Gus is a Certified Therapy Dog and unofficial CBAM mascot. He comes from a long line of therapy dogs. He received his certification in 2010. Gus works occasionally at the UCLA Vine Street Clinic, sitting in on patient therapy sessions with one of our psychologists in order to help improve the mental, emotional and physical well-being of people in need.
Jennifer Baughman, MPA
Ms. Baughman is the Administrative Director of CBAM, providing oversight of operations for all Center activities. She coordinates strategic planning efforts to ensure that Center goals and objectives are met and directly manages assigned projects. She provides financial oversight and oversees reporting requirements for contracts and grants and other funding totaling more than $4 million annually. She is responsible for personnel management and facilities oversight. Ms. Baughman earned a Masters of Public Administration with an emphasis in nonprofit management from California State University, Northridge and has worked in the nonprofit field since 1995.
Ms. Bentancourt is a Staff Research Associate working on a clinical trial at the UCLA Family Health Center and UCLA Santa Monica Hospital. Her responsibilities include administration of study measures, scheduling, and data entry. Her previous experience includes working with substance using and other populations at a private clinical research organization.
Mr. Blades is the Community Education Program Manager working at the UCLA Vine Street Clinic. He serves as Outreach Coordinator for our HIV Prevention Trials Network projects, conducts HIV risk reduction counseling and provides research support across multiple clinical trials. Mr. Blades previous experience includes working with substance users and populations at risk for HIV transmission in various settings. He received a Bachelor’s degree in 2008 from CSU Dominguez Hills and holds certificates in Phlebotomy and HIV Pre/Post Test Counseling.
Mr. Botch is a part-time Community Health Program Representative working on a clinical trial at the UCLA Family Health Center and UCLA Santa Monica Hospital. His responsibilities include recruitment and retention of study participants, administration of study measures, scheduling, and data entry. His previous experience includes research in visual and multisensory perception through two cognitive psychology labs at UCLA. He received a Bachelor’s degree in 2017 from UCLA.
Marisa Briones, PhD
Dr. Briones is a Project Director and Co-Investigator overseeing clinical trials for methamphetamine dependence. She is responsible for development and implementation of assigned research projects. She manages regulatory, compliance, and quality assurance. She contributes to research design, data analysis and manuscript development. Prior to joining CBAM in 2013, Dr. Briones held positions with the UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute and with AIDS Research Alliance. She obtained her PhD in Molecular and Medical Pharmacology from UCLA in 2010.
D. Page Briscol, RN
Ms. Briscol is a Research Nurse Coordinator at the UCLA Vine Street Clinic. She is responsible for day-to-day operations of an HIV prevention clinical trial. She ensures that study activities are carried out according to the protocol and Standard Operating Procedures. She provides quality assurance of study data, prepares regular progress reports. She also meets with research participants and conducts medical procedures and administers study measures. Page earned her RN from Chamberlain College of Nursing and served as Nurse Manager/Pharmacy Lead for a private clinical research organization before joining CBAM.
Ronald Brooks, PhD
Dr. Brooks is an Assistant Professor and long-time member of CBAM. He is Principal Investigator of a HRSA-funded project of special significance, leading a multi-site evaluation and technical assistance project to improve patient engagement, retention and care in ten HIV care organizations across the country. He also leads the LA PrEP Stories project, recording the experiences of Black and Latino MSM to inform future PrEP implementation efforts in this community. Dr. Brooks earned his PhD in Urban Planning from UCLA and completed his postdoctoral training here in the School of Public Health.
Mrs. Cardenas is a member of the CBAM administrative team working at the UCLA Family Health Center. She manages patient flow and oversees scheduling and billing for CBAM Clinicians. She also supports CBAM research activities at the site. Prior to joining UCLA, she managed the office of a private medical practice. Kyrsten received her Bachelor’s degree in Communications from UC Santa Barbara in 2010.
Joy Chudzynski, PsyD
Dr. Chudzynski is a Clinical Psychologist for the CBAM behavioral medicine program at the UCLA Family Health Center. Dr. Chudzynski earned her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University, where she conducted research examining the role of alternative reinforcement in substance abuse treatment. After completing her internship at the Loma Linda VA Medical Center, she completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, where she specialized in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy.
