The quality and importance of the work we do hinge on the diverse skills, passion, and innovation of Health Research for Action's remarkable staff.
Linda Neuhauser, DrPH, MPH
S. Leonard Syme, PhD
Susan L. Ivey, MD, MHSA
Director of Research
Katherine M. Simpson, MA
Director of Health Communications
Diana Darab, PhD
Director of Operations
Carrie Graham, PhD, MGS
Assistant Director of Research
Karen Sokal-Gutierrez, MD, MPH
Anthony Eleftherion, MFA
Director of Communications
Senior Health Literacy Writer
Elaine Kurtovich, MPH, PT
Financial Assistant/Office Manager
Winston Tseng, PhD
Andrea Spurgeon, MA
Julian Chun-Chung Chow, PhD
William Satariano, PhD, MPH
Maria Hernandez, PhD
Special Advisor, Pay For Success Initiatives
Eve Lee, MA
Special Advisor, Asian Health Programs
Shelley Martin, MPH, CHES
Special Advisor, International Affairs
Melissa Kealey, PhD, MPH, CPH
Alina Engelman, DrPH, MPH
Arnab Mukherjea, DrPH, MPH
Jason G. Su, PhD, MS
Atalie Thompson, MPH
Kenny Chung, ScM
Linda Neuhauser, DrPH, MPH, is Clinical Professor of Community Health and Human Development at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, and Co-Principal Investigator of Health Research for Action. Her research, teaching, and practice are focused on conducting inter- and transdisciplinary research and translating findings into improved health programs and policies. She uses participatory approaches to create programs and communication resources that are relevant to people's literacy levels, languages, cultures, access, and functional needs, and to their social contexts. She is internationally known for her success in helping government agencies, community programs and private industry understand and design better health programs, especially those that involve communication. She has served on many federal agency health committees (FDA, CDC, NLM, ODPHP, etc.) and has been an advisor to the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and many governments and universities globally. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Charles Atkin Outstanding Translational Health Communication Scholar Award, UC Berkeley Institute for East Asian Studies Residential Scholar Award, Pfizer Visiting Professor in Health Literacy, and Association for Maternal and Child Health Programs Best Practices Award. She was previously a health officer in West and Central Africa with the US Agency for International Development. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. (Publications)
S. Leonard Syme, PhD, is Professor of Epidemiology and Community Health (Emeritus) in the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley. During more than 20 years as Co-Principal Investigator at HRA, he has worked on developing community interventions to prevent disease and promote health. Pursuing his research interest on the relationship between health and such psychosocial factors as poverty, stress and social isolation, he has studied San Francisco bus drivers, civil servants in London, and Japanese living in Japan, Hawaii, and San Francisco. He has been elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science and won the J. D. Bruce Award for Distinguished Contributions in Preventive Medicine from the American College of Physicians, as well as the Wade Hampton Frost Award from the American Public Health Association for developing the field of Social Epidemiology. Len holds a PhD in Medical Sociology from Yale University, following a BA and an MA in Anthropology and Sociology at UCLA. Email: email@example.com. (Publications)
Directors, Managers, Researchers, Staff
Susan L. Ivey, MD, MHSA, is Director of Research. She is a physician who has been conducting health services research for 16 years. She has a master’s degree in Health Policy and post-doctoral training (2 years) in Health Policy and Health Services Research. She is currently the Director of Research at Health Research for Action center (7 years), an affiliated research center at the School of Public Health, UC Berkeley. She has previous expertise in prevention research and health services research at UCB’s CDC-funded prevention research center (UCB 1997-2004) and continues as an affiliated researcher with the UCB PRC. Her major focus is in design and evaluation of health care interventions which includes patient-centered projects (e.g., individual level projects in diabetes, hypertension, epilepsy, cardiovascular diseases), organizational level projects (implementation of physician learning collaboratives for quality improvement, assessment of team care such as using pharmacists on the care team), and policy level work (white papers on use of the EHR for meaningful use, state-level organizing for physician action on cardiovascular and diabetes care improvements). Dr. Ivey also uses a variety of methods to understand research and evaluation questions including secondary data analysis, needs assessment, formative qualitative research, and quantitative outcomes research (including survey research and clinical trials). Many research projects at HRA use participatory research methods such as use of an advisory board. Research projects and materials designs are often conducted in multiple languages. Her work using participatory methods has ensured that she has a very large and loyal group of physician organizations, local health care organizations, and community-based organizations who offer capacity in many languages. She has published significant research in the area of health services research and health disparities, with more than 60 publications, of which over 40 are articles in peer-reviewed journals. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. (Publications)
Katherine M. Simpson, MA, is Director of Health Communications. She has over 30 years of experience developing health promotion programs and resources. She has extensive experience in developing and testing information on health insurance literacy, including videos on patient rights and benefits, websites, information on using HMOs and Medicare Advantage plans, a model evidence of coverage, and varied information on health care reform. She developed limited literacy information on many medical procedures, medications, and chronic care self-management issues, including nutrition. She has also written limited literacy guides and curricula on falls prevention and physical activity for seniors. Before joining HRA in 2000, she was Director of Education at Planned Parenthood: Shasta Diablo. She has also consulted on sexuality and disability issues. She holds an MA in Psychology from John F. Kennedy University and a BA in English from Reed College. Email: email@example.com.
