top of page

Trainees are the foundation of this network. A core feature of the MCHB is to develop leaders in the field who will create and promote critical and groundbreaking research and policy, transforming the health and lives of children and families. This network supports MCH trainees to be such leaders through statewide collaboration. Past trainee liaisons can be found here. Meet our dynamic trainee liaisons below: 

2019-2020 Trainee Liaisons

CA-LEND Trainee: Zoe Womack

Zoë Womack, MPH

California Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (CA-LEND) at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Education & Training:

  • BS Nutritional Science ; BA Political Science at Pepperdine University

  • MPH in Community Health Sciences at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

  • Dietetic Internship at Children's Hospital Los Angeles



Professional Goals:

I am currently working on my dietetic internship at CHLA. Through the CA-LEND program, I have been able to combine my passion for pediatric nutrition with a comprehensive approach to serve children with special healthcare needs. Previously, I studied at UCLA for my MPH and I focused on maternal and child nutrition and how this interacts with larger systemic structures. I have strived to have an interdisciplinary approach, and received certificates in Food Studies & Leadership in Sustainability.



Goldie Weingarten, MSW

California Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (CA-LEND) at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Education & Training:

  • MSW earned from Fordham University in New York City



Professional Goals:

 Goldie has over 20 years of experience working with children and adults with special needs.  For the last several years, Goldie has collaborated with the Department Of Developmental Services to develop specialized homes for individuals who moved out of the closing Developmental Center.  Goldie enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 children; traveling, doing puzzles and dancing. 

Talia Roshini Lester, M.D.

Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Training Program at Stanford University

Education & Training:

  • Bachelor of Science in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics at University of California Los Angeles in Los Angeles, CA 

  • Doctor of Medicine from David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in Los Angeles, CA 

  • Pediatrics Internship and Residency at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA 

Current Training:

  • Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Fellow at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA 


Professional Goals: 

Talia is currently a Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Fellow at Stanford. She is passionate about community advocacy and medical education. The MCH leadership program will help train her to become a leader in these areas. She is interested in developing ways to support easy communication among the multidisciplinary team members who care for children with developmental and behavioral conditions. Her current research focuses on medication management for anxiety and depression in primary care. 

Sairam Kumar, M.D.

Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Training Program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Education & Training:

  • Medical School: Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute, India 

  • Internship: Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY 

  • Residency: Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY



Professional Goals:

Dr. Kumar is a current CA-LEND long-term trainee at the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. His research interests involve high-risk infant follow up, early childhood, autism, and neurodevelopmental disabilities. He is passionate about improving system-based practices and healthcare disparities in the community with regards to the treatment and management of developmental-behavioral conditions. 

Reina Black, MPH, CPH, CHES

Leadership Education in Adolescent Health Training Project at Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Education & Training:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, UCLA Bachelor of Arts in Human Biology and Society,

  • UCLA Master of Public Health in Community Health Sciences, UCLA 

Professional Goals:

Reina is a medium-term trainee in the Leadership Education in Adolescent Health program at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. As a public health graduate student, she developed a particular affinity for nutrition, completing the Food Studies Graduate Certificate and participating in nutrition-related research. With this in mind, she is currently applying for Master of Science in Nutrition programs in pursuit of becoming a Registered Dietician. Having learned about the interconnectedness of nutrition and disease and the lasting effects that nutrition, in the earliest years of life, can have on one’s future health status, Reina intends to work in the field of community nutrition in order to help children start off with the best nutrition possible, as early as possible, so that they can lead better, healthier lives.


Chelsea Garnett, M.D.

Leadership Education in Adolescent Health Training Project at UC San Francisco


Education & Training:

  • Undergraduate: BA in Human Biology, Stanford University, 2010

  • Medical School: MD, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, 2015

  • Residency: Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, 2015-2018

  • Fellowship: Adolescent Medicine, UCSF, 2018-Present

Professional Goals:

I grew up in and completed my pediatrics training in Los Angeles and am currently in my first year of adolescent medicine fellowship and LEAH training program at UCSF. I have a particular interest in bolstering provision of reproductive and mental health care for teens and young adults. 


Currently Unfilled

Maternal and Child Health Nutrition Training Program at UC Berkeley

Ruchi Punatar , M.D.

Northern California Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) at the University of California Davis MIND Institute (Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disabilities)

Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Training Program at UC Davis

Education & Training:

  • Undergraduate: University of California Berkeley

  • Medical School: Saint Louis University School of Medicine

  • Internship and Residency: UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland

  • Fellowship: University of California Davis 


Professional Goals:

My interest in childhood development began through my undergraduate experience at U.C. Berkeley participating in research on infant cognition through the Infant Studies Center. After graduating, I worked as a behavioral therapist for children with autism and other developmental disorders. After seeing the unique medical needs these children often had, I decided to pursue a medical degree at Saint Louis University. During my time there, I developed and taught a course on developmental disabilities to other medical students. I attended UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital-Oakland for residency, where I worked closely with the Developmental-Behavioral Pediatric Department on analyzing ways to improve access to care for children with developmental concerns. I have started my fellowship in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics at U.C. Davis and I am is looking forward to further developing my clinical and research skills in the area.

Clarissa Wong, MPH Candidate


Partners in Excellence for Leadership in MCH Nutrition at UCLA

Education & Training:

  • B.S. Clinical Nutrition, Psychology Minor, UC Davis, 2019

  • M.P.H. Student, Community Health Sciences, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health (expected December 2020) 

  • Dietetic Intern, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System

Professional Goals:

I am currently part of the combined Masters of Public Health Program at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and Dietetic Internship with the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. During my time at UC Davis, I was able to volunteer at a Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) clinic in Sacramento which primed my interest in public health and maternal and child nutrition. Through this experience, I became aware of how critical pregnancy and early childhood is to overall health as well as the social determinants that affect food access and diet choices. After graduating from UC Davis in 2019 with a Clinical Nutrition degree, I wanted to gain a broader perspective on nutrition and health by studying public health. After completion of the combined program, I plan to become a Registered Dietitian, working with mothers and children, and eventually become a Lactation Consultant to promote breastfeeding and make a difference for families in such a critical life period.



Julie Grassian

Pathways for Students into Health Professions at UCLA


  • B.A. in Psychology, minor in Public Health from University of California, Los Angeles 


Professional Goals: 

Julie is a fourth year undergraduate student at UCLA involved in the MCH Pipeline - Pathways program at UCLA. She currently interns for the Iris Cantor-UCLA Women's Health and Research Center where she assists in program evaluation and research on women's health, and also serves as a youth mentor and grief counselor for UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital's Palliative Care Department. These involvements as well as being involved in the Pathways program and public health minor has established her passion in the field of maternal child health, and she plans to pursue a Masters in Public Health after graduation from UCLA. 

Soe Maw, M.D.

UCSF Fresno Pediatrics-Child Psychiatry Collaborative Office Rounds (COR): A Longitudinal Curriculum for Pediatric Practitioners in the San Joaquin Valley

Education & Training

2014-2017   UCSF Fresno Pediatric Residency (Fresno, CA)

2010-2014   University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (Miami, FL)

2005-2009   University of California Davis (Davis, CA)


Professional Goals: 

The San Joaquin Valley of Central California has an underserved population that continues to inspire me in my role as an advocate, educator, and physician. Collaborative Office Rounds during my pediatric residency highlighted the challenges my patients face and how healthcare is an interconnected web that requires understanding and partnership between pediatricians, children, families, and the community that nurtures them. Collaborative Office Rounds with public health experts and guests from various community organizations were motivating and integral to my desire to pursue an academic career path in community pediatrics and public health.

My goal is to pursue advanced training in community pediatrics, obtain a Masters in Public Health, use my knowledge and passion to improve child health and health care in the Central Valley of California, strengthen community partnerships, and learn the skills to become a leader in medical education.


