Faculty


Adam Leventhal, PhD
Professor of Population and Public Health Sciences
Director of the Institute for Addiction Science

adam.leventhal@usc.edu
https://heal.usc.edu
https://eosresearch.usc.edu
https://www.facebook.com/USCHEAL
@USC_HEAL
About Adam Leventhal, PhD

Adam Leventhal, Ph.D., Professor of Preventive Medicine and Psychology at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, is an addiction psychologist and public health scientist. Dr. Leventhal is the Founding Director of the USC Health, Emotion, & Addiction Laboratory (USC-HEAL; heal.usc.edu), a group of six faculty investigators and 30 staff and trainees who study the causes, consequences, treatment, and prevention of addiction and mental illness across the lifespan. Having been awarded more than $40M in grant funding from the NIH and other agencies, USC-HEAL’s current areas of focus are: (1) adolescent and young adult use of tobacco, cannabis, and opioids; (2) the co-occurrence of addiction and mental illness; (3) the development of new medications to promote smoking cessation; (4) science to inform public policies for regulating tobacco and other consumer products; and (5) cancer and cardiovascular disease prevention.\n\nDr. Leventhal is also the Founding Director of the USC Institute for Addiction Science (USC-IAS; ias.usc.edu), a university-wide initiative that supports transdisciplinary science and education for a network of 40+ faculty addiction experts across 5 schools and colleges at USC.\n\nDr. Leventhal has authored over 200 peer-reviewed scientific articles, including publications in JAMA, New England Journal of Medicine, and other journals. His work has been covered by the Associated Press, NBC Nightly News, New York Times, and other media outlets. Dr. Leventhal is active in policy arenas, having served on expert panels on the health effects of e-cigarettes and tobacco products for the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the US Surgeon General. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Health Behavior and American Psychological Association and recipient of awards for early and mid-career contributions to science and mentoring. His personal interests include running, playing guitar, watching football, and spending time with friends and family.


Jessica Barrington-Trimis, PhD, MS, MA
Associate Professor of Population and Public Health Sciences
jtrimis@usc.edu
@Doctor_BT
https://eosresearch.usc.edu
About Jessica Barrington-Trimis, PhD, MS, MA

Dr. Barrington-Trimis is an epidemiologist and Assistant Professor of Population and Public Health Sciences at the University of Southern California. She directs the USC Epidemiology of Substance Use Research Group and is a faculty member in the USC Institute for Addiction Science and the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Barrington-Trimis’ research focuses on investigation of the rapidly changing tobacco and alternative tobacco landscape. Her work aims to identify intra-individual psychological, behavioral, and social processes associated with nicotine use in adolescence and early adulthood, and to elucidate the behavioral consequences (e.g., transition to more harmful patterns of substance use) and physiological consequences (e.g., adverse respiratory health effects of e-cigarette use) of varying patterns of nicotine product use in adolescence, with the goal of informing regulatory efforts to protect adolescents and young adults.


Alayna Tackett, PhD
Assistant Professor of Population and Public Health Sciences
alaynata@usc.edu
About Alayna Tackett, PhD

Dr. Tackett is a pediatric psychologist and Assistant Professor of Population and Public Health Sciences at the University of Southern California, and faculty member in the USC Health, Emotion, and Addiction Laboratory and the USC Institute for Addiction Science. She is also a current Pediatric Research NIH Loan Repayment recipient. After receiving her BA in Honor’s Studies and Psychology from Northern Kentucky University (2009), Dr. Tackett worked as a research coordinator at the Center for Adherence and Self-Management at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (2008-2012). Dr. Tackett received her MS and PhD in Clinical Psychology from Oklahoma State University (2012-2017) under the mentorship of Drs. Larry L. Mullins and Theodore L. Wagener. Dr. Tackett completed her clinical psychology internship/residency and postdoctoral fellowship training (2016-2018) in pediatric asthma and allergic disorders under the primary mentorship of Elizabeth L. McQuaid, PhD, ABPP at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University.



Dr. Tackett’s research follows a team-science model to examine the respiratory effects of e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine/cannabis delivery devices (e.g., heat not burn, cannabis) among youth and young adults. Dr. Tackett is also interested in developing and testing novel methods to a) incorporate objective measurements of respiratory health and symptoms; b) reduce children’s exposure to secondhand aerosol from non-combustible tobacco products; and c) contribute scientific evidence to regulate tobacco products to protect public health.