Diana Darab, PhD, is the Director of Operations. Diana joined HRA in 2006, and since then she has been collaborating with the management team to promote public health. Diana has a PhD in comparative literature from the University of California, Riverside. She has taught courses on the modern English novel, and literary criticism. A collection of her poetry will be published in April 2012.
Carrie Graham, PhD, MGS, is Assistant Director of Research. She is a medical sociologist with a background in gerontology, health communication, and health services research. Since joining HRA she has designed and directed several large-scale research projects focused on increasing access to care for seniors, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable populations. Dr. Graham has a dual appointment in the School of Social Welfare, where she is a Senior Research Associate at the Center for the Advanced Study of Aging Services, collaborating on studies that examine new models to promote aging in place for older adults. Before joining HRA in 2004, she worked as an assistant adjunct professor in the UCSF Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, implementing and evaluating a model of community-based transitional care for seniors and their caregivers. Prior to that she worked at the Polisher Research Institute in Philadelphia, contributing to a study of quality of life for seriously ill older adults. Carrie completed her doctoral work in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at UCSF. She also completed a two-year fellowship at the UCSF Institute for Health Policy Studies. She holds an Master's in Gerontological Studies from Miami University in Ohio and a BA in Sociology and African Studies from UC San Diego. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. (Publications and Policy Briefs)
Anthony Eleftherion, MFA, is Director of Communications. He provides strategic and creative oversight for print, digital and interactive health literacy content. He has been writing health communications materials for ten years, much of it for readers with low literacy levels. Most recently, he was senior medical writer at a life sciences company that produces 3-D animations, infographic videos, websites, and mobile applications for the healthcare industry. He holds a master of fine arts degree in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was a Maytag fellow, and has been an Olive B. O’Connor fellow at Colgate University. A short film he co-wrote received a student academy award, the HBO short film award, the grand jury awards at South by Southwest and Palm Springs film festivals, and was an official selection at Sundance. Email: email@example.com.
Becca Freed is Senior Health Literacy Writer. She writes and edits health-related materials for the center. In addition, she designs and conducts usability tests and manages projects. Becca also keeps HRA’s website updated. Before joining HRA, Becca wrote and edited health-related materials for Krames Patient Education, where she focused on making complicated topics understandable without talking down to the reader. She has more than 20 years of publishing experience, having worked on books, magazines, websites, and marketing communications. Becca has a BA in French and English from UC Santa Barbara. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elaine Kurtovich, MPH, PT, is Staff Research Associate. She has a clinical background in physical therapy. Before joining HRA in 2005, she was a field coordinator with Brenda Eskenazi's research group at UC Berkeley, worked as a health manager at a Head Start program in San Francisco's Chinatown neighborhood, and was a physical therapist in an orphanage in Tianjin, China. She holds an MPH with an emphasis in Maternal and Child Health from UC Berkeley. At HRA, she has provided project management and data analysis on several HRA projects, including studies examining the association between the built environment and physical activity, an evaluation of a diabetes care model implemented among Chinese Americans at a community clinic, an evaluation of a pediatric feeding clinic, an evaluation of an educational resource on maternity leave for pregnant women, usability testing of an online educational tool about childbirth options, and research on Medi–Cal beneficiaries who are seniors and people with disabilities and their experiences with Medi-Cal Managed Care. (Publications)
Iris Quiroga is the Financial Assistant and Office Manager. Iris Quiroga is the Financial Assistant and Office Manager. She is an alumna from UC Davis, where she earned a Bachelor's of Science in Managerial Economics. Before joining the HRA Finance and Admin team, Iris was a business office assistant at the Graduate School of Management at UC Davis. After graduation, she served as the Operations Project Director for a five week long trip to Port Elizabeth, South Africa with Campus Crusade for Christ, where she managed the team of nine's fund raising efforts and spending budget. She plans to attend graduate school to pursue a masters degree in either international business administration or behavioral economics and market research.