Jesse Clark, MD
Dr. Clark is Associate Professor in Residence in the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease and in the Department of Family Medicine. He serves as Medical Director for the UCLA Vine Street Clinic (UVSC) and Investigator of Record for two HIV Prevention Trials Network studies conducted at UVSC. Outside if CBAM, he is Director of the UCLA South American Program in HIV Prevention Research (SAPHIR) training program and he leads research on the integration of new prevention technologies. He received his medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, completed residency at Montefiore Medical Center and was an infectious disease fellow at UCLA prior to becoming faculty.
Dustin DeYoung, MD
Dr. DeYoung serves CBAM as a part-time physician working on clinical trials that seek to treat methamphetamine dependence and providing expertise and support on psychiatric matters at the UCLA Vine Street Clinic. His experience includes working with underserved populations in a community addiction clinic. He also spent a year as a Research Associate with CBAM prior to completing his medical degree. Dr. DeYoung received his MD in 2008 from the University of Michigan and went on to complete joint residency in Family Medicine and Psychiatry at the University of Iowa. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship with CBAM.
Ms. Fernandez is a part-time Data Monitor working at the UCLA Vine Street Clinic. She conducts in-depth reviews of clinical trials data and procedures in order to ensure quality and integrity. Her prior experience includes work on dozens of trials studying behavioral therapies, devices and therapeutic drugs from Phase I through Phase IV, including post-marketing clinical trials.
Mr. Flores is an Administrative Assistant providing front desk support at the UCLA Vine Street Clinic. His responsibilities include greeting patients, scheduling appointments and assisting with clinic flow. He also manages clinic inventory. Prior to joining CBAM, he was a Patient Communications Representative at UCLA Health. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from California State University, Los Angeles.
Maureen Garcia, MPH
Ms. Garcia is a Research Coordinator at the UCLA Vine Street Clinic. Her responsibilities include implementation and monitoring of assigned clinical trials, regulatory oversight, quality assurance monitoring, and communications with network staff. Her previous experience includes a range of responsibilities at UCLA and HIV care organizations throughout Los Angeles. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of California, San Diego and Master of Public Health from California State University, Long Beach.
J. Marcos Garcilazo Figueroa
Mr. Garcilazo Figueroa is the Operations Coordinator for CBAM. He manages Dr. Shoptaw’s schedule and oversees patient scheduling and billing. He assists with miscellaneous research and administrative tasks and supports general CBAM operations across projects. Marcos graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Community and Regional Development with a focus on social services and health policies. Before joining the CBAM team, Marcos worked as a community HIV educator, presenting in both English and Spanish. He currently serves as an Alternate on the Los Angeles County Commission on HIV.
Timothy McCajor Hall, MD, PhD
Dr. Hall is a Clinical Instructor and assists CBAM with its research and treatment services. He is a licensed psychiatrist with a PhD in psychological anthropology. His current research efforts explore how the aspects of sexual identity mediate risk behavior or accessibility to HIV prevention interventions. He also provides clinical care to patients at multiple UCLA outpatient clinics. Dr. Hall obtained his PhD in psychological anthropology and his MD from UC San Diego and completed a postdoctoral fellowship with CBAM.
Joy Hao, MD
Dr. Hao is a part-time physician who provides care to patients in CBAM’s addiction medicine programs and research studies conducted at the UCLA Family Health Center. She completed her undergraduate degree at Cornell University and her doctoral degrees at New York University.
Keith Heinzerling, MD
Dr. Heinzerling is an Associate Professor in the UCLA Department of Family Medicine and lead physician for CBAM’s primary care-based Addiction Medicine practice at the UCLA Family Health Center – the first of its kind in Los Angeles. His research and clinical focus is on the discovery, development, and dissemination of anti-addiction medications. Dr. Heinzerling is a graduate of the Stanford University School of Medicine and the NYU/Bellevue Internal Medicine/Primary Care program, where he was a Chief Resident in Medicine.
