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    DISCOVeR Team

    Latha Palaniappan, M.D., M.S.
    Associate Investigator

    Dr. Palaniappan is an Associate Investigator at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI), Adjunct Associate Professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine, and Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of California San Francisco. She is also a graduate of Stanford's Clinical Epidemiology Masters program, funded by the Clinical Research Curriculum Award (K30). She is board certified in general internal medicine, augmented by further clinical training in Preventive Cardiology. She continues to devote a portion of her time to clinical work in Internal Medicine. She is well versed in clinical trial design and implementation, and in preparation and interpretation of statistical analysis.

    Dr. Palaniappan has completed over thirty studies in the areas of obesity, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular risk. She has received grants from the General Clinical Research Center at the University of Michigan, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, and the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to explore gender and racial/ethnic differences in insulin metabolism as it affects the incidence of metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and coronary heart disease.

    Kristen Azar, R.N., MSN/MPH
    Research Nurse

    Kristen Azar, RN, M.S.N./M.P.H., is a Research Nurse and Project Coordinator in the Health Policy Research department at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute. Ms. Azar graduated with a dual Masters degree in Nursing and Public Health from Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Prior to that, she completed her undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley and further obtained a bachelors of science (B.S.N) in nursing from Johns Hopkins University. At PAMFRI, Ms. Azar works on various projects and is involved in proposal and manuscript development as well as project support. Additionally, Ms. Azar devotes a portion of her time to clinical work in Internal Medicine at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF), as the clinic nurse for the South Asian Consult Service (PRANA) clinic with Dr. Latha Palaniappan. The PRANA clinic is a culturally competent preventive cardiology consult service primarily for South Asian patients.

    Edith Gamboa, MPH
    Cultural Competence Project Coordinator

    Edith Gamboa, M.P.H. is a Project Coordinator working on cultural competence in the Health Policy Research department at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI). Ms. Gamboa graduated from George Washington University with a master’s degree in Public Health focused in health policy. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. At PAMFRI, Ms. Gamboa coordinates data collection and research projects on Race, Ethnicity, Ancestry and Language(R/E/A/L) demographics. Ms. Gamboa works to integrate research and clinical efforts to improve cultural competence based on the needs of our diverse patient population.

    Katie Hastings, B.A., CPT-1, CNA
    Research Assistant

    Katie Hastings, BA, CPT-1, CNA, is a Research Assistant at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI). Ms. Hastings has a dual Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Biology at Kalamazoo College and is also a licensed phlebotomist and Certified Nursing Assistant. At the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI), Ms. Hastings has been the primary recruiter for the Aspirin in the Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) study, and is involved in conducting study visits as well as blood draws and anthropometric measurements for clinical examinations. She is certified as a Medical Interpreter in Spanish.

    Martina Li, MPH
    Project Coordinator

    Martina Li, MPH, is a Project Coordinator at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI). Ms. Li graduated with a Master’s degree in Public Health from San Jose State University and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Clinical Nutrition with a minor in Managerial Economics from University of California, Davis. Her graduate internship experience includes conducting a program assessment on a local governmental injury prevention program for the elder population and developing a strategic plan to improve program effectiveness. Prior to joining PAMFRI, she was involved with public health surveillance for viral hepatitis in San Francisco. Her professional interests include disease prevention, chronic disease management, community health, health education and health disparities among Asian Americans. Ms. Li is the Study Coordinator for the Initiate and Maintain Physical Activity in Clinics (IMPACT) Diabetes study. She is responsible for research plan development and implementation, and coordinates all aspects of the IMPACT Study.

    Vani Nimbal, MPH
    Statistical Programmer/Data Manager

    Vani Nimbal, MPH, is a Statistical Programmer/Data Manager at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI). Ms. Nimbal has a Bachelor’s degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Masters in Public Health degree in Biostatistics from the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Public Health. During her graduate study, she was awarded the Bixby Fellowship for reproductive health research. This fellowship allowed her to intern with the National Institute of Public Health (NIPH) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and contribute to research that assessed delays in HIV diagnosis and entry into care. She was also involved in research projects that investigated barriers to early intervention services among underserved children with autism. After graduation, Ms. Nimbal contributed to research projects that evaluated various FDA approved medical devices in the Medicare population as a data and policy analyst at Acumen LLC. At PAMFRI, Ms. Nimbal is responsible for the validation and monitoring of research databases, as well as for the preparation of analytic datasets. She is experienced in managing large, observational data, primarily using SAS® 9.

    Elsie Wang, M.S.
    Research Associate

    Elsie Wang, M.S., is a Research Associate in the Health Policy Research department at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI). Ms. Wang graduated with a Master's degree in Psychology from Tufts University and completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan. At PAMFRI, Ms. Wang has been involved in Pan Asian Cohort Study and assists with data analysis, manuscript development and project support for the study.

    Fanny Xu, BS
    Research Assistant

    Fanny Xu, BS is a Research Assistant at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI). Ms. Xu has a Bachelor’s degree in Physiological Science and a minor in Public Health from the University of California, Los Angeles. She primarily works with Martina Li, MPH and provides project support for the Initiate and Maintain Physical Activity in Clinics (IMPACT) Diabetes study.

    Beinan Zhao, M.S.
    Senior Statistician

    Beinan Zhao, M.S., is a Senior Statistician in the Health Policy Research department at Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI). Ms. Zhao has a dual Bachelor's degree in Medicine and Economics at Peking University, Beijing, and a Master's degree in Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health. Her graduate research experience includes conducting epidemiologic research on the risk factors of incident hypertension, Alzheimer's disease, and gout. At PAMFRI, Ms. Zhao is responsible for statistical analysis using analytic datasets for the research department.