Current Students

The Cedars-Sinai Master's Degree in Health Delivery Science is shaping leaders who will be charged with maximizing healthcare's value in the future. Meet the recent classes of students moving into—or advancing—their careers in digital health science, healthcare administration, health information technology and other areas.

Class of 2020

Brandon is a project scientist working on virtual reality (VR) clinical trials at Cedars-Sinai. He has been researching the use of immersive technology (VR/AR) within healthcare for the last three years. He began his work with therapeutic VR by helping providers in restricted head movement clinical settings, such as dentistry, using the technology for pain and anxiety relief. He then created a pilot research study at Mayo Clinic to examine the effect of VR on pain using the cold pressor test. He has collaborated with researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center to assess the use of VR in medical education. He is working with Brennan Spiegel, MD, and a group of international therapeutic VR experts to create guidelines for future clinical trials within the field. This committee of researchers is called the VR-CORE (Virtual Reality – Clinical Outcomes Research Experts). Brandon received his medical degree from Mayo Medical School.

"I chose to attend the MHDS program because I seek new opportunities to expand my view of healthcare beyond my scope of a bedside practitioner with a goal of improving its value, efficiency and patient outcomes."

Janine is a physical therapist at Cedars-Sinai. She rehabilitates patients throughout the hospital, from the ICU to medical-surgical floors. Her areas of interest include vestibular and neurological rehabilitation in the acute care setting. She is a graduate of Scripps College in Claremont, California where she majored in human biology and minored in hispanic studies. She obtained her doctorate in physical therapy from the University of Southern California. Previous to practicing at Cedars-Sinai, Janine worked at Glendale Adventist Medical Center and California Hospital Medical Center where she helped to develop new ways of providing holistic healthcare at a lower cost systemically. In her free time, Janine enjoys hiking and cycling with her husband.

"I chose the MHDS program to obtain a skill set that would allow me to maximize the cost-effectiveness and quality of the healthcare around me."

David is in his second year of gastroenterology fellowship at Cedars-Sinai. He grew up in San Diego but has spent the past several years in New England, attending medical school at Dartmouth and completing his residency at Tufts. Quality improvement and healthcare innovation have always been his chief interests outside of clinical work.

Jennifer has over 10 years of experience working with the cardiac surgical patient population at various academic medical centers. Most of this time was spent in the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit, serving as a charge nurse and mentor for new nurses entering the ICU. She has been with Cedars-Sinai since 2010 and has been working as an MCS coordinator since 2014. The MCS program serves a small group of heart failure patients who are implanted with a left ventricular assist device or total artificial heart as a bridge to heart transplant. The MCS coordinator is the catchall for this group: participate in daily inpatient rounds to troubleshoot issues with devices and provide input during multidisciplinary rounds; preoperative and postoperative education for the patient and their families; provide all initial and annual training for physicians, nurses and all staff in various areas of the hospital that manage the MCS population; present in OR for all device set up and management; interrogate heart pumps and oversee driveline management in the outpatient clinic twice weekly; on-call support to patients and staff (rotated weekly between four coordinators); provide education and training for all outpatient areas that our patient may encounter: ERs, local first responders, family practitioners; collaborate with MCS pharmacist for anticoagulation management; actively participate in research projects and data collection/management; ongoing revision and implementation of policies and procedures related to patient management.

"I have chosen to study Health Delivery Science because I have seen so many changes in healthcare and the health delivery system. I would like to have a better understanding of the changing health delivery system so I can apply this knowledge to my practice as an occupational therapist."

Leslie is an occupational therapist and Certified Hand Therapist (CHT). She graduated from California State University, Long Beach, with a bachelor of arts in human development. She continued her education at the University of Southern California and received her master of arts in occupational therapy. She has worked across three service lines while being employed at Cedars-Sinai. She has worked for the Department of Acute Therapy Services where she provided occupational therapy to multiple floors throughout the hospital, the Acute Rehabilitation Unit where she served as an admissions coordinator and is currently working for Outpatient Rehabilitation Services in the Hand Therapy Clinic. She is an Advanced Practitioner in Hand Therapy (HTC), has advanced practice certification in Physical Agent Modalities (PAMs), and is a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT). She is an adjunct professor at CBD College for the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant program and she is a per diem occupational therapist at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital. Her past work experience also includes pediatric therapy, school-based therapy, home health therapy, transit evaluation and utilization review. Outside of the hospital, Leslie enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, cooking and watching movies.