William Hernandez, RN, MS, ANP-BC, AAHIVS
Mr. Hernandez is a Nurse Practitioner working at the UCLA Vine Street Clinic where he conducts clinical procedures including consenting participants into our research studies, conducting histories and physicals, administering medication and monitoring adverse events. He works across multiple projects including clinic trials of new medications to prevent HIV infection and to treatment methamphetamine dependence. He received his Master of Science in Nursing with a subspecialty in HIV/AIDS from the University of California, San Francisco.
Uyen Kao, MPH
Ms. Kao is Executive Director of the CHIPTS grant (Center for HIV Identification, Prevention and Treatment Services). She also leads special research projects for CBAM and conducts consultations, trainings, and capacity building efforts to scientists, health departments, community planning groups, and community based organizations in the areas of program design, implementation, and evaluation. She has spent her career working in the HIV prevention field in both research and community-based settings. She completed her BS in Biology and her Master in Public Health from UCLA.
Michael J. Li, PhD
Dr. Michael Li is a postdoctoral scholar advised by Dr. Steve Shoptaw at the Center for Behavioral and Addiction Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Li received his bachelors in biological sciences from UC Irvine, his Master of Public Health from CSU Fullerton, and his PhD in Preventive Medicine from USC. His prior research investigated the effects of minority stress and modes of resilience on HIV and STI risk behaviors and substance use. He has also studied applications of dispositional mindfulness and mindfulness-based interventions toward improved mental health in minority communities. His current research interests encompass examining the effects of minority stress on stress biology, addiction, and sexual risk behaviors in sexual minorities of color.
Walter Ling, MD
Dr. Ling is Professor Emeritus at UCLA. He is one of the foremost substance abuse experts in the world, having made significant contributions to research in opiate pharmacotherapy that have led to approval of medications such as buprenorphine and naloxone. He currently serves as part time faculty with CBAM, providing consultation on development and implementation of research and clinical activities. He was the founding Director of the UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs and led the Pacific Node of NIDA’s Clinical Trials Network prior to his retirement.
Sandy MacNicoll, MBA, CCRA
Ms. MacNicoll is Project Director for addiction clinical trials conducted at the UCLA Family Health Center. She is responsible for development and implementation of assigned research projects and supervises staff carrying out day to day research efforts. She manages regulatory, compliance, and quality assurance. Prior to joining CBAM, she served as Project Director and Director of Operations for the outpatient clinical research center at the UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse programs. She is a Certified Clinical Research Associate with Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Masters of Business Administration.
Melissa Medich, PhD, MPH
Dr. Medich is Project Director for the Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center for the SPNS social media initiative. In that role, she collaborates in the design, development and execution of the project. She monitors timelines and deliverables, coordinates meeting logistics, and provides direct technical assistance to assigned study sites. Melissa earned her Master’s degree in Public Health from UCLA and her PhD in social anthropology from the University of Cambridge.
Mr. Nieto is a Staff Research Associate with CBAM. He directs projects targeting populations at high risk for HIV. He carries out recruitment activities, conducts qualitative interviews, and provides general project coordination for assigned studies. Omar received his Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from UCLA with a minor in LGBT studies.
Chukwemeka Okafor, PhD
Dr. Okafor is a postdoctoral fellow at CBAM. He received his PhD in Epidemiology and his dissertation focused on the epidemiology of marijuana use, including clinical and behavioral outcomes of marijuana use among persons at-risk and living with HIV. He has also conducted research on understanding barriers to uptake of biomedical approaches for preventing for HIV infection. Recently his work has focused on the development and implementation of behavioral interventions for substance use among substance users at-risk for HIV infection.
Ms. Riley is a Staff Research Associate. She carries out recruitment efforts for assigned studies and conducts screening and intake procedures. She also administers study measures to research participants, enters data, and assists with scheduling and other research activities. She received her Bachelor of Science in Cognitive and Brain Science Studies from Tufts University.
Susan Reed, RN
Ms. Reed is a Research Nurse Coordinator at the UCLA Vine Street Clinic. She is responsible for day-to-day operations of an HIV prevention clinical trial. She ensures that study activities are carried out according to the protocol and Standard Operating Procedures. She provides quality assurance of study data, prepares regular progress reports. She also meets with research participants and conducts medical procedures and administers study measures. Susan has worked at various research institutions and hospitals in capacities that fulfilled both her passion for nursing as well as for research. She received her RN from the Brockton Hospital School of Nursing.