Winston Tseng, PhD, is a Research Sociologist of Community Health and Human Development at UC Berkeley's School of Public Health. He has a background in medical sociology and extensive community-based participatory research (CBPR) experience with diverse and vulnerable populations. He conducts research on community-initiated health interventions, health care delivery, and health disparities, using mixed methods, participatory, and organizational approaches. He has over 15 years of experience collaborating with community-based organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. His recent projects include assessments of Asian-American, Native-Hawaiian, and Pacific-Islander (AA and NHPI) health in California; development of a national strategy for research capacity building of community service organizations in AA and NHPI communities; chronic care redesign for diabetes patients in a primary care setting; healthy brain and aging among diverse elderly populations; evaluation of community health center services and quality improvement through secondary data analyses of large patient datasets; and mapping of medically underserved communities to identify primary care delivery gaps using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Dr. Tseng provides regular training to graduate and undergraduate students on research methods and analysis, including how to conduct interviews, focus groups, and participant observation. He also specializes in organizational-level analysis with a research focus on community services organizations and inter-organizational networks. Dr. Tseng currently serves as Chair-Elect of the Community Health Planning and Policy Development Section of the American Public Health Association, Co-Chair of the Health Working Group of the University of California Asian-American and Pacific-Islander Policy Multicampus Research Program, Research Consultant for the Asian and Pacific-Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) and the Association of Asian-Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO), and as grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health. Email: email@example.com. (Publications)
Andrea Spurgeon, MA, was Communications Manager and Webmaster. She managed communications projects and produced health-related outreach materials in various media. Andrea led the development of a keyword searchable research database for HRA and the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Before joining HRA in 2005, Ms. Spurgeon was an analyst at the UC Office of the President's California Policy Research Center, where she managed the research grants program, provided technical assistance to state government officials in a wide range of topic areas, developed a database of UC policy expertise, and organized conferences and issue briefings for state policymakers. Andrea holds a Master of Arts degree in Sociology from St. Patrick's University, Ireland, and a BA in Political Science from UC Berkeley.
