International and Domestic Health Equity and Leadership (IDHEAL) UCLA Emergency Medicine

Section Chair:
Breena Taira, MD, MPH, CPH, FACEP
Associate Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Director of Research, Dept of Emergency Medicine
Olive View-UCLA Medical Center
U.S. Director, Project SEMILLA

Dr. Taira is a Health Sciences Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and the Director of Research in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Olive View- UCLA Medical Center. Her research domestically focuses on language access for limited English proficiency patients and interventions to improve care for limited health literacy patients as a means to eliminate health disparities. Globally, Dr. Taira’s work has helped to quantify emergency and surgical capacity in limited resource settings as a member of the WHO’s Global Initiative for Emergency and Essential Surgical Care (GIEESC). She is the U.S. Director of Project SEMILLA, a collaboration of U.S. and Nicaraguan health care professionals aimed at improving emergency health care capacity in Latin America. The group has developed and implemented multiple open-access, language and resource appropriate curricula for Central American health care providers and given free trainings to over 500 Nicaraguan health care professionals. Dr. Taira serves as the Lead Ambassador to Nicaragua for the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and was named an honorary professor of Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua (UNAN), León.

Research Interests: Language access, health literacy, Emergency Care in Latin America, Emergency Systems Development


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Dennis Hsieh, MD, JD
Assistant Professor, UCLA School of Medicine
Director of Social Medicine & Population Health
Harbor-UCLA Medical Center

Dennis Hsieh is an attending physician in the emergency department at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, CA and a recent graduate of the emergency medicine training program at Highland General Hospital – Alameda Health System, in Oakland, CA. A 2012 graduate of the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, Dennis earned his Bachelor’s degree in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard University.

While at Harvard, Dennis worked extensively with the Phillips Brooks House Association for Public Service and co-directed its English as Second Language Program in Boston’s Chinatown, taught for its Chinatown Citizenship Program and volunteered with its Homeless Shelter Program. Through these experiences, he witnessed the connection between poverty, policy, and well-being.

During his first two years of medical school, Dennis was inspired by his preceptorship at San Francisco General Hospital and his work with the UCSF Homeless Clinics to learn more about how to directly address the social and economic determinants of health. Dennis took a leave of absence from medical school to pursue a J.D. from Yale Law School. During this time, Dennis focused on issues around legislative advocacy and the social determinants of health. Dennis co-directed the Legislative Advocacy Clinic at Yale and helped found the first medical legal partnership in New Haven. Through this work, Dennis worked on Medicaid expansion in Connecticut and addressing the social determinants of health around access to benefits and housing.

Following his time at Yale, Dennis pursued a two year Equal Justice Works Fellowship in Los Angeles, CA with Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County. There he co-founded a medical legal partnership with St. John’s Well Child and Family Center in South Los Angeles and Compton. In addition to advocating for issues around housing, immigration, and public benefits, Dennis also worked on improving access to care in South Los Angeles after the closure of M.L.K. Hospital in Compton.

After returning the to Bay Area to complete medical school and start residency, Dennis co-founded the Health Advocates of Alameda Health System, a program that brings together volunteers and lawyers to create a continuum of care for addressing the social determinants of health for patients. The Health Advocates program now has over one hundred volunteers and runs five days a week serving Highland patients. Through the Health Advocates Program, Dennis found that access to food and housing were the patients’ top needs. Dennis thus partnered with Alameda Health System and Mandela Marketplace to secure a $425,000 grant from the USDA to incentivize Highland patients to purchase fresh produce. He has also begun working with the Everyone Home and Home Stretch Initiatives in Alameda County to explore a Housing First Approach to Health.
Upon finishing residency, Dennis joined the faculty at Harbor UCLA and is working with the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services on access to care and addressing the social determinants of health for patients of Los Angeles with a focus on re-entry from the county jail system.

