Our Team

Sonali Saluja

Sonali Saluja, MD, MPH


Office: (323) 409-3810

Sonali Saluja: Sonali Saluja, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, is a health services researcher at The Gehr Center. Dr. Saluja is board certified in Internal Medicine and currently sees patients at LAC+USC hospital where she teaches and supervises residents and medical students. Dr. Saluja’s research focusses on health disparities as well as access to care for vulnerable populations. Her projects have examined access to insurance and needed care in the setting of health care reform. Dr. Saluja is currently studying how safety-net patients in Los Angeles County are navigating the healthcare landscape under the ACA.

Cameron Kaplan

Cameron Kaplan, PhD


Office: (323) 409-3823

Cameron Kaplan: Cameron Kaplan, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine, is a health economist and health services researcher whose work focuses on the impact of health policy and insurance benefit design on healthcare utilization, health outcomes, and disparities. Dr. Kaplan received his PhD in economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2011. Following his Ph.D., Dr.  Kaplan  completed  a  two-year  post-doctoral  program  in  the  Department  of  Health  Policy  and  Management  at  the  University  of  Pittsburgh. He most recently joined the Gehr Center faculty from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. He is currently the principal investigator of two large research grants.  An R01  from  NIA  examines  the  impact  of  the  Medicare  prescription  drug  donut  hole  closure  on  medication  adherence  and  health  outcomes.  A research  scholar  grant  from  the  American  Cancer  society  examines  the  impact  of  premium  surcharges  for  tobacco  uses  in  the  ACA  health  insurance  exchanges  on  enrollment.

Albert Farias

Albert Farias, PhD, MPH



Albert Farias: Albert Farias, PhD, MPH Assistant Professor of Clinical Preventive Medicine is a health services researcher who is devoted to helping eliminate racial/ethnic disparities in cancer outcomes by furthering our understanding of how evidence-based cancer prevention strategies and treatment are delivered within the health care system and how that influences patient adherence. His research not only identifies health care inequalities but identifies health care-related factors that explain racial/ethnic disparities in cancer outcomes. To carry out this research, Dr. Farias applies a variety of complex methodologies and analytic approaches. His research has focused on the use of cancer registry and medical claims data such as the SEER/Medicare-linked data and more recently the use of the rich SEER/Medicare/CAHPS-linked dataset to identify health care inequalities in patient reported outcomes and health care experiences. Dr. Farias possess a PhD in Health Services Research from the University of Washington, a Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University, and a BS in Biology from UCLA.

Rusha Modi

Rusha Modi, MD



Rusha Modi: Rusha Modi, MD, MPH Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, is a researcher at the Gehr Center. Dr. Modi is a board certified physician in both internal medicine and gastroenterology and hepatology. His areas of interest include quality improvement in endoscopic units; improving access to and the quality of colorectal cancer screenings; and the role of digital health in chronic disease management. He has a strong interest in patient advocacy, especially for low income populations and is investigating different methods to optimize the delivery of specialty services in such settings.

Michael Cousineau

Michael Cousineau, Dr.PH

Senior Adviser

Office: (323) 409-3823

Michael Cousineau: Michael R. Cousineau, DPH, is a researcher at the Gehr Center and a Professor of Clinical Preventive Medicine in the Departments of Family Medicine and Preventive Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the USC Price School of Public Policy. He attended University of California, Berkeley and received his doctorate from the UCLA School of Public Health. Dr. Cousineau studies health policy, the determinants of health care utilization for low-income populations, models of health insurance coverage, health care disparities, effectiveness of outreach and enrollment systems for public insurance programs, the operation of safety-net providers including community health centers and public hospitals, and health needs of vulnerable populations including the homeless and immigrants. Dr. Cousineau teaches health policy in the Masters in Public Health Program at USC and in the Keck School of Medicine.  He has published in Health Affairs, Medical Care, Health Services Research, the American Journal of Public Health, and Academic Medicine.