Julian Chun-Chung Chow, PhD
, is an Affiliated Professor
(School of Social Welfare - see bio
) specializing in community analysis and program development. Professor Chow’s research focuses on social services delivery and utilization in ethnic and immigrant neighborhoods, especially Asian American communities. He has published in a number of areas addressing issues such as social welfare, poverty, immigration, health and mental health. At Health Research for Action, he is a member of the research team working on the Changzhou, China migrant workers wellness project. Most recently, has been developing a study of community-based services in China.Kenny Chung, ScM
, is an Affiliated Researcher
on the Vietnam Tooth Project (VTP). Kenny initiated the project as an undergraduate. VTP is a public health research study aimed at overcoming childhood malnutrition among children in Vietnam through reducing the rates of early childhood caries. He has led three groups of students on trips to Vietnam (2011-2013) to conduct the field work for the VTP study. Kenny received a BA degree from UC Berkeley, with majors in Public Health and Molecular and Cell Biology. He earned a Master of Science (ScM) degree from Harvard University from the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences with a concentration in Public Health Leadership. He is currently applying for medical school and continuing his work on VTP.Alina Engelman, DrPH, MPH
, is an Affiliated Researcher
with a focus on health initiatives for underserved populations, including the deaf and hard of hearing. Dr. Engelman is Assistant Professor of Health Sciences at California State University, East Bay. Dr. Engelman participated in HRA's Preparedness and Emergency Response Research project "All-Hazards Communication to Improve the Resilience of Vulnerable Populations.” She received a DrPH degree from UC Berkeley in 2012. Dr. Engelman was the recipient of a Health Policy & Health Systems Research project award from the Center for Infectious Disease and Emergency Readiness at UC Berkeley. She completed her MPH in Global Health at Yale University, where she worked in Kenya on a program evaluation of HIV/AIDS services for the Deaf using community-based participatory research (CBPR) techniques. Findings were implemented on a national level. Previously, at Brown University, her honors thesis focused on the Sandinista Revolution's impact on the deaf community in Nicaragua. Her interests include health disparities, global health policy, health literacy, cultural competence training, program evaluation, qualitative methods, HIV/AIDS education, and emergency preparedness for at-risk populations.Sidhanta Gurung
is an Affiliated Researcher
for the global oral health initiatives. He is a UC Berkeley alumnus and Project Co-Director for Hasilo Nepal, a program focusing on preventing tooth decay and malnutrition in children by educating families about good nutrition and providing preventative oral health services. The program is currently in its fourth year and has served hundreds of children and families in Nepal. He is currently working with the Hasilo Nepal team on data analysis and results to assess the efficacy and impact of the program with hopes of a baseline manuscript to be completed by this summer. Along with his NEE appointment at Health Research for Action for this project, Sidhanta is pursuing his medical degree at St. George’s University School of Medicine.Melissa Kealey, PhD, MPH, CPH
, is an Affiliated Researcher
working on healthy aging initiatives at HRA. Melissa is a postdoctoral researcher at the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley. Working with Health Research for Action at UC Berkeley, she conducts research with the Centers for Disease Control’s Healthy Aging Research Network (CDC-HAN). Melissa combines her undergraduate training in qualitative methods in sociology and biopsychology with graduate training in epidemiology and quantitative methods to investigate environmental and social determinants of healthy aging. Her current research focuses on socioeconomic, racial/ethnic, and neighborhood health disparities, especially opportunities for physical activity, walking, mobility, and emergency preparedness among older adults. She has worked with senior-serving organizations in Alameda County in the tradition of community participatory action research to design and conduct research that is not only analytically innovative but also relevant to and focused on addressing the needs of diverse communities. In addition, she has extensive experience with quantitative health data management and analysis, especially using GIS and SAS programming.Arnab Mukherjea, DrPH, MPH
, is an Affiliated Researcher
for various community health initiatives for underserved populations. Arnab received DrPH and MPH degrees from UC Berkeley. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Health Science (Public & Community Health) at California State University, East Bay. He also maintains formal research affiliations with UC San Francisco and UC Davis. His research includes analyzing how cultural contexts, behaviors, and identity play a direct role in disparate health outcomes, especially among South Asians in the U.S. and other understudied minority populations. Among Arnab’s interests are active community participation in programs, coupled with evidence-based programs and practice-based evidence, as a remedy in reducing and eliminating health disparities in communities of color, behavior, and sexual orientation. Arnab serves on the Research & Data Subcommittee of the Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Leadership, & Advocacy. He is an Associate Member of the Asian American Research Center on Health at UCSF, and represents South Asian health interests for the California Health Interview Survey. Arnab has taught undergraduate and graduate public health classes at UC and CSU since 1998, specifically in community and multicultural health, team building, epidemiology, as well as integration of theory and practice. In addition to teaching, Arnab works on addressing preventable disparities among understudied Asian American populations. He’s passionate about empowering at-risk populations to assume ownership of their own health prospects. Jason G. Su, PhD, MS