Research Interests: Social determinants of health, housing, food, income, public benefits, medical legal community partnership, patient navigation, re-entry
Ross I. Donaldson, MD, MPH, CTropMed, FACEP
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Adjunct Associate Professor of Epidemiology
UCLA-Fielding School of Public Health

Director of Global Health Program
Department of Emergency Medicine
Harbor-UCLA Medical Center

Featured on CNN, BBC, NPR, and other media outlets, Dr. Donaldson has worked around the globe, frequently in areas of conflict and recent disaster, and has been the lead architect of national emergency care plans in several countries. Board certified in both Emergency Medicine and Emergency Medical Services, he is the Director of the Emergency Medicine Global Health Program at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and Associate Professor of emergency medicine and epidemiology respectively in the UCLA Schools of Medicine and Public Health. Dr. Donaldson is also the critically acclaimed author of The Lassa Ward, a memoir about international humanitarian work, and Founder and Editor-in-Chief of WikEM, the world’s largest emergency medicine open-access reference resource. Dr. Donaldson has been the principal investigator on approximately $20 million dollars worth of grants and is a recipient of the Humanitarian Award from the California chapter of American College of Emergency Physicians.

Research Interests: Global health; emergency medicine; disaster care; technology development

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Aristides Orue, RN, MSN, FNP-C
Assistant Clinical Professor
UCLA School of Nursing
Director of Telephone Follow Up
Department of Emergency Medicine
Olive View-UCLA Medical Center
Associate Director Project SEMILLA

Aristides is a lead nurse practitioner working in the emergency department at Olive View UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar, California and directs the telephone follow up program for the department. He also serves as the Director of Nursing and Critical Care Transport for AmeriCare ambulance service. He is Associate Director of Project SEMILLA and Co-Director of the Resuscitation Course for Project SEMILLA, which is a group of health care providers that are working in building emergency capacity in Nicaragua. As a member of Project SEMILLA he has lectured internationally, conducted research, written chapters in the resuscitation and trauma manuals for Project SEMILLA, assisted in the planning and development of Project SEMILLA courses and has mentored visiting physicians. He completed his Bachelor of Science in Nursing at San Diego State University in San Diego, California and then earned his Master of Science degree in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner at California State University Dominguez Hills, in Carson, California. He holds national certification with the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and is a Certified Emergency Nurse.

Research Interests: Resuscitation, trauma, EMS

Mohsen Saidinejad, MD, MBA, FAAP, FACEP
Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Director of Patient Experience
Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
Department of Emergency Medicine

Dr. Saidinejad is an attending physician at Harbor UCLA Medical Center Pediatric Emergency Department and holds an appointment as Associate Professor at UCLA School of Medicine and Health Sciences. He completed his pediatric residency training at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York City and Pediatric Emergency Medicine fellowship training at Children’s Hospital of Michigan. He also trained in the Master of Public Health (MPH) program in Epidemiology and International Health at the University of Michigan. He also holds a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the George Washington School of Business, where he received a Leadership and Service award.

Prior to joining the UCLA faculty, he spent 9 years as emergency medicine attending physician at Children’s National Health System in Washington, DC and as Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine. His area of research is emergency department aftercare and the use of mobile and connected health technology to track health behavior, improve discharge instructions, and optimize treatment adherence. He currently has an active research collaboration with UCLA Computer science department and as well as USC Institute for Health promotion and Disease Prevention Research. He is a member of the research committee and patient experience committee at Harbor UCLA.

As director of patient experience, he is constantly exploring innovative strategies to improve communication and as well as anticipating and managing patient expectations during an ED visit. Nationally, he serves on the technical planning committee for the NIH Wireless Health and has been involved with the NIH mobile health (mHealth) training institute. He is a member of the pediatric committee of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and a section leader in the ACEP pediatric section. He is a co-founder and partner in healthEworks, an a startup Internet company, which was funded by the NIH and other agencies to develop video education and hospital discharge instructions.