"I applied to the MHDS program because I wanted to expand my skill set into the field of healthcare operations and management. As an example, I am currently involved in a research project using the TrueBeam radiotherapy system to study lung motion in patients receiving radiation for cancer in the chest. In working with the technicians performing these scans, I have seen how busy the machine is, and how difficult rescheduling the scan is if a patient is late. I could imagine that I can apply what I learn in the MHDS program to develop a novel technological and/or management solution to maximize the efficiency of the machine for the hospital, and the ability of patients to be rescheduled for the same day. I envision that a hybrid career in research and operations would amplify the positive impact I can bring to healthcare, and I am sure that the MHDS program and my capstone project would help me develop and realize this goal."

Elizabeth is a research associate in the Biomedical Imaging Research Institute (BIRI) at Cedars-Sinai. In her position, she coordinates a broad range of clinical and imaging research projects, as well as interfacing with IACUC, IRB, and grant and contracts management.

"In this master's program, I'm looking to learn how to identify, simplify and effectively deliver scientific discoveries from research bench to bedside. Also, I would like to design a value-based, health-problem-oriented approach to care, that would optimize usage of resources, time and investment—enhancing patient experiences and clinical outcomes.

Knowledge of health analytics, performance improvement, digital health science, economics and health financing are key components for developing a model that would provide appropriate care, for the right patient, at the right time, using only necessary resources at a reasonable cost."

Helena works for the Nanomedicine Research Center in the Department of Neurosurgery. She is a multidisciplinary professional with extensive experience in business development, financial management, operations and sales.

Daria is the cardiovascular genetic counselor at the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai.

She combines her specialized education in medical genetics and counseling skills to provide cardiovascular genetic risk assessment and genetic testing options for people with heart disease. Genetic testing results in opportunities for more personalized management for the affected individual, as well as identification of at-risk family members for predictive testing, which can save lives. Prior to joining the Cedars-Sinai family, Daria practiced genetic counseling in the field of prenatal and preconception in both the public and private sectors in the greater Los Angeles area.

Technology is revolutionizing healthcare at an accelerating pace, particularly in the field of medical genetics and genomics, an integral part of precision medicine. After graduating from the MHDS program, Daria hopes to use her newly acquired mindset and leadership skills to leverage her clinical experience in medical genetics to achieve better clinical outcomes, while providing improved patient experiences.

"I decided to apply to the master's program in order to understand health systems, financial issues, and how to better educate our fellows and junior colleagues. Completion of this program will allow me to be a better leader in my team and to better support the institution in a constructive way."

Monica is a medical oncologist with experience in early drug development. She is a clinical professor at Cedars-Sinai and UCLA, and the co-director of Experimental Therapeutics at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute. She also specializes in the treatment of breast cancer. She has been at Cedars-Sinai since 2011.

"The number of patients who showed up in the ED with nonemergent complaints [where I used to work] and the number of calls I get now from patients trying to enroll in studies because they are otherwise unable to be seen by a specialist, have highlighted the downfalls of the healthcare system for me. This is my main interest in joining the MHDS program. I am interested in gaining a better understanding of the system as a whole and trying to find ways to make healthcare more affordable and accessible."

Tahli has a BS in biochemistry. She is currently a clinical research associate with the Smidt Heart Institute. Prior to coming to Cedars-Sinai, she worked as an emergency department scribe.

"I am excited to join the MHDS program because not only will I be able to make invaluable relationships with my colleagues and instructors, but I will also be better equipped to implement data applications and incorporate big data in order to provide better medical care to the population. As I move onward in my healthcare career, I look forward to being a helpful resource to all patients regardless of the barriers they face in pursuing a healthy outcome."

Chetana started her journey in healthcare in 2011 as an enthusiastic foreign medical student in the Philippines. As a medical student, she was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to witness the practice of medicine in various parts of the world including the Philippines, India and the U.S. After graduating, she was eager to continue her education in the medical field and became a part of Dr. Raj Makkar's team at Cedars-Sinai as a clinical research associate in 2017. As a research associate, she was further exposed to the perils of healthcare and the innate understanding that her knowledge of how the American healthcare system works is incomplete.