, is an Affiliated Researcher
directing the HRA Alameda County Pay for Success Asthma Initiative project. The focus of this project is to address the problem of childhood asthma. It will learn how to prevent asthma and to act quickly to address housing problems that lead to asthma in children. Jason has deep experience in this area, having conducted or contributed to more than 10 research projects on exposure assessment, environmental epidemiology, and public health. He has investigated air pollution using sensors and environmental modeling, as well as other triggers of asthma and rescue inhaler usage. His research goal is to use detailed information about individuals’ exposure to asthma triggers to develop highly targeted prevention strategies. Funders of Jason’s work have included Health Canada, Health Effects Institute (HEI), California Air Resources Board (ARB), California Energy Commission (CEC), California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), University of California Transportation Center (UCTC), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH). Jason has published more than 60 scientific papers and won the best paper issued by the American Chemical Society (ACS). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. (Publications) Atalie Thompson, MPH
, is an Affiliated Researcher
on the Temporal Sclerosis in Epilepsy Project (TSEP) at HRA. Atalie graduated from the Interdisciplinary MPH Program at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health in May 2013. While at UC Berkeley, she has been working with Dr. Ivey on the Temporal Sclerosis in Epilepsy Project (TSEP), a joint endeavor between U.C. Berkeley (Ivey) and U.C. San Francisco (Betjemann) to analyze racial and ethnic disparities in the treatment of medically refractory temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), including the use of anterior temporal lobectomy surgery for refractory TLE. She has been responsible for planning for and conducting quantitative data analysis and has written up study results for publication with Dr. Ivey and Betjemann. So far, the study has produced two manuscripts, one of which was recently published in Epilepsy and Behavior. Along with her appointment at Health Research for Action for the TSEP project, Atalie is completing her medical degree at Stanford University School of Medicine in 2014.
Special Advisors to HRA
Maria Hernandez, PhD, is Special Advisor on the Pay For Success initiatives at Health Research for Action, UC Berkeley. Dr. Hernandez is President of Impact4Health and consults in the public and private sector across several industries including healthcare. Her work focuses on large scale change initiatives, executive education and a wide range of human capital development efforts. Her early work in applying Social Impact Bonds to address chronic conditions is chronicled in an HRA whitepaper sponsored by the California Endowment. This work lead to the AIM4Fresno initiative which will focus on reducing asthma- related hospitalizations using a home based intervention including health education and remediation of common household asthma triggers. Dr. Hernandez is now engaging other communities also be looking to create a similar project in 2014. Once successful, these communities will be in a position to attract private investors to expand these pilot projects and further address known social determinants of health.
Eve Lee, MA, is Special Advisor for Asian Health Programs at Health Research for Action, UC Berkeley. She was trained as a health educator and has been working in the women’s health and rights issues for the past three decades. Eve is also a senior advisor for Pathfinder International, and was a grant maker for the Ford Foundation’s Beijing office from 2001-2010 focusing on sexuality and reproductive health and rights. Prior to Ford, she was Vice President of the Public Media Center, a public interest communication and technical assistance agency based in San Francisco, California, and a health educator/counselor in the Women Health Clinic at San Francisco General Hospital. Eve was born in Taiwan, graduated from the Health Education Department of the National Taiwan Normal University, and has a Master of Health Science degree from California State University in Sacramento, USA.
Shelley Martin, MPH, is Special Advisor on International Affairs at Health Research for Action, UC Berkeley. Ms. Martin served as Executive Director of HRA from 2003-2010. She provides leadership for resource and program development for national and international programs and is a contributing author to many of HRA’s accessible and user-friendly, multi-lingual materials, including: The Wellness Guide, Parents Guide, California’s HMO Guide, California’s HMO Guide for Medicare Recipients, Healthy Steps: A Fall-Prevention Guide for Pennsylvania. In 2002, Ms. Martin received the B. Holzer Health Literacy Award for published materials from the Institute for Healthcare Advancement. In 2004, she received the Pratt Fellowship in Melbourne, Australia, to enhance empowerment models for Australia’s community-based organizations. She is a graduate of the 2007 Global Health Leadership Forum, a joint offering between the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, bringing together international senior health care leaders to improve health care systems worldwide. She has helped design and disseminate international health literacy and wellness initiatives in Australia, Canada, China, and Switzerland. Before joining UC Berkeley, Ms. Martin had an extensive career in health promotion and consultation that included national training on HIV/AIDS prevention, improving access to health care for rural Americans, and developing the Medical Home Training model for Head Start.