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. Meet our dynamic trainee liaisons below: 

2016-2017 Trainee Liaisons

Trainee: Whitney Brown

Whitney N. Brown, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Clinical Psychology

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


Education & Training:

  • Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, Loma Linda University, 2016

  • M.A., Psychology, Loma Linda University, 2011

  • B.S., Psychology, University of La Verne, 2009

  • Pre-doctoral Internship: MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland, OH, 2016. Department of Child Psychiatry and Psychology. Training Focus - Pediatric Psychology with an emphasis in Pediatric Neuropsychology.


Goals for training in the LEND program:

  • To develop specialized clinical and research skills in the identification and treatment of NDD.

  • To enhance my leadership skills in terms of program development, community outreach, and policy for use in practice as a licensed clinical psychologist.

How the LEND program is contributing to my professional development:

  • The opportunity to work as part of a many different collaborative and interdisciplinary teams is helping to shape my leadership skills in the field of NDD. This training equips me with the knowledge and clinical skills necessary to be able to seek a wide variety of careers as a clinician working with children, youth and families impacted by ASD/NDD once I have completed my postdoc.

Clinical interests:

  • Pediatric Neuropsychology (NDD, Genetic Disorders, Traumatic Brain Injury)

  • Chronic illness in pediatric populations

  • Interventions/treatments for ASD and NDD

Research Interests:

  • Clinical Interventions for Children and Adolescents (Design, Implementation and Evaluation)

  • Intervention and Prevention Programs for Adolescent Risk Behavior


Sai Iyer, MD

Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Training Program at UC San Diego

My name is Sai Iyer and I am a 3rd year fellow in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics. I have trained in Pediatrics in India, UK and USA. I pursued fellowship training in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics due to my interest in early childhood brain development, screening for developmental delay and learning problems. My training in this program has helped me build the foundation towards an academic career, with a focus on research, clinical and leadership training, advocacy and education.





Erin Jones, MD

Leadership Education in Adolescent Health Training Project at UC San Francisco


I completed my training in Family and Community Medicine at the University of Maryland prior to joining the Adolescent and Young Adult Fellowship and LEAH training program at UCSF. I strive to provide the holistic and thoughtful care to our patients to allow them to live their best life. The LEAH program is refining my clinical skills as well as supporting my research interest in contraception care for young adults.

Ronli Levi, RD, MPH Candidate

Maternal and Child Health Nutrition Training Program at UC Berkeley



  • Master of Public Health Nutrition Candidate 2018, UC-Berkeley School of Public Health

  • Graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2009 with a degree in Nutritional Sciences-Dietetics

  • Obtained Registered Dietitian credential in 2011

  • Prior professional experience:

  • Community Education and Outreach AmeriCorps VISTA member at the food bank for Humboldt County, five years experience as a hospital, clinical dietitian

Professional Interests:

My area of interest includes food insecurity and how it relates to later health outcomes. In particular, I am interested in working on nutrition related policies that focus on improving the health of individuals and families living in poverty. The MPH curriculum and MCH traineeship will provide me with the skills necessary to look at these issues critically and develop an upstream approach to solving these public health problems.

Soe Maw, MD

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


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)



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.


Professional Goals:

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.


Jasmine Mercado, MPH Candidate

Partners in Excellence for Leadership in MCH Nutrition at UCLA

Jasmine is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Health degree at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health. She attended California State University Northridge where she completed a Didactic Program in Dietetics and received a Bachelor’s in Family and Consumer Sciences, Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Science degree.

Jasmine’s strong interest on the impact nutrition has on the health and well-being of mothers, infants, children, and families, is what lured her into becoming a Maternal and Child Health Nutrition Trainee.  The MCH Nutrition Leadership Trainee program has shaped her into becoming a leader for nutrition on the UCLA campus.

After completing the Master’s in Public Health Program, Jasmine hopes to pursue her credentials to become a registered dietitian. This training along with her previous experience, will shape her to become a leader among the public health nutrition profession. She hopes to improve the health of vulnerable populations, by improving the quality and appropriateness of nutrition services and policies.