Lorraine Kelley-Quon, PhD
Assistant Professor of Surgery and Preventive Medicine
lkquon@chla.usc.edu
About Lorraine Kelley-Quon, PhD


Dr. Lorraine Kelley-Quon is an Assistant Professor of Surgery and Population and Public Health Sciences at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) and the University of Southern California. She obtained her B.S. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology at the University of California, San Diego and completed her M.D. and General Surgery training at the University of California, Los Angeles followed by a fellowship in Pediatric Surgery at Nationwide Children’s Hospital at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. During residency, she completed the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program and obtained a Master’s in Health Services Research from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

Dr. Kelley-Quon’s research interests include identifying and eliminating health care disparities for children, optimizing pediatric surgical health care delivery and translating health services research into health policy. In partnership with HEAL, she is developing a pilot project to explore postoperative opioid use in adolescents and identify predictors of use, abuse, diversion, and conversion to chronic use. Her goal is to create physician decision support tools to optimize opioid prescribing for children and to inform policy makers of prudent initiatives regarding pediatric opioid legislation.

Methodology and Statistics Core


Junhan Cho, PhD
Assistant Professor of Research Population and Public Health Sciences
junhanch@usc.edu
About Junhan Cho, PhD

Dr. Junhan Cho is an Assistant Professor of Research in the Department of Preventive Medicine in the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. He is the Director of Methodology and Statistics for the USC-Health, Emotion, & Addiction Laboratory (USC-HEAL), which conducts interdisciplinary research on mental health problems and health-related behaviors. With a strong interest to develop advanced research methodologies, Dr. Cho’s research aims to address how diverse social contexts and psychological vulnerabilities intersect to increase risk of addictive behaviors. Based on his research background on Human Development and Family Science throughout master and doctoral programs, his studies incorporate both theoretical and methodological frameworks necessary to conducting longitudinal and prevention studies on youth health risk behaviors with a focus on the psychosocial processes influenced by family and community contexts. His current studies include: 1) developmental patterns of conjoint multiple health risk behaviors; 2) longitudinal risk and protective pathways linking early contextual stressors to mental health problems in adolescence; and 3) interaction of social contexts and biological factors influencing psychological vulnerability to addictive behaviors including substance use across adolescence and young adulthood.


Melissa Wong
Statistician I
mwong237@usc.edu
About Melissa Wong

Melissa received her MS in Biostatistics from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a BA in Applied Mathematics. As a graduate student, Melissa gained extensive skills and knowledge involving the application of statistical methods in public health research. For her graduate thesis, she developed an application that allows users to dynamically implement and analyze substance use models. In her role as the statistician for HEAL, Melissa is responsible for data analysis for several projects. 


Peiyao Li
Student Research Assistant
lipeiyao@usc.edu
About Peiyao Li

Peiyao Li is a graduate student in Spatial Economics and Data Analysis program at the University of Southern California. In this program, she is involved in Spatial Analysis and Modeling project, studying the accessibility of San Francisco’s health care services. She is also interested in conducting research about the relationship of substance use and mental health. During her undergraduate time, she worked as an assistant of stock analyst in Topsperity Sercurities, Ltd. After obtaining her Master’s degree, Peiyao hopes to pursue a career in the real estate market as a data analyst. In her free time, she enjoys playing basketball and spending time with friends.

Senior Research Associates

Postdoctoral Scholars


Alyssa Harlow
Postdoctoral Scholar – Research Associate
afharlow@usc.edu
About Alyssa Harlow

Dr. Harlow is an epidemiologist and Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences at the University of Southern California and the USC Health, Emotion, and Addiction Laboratory. After receiving her BA in Biocultural Anthropology from the University of Washington (2011), Dr. Harlow moved to Cairns, Australia to conduct research on mental health and addiction among remote Indigenous communities in the Cape York Peninsula with James Cook University. She earned her MPH in Social and Behavioral Sciences and Epidemiology (2016), and her PhD in Epidemiology (2021) from the Boston University School of Public Health. During her doctoral program, Dr. Harlow received funding for her dissertation as a competitively funded fellow with the American Heart Association’s Tobacco Center for Regulatory Science (A-TRAC 2.0).