Dr. Gaurav Syal completed his initial medical training in India before moving to the U.S. for his internal medicine residency and fellowship training in gastroenterology and inflammatory bowel diseases. He currently serves as an academic faculty member at the Cedars-Sinai Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center. In addition to providing clinical care to patients with IBD, he is interested in clinical research, particularly the use of big data analytics in evaluating quality of healthcare and improving outcomes in patients with IBD.

"Predictions indicate that current healthcare delivery models are no longer sustainable and will undergo significant changes in the coming years. I hope pursuing this degree will provide me with the tools necessary to be involved in creative solutions to this crisis, as well as new leadership opportunities in this changing dynamic."

Angie has been part of the transplant nursing management team with the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai for the last eight years. She has over 23 years of experience in heart-lung transplant coordination. Angie received her bachelor of science in nursing from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and began her training in the Cardiothoracic Surgical ICU at Duke University. She continued her career in Cardiothoracic Surgery ICU at UCLA, working with adult as well as pediatric congenital heart disease populations—eventually moving into the role of transplant coordinator in 1995. Currently, Angie is responsible for program and protocol development and participation in the committees associated with such development which include pretransplant, in-hospital, outpatient and donor management. She is highly involved in the innovative research development for heart transplant patients. She has coauthored numerous papers that have been presented at the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation or published in the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation. Angie is also co-author of the heart transplant chapter of the Core Curriculum for Transplant Nurses published in 2017.

"I chose this program to better understand the intricacies of the healthcare system and more effectively integrate data with clinical practice."

Hali recently joined the clinical transformation team at Cedars-Sinai after serving as an antimicrobial stewardship pharmacist. After graduating from Purdue University College of Pharmacy, she completed a general pharmacy practice residency at Methodist Hospital in San Antonio, Texas, followed by an infectious diseases pharmacy residency at Western University in Pomona, California. Her professional interests include fostering multidisciplinary relationships to advance the knowledge and awareness of antimicrobial stewardship and resistance, stewardship in skilled nursing facilities, and population health. In her free time, Hali enjoys rock climbing and spending time outdoors.

Class of 2021

Dr. Michael Albert hails from Oklahoma City. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center with a doctorate in medicine. He went on to train as a resident in internal medicine at Cedars-Sinai, where he is currently serving as the UCLA Kennamer General Internal Medicine Fellow. Dr. Albert has an interest in health systems management and is researching how healthcare can leverage digital technologies to provide high-value care.

"I am interested in learning about data analytics and healthcare financing during my graduate studies, hoping to make the best use of data for patients, while striving to reduce costs and improve accessibility to patients in underserved communities."

Shreya Celly joined the Medically Associated Science and Technology (MAST) team at Cedars-Sinai in June 2017 after earning her bachelor of science in biochemistry from the University of Southern California (USC). As an undergraduate, she conducted behavioral and genetics research, studying muscleblind proteins at the Institute for Genetic Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Her research culminated in a thesis centered around determining the experimental conditions required to deplete two murine cardiac proteins, and testing if this depletion results in the mis-splicing of target RNAs. Shreya is currently working on a multitude of ongoing projects in the MAST lab, which includes protein analysis and animal and microbiology work. Her primary research interest is understanding the impact of the microbiome on overall human health, and the majority of her work in the lab is on a large-scale project aimed at profiling the small intestinal microbiome.

Shreya has spent countless dedicated hours as a volunteer health scholar in the emergency department at Saint Francis Medical Center, a Level 1 Trauma Center in Lynwood, California. While shadowing physicians, nurses and emergency medical technicians, she helped triage and provide basic care for patients. She served as an assistant director of the program during her volunteer tenure, training fellow volunteers in basic skills needed to successfully be a part of the program (including safe patient handling, HIPP regulations, etc.). She hopes to continue her career at the center of research and community service, and work towards alleviating global health disparities, both in the clinic and in the lab. She currently serves as the Director of Service Events on the USC Young Alumni Council.

"I chose to enroll in the MHDS program to gain a strong foundation in the science behind healthcare delivery and analytics and to further my interests in incorporating the rapidly changing fields of both information technology and medicine to change and improve patient care."

