I’m a pediatrician specializing in adolescent medicine and a researcher who focuses on understanding, preventing, detecting and treating infectious diseases.
I was motivated to help patients achieve reproductive health after learning how many women died from sepsis prior to the 1970s because they could not access safe medical care, and after finding out that many teenage boys aren’t educated about birth control or sexually transmitted infections (STIs). I am committed to ensuring adolescents have access to high-quality medical care, including sexual and reproductive healthcare.
Working with adolescents inspires me. My curiosity and compassion allow me to listen to teens and their parents and to take the time to hear what they have to say and discuss how they can stay or become healthy. Additionally, my experience living on four continents and in many different cultures allows me to bring an openness and understanding to my communication with my patients, their families and our medical trainees.
Since 2011 I have served as director of the Adolescent Medicine Fellowship Program. Together with the excellent faculty in the Divisions of Adolescent and Transition Medicine, Psychiatry, Pediatric Adolescent Gynecology, Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology — as well as our advanced practice nurses, clinical staff and social workers — I help train fellows to become leaders in the field. Many of our trainees have gone on to oversee clinical programs, lead advocacy work and educational programs, and conduct research that informs current standards of clinical care.
My current research program includes projects examining the prevention and diagnosis of STIs, as well as developing and implementing point-of-care diagnostic tests that can rapidly and inexpensively detect STIs. I have been a principal investigator and co-investigator on clinical trials to assess vaccines and treatments for bacterial vaginosis; epidemiological studies to assess the impact of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in the community and transmission of HPV among sexual partners; and evaluation of novel diagnostic tests for Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhea and herpes simplex virus.
I’m honored to have received several awards and appointments throughout my career. These include a Cincinnati Children’s Faculty Award in Team Science (2018); a Leadership Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH) fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco (2003); and an Oliver Smith Award at Boston Floating Hospital (2002). The Oliver Smith Award is bestowed upon hospital employees by their patients, to honor their compassion to those in need.
Reproductive health for young men and women; eating disorders; chronic pain; HPV
Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics