National Coordinating Center (NCC)
University of California Los Angeles
Alice Kuo, MD, PhD, MBA
Dr. Alice Kuo is the Principal Investigator of the AIR-P and a professor, practicing pediatrician, and researcher 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. Since 2014, she has been the Director of the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB)-funded Health Care Transitions Research Network (HCT-RN) for Autism Spectrum Disorder. In addition to her research, Dr. Kuo has been involved in educational programs at several levels, from undergraduate students to post-graduate fellows. Since 2006, she has been the Director of the MCHB-funded Pathways for Students into Health Professions for disadvantaged undergraduate students interested in public health and health professional careers. At the post-graduate level, Dr. Kuo is the Director of the UCLA Combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics Residency Program, which she founded in 2003. In 2016, she became the Director of the University of California Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (UC-LEND) program. At the national level, she has been the chair of the Health Care Transition Committee for the Medicine-Pediatrics Program Directors Association since 2012. 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-Agosto, MD, PhD
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.
Jeffrey Anderson, BA
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 R. Choi, PhD, MS, RN
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
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. She is the parent of a neurodiverse child.
Candace Gragnani, MD, MPH
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
Madeline earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from Emory University in 2016, where she also double majored in Spanish. Upon graduating, she worked in the emergency department and as a patient care coordinator primarily serving vulnerable populations in Los Angeles County. With over 2 years of management and coordination of multiple research projects aimed towards improving patient outcomes at UCLA, she is thrilled to serve as the project manager for the AIR-P Network.
Emily Hotez, PhD
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.
Melanie Matte, MPH
Melanie graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2018 with a Master’s degree in Public Health. Prior to relocating to Los Angeles in the summer of 2021, Melanie worked in Calgary, Canada with the Alberta Cervical Cancer Screening Program. There she worked on various projects aimed at increasing cervical cancer screening, including the development and dissemination of a learning module that would allow registered nurses to perform pap tests in rural and underserved areas. Melanie has also been involved with research into equity of access to STI and harm reduction services for Indigenous People living on and off-reserve. Melanie hopes to bring her research experience and passion for serving underrepresented and vulnerable populations to the AIR-P team.
Brianna Montgomery, BA
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.
Kashia Rosenau, PhD
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.
Jeffrey Roth, BS, PhD*
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 Spring 2022*. Jeff's familiarity with curating and managing large datasets brings a research-focused perspective to the AIR-P team.
Rujuta Bhatt Wilson, MD
Dr. Wilson is a faculty member in the UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment (CART). Her current research interests are focused on understanding motor abnormalities in ASD, related genetic syndromes, defining the nature of, and sequelae of these motor deficits. Dr. Wilson utilizes quantitative measures of motor function to better evaluate specific and subtle motor impairments in children with neurodevelopmental disorders. She currently serves as the Associate Program Director of the Child Neurology Residency and is the Pediatric Neurology Training Director of the UC-LEND program.
Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
John Tschida, MPP
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Paul Shattuck, PhD
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.