Yufei is an endocrine and general surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He earned his medical degree at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, before coming to the United States to complete a general surgery residency at Massachusetts General Hospital and an endocrine surgery fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. He treats and operates on diseases of the thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands, often utilizing minimally invasive techniques. From a research perspective, Yufei has a longstanding interest in digital health, particularly harnessing technology to measure patient-reported outcomes and quality of life.

"Why I chose to participate in the master's program is because I would like to gain a better understanding of how our healthcare works and be a part of the change that will make it better. Being a part of the perioperative service, we strive to provide value-based care to our patients. I believe this course will empower me to improve our service and continue to improve patient care."

Diana is a native Californian who decided to attend medical school at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and residency at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. She came to Cedars-Sinai after her residency to complete a fellowship in regional and acute pain management. Diana is currently a junior faculty in the Department of Anesthesia. She splits her time between regional Anesthesia, Inpatient Pain and Perioperative Services. She has always enjoyed doing research and teaching residents.

Zhi is an experienced laboratory scientist in microbiology and molecular genetics who is interested in expanding his ability to deliver scientific discoveries from the research bench to the bedside efficiently and successfully. He received his MS at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the country’s leading scientific institution in natural sciences and high technology development.

"The Health Delivery Science program excites me for a variety of reasons. I have been exploring MBA and MPH programs at other institutions, and while I find the curriculum interesting, the MHDS coursework is more relevant and valuable to my career aspirations. I hope my perspective will offer a broader range of color to the program with a creative and innovative lens to healthcare."

Christine was born at Cedars-Sinai and has taken the scenic route to return to the hospital as the senior administrative assistant in Inpatient Pain Service. She graduated from the University of Arizona (cum laude) with a bachelor's degree in media arts. After several years as a television producer, she was given the opportunity to manage an apparel office in Asia. The short-term project abroad turned into a decade-long management career based in Hong Kong, as well as working in factories in China, Thailand, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. During her time overseas, Christine also gained yoga certifications, specializing in hatha, prenatal, postnatal and active birth yoga. She has taught yoga privately, in fitness studios, as well as corporate yoga for international banks. Now, in collaboration with Inpatient Pain, Spiritual Care and Volunteer Services, Christine also offers reiki to both patients and clinicians in the hospital.

"It's a profound fact that healthcare is going through drastic transformations driven by changes in healthcare financing, health data analysis and the evolution of health technology. Post-acute care isn't an exception for these changes. I believe the Cedars-Sinai MHDS program will prepare me to integrate these changes into post-acute care."

Makda began her college career with interests in the medical field. As she progressed in school and in her career, her interests evolved into healthcare policies, quality management and administration aspects of healthcare. Her aspiration to develop a career around the needs of post-acute care is a result of her exposure to various nursing and administrative roles within the nursing home operations. In her spare time, Makda enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and working on art projects.

Mitch is associate professor of Radiation Oncology, director of Brachytherapy, and residency program director at Cedars-Sinai. He received his BS from UCLA and his MD from UCSD, followed by a medicine internship at Stanford University and residency in radiation oncology at the National Cancer Institute. He returned to UCLA for a fellowship in brachytherapy and joined Cedars-Sinai in 2017.

"I chose the MHDS program because I want to be equipped with the tools to be in the forefront of an ever-changing field. I was always interested in informatics in nursing school, but I did not want to lose the clinical side of nursing. I believe that this program will enable me to gain the tools necessary to use and understand big data so that I can collaborate with the various roles within the healthcare team, and together we can find solutions to provide safe and effective patient-centered care while being cost-efficient."

Joanna has been part of the Cedars-Sinai team for the past 3 ½ years as a nurse on a heart failure and progressive care unit. Joanna received her bachelor of science in nursing through an accelerated nursing program at New York University. She began her career at a big academic hospital in New York on a pulmonary stepdown unit, where she fell in love with critical care nursing. She continued her career at Cedars-Sinai when home was calling her back. She just recently switched gears from the adult nursing world to the neonatal world and she is excited for this new population she can serve.

"I enrolled in the Cedars-Sinai Master's Degree in Health Delivery Science program so I can prepare myself for the future of changing healthcare services. I strive to develop skills and knowledge so that I can assist my organization to meet the demands and needs of providing quality care to patients in the most efficient way possible."

Thu is a program administrator in the Comprehensive Transplant Center. She graduated from California State University, Northridge, with a bachelor of science in health administration.

