University of Southern California
University of Southern California

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Principal Investigator

Beth Pyatak, PhD, OTR/L, CDCES

Beth Pyatak, PhD, OTR/L, CDCES > (she/her/hers)

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Beth Pyatak, director of the Lifestyle Redesign for Chronic Conditions research lab, is an occupational scientist, occupational therapist and certified diabetes educator. Her research encompasses the psychosocial and behavioral aspects of living with diabetes and other chronic conditions. Several of her studies have focused on developing and evaluating Lifestyle Redesign® interventions to promote well-being and quality of life among individuals with diabetes, and the dissemination and implementation of these interventions in real-world settings.

Research Team

Jeanine Blanchard, PhD, OTR/L

Jeanine Blanchard, PhD, OTR/L >(she/her/hers)

Project Manager
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Jeanine Blanchard received both her MA in Occupational Therapy and her PhD in Occupational Science from the University of Southern California. Dr. Blanchard also earned Certificate in Research Administration from the University of Southern California (Contracts and Grants Curriculum). She has extensive project management experience on several research studies, including large-scale clinical trials, pilot feasibility studies, qualitative research studies, and her own mixed-methods dissertation study. Most of the work she has been involved in has related to Lifestyle Redesign® research and dissemination products.

Gabby Granados, OTD, OTR/L

Gabby Granados, OTD, OTR/L >(she/her/hers)

Occupational Therapist
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Gabby is an occupational therapist for the REAL-T study who provides Lifestyle Redesign® services to young adults with type 1 diabetes. Prior to this position, she was an OTD resident within the LRCC lab whose clinical work facilitated the establishment of a primary care clinical residency position at LAC+USC. In addition to her innovative role as part of the lab, she is an acute care OT at a local hospital. Gabby is a “Triple Trojan” having earned her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in OT at USC. She is passionate about expanding the role and scope of OT to service underrepresented client populations.

Aina Ali

Aina Ali, BS, OTS (she/her/hers)

Research Assistant, CSUDH MSOT Student
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Aina graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention from the USC Keck School of Medicine. She currently attends the CSU Dominguez Hills occupational therapy program. Upon graduating, she hopes to work with diverse populations and students. Her interests range from mental health and wellness to sustainability. In her free time, Aina enjoys eating, exploring, hiking, and most of all, spending time with loved ones.

Loree Pham, MS, OTR/L

Loree Pham, MS, OTR/L >(she/her/hers)

PhD Student
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Loree Pham is an occupational therapist and PhD student in the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. She completed her Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy at California State University, Dominguez Hills, and Bachelor’s in Economics at the University of California, San Diego. Her work focuses on assisting with the FEEL-T1D Study to understand the relationship between acute blood glucose levels, momentary mood, function, and emotional well-being in adults with type 1 diabetes. In her free time, Loree enjoys baking, cooking, hiking, reading, and yoga.

Ellie Taylor

Ellie Taylor, MA, OTR >(she/her/hers)

PhD Student
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Ellie Taylor is a registered occupational therapist and PhD student in the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. She graduated with her Master’s in Occupational Therapy from Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to becoming an OT, she received her Master’s in Counseling from Portland State University and practiced in community mental health. She is interested in the age group of young and emerging adults, developmentally appropriate treatment, mental health and healthcare equity and social justice for underserved populations.

Elaina Rodriguez Garza

Elaina Rodriguez Garza, OTS(she/her/hers)

OTD Student
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Elaina Rodriguez Garza, Research Assistant at the LRCC Lab, is an OTD student at the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Tuskegee University. Her work at the lab currently focuses on assisting with the REAL-T study. In her spare time, Elaina loves to sing, pamper her Shih Tzu known as Nino, and watch her favorite YouTubers.

Stefanie Kuizon BS

Stefanie Kuizon, OTS(she/her/hers)

MA Research Assistant
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Stefanie Kuizon, a research assistant at the LRCC Lab, is a graduate student at the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. She received her Bachelor’s in Health Promotion & Disease Prevention from the USC Keck School of Medicine with minors in Occupational Science and East Asian Language & Culture. In the lab, Stefanie primarily assists with the REAL-T study. In her free time, she enjoys arts and crafts, filming vlogs, and discovering new cafes.

Valerie Tapia

Valerie Tapia, PhD Candidate >(she/her/hers)

PhD Research Assistant
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Valerie Tapia, she/her/hers, is a PhD student in the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. She graduated with her Bachelor’s in Psychology from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Her work focuses on assisting with the REAL-T study. She is interested in appropriate intervention design for underserved minorities in healthcare that promote equity and social justice. When she is not in the lab, she enjoys acrylic paint pouring, camping, and trying new food places in LA.

Esequiel Jimenez

Esequiel Jimenez(he/him/his)

MA Research Assistant
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Esequiel Jimenez, Research Assistant in the LRCC Lab, is a graduate student at the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. He previously received his bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology: Exercise Science from California State University, Long Beach. Esequiel is devoted to advocating, championing health education, and providing resources for underserved communities.

Leah Willover

Leah Willover(she/her/hers)

MA Research Assistant
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Leah Willover is a Research Assistant and is a first-year master’s student at the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. She received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Loyola Marymount University, with a minor in Philosophy. Her work focuses on assisting with the REAL-T Study in data collection. When she is not in the lab, she enjoys reading, hiking (preferably in the PNW), and being overly competitive with every board game.

