Current and Past Fellows

*** Note: Postdoctoral Fellowship Training Program Application Process CLOSED ***

Peter Capone-Newton, MD, MPH, MA  (2011-2013)

Dr. Capone-Newton graduated from McGill University (Montreal, Quebec, Canada - BS, Microbiology and Immunology) and completed his medical and public health degrees in the combined MD/MPH program at the Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, MA.  He also holds a Masters of Arts (MA) degree in Urban Planning from the University of California Los Angeles and is now completing a Ph.D. in Urban Planning at UCLA.  He is board certified in Public Health and General Preventive Medicine, completing his residency training in the program sponsored jointly by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the California Department of Public Health.  His research focuses on the role of urban form and spatial relationships in chronic disease health outcomes.  His most recent research has examined the relationship between supermarket access in Los Angeles County and overweight and obesity.

The focus of Dr. Capone-Newton’s main fellowship research project will to use his experience with the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey (LAFANS), which includes two cross sections of life in Los Angeles (as well as longitudinal data for some individuals) with detailed data on neighborhood disadvantage, health behaviors and health outcomes, and apply that conceptual framework to larger datasets like the Cardiovascular Health Study that examine specific cardiovascular and stroke outcomes.  He also hopes to advance a larger vision for the future medical science, combining social and biomedical sciences, to elucidate mechanisms between neighborhood disadvantage and health outcomes through large prospective cohorts measuring social relationships, built environment interactions, human behavior and health outcomes with a spatiotemporal resolution not previously possible prior to the era of the location-aware, omnipresent mobile phone.

Adam Richards, MD, MPH  (2011-2012)

Dr. Richards graduated from Harvard College (AB Cum Laude), the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (MD) and the Bloomberg School of Public Health (MPH) before completing his postgraduate training in the Social Internal Medicine Program at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein School of Medicine, and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Fellowship at UCLA.  Dr. Richards  is pursuing a PhD in Health Services concurrent with his AHA fellowship.   His primary fellowship/dissertation research  will use data from  three NHLBI studies  (ARIC ,  CHS  and MESA) 1)  to evaluate how   whether currently available risk scores, as well as prediction models based on their component predictor variables, under-estimate CVD risk among low-SES persons; 2) to determine whether CRP, education, and neighborhood socioeconomic status, alone and in concert, improve discrimination and calibration and result in re-classification of CVD risk, compared to models that includes only traditional risk factors; 3) to evaluate whether inclusion of SES in the risk model differentially re-classifies low- and high-SES individuals;  and  4)  to estimate the potential impact on the SES gradient in cardiovascular outcomes if the resultant classification were used to inform clinical decisions to prescribe a statin , compared to improved adherence to current lipid management guidelines (ATP-III). 

In addition to his cardiovascular disease research, Dr. Richards applies community based participatory research methods to develop a mobile-phone based platform for measuring the health impact of occupational health hazards among low wage immigrant workers; and he has published numerous manuscripts related to his international experience  designing and evaluating malaria control  interventions and quantifying the health impact of human rights abuses among displaced populations  in Burma.



James Ekundayo, MD, DrPH  (2009-2011)

Dr. Ekundayo studied medicine and obtained his Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB - MD equivalent) in 1988 from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He went on to earn a Doctor of Public Health in Epidemiology (DrPH) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2007. He has authored more than 20 original papers, reviews, and editorials. His published work has addresses issues of risk factors for new-onset heart failure among older adults, and has also focused on identifying factors associated with poor outcomes and quality of life of people living with heart failure.

The focus of Dr. Ekundayo’s main research project looked at the “Patterns of EMS Use and Outcomes in Acute Stroke”. Analysis of the Get with the Guidelines-Stroke hospitals (GWTG-S) data is currently ongoing to answer these research questions. The GWTG-S is an ongoing voluntary registry of over 1 million stroke patients admitted across hospitals in the United States since 2003.  Analyses identified the role of sociodemographic factors such as racial or ethnic composition and insurance status in the use of EMS by acute stroke patients, while adjusting for other factors that may influence utilization. Performance of stroke processes of care and occurrence of stroke outcomes was predicted, using EMS activation as independent variable of interest in a model that considers other factors that may influence process of care and outcome. If EMS transportation is demonstrated to be associated with better process of care and outcomes in acute stroke, then health policy changes may be required to find ways of improving rates of EMS use.