"I have chosen to study Health Delivery Science because I appreciate the changes that are coming in healthcare and want to better understand my role and how outpatient rehabilitation fits into the big picture."

Matt is a physical therapist and assistant manager for outpatient rehabilitation at Cedars- Sinai. He helps manage the neurology, hand, voice, and head and neck cancer outpatient clinics. His primary experience is in orthopaedic manual physical therapy, but he really enjoys learning about all the different areas of rehabilitation and how they fit into the whole healthcare continuum. He is a graduate of Montana State University, Bozeman, with a bachelor's in human and health development. He continued his education at California State University, Long Beach, where he received his master's in physical therapy and at the Ola Grimsby Institute, where he completed a residency and received his doctorate in physical therapy. Prior to working at Cedars-Sinai, Matt worked at Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, for about six years. In his free time, Matt enjoys outdoor activities with his wife, Lisa, and their three children, Aleah, Kalais and Lincoln.

"As a physician, I strongly believe that my professional development depends on honing my skills in leadership, networking and knowledge sharing on medical innovations, particularly artificial intelligence and virtual medicine. Cedars-Sinai is nationally and internationally renowned for healthcare leadership and medical innovation. I cannot think of any other program than the Cedars-Sinai Master's Degree Program in Health Delivery Science (MHDS) that can facilitate my career aspiration and ambition."

Aryabod received his associate degree in science from El Camino College in Torrance, California, bachelor of science in biochemistry from UCLA and his medical degree from Universidad Central del Este in the Dominican Republic. Aryabod also received academic training and a degree in health information technology from Santa Barbara City College. Prior to joining Cedars-Sinai, he has worked as a researcher with Professor Matthew J. Budoff, MD, a world-renowned cardiologist at LA BioMed/Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Afterward, Aryabod worked with Prime Healthcare to assist clinical departments in IT planning and implementation; worked with the leaderships of administration, IT and reimbursement, to create detailed application designs that conform to application architecture guidelines. Currently, he is a research fellow in cardiac imaging at Cedars-Sinai, working to develop machine- and deep-learning algorithms, which allow for fast, robust and fully automated quantification of cardiovascular measurement from noncontrast calcium scoring CT; it performs equally well as an expert reader and can be implemented in clinical routine for cardiovascular risk assessment.

In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, watching science fiction movies and cooking.

Connie was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia. She received her bachelor's degree in occupational therapy from Universidad del Rosario. After moving to the United States, she became a Certified Hand Therapist and was a practicing hand occupational therapist for almost 15 years. Connie's interest in policy and how it affects daily practice and operations led her to transition into management. Currently, she is the associate director for Outpatient Rehab Services at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, leading a team of over 50 physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists. In her free time, Connie loves to visit Disneyland, as she is a big fan of the little mouse, and she loves spending time with her family.

"I joined the MHDS program to enrich my understanding of the clinical applications of my work on predictive and prescriptive analytics."

Matthew Wells is a data scientist who has worked at Cedars-Sinai since 2016. His work is focused on prescriptive modeling and pattern-based analysis to clarify and resolve complex issues for the health system. He's worked on projects around patient likelihood of cesarean section prediction, hospital census prediction and emergency department boarding root cause evaluation. Prior to that he worked in strategic planning for Montefiore Health System and the Greater New York Hospital Association. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Turkmenistan from 2008 to 2010. Outside of work you can catch him training for marathons or doing improv comedy at the Ruby Theatre in Hollywood.

"I chose to attend the MHDS program because I seek new opportunities to advance my research skills and build relationships."

I am a physical therapist in the Cedars-Sinai outpatient rehabilitation department. My areas of interest in clinical practice include neurological and vestibular rehabilitation. My research interests are related to patients with stroke, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis. I earned a medical degree from Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. Then I practiced seven years in a local hospital before I went to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, for the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. I completed the Neurologic Residency Training at Creighton University right after I obtained my DPT degree. Then I started my practice at Cedars-Sinai in 2015. I also work as a coordinator for the Cedars-Sinai Neurologic Residency program. Besides clinical practice, I am very interested in teaching and am a teaching faculty member at Mount Saint Mary's University. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and hiking.

Have Questions or Need Help?

If you have questions or wish to learn more about the MHDS program, please contact:

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
8687 Melrose Ave.
Suite G-532
West Hollywood, CA 90069