Our Team

 

National Coordinating Center (NCC)

University of California Los Angeles

Alice Kuo, MD, PhD, MBA

Alice Kuo, MD, PhD, MBA

Project Investigator and Primary Care Services and Quality Node Leader

Dr. Alice Kuo is the Principal Investigator of the AIR-P and at UCLA. Her research interests include access to and delivery of developmental services, cognitive and language development in young minority children, and services for children and adults with autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities. In addition to her research, she has been involved in educational programs at several levels, from undergraduate students to post-graduate fellows. From 2014 to 2018, Dr. Kuo was the Director of the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB)-funded Health Care Transitions Research Network (HCT-RN) for Autism. In 2016, she became the Director of the University of California Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (UC-LEND) program, and in 2020, she became the Director of the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P). Her clinical practice consists of primary care for patients of all ages with neurodevelopmental conditions. Dr. Kuo received a BA in Biology from Harvard University, her MD from UCLA, her PhD in Educational Psychology with a focus on Early Childhood and Special Education from the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA, and her MBA in Healthcare Administration from the University of Massachusetts Isenberg School of Management.

Julian Martinez Photo

Julian Martinez-Agosto, MD, PhD

Genetics Node Leader

Dr. Martinez-Agosto has been a faculty member at UCLA since 2005. He is a Steering Committee Member of the California Center for Rare Diseases, a Principal Investigator in the Undiagnosed Diseases Network Site at UCLA, a site PI for the Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network, and Co-Director of the Care and Research in Neurogenetics (CARING) Program. Dr Martinez-Agosto also participates in Pediatric Genetics efforts within the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health system, which provides genetic services to underserved medical populations. These genetics services and interventions aim to achieve early diagnosis and multi-disciplinary care that meets the individualized needs of underserved individuals with rare neurodevelopmental disorders and autism. His participation in multi-institutional collaborative studies at both national and international levels has led to many publications describing novel genetic disorders, their associated physical manifestations, and the impact of genetic testing interventions on care of individuals with neurogenetic disorders.

JAnderson Headshot

Jeffrey Anderson, BA

Staff Research Associate

Jeff received his Bachelor’s of Arts in Cognitive Science and Music from the University of California, Berkeley. There, he worked with Dr. Mahesh Srinivasan and Dr. Ariel Starr in the Language and Cognitive Development Lab on a study related to child acquisition of a linguistic tool called polysemy. As a double major in Music and Cognitive Science, Jeff developed an interest in the benefits that the arts can have on individuals. This interest carries over to his work in the neurology node of AIR-P, where he works with Dr. Rujuta Wilson on a dance intervention study investigating the positive impact dance can have a on children and adolescents with neurodevelopmental conditions. He also works with Dr. Julian Martinez in the genetics node and assists with the coordination of the Infrastructure for Collaborative Research (ICR).

Kristen Choi

Kristen R. Choi, PhD, MS, RN

Assistant Professor, UCLA School of Nursing

Kristen Choi, PhD, MS, RN, is a child/adolescent psychiatric nurse and health services researcher. Dr. Choi studies health services and policy approaches to behavioral health, trauma, and violence among children. Her current research projects include studies on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), adverse childhood experiences, the impact of trauma and violence on nurses, and health system factors associated with firearm violence. She is a member of the first cohort of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)-funded Stakeholder-Partnered Implementation Research and Innovation Translation (SPIRIT) K12 Program at UCLA. With this career development award, Dr. Choi is studying ASD services at Kaiser Permanente Southern California (KPSC) and patient outcomes associated with implementation of California's autism mandate. She is an Adjunct Investigator in the Department of Research & Evaluation at KPSC and an Associate Director of Nursing for the UCLA National Clinician Scholars Program. As a both a clinician and a scientist, Dr. Choi maintain a clinical practice as a registered nurse (RN) at a community psychiatric hospital in Downtown Los Angeles. She addresses child behavioral health from individual, family, system, and policy levels in her research and is committed to a creative, action-oriented program of research that will improve the health of vulnerable children and communities. 