Jessie Yan, PhD  (2009-2011)

Dr. Yan received her Ph.D. in Gerontology from the University of Southern California (USC) in May 2009. Her research interests include health service utilization, health care policy, the development and evaluation of evidence-based health promotion interventions for older adults, evaluation of chronic care models that link acute and long-term care, civic engagement, and palliative care. Her dissertation research examined translational research designed to build evidence-based practice, by evaluating two health promotion programs for older adults that were implemented into in-home and community-based settings. Part of her dissertation work has been accepted for publication at The Gerontologist.

The focus of Dr. Yan’s main fellowship research project was to investigate the contextual effects of neighborhood exposures—e.g., residing in a disadvantaged neighborhood—on stroke. An investigation was performed on potential psychosocial mechanisms through which neighborhood exposures may influence stroke among older adults using data from the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS), a longitudinal, population-based cohort study of older adults. This question is important from both policy and clinical perspectives, since evidence of psychosocial mediation of deleterious neighborhood effects would suggest potential clinical and social services interventions for reducing the rate of stroke among residents of such neighborhoods.

Sarah Song, MD, MPH  (2010-2012)

Dr. Song graduated with Honors in English and Women's Studies from Williams College. She received her MD and MPH from the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria. She served as Chief Resident of the Georgetown University Neurology residency program, and completed her vascular neurology fellowship at UCLA. Dr. Song is involved in public health and advocacy initiatives. She is a two-time advocate for Neurology on the Hill, where neurologists travel to Capitol Hill to speak to lawmakers about health policy issues. She is a former graduate and advisor for the American Academy of Neurology's Donald M. Palatucci Advocacy Leadership Forum. Her academic research interests include race and stroke, the effects of legislation and policy on emergency medical services in acute stroke, and stroke outcomes. Her current research projects include a community-based participatory research project focused on the development of a stroke education intervention for elderly Korean-Americans in Los Angeles; a stroke outcomes project analyzing the American Heart Association’s Get With the Guidelines-Stroke database; and an EMS routing for acute stroke project. She serves on the Editorial Board of the journal Neurology’s Residents and Fellows Section.

The focus of Dr. Song’s main fellowship research will be creating a Korean faith-based stroke education project.  The two hypotheses are:  1) A culturally appropriate venue, such as a Korean church, is an effective environment for delivering health counseling; and 2) By receiving healthcare information from a trusted source (health ministers), Koreans are able to improve their knowledge of stroke symptoms and risk factors.  Up to 80% of Korean-Americans attend churches in this country. Many of these people do not have access to proper healthcare counseling, due to financial issues, cultural barriers. Stroke is the third leading cause of death of Asian-Americans. By educating health ministers to be stroke educators, and using the church as a venue to deliver health information through educational seminars conducted in Korean, we can educate Korean-Americans about stroke risk factors and stroke warning signs. There will be pre-educational intervention surveys, and two post-intervention surveys; the surveys will assess for baseline stroke knowledge, and retention of stroke knowledge after the intervention.

Nazleen Bharmal, MD, MPP  (2011-2012)

Dr. Bharmal graduated from Brown University (BS Cum Laude), Harvard Medical School (MD), and the John F Kennedy School of Government (MPP) before completing her postgraduate training in primary care/internal medicine at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA.  She is currently pursuing a PhD degree in the UCLA Department of Health Services in the School of Public Health.  Dr. Bharmal’s research interests include addressing population-based social determinants of health in disparities and chronic disease prevention for resource-poor populations. Her dissertation and AHA/PRT-Spina Outcomes Fellowship proposal focuses on examining the role of acculturation and religiosity/spirituality in cardiovascular disease risk factors in South Asians.