Christine Naya, MPH Candidate

Centers of Excellence in MCH with MCH Academic Postdoctoral Enhancement at UC Berkeley


Christine Naya is a second-year Master of Public Health student in Maternal and Child Health at UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Originally from warm and sunny Orange County, she graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychobiology and a minor in Applied Developmental Psychology. Before coming to grad school, Christine was a student teacher at an infant development center and conducted research at Cedar Sinai Medical Center, UCLA School of Public Health, and an educational nonprofit organization. She received her Emergency Medical Technician certification and worked at an Endocrinologists’ office to learn more about medicine and healthcare.During this past summer, she utilized her quantitative research skills as part of the Graduate Student Epidemiology Program Internship at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health's Maternal Child Health Bureau. Christine is currently working on her master’s thesis project looking at the effect of stressful life events during pregnancy and adverse birth outcomes. She is interested in pursuing a doctoral degree and conducting translational research on the psychobiological factors that influence maternal well-being and birth outcomes. UC Berkeley Maternal and Child Health program’s rigorous curriculum focused on quantitative research methodology skills have prepared me to pursue a career in research.

Hannah Perrin, MD

Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Training Program at Stanford University


  • Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience at Brown University in Providence, RI

  • Medical School:

  • Doctor of Medicine from the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, MI

  • Pediatrics Internship and Residency at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, CA


Professional Goals:

Hannah has a strong interest in identifying and understanding disparities in access to health care services; learning about policy implications for health care access; and advocating for patients with disabilities, their families, and their communities. Her prior experiences include working with local NGOs in Guatemala to organize community health fairs in rural villages, helping coordinate health fairs for women from disadvantaged backgrounds, creating an educational curriculum for a support group for adolescents with HIV in the Dominican Republic, and providing sustainable health education workshops and medical services to children and adults in Quito, Ecuador. She also helped develop curricula related to health disparities during medical school and residency. The Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Fellowship at Stanford allows her to pursue her academic interests while also preparing her for a career as a leader in clinical practice, medical education and community advocacy.

​Lauren Schenker, MPH Candidate

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

Lauren Schenker is a 2nd year UCLA student pursuing her Master’s in Public Health (MPH) with a concentration in Community Health Sciences. Her academic and professional interests lie in the intersection of public health, mental health, and disability services. In upcoming years, she looks forward to working in program development and coordination for neurodiverse children, adolescents, and their families. She is particularly passionate about developing comprehensive supports for youths with ND who have experienced early childhood adversity.

She joined the UC-LEND program as a long-term trainee because she was eager to gain exposure to the perspectives and best practices of other disciplines as to better inform her own public health practice. She believes that bringing together students, faculty, and community members from different backgrounds to collaborate in learning and research is key to creating a well-coordinated, responsive system of care for children with ND.


About Lauren:

  • Ric and Suzanne Kayne Public Health Fellow at the Fielding School of Public Health

  • Program Assistant at the Bixby Center on Population and Reproductive Health

  • Led a qualitative evaluation of Project ABC in conjunction with Dr. Richard Cohen of Children’s Institute, Inc. to assess the impact of a systems of care intervention on service delivery for young children in the South Bay

  • Received her BA in Psychology from the University of Redlands where she conducted research on the relationship between mindfulness and health risk behaviors in young adult populations



Kelly Schifsky, DO

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

Born and raised in Des Moines, IA



  • Trinity International University in Deerfield, IL

  • Major: Biology Pre-Medicine


  • MS: Bioethics from Trinity International University in Deerfield, IL

Medical School:

  • Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Des Moines, IA


  • 3 year Pediatric Residency at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, IA


Developmental Behavioral Pediatric Fellowship at CHLA in Los Angeles, CA


Motivation for DBP:

I have a passion for serving and working alongside children and families with developmental disabilities. My goal is to see each of these children reach their full developmental potential and THRIVING.


Motivation for LEND:

This training will impact how I view and utilize interdisciplinary skills and teams in my approach and practice.