Tam Hoang

Tam Hoang(he/him/his)

Research Assistant
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Tam Hoang graduated from USC with a bachelor’s degree in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and a minor in Occupational Science. His work focuses on assisting the REAL-T lab with screening and data collection. In the future, he hopes to pursue his passion for holistic and personalized health care in the field of Occupational Therapy as a licensed practitioner. When not in the lab, Tam enjoys road trips, camping, and playing volleyball.

Volunteer Research Assistants

Jaxon Abercrombie

Jaxon Abercrombie(he/him/his)

Kara Kushwaha

Kara Kushwaha(she/her/hers)

Dhivya_Vadapalli

Dhivya Vadapalli(she/her/hers)

Affiliated Division Faculty

Jesús Díaz OTD, OTR/L

Jesús Díaz, OTD, OTR/L(he/him/his)

Associate Professor of Research

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Katie Jordan OTD, OTR/L

Katie Jordan, OTD, OTR/L

Professor of Clinical Occupational Therapy

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Stacey Schepens Niemiec PhD, OTR/L, DipACLM

Stacey Schepens Niemiec, PhD, OTR/L, DipACLM(she/her/hers)

Associate Professor of Research

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John Sideris PhD

John Sideris, PhD(he/him/his)

Professor of Research

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External Collaborators

Jill Crandall MD

Jill Crandall, MD

Professor of Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Director of Diabetes Clinical Trials Unit

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Steven Fox MD, MSc

Steven Fox, MD, MSc

Assistant Professor, Clinical Medicine, Keck School of Medicine of USC

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Jeffrey

Jeffrey S. Gonzalez, PhD(he/him/his)

Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine (Endocrinology), Professor, Department of Epidemiology & Population Health

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Michael A. Harris, PhD

Michael A. Harris, PhD(he/him/his)

Professor of Pediatrics and Chief of Pediatric Psychology, Oregon Health & Science University

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Cynthia Muñoz PhD, MPH, MA

Cynthia Muñoz, PhD, MPH, MA(she/her/hers)

Assistant Professor, Clinical Pediatrics, Keck School of Medicine of USC

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Anne Peters MD

Anne Peters, MD(she/her/hers)

Director, USC Clinical Diabetes Programs

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Jennifer Raymond MD, MCR

Jennifer Raymond, MD, MCR(she/her/hers)

Clinical Diabetes Director, Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Keck School of Medicine of USC

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Valerie Ruelas MSW, LCSW

Valerie Ruelas, MSW, LCSW

Director, Community Diabetes Initiative (CDI), Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and USC Keck School of Medicine

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Stefan Schneider, PhD

Stefan Schneider, PhD(he/him/his)

Social/Health Psychologist, Dornsife Center for Self-Report Science

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Paola Sequeira MD, MPH

Paola Sequeira, MD, MPH(she/her/hers)

LAC+USC Young Adult Transition Endocrine Clinic Director, Internal Medicine and Pediatrics Faculty

Donna Spruijt-Metz

Donna Spruijt-Metz(she/her/hers)

Director, USC-CESR Mobile and Connected Health Program

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Past Team Members

Alexandra Lee (2020-2022, Undergraduate Research Assistant)
John J. Lee, OTD (2020-2022, MA Research Assistant)
Jiyun Kim, OTR (2018-2022, MA Research Assistant)
Elia Salazar, Ed.D, MPH (2018-2022, Project Specialist)
Natasha Hashemi (2020-2022, Undergraduate Research Assistant)
Raymond Hernandez, MS, OTD, OTR/L (2016-2021, PhD candidate)
Anuva Mittal (2020-2021, Undergraduate Research Assistant)
Monica Martinez (2021, Fieldwork 1 Student)
Daniel Padilla Vega, OTD, OTR/L (2019-2020, OTD Resident)
Mary Harris (2021, OTD Capstone Student)
Ben Feiten (2021, OTD Capstone Student)
Angela Pogossian, OTS (2020-2021, MA Research Assistant)
Nicole Manalo, OTS (2020-2021, MA Research Assistant)
Kyra McClain (2020, Research Assistant)
Khatira Mehdiyeva, MD, MPH (2017-2020, Project Assistant)
Elissa Lee, OTD, OTR/L (2019-2020, OTD Resident)
Elissa Taylor, OTD, OTR/L (2019-2020, OTD Resident)
Megan Linderman, OTD, OTR/L (2019, OTD Resident)
Minhee Choi, MA (2018-2019, MA Research Assistant)
Shona Maher, OTS (2018-2019, MA Research Assistant)
Daniella Florindez MPH (2011-2018, Project Assistant)
Kristine Carandang PhD, OTR/L (2013-2018, Doctoral Research Assistant)
Maggie King OTD, OTR/L (2017-2018, OTD Resident)
Grace Cho OTD, OTR/L (2016-2018, MA Research Assistant)
Erin Bussell MA, OTR (2017-2018, MA Research Assistant)
Laura Cox OTD, OTR/L (2015-2016, MA Research Assistant)
Alexandra Gonzalez OTD, OTR/L (2014-2016, MA Research Assistant)
Emily Friedberg MA, OTR/L (2014-2016, MA Research Assistant)
Veronica Gomez MPH/MSW (2015-2016, MA Research Assistant)
Laura Guzman (2015-2016, Project Assistant)
Alyssa Concha OTD, OTR/L (2015, OTD Resident)
Nancy Dominguez MPH (2014-2015, MA Research Assistant)
Brian Wylie OTD, OTR/L (2013-2014, MA Research Assistant)
Maria Gonzalez MPH (2014, BS Research Assistant)
Sergio Sandoval OTD, OTR/L (2011-2013, MA Research Assistant)
Shain Davis OTD, OTR/L (2012-2013, OTD Resident)