Currently Unfilled

UCLA Center for Excellence in Child and Family Health (CECFH) and MCH Academic

Laura Alba, M.S.

University of California - Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (UC-LEND) at UCLA/UC Riverside

Education & Training:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from San Diego State University

  • Master’s in Neuroscience and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University

Professional Goals:

  • I am a PhD student in School Psychology at the University of California, Riverside. My areas of interests include: the impact of early-life adversity on mental health and academic outcomes in children with and without neurodevelopmental disabilities, building resiliency, and school discipline exclusionary practices. In addition, I hope to work with Spanish-speaking families in schools in order to bridge the gap between home and school communication. 


Kiana Naimi, MSW Candidate

University of California - Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (UC-LEND) at UCLA/UC Riverside


  • Bachelor in Sociology from the California State University, Northridge

    • Emphasis in Social Work​

  • Master’s in Social Work from University of California, Los Angeles

Kiana is pursuing a Master's of Social Welfare with a specialization in Health and Mental Health Across the Lifespan at UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Although not a U.S. born, Kiana considers herself a California native, as she grew up in Southern California and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology with an emphasis in Social Welfare from California State University, Northridge in 2017. As a first-year MSW student, Kiana completed her field practicum hours at LAUSD --School of Mental Health, where she served as a Psychiatric Social Work (PSW) Intern. Within that role, Kiana was able to address in detail the mental health challenges of high school-aged youth, as well as destigmatizing mental health as a way to improve access to treatment.  


One of Kiana's many interests is in maternal and child health care and access, with a focus on neurodiversity in Social Welfare.  Kiana aspires to work at the national level to address the disparities in social determinants of health and improve child health policies to make healthcare more affordable and accessible to all. As a UC-LEND Trainee and CAMCHLTN Trainee Liaison for California Maternal and Child Health Leadership Training Network (CAMCHLTN), Kiana hopes to enhance further her academic and professional interests and additionally gain knowledge to design innovative solutions for the advancement of health for women, children, and neurodiverse individuals. 

Thao Tran, DNP Candidate

University of California - Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (UC-LEND) at UCLA/UC Riverside


  • Undergraduate: University of California, Los Angeles

  • Graduate: University of California, Los Angeles

  • Post-Graduate: University of Massachusetts, Boston and George Washington University


Thao Tran is a family nurse practitioner and a current doctoral student in the Northern California Consortium of Doctor of Nursing Practice where she is taking courses taught by faculty from Fresno State University and San Jose State University. She applied to UC LEND in order to better understand the issues faced among families who have pediatric and adult children with neurodevelopmental disabilities. Her interests in helping parents conquer the individual education plan, encouraging others to contribute to advocacy efforts, seek ways to know and understand the transition process, and highlight critical issues in child reform policy led her to be elected to a three-year term for the State Council on Developmental Disabilities. To be a truly inclusive society, we need to consider the thoughts and contributions of children and adults of varying impairments and disabilities because they are vital to our society.

Screen Shot 2019-12-03 at 4.25.00 PM.png
CA-LEND Trainee: Goldie Weingarten
DBP Stanford Trainee: Talia Roshini Lester
DBP CHLA Trainee: Saimar Kumar
CHLA-Sairam-Kumar 2 (1).jpg
DBP UCD Trainee: Ruchi Punatar
LEAH @ CHLA Trainee: Reina Black
LEAH UCSF Trainee: Chelsea Garnett
UC Berkeley Nutriton Trainee:
LEND UCD Trainee: Ruchi Punatar
Partners UCLA Trainee: Clarissa Wong
Pathways UCLA Trainee: Julia Grassian
Reina-Head and Shoulder Pic.JPG
Chelsea Garnett_v3.jpg
COR UCSF Fresno Trainee: Soe Maw
CECFH @ UCLA Trainee:
UC-LEND UCLA Trainee: Laura Alba
UC-LEND UCLA Trainee: Kiana Naimi
Naimi, Kiana.jpg
UC-LEND UCLA Trainee: Thao Tran
bottom of page