Research interests: Emergency department throughput, patient experience, health literacy, and mHealth tools to track and improve patient health behavior

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Luis M. Lovato, MD, FACEP
Health Sciences Professor, UCLA School of Medicine
Professor, UCLA School of Nursing
Director of ED Clinical Informatics
Department of Emergency Medicine, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center

Dr. Lovato is a founding member of Project SEMILLA (Strengthening Emergency Medicine Investing in Learners in Latin America), a non-profit with a mission to improve emergency health care capacity in Latin America through education, system organization, and improved access to technology. The initial focus of Project SEMILLA has been on Nicaragua, the second poorest county in the Western Hemisphere. In partnership with the National University of Nicaragua, Project SEMILLA has developed free, resource appropriate training programs for health care providers in cardiac resuscitation, bedside ultrasound, and trauma, and have trained Nicaraguan physicians to independently organize and teach these courses.

Dr. Lovato became a nationally recognized educator as an editor for Emergency Medicine News with monthly columns entitled
Living with the LLSA and Journal Scan. He has lectured nationally on the topic of Emergency Medicine Board Review since 2004 and speaks on the topic regularly at the ACEP Scientific Assembly. He also serves as chair of the Audio Digest Emergency Medicine Board Review course and is releasing a second edition in early 2017.

Dr. Lovato trained at UCLA in emergency medicine and internal medicine and recently became board certified in clinical informatics. He presently serves as the physician lead for the order sets team on the DHS installation of Cerner with the goal of standardizing and optimizing care delivered to all DHS patients. Additionally, he is on the team implementing DHS’s upcoming population health solution (Cerner HealtheIntent) which will provide physicians with real-time scorecards to measure their empaneled patient's overall health and provide suggestions on how to most efficiently improve it. This solution will also provide data on key health measures required by California’s Public Hospital Redesign & Incentives in MediCal (PRIME) program. He has an interest in using technology and informatics to improve health disparity in disenfranchised populations.

Research interests: immigrant health, health literacy, technology development

Kabir Yadav, MDCM, MS, MSHS, FACEP
Associate Professor, UCLA School of Medicine
Vice Chair of Academic Affairs
Harbor-UCLA Medical Center

Kabir is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. He completed emergency medicine residency at Kings County Hospital Center/ SUNY Downstate Medical Center, followed by a clinical research fellowship at Jacobi Medical Center with a Masters in Clinical Research Methods. After completing a NIH KL2 Career Development Award and a Masters in Translational Science at GW, he became one of the first board-certified clinical informaticists in the country. He is core faculty at the UCLA CTSI for both the Community Engaged Research Program, and Biomedical Informatics. He has been funded through PCORI, NIH, CDC and foundations to leverage technology and implementation science to perform health services research focused on improving patient and provider decision making, and partners with community to do mutually meaningful research.
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Adedamola Ogunniyi, MD
Director, Process and Quality Improvement Program
Department of Emergency Medicine,
Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
Assistant Clinical Professor David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Dr. Ogunniyi is an attending physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Harbor UCLA Medical Center, where she serves as the Director of the Process and Quality Improvement Program. She completed her residency training at Harbor-UCLA, after which she completed a fellowship in Global Health at the same institution, working on projects in rural South Sudan and in Amman, Jordan. As an Emergency and Disaster Care (EDC) fellow/consultant for the International Medical Corps (IMC) in South Sudan, she worked on a project focused on educating clinical staff on mass casualty incident management. In this role, she was involved in all aspects of project management including budget management, data collection/monitoring and evaluation (M&E), volunteer recruitment and procurement. She also served as the Clinic Management Consultant for IMC in Jordan as part of the Syrian refugee response. In this role, she was tasked with the development of a primary health care system at the Azraq refugee camp in Jordan and was involved with various aspects of administration (staff recruitment and supervision), logistics, finance, and coordination with key players from other aid agencies. Given her interests in healthcare systems and delivery outside the US, she also spent some time working as a House Officer (similar to a rotating intern) at the University College Hospital in Ibadan, Nigeria (one of the major tertiary care centers in the country) prior to residency.

Her current interests are in medical education, simulation, global health and quality improvement. She currently serves as one of the co-chairs for the Emergency Procedures Course (EM 220.02), which is a week-long course run at UCLA during which 4th year medical students are afforded the opportunity to practice/perform routine Emergency procedures on unembalmed cadavers. She also participates as an instructor for the simulation and cadaver lab sessions in the Emergency Medicine Subinternship (EM 320.02) course and in Foundations week for the Acute Care College (AC01) at UCLA. She is interested in utilizing out-of-classroom and experiential teaching techniques to pass information across to students and residents, which is particularly helpful for teaching about rarely seen pathology or infrequently performed procedures. She hopes to continue to improve her education and simulation skills and continually seeks innovative ways to integrate all these varying interests.