Priyanka Fernandes, MBBS, MPH

Priyanka Fernandes, MBBS, MPH

Community-based Lifestyle Interventions Node Leader

Dr. Fernandes is a pediatrician and a preventive medicine trained physician. In her current role, she serves as the preventive medicine and public health faculty in the UC-LEND program. She runs lifestyle medicine clinics within the health system which aims at reducing chronic diseases by optimizing one’s diet, physical activity, stress, sleep and social connectivity. Dr. Fernandes works on several quality improvement projects in primary care both for pediatric as well as adult patients within the health system (e.g., improving pediatric immunization rates, curriculum development for healthcare transitions). She will leverage resources from the department of medicine and partnerships she has developed while working on quality improvement and research projects.

Candace Gragnani, MD, MPH

Candace Gragnani, MD, MPH

Community-based Lifestyle Interventions Node Leader

Dr. Gragnani’s training as both a preventive medicine physician and pediatrician gives her unique insight into the importance of addressing lifestyle issues within the framework of a life-course perspective on health. Her training and subsequent work has included: (1) development of a lifestyle medicine group visit curriculum for UCLA adult primary care patients, (2) clinical work on group and phone smoking cessation visits, (3) work in a teaching kitchen at the West Los Angeles VA, (4) lifestyle and integrative medicine training, (5) quality improvement work on immunizations and developmental screenings in UCLA pediatric primary care offices, (6) development of an ongoing park prescription program in LA County, and (7) clinical time at the MLK, Jr. Outpatient Center Hub for children in the DCFS system

Emily Hotez

Emily Hotez, PhD

Project Scientist, Assistant Professor in The Division of General Internal Medicine & Health Services Research in the Department of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Dr. Emily Hotez is a developmental psychologist and an assistant professor in The Division of General Internal Medicine & Health Services Research in the Department of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Hotez is an interdisciplinary social science researcher with a focus on applying mixed methodology towards understanding adult development, health, and well-being and the role of interventions in promoting these capacities. Dr. Hotez’s current research focuses on advancing research within the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P), which seeks to advance the evidence base on effective interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorder across the lifespan with a focus on addressing physical health and well-being. As a researcher and sibling to her autistic sister, Dr. Hotez is committed to conducting research that adapts a neurodiversity-oriented lens towards health-promotion. Dr. Hotez received her PhD from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in developmental psychology and her BA in psychology from the George Washington University.

BMontgomery photo

Brianna Montgomery, BA

Project Coordinator

Brianna graduated from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Health in 2018. She played collegiate volleyball for UCI and took on an internship for the sports medicine team where her passion for medicine began. Post-grad, she took on various positions in sports rehab and orthopedic medicine prior to being involved with the AIR-P network. Within the AIR-P network, Brianna focuses on being a project coordinator, assisting the network and gaining insight on projects that further improve the health and well-being of patients.

Julianna Rava Headshot

Julianna Rava, MPH

Staff Research Associate

Julianna earned her Master of Public Health (MPH) at Drexel University. While attending Drexel University, she worked at  A.J. Drexel Autism Institute’s Life Course Outcomes Program, where she developed her interest in understanding the life course outcomes and service system needs of transition-age autistic youth. 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 autism research policies. As a current PhD student, Julianna continues to pursue a public health approach to autism research while supporting the research activities of the AIR-P network.

Kashia Rosenau

Kashia Rosenau, PhD

Project Scientist

Dr. Rosenau is a developmental psychologist and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at UCLA. She is also the Training Director for the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (UC-LEND) training program and the Assistant Clinical Director of the UC-LEND Clinic. Her work focuses on cognitive behavioral therapy for gender diverse neurodivergent adults and increasing access to knowledgeable providers. Dr. Rosenau is collaborating with an interdisciplinary team to improve primary care for autistic individuals and is actively working to improve disability curriculum in medical schools. 