Barbara Turner

Barbara Turner, MD, MSED, MACP

Senior Adviser

Office: (323) 409-3823

Barbara Turner: Barbara Turner, MD, MSED, MACP is a Clinical Professor of Medicine and a practicing general internist with over 30 years of experience in health disparities research and community-partnered research. In 2010, she established the Center for Research to Advance Community Health (ReACH) as a partnership between the University of Texas (UT) Health San Antonio and the UT School of Public Health (UTSPH). Her research has focused on health disparities through administrative database studies, randomized trials, and implementation & dissemination projects. She has been principal investigator (PI) on four federal- and state-funded projects to implement Hepatitis C Virus screening and management in diverse primary care practices. Dr. Turner has over 175 peer-reviewed publications and editorials from research funded by the NIH, the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ), Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Dr. Turner has served as Regent of the American College of Physicians (ACP) and President of the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM). In addition to working with the Gehr Center, Dr. Turner edits the Internal Medicine volume of Dynamed, an online medical textbook.

Veronica Pagan

Veronica Pagán, MA, MPH

Data Analyst for Research & Quality


Veronica Pagán is a Data Analyst for Research & Quality whose recent work includes improving colorectal cancer screening rates, increasing access for epilepsy patients, helping to develop and implement a perioperative brain health pathway, enhancing person-centered care for older oncology patients, and implementation of telehealth at Keck Medicine of USC. Having spent ten years in Science & Technology publishing, she transitioned into healthcare in 2016. Veronica holds an MA in Classical Philology and an MPH with an emphasis in Biostatistics/Epidemiology.

Carol Peden

Carol Peden, BSc (Medical Sciences), MB ChB, MD, FRCA, FFICM, FFMLM, MPH

Faculty and Director of Health Systems Innovation


Carol Peden is a professor of anesthesiology and executive director of the new Center for Health System Innovation (CHSI) at USC in Los Angeles. She is also a visiting professor at the University of Bath, UK, Centre for Healthcare Innovation and Improvement (CHII). Prior to moving to USC, Carol was an associate medical director for clinical quality for the National Health Service (NHS) England and a consultant in anesthesia and intensive care at the Royal United Hospitals, Bath, United Kingdom. Carol developed her expertise in quality improvement as a fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). Peden has led quality improvement projects internationally, as perioperative lead for the Danish Hospital Patient Safety program from 2010-2012 and intensive care unit (ICU) lead for the South West (England) Quality and Patient Safety Improvement Programme (QPSIP) 2009-2014, among others.  Carol continues to work with IHI; most recently she taught their Accelerated Patient Safety course for the Australia and New Zealand faculty of emergency medicine. Carol has a number of major research grants and projects on quality and safety. She has also served in governance roles in the UK and internationally. Recent research projects in the UK include cofounding the emergency laparotomy network and designing and delivering the quality improvement program for the 90-hospital Enhanced Perioperative Care for High-Risk patients (EPOCH) study to improve outcomes in high-risk surgical patients. She is an author of multiple papers, national standards and two books, including the Audit and Quality Improvement guide for the Royal College of Anaesthetists, UK. Peden has been awarded the Davy Medal and the RCoA Macintosh Professorship by the Royal College of Anaesthetists, UK, and is the 2016 Ellis Gillespie professor and visitor of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthestists. Her research interests include clinical quality improvement; improving perioperative outcomes, particularly in the elderly patient; using data for improvement; designing safer clinical systems; and communication in health care. Peden has a medical degree and research doctorate in medicine from the University of Edinburgh, UK. She is a fellow of the Royal College of Anaesthetists, the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine and the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management, UK.  She has an MPH in clinical effectiveness from Harvard University.

Todd Schneberk, MD

Todd Schneberk, MD



Todd Schneberk is an assistant professor of clinical emergency medicine and an assistant program director of the Los Angeles County+USC Emergency Medicine Residency program. He completed his residency in emergency medicine at LAC+USC Medical Center and subsequently earned a fellowship in health policy and research at UCLA. His research and advocacy interests include social determinants of health, immigration status as a health barrier, opioid use disorder and leveraging the Emergency Department to address upstream factors affecting the health and stability of vulnerable populations.