Research Interests: Global health, medical education, simulation, quality improvement
Shamsher Samra, MD, MPhil
Attending Physician, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
Assistant Clinical Professor David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Dr. Samra is an attending physician in the emergency department at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and also works clinically in the LA County Jail System. He is a graduate of the Emergency Medicine Residency Program at UCLA and Olive View Medical Centers. He completed his medical training at Harvard Medical School during which time he completed coursework at the Kennedy School of Government. He has a Masters in Development Studies from Cambridge University where he was a Gates-Cambridge Scholar. He has an interest in global health, structural violence, liberation medicine and the use of health services to advancing community organizing and social change.

His research includes understanding the barriers to right to health faced by emergency department patients in Los Angeles, health inequities stemming from World Bank water reforms in rural India, and the influence of social movements on ongoing health reforms in El Salvador. He has  worked to support harm reduction initiatives with the PACT program in South Boston, organizing to promote hotel worker health, hospital based violence intervention with the Wrap-Around Project in San- Francisco, and health autonomy for the Zapatista communities in Chiapas Mexico.

He currently works with the Department of Health Services on the community health worker driven Whole Person Care program with a focus on jail reentry and serves on the board of directors of Doctors for Global Health and Strategic Action for a Just Economy in South Los Angeles.

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Thomas J. Lee, MD, MHS
Founder & Board Chair, Community Partners International
Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine at UCLA

Dr. Tom Lee is the Chair of the Board of Community Partners International (CPI), a Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine at UCLA, and an attending physician at Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, California. Dr. Lee co-founded CPI (then called the Global Health Access Program) in 1998. He has inspired the support of his colleagues at UCLA and other institutions working in Myanmar, and has galvanized support for Myanmar through advocacy and publications, addressing topics including infectious disease, reproductive health, and the impact of human rights on health.  In March 2010, he received the International Public Health Hero award from UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health in recognition of his work in Myanmar.

In addition to his focus on Myanmar, Dr. Lee’s humanitarian service has included providing village health care in a conflict zone of El Salvador and providing care at various free clinics in the United States.  Dr. Lee received a medical degree, with honors, from the UCSF, an MHS from UC Berkeley, and a BS from Stanford University.  He did his residency training at Harbor UCLA Medical Center, and an Emergency Medicine Research Fellowship at UCLA Medical Center. Dr. Lee lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Grace, and two children, Jonas and Eleanor.

Hemang Acharya, MD
IDHEAL Fellow, Second Year
Olive View-UCLA Medical Center

Hemang completed his Emergency Medicine residency at Harbor-UCLA in 2018, and attended medical school at the University of Massachusetts Medical School prior to that. He has had experience in international medicine in Sierra Leone and Costa Rica, and previously also did health outreach and educational work with the homeless and HIV/AIDS affected population in Boston, MA. Specific areas of interest include international medicine and education, population health and policy advocacy, and social determinants of health in medical education.
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Kian Preston-Suni, MD, MPH
Fellow, Healthcare Administration
Department of Emergency Medicine
Harbor-UCLA Medical Center

Kian Preston-Suni is a fellow in Healthcare Administration and Quality Improvement at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. He completed his residency training in emergency medicine at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center where he served as chief resident. After residency he completed a Master of Public Health at the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA in the Department of Health Policy and Management, focusing on quality improvement.
During fellowship he focused his efforts on improving the efficiency of safety net emergency care and addressing the barriers to providing language appropriate care to patients with limited English proficiency. He is interested in applying insights from behavioral economics to healthcare settings to foster high quality care.