Dr. Harlow’s research applies novel epidemiologic methods and causal inference to better understand the determinants and health effects of tobacco-product and substance use behaviors and inform policy. She has extensive experience conducting longitudinal analyses with the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH), a large national cohort study on tobacco product use. Her research primarily falls under three domains, including (a) documenting disparities and identifying fundamental causes of disparities in tobacco use among vulnerable populations; (b) identifying determinants of product transitions (e.g., initiation, progression, cessation), including the impact of product characteristics on substance use behaviors; and (c) examining the physical health effects of tobacco-product and cannabis use, including cardiopulmonary and reproductive health outcomes.

Doctoral Students


Saida Coreas
Research Assistant
scoreas@usc.edu
About Saida Coreas

Saida Coreas is a PhD Student in the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences, at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. She graduated from California State University, Los Angeles in 2018 with a B.S in Public Health. She completed a 3-year (2018-2021) post-baccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) fellowship at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland where she worked on research projects looking at racial/ethnic differences in tobacco product use patterns among U.S. adults, as well as relationships between cigarette smoking susceptibility and smoking initiation among U.S. youth. Other work includes investigating the relationship between acculturation and cardiometabolic risk factors among U.S. Latinos. Her research focuses on understanding how factors relating to social determinants of health influence tobacco use among minority populations. In her free time, Saida enjoys gardening, going on road trips, and spending time with friends and family. 


Reid Whaley
Teaching Assistant
rwhaley@usc.edu
About Reid Whaley

Reid Whaley graduated with a B.A. in Communication from University of California, Santa Barbara in 2017 and an MPH from University of San Francisco in 2019. As a graduate student, Reid worked on research projects ranging from investigating the various deleterious effects (e.g., substance use, anxiety, depression) of fear of violent victimization, violent crime, bullying, and discriminatory violence among university students, to the adverse behavioral risk outcomes among Latinx youth exposed to the juvenile justice system. These experiences allowed her the opportunity to author and present three abstracts at the American Public Health Association’s 2019 national conference and serve as third author on several manuscripts, driving her passion for public health research. Reid’s research interests concern the complex relationship between social and behavioral determinants of health, as well as the impact of policies and regulations on the health and wellbeing of marginalized and under-served communities. In her free time, she enjoys exercising, trying new recipes, and exploring Los Angeles.

Research Staff

Population Studies


Gina Klemm
Project Manager
gklemm@usc.edu
About Gina Klemm

Gina C. Klemm joined the HEAL team in January of 2020. Gina studied behavioural science, receiving a Master's in Public Health from Emory University before joining the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University. As a Research Specialist at Cornell, Gina managed several overlapping multi-site, multi-year grants providing critical leadership and direction of day-to-day operations. Gina's research focused on translational research to enhance the effectiveness of community-based programs for improving nutritional status, especially the integration of nutrition interventions with multisectoral strategies. As a project manager with HEAL, Gina oversees two cohort studies exploring e-cigarette ("vaping") product preference and vaping's causal role in subsequent cigarette and cannabis use among low-risk adolescents and young adults. More broadly, Gina is interested in work that looks critically at health disparities and low-cost, high impact approaches to strengthen health and educational systems. She is passionate about community-based research especially the crucial elements of reciprocity in the context of research-community partnerships and collaborations.


Erika Azpeitia
Project Specialist
eazpeiti@usc.edu
About Erika Azpeitia

Erika joined the USC HEAL team in April 2021. She received a B.S. degree in Molecular Environmental Biology from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master’s in Public Health degree from the University of Southern California. Prior to joining the HEAL team, Erika worked closely with adolescents at USC Student Health and a Federally Qualified Health Center before that. Her public health interests lie in adolescent health and addressing health disparities among disadvantaged youth and minority groups through healthcare access and health equity. As Project Specialist, Erika supports project operations, assists with data collection and study procedures for cohort studies focused on young adults, substance use, and emotional well-being. In her free time, she enjoys working out, hiking, reading, and sharing meals with friends and family.