AIR-P Square

Jeffrey Roth, BS, PhD*

Research Associate

Jeff graduated from University of Oregon (UO) in 2013 with a major in Biology and a minor in Philosophy. After working as a researcher at Cedars Sinai, he continued his education at Auburn University (AU) through studying parasite-induced stress responses in Columbian ground squirrels (Urocitellis columbianus). He plans to defend his PhD in Fall 2022*. Jeff's familiarity with curating and managing large datasets brings a research-focused perspective to the AIR-P team.

Rujuta Bhatt Wilson, MD

Rujuta Bhatt Wilson, MD

Neurology Node Leader

Dr. Rujuta B. Wilson is a behavioral child neurologist specializing in autism and related neurodevelopmental conditions. She is an Assistant Professor in Pediatric Neurology and Psychiatry at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and the UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment (CART). As a part of the AIR-P, Dr. Wilson's research node focuses on improving identification, awareness, and treatment of co-occurring neurologic conditions in Autism. Dr. Wilson's NIH funded research is also focused on developing quantitative methods of motor phenotyping to improve characterization of motor development, better understand how specific motor impairments can impact cognition and language and develop more targeted interventions for individuals with autism and other neurodevelopmental conditions. Dr. Wilson’s work also extends to measuring the motor, physical and behavioral benefits of organized physical activity for individuals with neurodevelopmental conditions. Dr. Wilson also serves as faculty on the UC-LEND program. Nationally, Dr. Wilson is Vice Chair of the United States Tennis Association Sports Science Committee and an invited member of the American Academy of Neurology Education Committee. Dr. Wilson has been selected multiple times as a Los Angeles Times Super Doctor, as a Southern California Rising Stars, and as a Los Angeles Magazine L.A. Top Doctor. 

Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)

John Tschida, MPP

Executive Director of AUCD

Mr. Tschida has spent more than 20 years using data and research to drive policy change and service development for individuals with disabilities. He has served as director of the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), the federal government’s applied disability research agency. He also served as director of public policy and innovation at Allina Health in Minnesota, where he developed integrated health delivery systems and financing models for people with disabilities. At the Courage Center, Minnesota’s leading nonprofit provider of rehabilitation services, Mr. Tschida was vice president of public affairs and research, building and directing a policy and research team that focused on defining and achieving better outcomes for complex populations. He serves on a number of national panels designing policy or governance solutions to further the independence of people with disabilities, including the board of the Long Term Quality Alliance, Anthem Health’s National Advisory Board, and the Lakeshore Foundation’s Advisory Council. He is a wheelchair user.

Dana Kim, BA

Research Coordinator at AUCD

Dana graduated from the University of Virginia (UVA) in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and minor in Sociology. She was an active member of the UVA Asian American community where she managed the membership of one of the largest student-led, cultural organizations at UVA. As a student, she also volunteered at a mental health crisis hotline, participated in a youth mentorship program, and gained experience as a research assistant in Pharmacology and Sociology. Prior to joining the AIR-P project, Dana worked at a therapeutic boarding school as a residential instructor. In this role, she built therapeutic relationships with students with autism, ADHD, mood dysregulation disorders, and other social and emotional challenges. She implemented behavioral interventions according to clinical recommendations and Individualized Education Programs (IEP) to teach social skills and emotional regulation. As an early career professional, Dana continues to gain experience in research and develop her skills in project management on the AIR-P team.

Dawn Rudolph, MSEd

Senior Director for Technical Assistance and Network Engagement at AUCD

Ms. Rudolph leads a wide range of training and supports for the national network of UCEDDs and LEND programs, and also leverages their expertise to inform national efforts impacting people with disabilities. She brings over 30 years’ experience working with people with disabilities and their families in community and educational settings. Previously, Ms. Rudolph served as Service Coordination Administrator for Washington, D.C., overseeing coordination of all community-based services provided by D.C.’s Developmental Disabilities Administration. Ms. Rudolph brings significant service, training, management, administration, and leadership experience in non-profit and government sectors dedicated to improving quality of life for people with disabilities.