Susanne Hempel

Susanne Hempel, PhD

Faculty and Director of the Evidence-Based Practice Center


Susanne Hempel is a professor of research preventative medicine at USC. Before joining USC, she was a senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation and a professor at the Frederick S. Pardee RAND Graduate School. She is the codirector of the Southern California Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC), leading contracts for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Psychological Health Center of Excellence (PHCoE) and other federal agencies, and she holds an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) to provide the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) with evidence maps, topic briefs and topic refinement. She carries out systematic reviews in health care research and methodological projects aiming to improve evidence syntheses. She teaches systematic review methodology and applied psychometrics. Prior to joining RAND, she worked at the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD), University of York, United Kingdom. She earned her PhD in psychology from the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, Germany.

Alissa Maier, MPH

Alissa Maier, MPH

Project Manager – Quality and Population Health


Alissa Maier, MPH is the project manager for Quality and Population Health at the Gehr Family Center for Health Systems Science and Innovation in the Department of Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. She has spent most her career working on chronic disease prevention and management programming at national nonprofit organizations. Her passion and interest in quality improvement inspired her to join the Gehr Center team. She holds a BS in Psychology from the University of Dayton and an MPH with an emphasis on Health Education and Promotion from the University of Cincinnati.

Christopher Hendel

Christopher Hendel

Christopher Hendel is an adjunct research instructor of medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and adviser to the Gehr Family Center for Health Systems Science and Innovation. Mr. Hendel supports the Gehr Center in preparing patient materials for scholarly endeavors. Previously, he worked for Consumer Reports for 29 years, where he served as chief medical researcher, content editor, and as Associate Director, Health and Family. He was a co-founder and sole researcher for the Consumer Reports on Health newsletter. He also provided research and medical review for various public health initiatives, including the Choosing Wisely campaign (via the ABIM Foundation’s partnership with CR), helping to “advance dialogue on avoiding unnecessary tests and treatments.” He has a passionate interest in enhancing the doctor-patient conversation by making conflict-free, evidence-based medical information more available to the public. Chris works remotely from his home in Vermont. He has an M.A. in cultural anthropology from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, with a focus on medical epidemiology and field work in India and Nepal.

Jeniffer Kim

Jeniffer Kim, PhD, MPH

Research Manager/Biostatistician


Jeniffer Kim, PhD, MPH will be supporting various projects and highlighting the Center’s achievements in multidisciplinary research. Prior to joining the Gehr team, Dr. Kim supported several epidemiological studies at USC. She evaluated various health outcomes ranging from eye diseases in pediatric and aging populations, early life air pollution exposures on childhood BMI growth, and environmental effects on obesity and cardiometabolic health in young adults. Dr. Kim possesses a PhD in Epidemiology, a Master’s in Public Health, a BS in Biochemistry, and a BA in Mathematics from the University of Southern California.

Aneesa Motala

Aneesa Motala

Program Administrator, Southern California Evidence Review Center

Office: (323) 442-3294

Aneesa Motala is a Program Coordinator at the USC Gehr Family Center for Health Systems Science & Innovation, where she also serves as program coordinator for the Southern California Evidence Review Center (ERC). She supports and manages numerous project teams consisting of literature reviewers, data programmers, principle investigators and co-principle investigators, and statisticians to produce systematic reviews, updates to prior reports and meta-analyses. Ms. Motala’s background is in mental health, working with marginalized populations, and youth development. Prior to USC, she spent 11 years at the RAND Corporation as a policy analyst and 4 years in Bulgaria serving as a Peace Corps volunteer for the Youth Development program working with the Roma youth. Ms. Motala earned her B.A. in Sociology from the University of California in Santa Barbara.