Gabrielle Lozoya
Project Specialist
lozoyag@usc.edu
About Gabrielle Lozoya

Gabi Lozoya graduated from the University of Southern California in 2018 with a B.S. in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and continued her education at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. As an undergraduate, Gabi developed an interest in diminishing health disparities while supporting a research project on health equity within reproductive healthcare and volunteering to teach health education to students in low income areas. These experiences, along with her coursework, allowed Gabi to find her passion for achieving health equity, especially for youth and racially and ethnically diverse populations. She is, also, curious about the intersect of policy and healthcare access and outcomes. Gabi hopes to expand on her knowledge and interests in the areas of addiction and mental health with USC HEAL. Outside of HEAL, you can find her reading, playing volleyball at the beach, or painting with friends.


Margaret Canady
Project Assistant
mcanady@usc.edu
About Margaret Canady

 



Margaret graduated from Harvard University in 2020 with a B.A. in Psychology. As an undergraduate, Margaret worked on a variety of research projects, ranging from conducting a dance therapy intervention with adolescents to supporting research focused on identity, emotion regulation, and self-destructive behaviors. Margaret’s research interests focus on understanding and implementing mental health treatment that is accessible, equitable, and inclusive, especially for marginalized populations and communities. Ultimately, Margaret plans to further her education by pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. In her free time, Margaret loves dancing/choreographing, reading, going to the beach, and exploring Los Angeles with friends. 

Laboratory Studies


Maria Gonzalez Anaya
Project Assistant
mariajg@usc.edu
About Maria Gonzalez Anaya

Maria Jose graduated from USC with two bachelor of arts degrees in Psychology and Chicano/Latino Studies in 2022. As an undergraduate, she researched adolescent meaning-making in the context of youth programming and intergenerational conversations. Her main research interests include public health, mental health, and youth community programming. She seeks to pursue graduate studies in Clinical Psychology and continue her research to understand the extent to which systemic forces and intergenerational trauma, affect the development and mental health of Latin American communities. Using her experiences in these fields, along with her background, her goal is to promote wellbeing and collective healing through research and the development of culturally conscious programming and clinical practice to improve public health. In her free time Maria Jose enjoys trying new foods, spending time with her loved ones, and Latin dancing.


Natalia Peraza
Project Assistant
nperaza@usc.edu
About Natalia Peraza

Natalia Peraza graduated from the University of Houston in 2018 with a bachelor of science in Psychology and a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. As an undergraduate, she first developed her research interests in psychopathology and substance use at the Anxiety and Health Research Laboratory and Substance Use Treatment Clinic at the University of Houston. Natalia’s main research interests include understanding the comorbidity of mental health disorders and addictive behaviors, developing intervention efforts to treat psychological and substance use issues, and identifying populations that may be at greater risk for maladaptive mental health and substance use problems. She plans to further her education by pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. In her free time, Natalia enjoys long hikes, baking, song/poetry writing, and watching stand-up comedy.


Nikki Jafarzadeh
Project Assistant
jafarzad@usc.edu
About Nikki Jafarzadeh

Nikki Jafarzadeh graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Psychology (Honors) and a minor in Addiction Science in 2022. As an undergraduate, she spent her time devoted to nicotine research, working as an undergraduate for both HEAL and the DUB Lab, and mental health research at the Race, Disparities, and Interventions Lab. Nikki is passionate about nicotine use and perceptions among adolescent and young adult populations. Nikki plans to continue her education by pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Health, and hopes to ultimately pursue a career in academia and research. In her free time, she enjoys playing ultimate frisbee, doing puzzles, and hanging out with friends.


Devaki Patel
Project Assistant
djpatel@usc.edu
About Devaki Patel

Devaki graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a B.S. in Public Health and Global Health. She then earned her Master of Public Health from the University of Southern California. As a graduate student, Devaki researched global nicotine and tobacco prevention strategies and for her practicum, she completed a grant proposal investigating e-cigarette use. Devaki’s research interests include global tobacco control and prevention, and better understanding health behavior in relation to nicotine addiction. She plans to further her education by pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Health and a career in research and academia. In her spare time, Devaki enjoys traveling, trying new recipes and foods, reading and spending time with friends and family.