Danielle Scholze, MD

Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Training Program at UC Davis



  • Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in La Crosse, WI

  • Doctor of Medicine from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine in Madison, WI

Postgraduate Training:

  • Pediatric Internship and Residency at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, OH

  • Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Fellowship at UC Davis MIND Institute in Sacramento, CA


During my seven years as a general pediatrician, I found that my true passion was working with children with developmental disabilities and their families.  Unfortunately, I found that I lacked the training and time to provide these families with the help that they needed and deserved.  I chose to pursue a Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics fellowship so that I would better be able to care for this population and advocate for their rights.

Sarah Tan, Undergraduate Student

Pathways for Students into Health Professions at UCLA

UCLA PSHP has provided me with critical mentorship often unavailable to first-generation college students and has helped me discover my passion for public health as well as working with underserved communities. Being a part of the program has allowed me to develop greater advocacy and interpersonal skills necessary to be a leader in addressing the social inequities and health disparities I see within my community. Without the Pathways program, I would not be at this point in my academic and professional career.



Heidi TenPas, MA, OTR/L

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


Heidi TenPas is a CA-LEND trainee and occupational therapy doctoral resident at the USC University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (USC UCEDD at CHLA). She was inspired to join the occupational therapy profession during her Peace Corps service in Togo, West Africa, where she partnered with local stakeholders to develop child-centered, culturally responsive programs for children affected by physical disabilities, HIV/AIDS, and cumulative trauma exposure. Born and raised in Kansas (Rock Chalk Jayhawk!), she always wished she could move to California and is now living a dream come true.



  • BA in Global Studies (Violence, Conflict, and Human Rights); Arizona State University (2010)

  • MA in Occupational Therapy; University of Southern California (2016)

  • Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD); University of Southern California (expected graduation: December 2017)


Motivation in CA-LEND:

  • To learn from a diverse interdisciplinary community  & develop skills in interprofessional collaboration, leadership, communication, policy analysis, advocacy, systems navigation, and service delivery

  • To empower myself to generate a greater impact in my clinical areas of interest (e.g. infant mental health, child welfare, trauma-informed care, human rights, incorporation of neurodiversity into practice)


Professional Goals:

  • To help diverse children and families achieve positive mental health and optimal engagement in daily life activities through the provision of highest-quality pediatric occupational therapy services

  • To earn endorsement as an infant mental health specialist and provide relationship-based, trauma-informed, culturally responsive, developmentally supportive care to children and families at risk or affected by adverse life experiences

  • To advocate for disability rights, health equity, and occupational justice




​ Joe Viana, PhD Candidate

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

Joe is a PhD candidate in Health Policy at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. His work focuses on population measurement, developing research and data infrastructure for smaller collaborative studies, and applied evaluation methods.Currently, Joe’s projects include:

  • Estimating the prevalence of developmental disabilities among Californian children

  • Evaluating campus-level initiatives on the well-being of UCLA students

  • Describing the work of an innovative model of school-based health centers in Los Angeles Unified School District

  • Studying trends in the rate of uninsurance among citizen children of unauthorized parents before and after the Affordable Care Act.


As a trainee, Joe receives training and mentorship in applying rigorous research methodology to real-world examples of health care delivery transformations. He is looking forward to continue to learn cross-sector data sharing and developing research infrastructure to support these efforts. Previously, Joe worked in tobacco control at Massachusetts General Hospital, and with Deaf and hard of hearing children at Children’s Hospital Boston. Joe has a BA in psychology from Brandeis University.

Trainee: Sai Iyer
Trainee: Erin Jones
Trainee: Ronli Levy
Trainee: Soe Maw
Trainee: Jasmine Mercado
Trainee: Christine Naya
Trainee: Hannah Perrin
Trainee: Lauren Schenker
Trainee: Kelly Schifsky
Trainee: Danielle Scholze
Trainee: Sarah Tan
Trainee: Heidi TenPas
Trainee: Joe Viana
bottom of page