The Team

Headshot of Dr. Hotez

Dr. Emily Hotez, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Medicine at UCLA

Dr. Emily Hotez, Ph.D. is the project lead. She is a developmental researcher and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at UCLA. She currently serves on the leadership team of the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P). She has extensive experience developing and executing participatory projects with trainees/new investigators, working on interdisciplinary teams, and translating research findings for diverse audiences. During the pandemic, she has published for both research and lay audiences on the issues of disabilities NSIDP, COVID-19, and vaccination accessibility and equity. As a researcher and sibling to her autistic sister, Dr. Hotez is committed to carrying out projects that adapt a neurodiversity-oriented lens towards health-promotion.

Social Media Strategists

Headshot of Dr. An-Chuen Billy Cho

Dr. An-Chuen Billy Cho, PhD

Postdoctoral scholar at UC Davis 

Dr. An-Chuen Billy Cho, PhD is a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Davis MIND Institute. His primary research focuses on the conceptualization and treatment of autism spectrum disorder, and in particular the heterogeneity within ASD and its comorbidity with other clinical diagnoses. He hopes to contribute to both the efforts of precision healthcare as well as research that addresses disparities in access to diagnosis, treatment, and resources for the ASD community.

Headshot of Pearl Omo-sowho

Pearl Omo-sowho

Student, Human Biology and Society & Minor in African American Studies

Pearl Omo-sowho is a senior at UCLA majoring in Human biology and society and minoring in African American studies. While at UCLA, she is involved in the club All Brains which focuses on mentoring and advocating for neurodiverse students on campus as well as making the campus more inclusive and neurodiversity friendly. She will be taking up the position of Coordinator for the Pathways for Students into Health Professions Programs (PSHP) at UCLA. She is passionate about the neurodiverse community, and maternal and child health.

Headshot of Shevanti Kumar

Shevanti Kumar

Student, Computational and Systems Biology

Shevanti Kumar is an undergraduate student at UCLA studying Computational and Systems Biology hoping to concentrate in neurosystems. She is involved with the club All Brains which focuses on making the campus more inclusive and neurodiversity-friendly. She is highly interested in making resources more accessible and equitable to all communities.

Headshot of Richard Tirado

Richard Tirado

Student, Biology & Minor in Anthropology

Richard Tirado is an undergraduate student at UCLA. Currently pursuing a degree in Biology and a minor in Anthropology. He is the Head of Communications for Pathways for Students into Health Professions (PSHP) and Co-Head of Care Coaching for the UC LEND Clinic where he trains and oversees newly recruited coaches and assists neurodiverse patients in college/career guidance, health/nutrition, social skills, and daily living skills.

Stakeholder Engagers

Lucia Juarez

Masters Student UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs 

Lucia Juarez is a current 2nd year Master of Social Welfare Student in the UCLA – Luskin School of Public Affairs. She is also a UC LEND long term trainee where she has analyzed how enrichment programs support neurodiverse youth detained in juvenile camps and facilities. Her research interests include the intersection of mental health, neurodiversity and the criminal justice system. 


Michelle Heyman

Masters Student UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs 

Michelle Heyman is a School Psychology Ph.D. student at the University of California, Riverside. Her primary research focuses on the female presentation of ASD symptoms as compared to males. Michelle has worked with people on the spectrum for over seven years in research, community, and clinic settings.


Julie Grassien

UCLA alum 

Julie Grassian recently graduated from UCLA with a major in Psychology and minor in Public Health. She currently is the Program Coordinator for the Iris Cantor-UCLA Women’s Health Education & Research Center. She will be obtaining her MPH in the fall at UC Berkeley, with an emphasis in Maternal, Child, & Adolescent Health, and is passionate about promoting health equity for this population, including neurodiverse children and their families. 


Nilpa Shah

UCLA Fielding School of Public Health alum 

Nilpa Shah has a Master of Public Health (MPH) from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Cell Biology and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from UC Davis. Prior to coming to UCLA, Shah worked as a Project Manager at UC Davis Health for four years and studied the impacts of sociocultural and biobehavioral determinants of health on disease management and developed the structural and organization knowledge for program planning and implementation. Currently, Shah works as a project manager at UCLA Health and studies violence prevention. Her professional goal is to design, implement, and evaluate innovative community-based interventions to promote healthy lifestyles for families that lack healthcare resources. As an emerging public health leader, Shah is motivated to collaborate with other like-minded professionals to improve healthcare inequity and create synergy to promote and protect the health of people and their communities.



Asal Bastani- 3rd Year, Undergraduate, Volunteer from LACV

Yailanis Cruz – 3rd Year, Undergraduate PSHP student

Sydney Huynh – 4th Year, Undergraduate, PSHP student 

Laila Khorasani – Recent graduate from the Neuroscience Interdepartmental Program (NSIDP)