 

Research Fellows


Maricar Ordonez
Undergraduate Research Fellow
maricar@usc.edu
About Maricar Ordonez

Maricar Ordonez is an undergraduate at the University of Southern California pursuing a B.S. in Human Biology with a minor in English, and a progressive Master’s degree in Public Health, set to graduate in 2023. At USC, she is on the executive board of SC Global Impact, which strives to support non-profit organizations abroad through various consulting services. She also actively volunteers with Music Inspiring Community to provide musical education to elementary students and assists with basic care for patients alongside members of a care delivery team as a Health Scholar. She hopes to pursue a career related to medicine and public health. In her spare time, she enjoys writing chapters for a draft of her novel, playing with her poodle, and spending time with friends and family.

Research Assistants

 

Laboratory Studies


Alina Yang
Undergraduate Research Assistant
awyang@usc.edu
About Alina Yang

Alina Yang is an undergraduate at the University of Southern California pursuing a B.S. in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention with a minor in Gender and Social Justice, set to graduate in 2024. At USC, she is a member of the Chinese American Student Alliance, as well as the USC chapter of Dear Asian Youth, an Asian American advocacy group. After college, Alina plans on pursuing a Masters in Public Health, and a career in public health research. In her free time, Alina enjoys horseback riding, baking, and spending time with friends and family.


Garrett Wagner
Undergraduate Research Assistant
gtwagner@usc.edu
About Garrett Wagner

Garrett Wagner is an undergraduate at the University of Southern California and is pursuing a B.S. in Biochemistry and a minor in Public Health, set to graduate in 2023. A navy veteran and community college transfer student, he was the treasurer for the Veteran Student Council and Pre-Med Society prior to transferring to USC. Garrett is also a graduate of the COPE Health Scholar Program, where he volunteered over 300 hours of his time at Hoag Presbyterian Hospital in Newport Beach and Irvine, providing patient comfort tasks in numerous departments over an 18-month period. After graduation, Garrett plans to pursue medical school and a career in Emergency and Wilderness Medicine. In his free time, he enjoys working out, rock climbing, hiking, and reading novels on Cold War Era conflicts and military history.


Paul Martines
Undergraduate Research Assistant
paulmart@usc.edu
About Paul Martines

Paul Martines is an undergraduate at the University of Southern California pursuing a B.S. in Human Biology and is hoping to pursue a B.A. in Health and Human Sciences, set to graduate in 2024. After graduating, he plans to attend medical school and is interested in pursuing addiction psychiatry. Paul has also volunteered with his local ambulance corps as an EMT since his junior year of high school and plans to get involved with the Emergency Medical Services of USC when he arrives on campus. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, watching any A24 film, and playing the latest board game with his friends.


Rohan Minocha
Undergraduate Research Assistant
minocha@usc.edu
About Rohan Minocha

Rohan Minocha is an undergraduate at the University of Southern California pursuing a B.S. in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, set to graduate in 2024. At USC, he is involved in Project RISHI, the director of advocacy for USC's American Lung Association chapter, a hiking trip lead for Peaks and Professors, and a photographer for The Daily Trojan newspaper. After college, he aims to pursue a career in clinical medicine and health administration. In his free time, Rohan enjoys surfing, hiking, skateboarding, playing piano, and spending quality time with friends.



 


Jacqueline Lutz-Hibbard
Undergraduate Research Assistant
lutzhibb@usc.edu
About Jacqueline Lutz-Hibbard

Jacqueline Lutz-Hibbard is an undergraduate at the University of Southern California, pursuing a B.S. in biochemistry, set to graduate in 2023. She transferred to USC in 2020 and currently works as a transfer ambassador with the USC admissions department to help guide prospective transfer students through their transferring journey. She is also a member of the club USC KDSAP, which strives educate the Los Angeles community about chronic kidney disease. After graduation, she plans on attending medical school and is interested in pursuing pediatric psychiatry. In her free time, she enjoys baking, listening to podcasts, and spending time with family and friends.