Research Interests: Quality improvement, emergency department throughput, social determinants of health, care of patients with limited English proficiency
Richelle J. Cooper, MD, MSHS, FACEP
UCLA Professor of Emergency Medicine
David Geffen School of Medicine
Research Director, RR-UCLA Dept of Emergency Medicine
Methodology/Statistics Editor Annals of Emergency Medicine

Dr. Cooper is a Professor of Emergency Medicine and the Research Director at the UCLA Department of Emergency Medicine, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Her research interests include research design/methodology and data presentation, social emergency medicine including social determinants of health, disparities, homelessness, violence, and health equity, conflicts of interest, overuse/overdiagnosis and underuse, gender issues in medicine, risk and shared decision making, as well as peer review research (methodology and reporting in the literature. She is a participating member in ACEP’s Social EM research subcommittee, and policy subcommittee, as well as SAEM’s Social Emergency Medicine and population health research subcommittee. She is also a member of the Lown Right Care Alliance EM council.

Research interests: research design/methodology and data presentation, social emergency medicine including social determinants of health, disparities, homelessness, violence, and health equity, conflicts of interest, overuse/overdiagnosis and underuse, gender issues in medicine, risk and shared decision making, as well as peer review research (methodology and reporting in the literature.
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Hannah Janeway, MD
IDHEAL Fellow, Second Year
Olive View-UCLA Medical Center

Hannah completed her Emergency Medicine Residency at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. She attended medical school at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University prior to that. She has worked internationally both inside and outside of the healthcare sphere in Bolivia, Cuba, Kenya, Nicaragua, and American Samoa. She is currently actively working to establish a comprehensive care clinic for asylum seekers across the border in Tijuana, Mexico. Her research interests include EM capacity building in the developing world, screening for and intervening on determinants of health, educating healthcare providers on structural vulnerability, LGBTQI curriculum and development in the pre-hospital and acute care settings, and increasing diversity and underrepresented minorities in medicine. She is particularly passionate about finding ways to utilize healthcare as a mechanism to promote and support social justice and change.
Carolyn Joy Sachs, MD, MPH
UCLA Professor of Emergency Medicine
David Geffen School of Medicine

Carolyn Joy Sachs graduated from the honors program in medical education at Northwestern University in 1990 and then went on to completed an emergency medicine residency and research fellowship at the UCLA Emergency Medicine Center where she has stayed on ever since and currently serves in the rank of Clinical Professor step III. Her career research interests have centered on violence against women and she has authored many peer reviewed publications and book chapters on sexual assault and intimate partner violence. For the last 23 years she has served as a chairwoman of the UCLA Intimate Partner Violence Committee. Over the last 20 years she has work as the voluntary medical director for a comprehensive forensic sexual assault examination program which provides over 1200 emergent sexual assault examinations to adults and children living in Southern California each year.

Dr. Sachs also a full time practicing academic emergency physician in the UCLA Emergency Department with an interest in physician well-being. She serves on the UCLA physician Health and Wellness committee and as the faculty advisor for the UCLA/OV Emergency Residency Wellness Committee. She has lectured nationally and internationally about intimate partner violence, sexual assault, provider well-being and other emergency medicine topics.
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Todd Schneberk, MD, MS, MA
Assistant Professor Clinical Emergency Medicine
Keck School of Medicine of USC
Assistant Program Director
LAC+USC Emergency Medicine Residency Program

Todd Schneberk MD, MS, MA is an assistant professor of clinical emergency medicine and an assistant program director of the Los Angeles County+USC Emergency Medicine Residency program. He also holds an appointment as faculty in the USC Gehr Center for Health Systems Science and Innovation as well as Director of Border Health for the Keck USC Asylum Clinic. He completed his residency in emergency medicine at LAC+USC Medical Center and subsequently a fellowship in health policy and research at UCLA. His research and advocacy interests include social determinants of health, immigration status as a health barrier, opioid use disorder and leveraging the Emergency Department to address upstream factors affecting the health and stability of vulnerable populations.
Other Faculty:
Medell Briggs-Malonson, MD, MPH, MSHS (MLK/UCLA Ronald Reagan)
Jerome Hoffman, MD (UCLA)
Carmen Partida, MD (Olive View-UCLA)
Larry Stock, MD (Antelope Valley)
Scott Votey, MD (UCLA Ronald Reagan)
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