Mariel Romero, MPH
Ms. Romero is a Staff Research Associate at the UCLA Vine Street Clinic. She schedules participants, monitors recruitment and retention, administers study measures, and enters data. She is responsible for tracking of study goals and for regular reporting. Mariel holds a Master’s degree in Anthropology, as well as a Masters of Public Health, both received from the University of North Texas.
Steven Shoptaw, PhD
Dr. Shoptaw is Executive Director of CBAM. He is a licensed psychologist and a Professor in both the Department of Family Medicine and the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA. For more than 25 years, Dr. Shoptaw has conducted a series of clinical studies in community clinic settings, primarily on topics that involve developing and testing medical and behavioral interventions to treat substance abuse and prevent the spread of HIV. He works with a broad spectrum of partners from university, government and community settings. In addition, he maintains a regular caseload of patients and provides training and mentorship to students and postdoctoral fellows. Dr. Shoptaw’s CV boasts more than 40 research grants and nearly 200 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters.
Gacia Tachejian, MSW
Ms. Tachejian is a Project Coordinator working at the UCLA Family Health Center and UCLA Santa Monica Hospital. She is responsible for clinical trials testing medications for the treatment of drug dependence. Her duties include oversight of participant recruitment, screening, enrollment and study procedures. She supervises a staff of three full and part time employees. Prior to joining CBAM in 2013, she worked as a Research Assistant with our colleagues at the UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs. Gacia earned her Master’s degree in Social Work with a concentration in Social Enterprise Administration from Columbia University.
Ms. Tavarez is a Staff Research Associate. She administers study measures and assists medical staff with collection and processing biological specimens. She conducts screening and intake procedures and assists with scheduling. Jasmin is a bilingual Spanish speaker and certified medical assistant. Prior to joining CBAM, she held research positions with the USC Keck Medical Center and with the UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs.
Mr. Tejeda is a part-time Staff Research Associate working on a clinical trial at the UCLA Family Health Center and UCLA Santa Monica Hospital. His responsibilities include recruitment and retention of study participants, administration of study measures, scheduling, and data entry. His previous experience includes providing medical and social services for the Hollywood and Santa Monica homeless populations with the Mobile Clinic Project at UCLA, conducting clinical research for AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and interning at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center as a Care Extender. In 2017, he received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychobiology with minors in Global Health and Music History from UCLA.
Ms. Thomas is a Staff Research Associate at Vine Street Clinic. She conducts outreach in areas where potential study participants are known to congregate, conducts participant screening and intake procedures, and presents to community organizations. She also administers study measures to research participants, enters data, and assists with scheduling and other research activities. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology/Pre-Med from California State University, Northridge.
Mr. Veloz is a Lab/Research Assistant working at the UCLA Vine Street Clinic. He performs phlebotomy procedures, processes biological samples and assists with all other activities in the clinic’s research laboratory. Jonathan earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Health Care Administration and Management from Colorado State University.
Michelle Vertucci, NP, PA-C
Ms. Vertucci is a Physician Assistant at the UCLA Vine Street Clinic. She conducts clinical procedures including consenting participants into our clinical trials, conducting history and physicals for new patients, maintaining medication accountability records, and planning for new studies. Ms. Vertucci also supervises clinic staff, conducts quality control/quality assurance and provides guidance and direction on research operations. Ms. Vertucci has worked in a variety of healthcare settings, including Medical Groups and hospitals. Additionally, she has extensive clinical research experience, especially pertaining to HIV/AIDS, and has been a sub-investigator for over 60 clinical trials. She received her Physician Assistant diploma from the University of Southern California.
Ms. Villanueva is the Laboratory Coordinator for the UCLA Vine Street Clinic overseeing the collection, processing and storage of biological samples. She is responsible for monitoring incoming and outgoing data, maintaining lab credentials, and consulting across projects in the development of workflow processes and protocols. She is also responsible for general management of clinic facilities, managing day to day operations across multiple clinical services and research protocols. She holds state and national certifications as a phlebotomy technician. She joined UCLA in 2007 with 11+ years of clinical laboratory experience in an acute care facility.