Anna Schenkel
Undergraduate Research Assistant
aschenke@usc.edu
About Anna Schenkel

Anna Schenkel is an undergraduate at the University of Southern California, pursuing a B.S. in Human Biology, set to graduate in 2025. At USC, Anna is involved in the Womxn RISE Pre-Health Organization, which allows for female STEM students to explore pre-health opportunities and volunteer in the greater community. Additionally, she volunteers weekly with the organization WaterDrop LA, which aids the unhoused population by providing them with food, water, and clothing on a weekly basis. After graduating, Anna hopes to attend medical school and work in pediatric otolaryngology. In her free time, Anna enjoys reading, going to the beach, concerts, and spending time with her dogs.


Trisha Iyer
Undergraduate Research Assistant
trishaiy@usc.edu
About Trisha Iyer

Trisha Iyer is an undergraduate at the University of Southern California pursuing a B.S. in Human Biology with a minor in Health Care Studies, set to graduate in 2024. At USC, she is the director of communications for the USC chapter of Make-A-Wish, which strives to raise awareness and fundraise for terminally ill children. In addition, she is on the executive board for Teach for LA, in which she tutors children in reading and mathematics. She also is the director of outreach for USC WRISE, which promotes and supports female involvement in the health sector. She actively volunteers with the COPE Health Scholar Program, spending her time at the Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital’s emergency department. After graduation, Trisha plans to pursue medical school and a career in Pediatrics. In her free time, she enjoys painting, cooking, listening to true crime podcasts, and spending quality time with family and friends.


Ashwin Balaje
Undergraduate Research Assistant
balaje@usc.edu
About Ashwin Balaje

Ashwin Balaje is an undergraduate at the University of Southern California pursuing a B.S. in Computational Neuroscience, set to graduate in 2024. At USC, Ashwin is a member of Trojan Health Volunteers, through which he works as a Crisis Counselor at Crisis Text Line, and is an active member of USC’s men’s ultimate team. After graduating, he plans to attend medical school and pursue a career in clinical medicine and healthcare analytics. In his free time, Ashwin enjoys exploring nature, reading, playing ultimate frisbee, and listening to music.


Jake Liskh
Undergraduate Research Assistant
liskh@usc.edu
About Jake Liskh

Jake is an undergraduate at the University of Southern California studying Human Biology with minors in Spanish and Health Care Studies, set to graduate in 2025. At USC he is a member of KDSAP where he helps spread awareness about chronic kidney disease (CKD) and helps conduct free kidney screenings for local residents in LA. He also was involved in Feliz en la Comunidad, a community outreach program for USC’s Joint Educational Program that created free materials and lessons for Spanish teachers and students. After college, Jake plans to attend medical school and specialize in cardiothoracic surgery. In his free time, Jake enjoys trying new restaurants and food, spending time with friends and family, and going to the beach.


Irene Kang
Undergraduate Research Assistant
kangi@usc.edu
About Irene Kang

Irene Kang is an undergraduate student at the University of Southern California pursuing a B.S. in Biological Sciences, set to graduate in 2024. At USC, she currently serves on the executive board of Biology Club and Pre-Optometry Club, working to provide other students with STEM-related resources. After graduating, Irene hopes to attend optometry school and specialize in pediatric eye care. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, practicing taekwondo, and exploring LA with her friends.


Jason Ke
Undergraduate Research Assistant
jasonke@usc.edu
About Jason Ke

Jason Ke is a fourth year undergraduate student at the University of Southern California pursuing a degree in Biological Sciences as well as a Masters in Public Health Policy, set to graduate in 2023. He completed a hundred hours of service at Keck Hospital, helping the nursing staff to improve workplace efficiency in the GI Lab and the vaccination clinic. In his own local community, he volunteers with his church to promote wellness in children with special needs by leading musical and social activities. After graduation, he hopes to further pursue his interests in research and medicine by going to medical school. In his free time, Jason enjoys playing guitar and watching TV shows with his roommates.


Frances Untalan
Undergraduate Research Assistant
untalan@usc.edu
About Frances Untalan

Frances Untalan is an undergraduate at the University of Southern California pursuing a B.A. in Health and Human Sciences with a minor in American Studies and Ethnicities set to graduate in 2024. Frances is a volunteer tutor for non-profit Step Up Tutoring and a Lead Campus Ambassador for Step Up at USC. Also at USC, she is involved in USC MEMO, a campus organization dedicated to medical outreach in underserved communities, and USC Nikkei Japanese-American cultural club. Frances plans to attend medical school after college and is interested in pursuing pediatrics. In her free time, she enjoys sewing, listening to new music, and spending time with friends and family.