AJ Drexel Autism Institute

Lindsay Shea, DrPH, MS

Health Systems and Services Node Leader

Lindsay Shea is the Director of the Policy and Analytics Center at the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, and an Assistant Professor. The mission of the Policy and Analytics Center is to utilize research methods and innovative analytic strategies to support the development of effective social and health policy in cities, states, and across the U.S. Dr. Shea has led autism-focused projects across Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and with a national scope. Dr. Shea first-authored the Pennsylvania Autism Census Report and her research interests are creating and using an evidence base in forming, evaluating, and implementing social and health policies. Dr. Shea holds a doctoral degree in Health policy from the Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health, Department of Health Management and Policy, and a Master’s degree in Social Policy from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice.

Kaiser Permanente Northern California

Lisa Croen, PhD

Gender, Sexuality, and Reproductive Health Node Leader

Dr. Croen has been a Research Scientist at the Division of Research, at Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC) since 2000, and is the Director of the KPNC Autism Research Program. She has over 20 years of experience working in collaborative multi-site settings and directing research focused on ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders. A major focus of her research has been on identifying perinatal risk factors, exploring the development of co-occurring physical and mental health conditions over the life course, understanding patterns and disparities in detection, diagnosis, and utilization of health services, and evaluating interventions. She has a particular interest in the health status and healthcare utilization of transition-age autistic youth and adults. She is currently a member of two multidisciplinary workgroups addressing the design and implementation of clinical services and care paths across the lifespan for KPNC members with developmental disabilities: the Regional ASD and DD Integration of Care Leadership (RADICAL) Group and the Global Approach to Transition Experience (GATE) Committee. She has previous experience evaluating physical and mental health status and health care utilization and costs among children, transition-age youth and adults with ASD. Dr. Croen has published extensively in all of these areas.

Maria Massolo, PhD

Gender, Sexuality, and Reproductive Health Node Leader

Dr. Massolo was born and raised in Argentina where she was a politically active student during the military dictatorship of the mid-1970s. She emigrated to the United States in her early 20s, where she completed her education in the California public university system. After obtaining her doctorate in cultural anthropology at UC Berkeley, Dr. Massolo became an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Latin American Studies at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania, where she taught courses on gender and sexuality, qualitative methods, Latinx anthropology, and the cultural body. Leaving academia for a more applied field, Dr. Massolo moved to medical research at Kaiser Permanente, where for the past thirteen years she has managed and implemented studies at the Autism Research Program in collaboration with Dr. Croen. Dr. Massolo’s ethnographic training and expertise in qualitative methods qualified her to direct and implement several studies involving interview and focus group participation. Her research interests include intersectionality and social determinants of health, as well as health access for vulnerable, marginalized and diverse populations, particularly Latinx communities. Dr. Massolo has co-authored papers on methods, healthcare delivery, autism in adults, physician knowledge of autism, and is currently working on a manuscript about healthcare transition from pediatrics to adult care, based on interviews with autistic individuals, healthcare providers, and caregivers. From her struggles for social and political change in Argentina, to her work as an educator, and currently as a researcher, Dr. Massolo brings her passion for equality to her work.

Mathematica

Paul Shattuck, PhD

Health Systems and Services Node Leader

Paul Shattuck is a nationally recognized expert in autism spectrum disorders, and he pioneered the understanding of autism in adulthood and the measurement of autism outcomes. His other research interests include improving community systems and services, understanding the long-range impact of social determinants of health and examining the intersection of climate change and public health. Shattuck is currently focused on approaches for measuring and improving the performance and equity of systems of care for vulnerable populations using collaborative community engagement. He is also collaborating with foundations on a range of health and disability topics. Before joining Mathematica in 2020, Shattuck was a professor at Drexel University, where he was the founding leader of the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute’s Life Course Outcomes Program, the National Autism Data Center, and the Transition Pathways Community Partnership Initiative. He oversaw an integrated strategy for conducting, translating, and disseminating research to improve community-based services and inform national policies aimed at helping teens and adults on the autism spectrum. He also trained in methods of public health surveillance and epidemiology as a postdoctoral fellow funded by the National Institutes of Health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was a professor at Washington University in St. Louis.