and the Social Medicine Committee. As an NCSP scholar, he will collaborate and complete clinic requirements with the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.
Dr. Jennifer Peralta obtained her B.A. with Honors in Community Health from Brown University, later earning a M.S.T. in Elementary Education with Bilingual Extension from Pace University while serving as an elementary ESL teacher in the South Bronx with Teach for America. Dr. Peralta then participated in a post-baccalaureate pre-health certificate program at the University of Pennsylvania and attended Stony Brook University School of Medicine for her medical degree where she was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society. She completed her Pediatric Residency and Chief Residency at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx, New York. As a resident, Jennifer was inducted into the Leo M. Davidoff Society for her contributions to medical student education, was selected as an Academic Pediatric Association New Century Scholar and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. In addition, Dr. Peralta served on various hospital committees dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion, resident education and quality assurance. As an NCSP scholar, Dr. Peralta will collaborate and complete clinic requirements with the AltaMed Institute for Health Equity.
Dr. Jaime La Charite received her B.A. in Neuroscience from Pomona College. She completed her medical degree from the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine where she participated in the Program in Medical Education for the Latino Community (PRIME-LC). She also obtained her Master in Public Health degree at the University of California, Los Angeles in the Department of Community Health Sciences. In 2017, she was accepted into the Johns Hopkins Internal Medicine and Pediatrics Urban Health Primary Care Residency Program. During residency, she participated in the New Century Scholars Mentoring Program and received a Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) grant from the American Academy of Pediatrics. As a NCSP scholar, Dr. La Charite will be obtaining a Master of Science in Health Policy and Management and practice as an internist and pediatrician at a Saban Community Clinic affiliated with Cedars Sinai.
Dr. Maria Patanwala graduated with a BA in Molecular Cell Biology and Social Welfare from University of California, Berkeley where she began working on issues related to homelessness at the Suitcase Clinic, a student-run multi-service center in Berkeley, CA. She served with AmeriCorps in Northern California with the Redwood Empire Food Bank on an initiative to address food insecurity as a component of diabetes prevention. She then received her medical degree with honors from University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine. At UCSF she was part of the Program in Medical Education for the Urban Underserved (PRIME-US) and PROF-PATH Research Fellowship Program where she completed both quantitative and qualitative studies on symptom experience among older adults experiencing homelessness in Oakland, CA. During medical school she also helped lead a student-run homeless clinic and facilitated support groups at an adult shelter in San Francisco, CA. She completed her internship and residency in Internal Medicine Primary Care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. As an NCSP Scholar, Maria will collaborate and complete clinical requirements at the Greater Los Angeles Veteran’s Administration Hospital.
Dr. Mackensie Yore's interest include investigating neighborhood-level differences in health outcomes; using thoughtful urban and regional planning, public policy, and community engagement to mitigate health inequities; surveilling public health from the emergency department.