Smyan Kothapally
Undergraduate Research Assistant
skothapa@usc.edu
About Smyan Kothapally

Smyan Kothapally is an undergraduate at the University of Southern California pursuing a B.S in Neuroscience and a minor in Health Care Studies, set to graduate in 2023. At USC, Smyan is involved with Science Outreach and Music Inspiring Community to help teach children in the Los Angeles area and get them interested in science and music learning from an early age. He also volunteers at Children’s Hospital LA and is a member of Madhatter Knits, a non-profit focused on knitting hats for premature babies in the NICU at CHLA. After graduating, he plans to attend medical school and is interested in pediatric neurology or pediatric oncology. In his free time, he enjoys running, rock climbing, and practicing Chinese yo-yo.


Spoorthi Vallamkonda
Undergraduate Research Assistant
vallamko@usc.edu
About Spoorthi Vallamkonda

Spoorthi Vallamkonda is an undergraduate at the University of Southern California pursuing a B.S in Global Health and a minor in Business Law. She is set to graduate in 2023. At USC, Spoorthi is the general member manager for the Community Health Involvement Project, the Teen Leadership Coordinator for Camp Kesem, and a member of Alpha Phi Omega, a service organization. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in health administration and public health. In her free time she enjoys reading, spending time with friends, and experimenting with new recipes.

 

Population Studies


Thordar Han
Student Worker, Research
thordarh@usc.edu
About Thordar Han

Thordar Han is an undergraduate student at the University of Southern California pursuing a B.S. in Computational Neuroscience, set to graduate in 2024. At USC, she serves as the Vice President of Finance for Blueprints For Pangaea, an organization committed to redistributing excess medical supplies to areas in need. She also volunteers with the Power-Based Harm/Mental Health focus group of NOVUS Think Tank. After graduation, she intends to enroll in a Master’s program in Translational Biotechnology and attend medical school. Her main aspiration is to pursue a career in psychiatry and apply technology as a means of addressing features of neurological functioning as well as health inequity. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys baking, reading, playing chess, and watching films.


Lilia Margaryan
Student Worker, Research
liliamar@usc.edu
About Lilia Margaryan

 



Lilia is an undergraduate at the University of Southern California pursuing a B.A. in Health and the Human Sciences with minors in Spanish and Healthcare Studies, set to graduate in 2024. At USC, Lilia has been involved with JEP Tutoring for elementary kids, Colleges against Cancer, and the Armenian Student Association. She is currently the vice president for National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and is an active member of the Health Sciences Education Program (HSEP), which is a club that presents on various health topics across schools in the LA area. After graduation, Lilia hopes to attend graduate school and pursue a career in healthcare. In her free time, Lilia enjoys hiking, baking, cooking, going out with friends, and spending time with family.


Ariana Coba Clementel
Undergraduate Research Assistant
cobaclem@usc.edu
About Ariana Coba Clementel

Ariana is an undergraduate student at the University of Southern California pursuing a B.S. in Human Biology and a minor in Health Care Studies, set to graduate in 2023. At USC, Ariana is an active member of The Helenes, an organization that supports the university community through acts of volunteerism, hospitality and service, and works as the General Chemistry SI Leader for USC. She also volunteers with Spanglish, where she teaches English to Spanish-speaking students in Peru, and volunteers weekly at the Orthopedic Institute for Children. In her free time, she leads backpacking trips for SCOutfitters, and enjoys lifting and practicing Taekwondo. After graduation, Ariana hopes to continue her education through medical school, and aspires to pursue a career in Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.


Gisselle Soto
Undergraduate Research Assistant
sotoriva@usc.edu
About Gisselle Soto

Gisselle Soto is an undergraduate student at the University of Southern California pursuing a B.A. in Health and Human Sciences with a minor in Addiction Science set to graduate in 2023. At USC, Gisselle is the Spanish Curriculum Coordinator for Science Outreach (SCout), an organization that teaches science lessons to students at local elementary schools, and the community service chair for Hermanas Unidas de USC. She is also a research volunteer for the Better Together Dementia Care Study. After graduation, she hopes to attend medical school and pursue a career in pediatrics, where she hopes to be able to apply her knowledge of addiction in order to aid in prevention and rehabilitation efforts. In her free time, Gisselle enjoys watching baseball, going on walks with her dog, trying new coffee shops, and spending time with friends and family.


Max Hartshorn
Undergraduate Research Assistant
mhartsho@usc.edu
About Max Hartshorn

Max Hartshorn is an undergraduate student at the University of Southern California, pursuing a B.A. in Psychology, set to graduate in 2023. He transferred from De Anza College in Cupertino, California, where he obtained his A.A. in Liberal Arts with an emphasis in arts and letters. Currently, his plans are to go to graduate school and obtain a master’s degree in school psychology or mental health counseling. Outside of HEAL, Max is involved in Innovative Design, a design club at USC, where he currently serves as the Vice President of Internals as well as a member of the photography team. In his spare time, Max enjoys playing guitar, practicing photography, collecting vinyl records, and making daily coffee runs.


Hana Choi
Student Research Assistant
hanac@usc.edu
About Hana Choi

Hana Choi is an undergraduate at the University of Southern California, pursuing a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Occupational Science, set to graduate in 2023. At USC, she is a member of the Korean American Student Association, as well as the National Alliance on Mental Illness. After graduating, she hopes to pursue a career related to child developmental psychology. In her spare time, she enjoys going on night drives and eating delicious foods with her family and friends.


Hannah Amobi
Student Research Assistant
camobi@usc.edu
About Hannah Amobi

Hannah is a junior at the University of Southern California pursuing a B.S. in Health and Human Sciences and a minor in Dynamics of Early Childhood, set to graduate in 2024. At USC, Hannah is an active member of USC Science Outreach, an organization that teaches science experiments to at elementary schools in the USC area. She has a passion for working with children and also volunteers at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. In her free time, she enjoys playing badminton, going on hikes, and spending time with her friends and family. After graduation, Hannah hopes to continue her education in dental school, and aspires to pursue a career in Pediatric Dentistry.

 

Methodology and Statistics


Amy Zhang
Student Research Assistant
amyzhang@usc.edu
About Amy Zhang

Amy Zhang is an undergraduate student studying Data Science and Economics at the University of Southern California. She is very interested in using data analysis to analyze how drug use influences people's health and biological or social status. Other than being part of HEAL Lab,  she worked as a Data Scientist Summer Intern at Tencent's call center and Data Engineer Assistant at USC Biomechanics Lab. In her free time, she enjoys playing field hockey, ice hockey, and writing songs.


Danyu Huang
Student Research Assistant
danyuhua@usc.edu
About Danyu Huang

Danyu Huang is a second-year master’s student in the spatial economic and data analysis program at USC. Now she is working as a data research assistant in HEAL team, mainly dealing with label data work through SPSS. She has worked as a data analyst in a consulting company for one year in China (2020-2021), in this period, she did lots of field research in China’s 13 provinces. She studied accountancy during her undergraduate period, so she also has experience as an intern with audit firms, investment banks,s, and energy companies. In her spare time, she likes movie- editing and aerial photography. She has worked as a sub-editor in a reality show production.

HEAL Affiliates


Lina D’Orazio, PhD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology
lina.dorazio@med.usc.edu
About Lina D’Orazio, PhD

Dr. Lina D’Orazio is a neuropsychologist and clinical psychologist, who, as an Assistant Professor of Neurology in the Keck School of Medicine of the USC, is the Founding Director of the USC Cross-Cultural Neuropsychology Program which provides research and clinical services designed to understand and assess how cultural contexts shape behavioral and cognitive outcomes across the diversity spectrum. After graduating from Brown University and working in behavioral medicine research in Columbia University Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry, Dr. D’Orazio earned her master’s and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from USC. A multi-year American Psychological Association Minority Fellow, Dr. D’Orazio specializes in minority health psychology, cultural neuropsychology, and in working with Latinx and Spanish-speaking communities. Dr. D’Orazio also works as a clinical consultant for research across the medical school and in various national consortia, and currently serves as a member of HEAL’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee while providing social justice and anti-racism training.