Ste'von Afemata, Laboratory Manager/Technician
Ste'von transferred to the CARE Center in 2003 after working at UCLA Medical Plaza Lab and Pathology since 2000. She is responsible for all research laboratory functions for CARE including processing and storage of samples, histology, cryopreservation (PBMC's/Pellets), quality management and all other assays as defined in protocol-specific guidelines of clinical trials. She received her training at Southern California Regional Occupational Center, as Medical Assistant/Lab Tech in 1996. She also studied at Long Beach City College and the University of Phoenix. Ste'von loves to laugh and enjoys spending time with her husband, two boys and cats!
Vanessa Cajahuaringa, Study Coordinator
Vanessa began working at the CARE Center as an undergraduate in 2003, primarily translating patient consent forms from English to Spanish to help in the recruitment of monolingual patients. She currently coordinates various clinical trials and supports the various principal investigators with their individual studies. As a study coordinator, she keeps in touch with patients and prospective participants, and she is in charge of the day-to-day operations of her studies. Being from Peru, Vanessa brings the South American touch to this multicultural location.
Maricela Gonzalez, AMC Project Coordinator
Maricela joined the CARE Center in 2001. She started as an assistant coordinator, transferring from within the CARE Center group. She is currently working as Project Coordinator for the AIDS Malignancy Consortium (AMC) clinical trials. She is responsible for the overall coordination of AMC studies including various chemotherapy and observational treatments. Maricela is also responsible for various administrative work within the network.
Christine Jackson, Medical Assistant
Christine began working for the CARE Center in October 2005 as one of the clinic medical assistants as well as phlebotomist. She received her medical assistant certificate in 2000; she also received her phlebotomy license in 2005. Christine's responsibilities in the CARE clinic are obtaining patients' vital signs, taking medical histories, assisting physicians during patient examinations, collecting/preparing lab specimens, drawing blood, performing electrocardiograms, and changing dressings. She also spends time answering phones, greeting patients, processing patient medical records, scheduling appointments, and coordinating with testing labs.
Melinda Kuo, ACTG Data Manager
Melinda joined the CARE Center in 1999 after working with cancer research at the Department of Biomathematics. Her main duties are participant enrollment and data quality assurance for all AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) studies. In her free time, she likes to go to baseball games and tennis matches, and she also enjoys shopping and hanging out with friends.
Mike Marcial, Management Services Officer
Mike has worked in the CARE clinic since 1997, starting as a temporary employee, and he became a full time staff member in 1998. Mike's previous work experience was in the outpatient Emergency Room registration area at California Hospital and Olympia Medical Center. On May 9th 2009, UCLA awarded Mike with the Outpatient Administrative Support Person of the Year. Mike is responsible for greeting patients, making appointments, scheduling special ancillary appointments for patients, updating demographic information, assisting patients in obtaining outside medical records, collecting all cash payments and obtaining authorization on all HMO's. He enjoys traveling, museums and painting and he laughs every day, because he has found that laughter is the fountain of youth.
Arezou Sadighi Akha, CTU Coordinator and Operations Manager
Arezou joined the UCLA Care’s team in March 2014. She graduated from medical school in 1999, right before starting her fellowship in research in France. She started her service at UCLA in 2008 and has worked in a variety of positions where she wore many hats: study coordination, clinical trials monitoring and auditing, and drug safety management. In her current position at CARE, she acts as the Clinical Trials Unit’s Operations Manager. She loves listening to music and study about different cultures. She is very strict at work, no joking at all!
Maria Palmer, PA, Study Coordinator
Prior to coming to the CARE Center in 1999, Maria worked with the HIV Hematology research group at USC School of Medicine. As well, she spent 6 years in Northern New Mexico practicing family medicine at various primary care settings. She's an avid cyclist and has participated in the AIDS ride from San Francisco to LA and the first HIV Vaccine Ride in 2000, from Fairbanks to Anchorage, Alaska.
Ryan Kofron, Biomedical HIV Prevention Programs Project Director
Ryan joined the CARE Center team in July 2013 and is heavily involved with the PATH-PrEP Demonstration Project. Prior to coming to UCLA, he worked at the Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods at Case Western Reserve University on a variety of childhood obesity and hypertension studies. In his free time, Ryan enjoys listening to and creating electronic music, rugby, darts, going to the beach, watching PBS, traveling and reading almost anything by John Irving.
Aida Alvarez, Administrative Specialist
Aida has been with the CARE Center since 2004 after working for the Inglewood Unified District. She is part of the research administration and financial teams, assisting with grant and pre-award and post-award submissions. She assists the MSO, physicians and Fund Manager with everything including accounting, human resources, invoice processing, staff reimbursements, and purchasing. In her free time, Aida enjoys any outdoor or indoor activity with her family.
Irma Franco-Gonzalez, Regulatory Manager
Irma joined the CARE Center in 1998 as Dr. Judith Currier's assistant. She currently oversees the regulatory aspect of the CARE Center's ongoing clinical trials and is the program coordinator for the CARE Center's annual HIV symposium.
Faith Landsman, Director, UCLA CFAR HIV Research Study Volunteer Project (HIV RSVP)
Faith joined the CARE Center team in 2006, and she has worked in HIV research and services since 1991. Before coming to the CARE Center, Faith was the administrator of the UCLA AIDS Institute Vaccine Initiative and prior to that was director of the Southern California HIV/AIDS Hotline. Currently, she is the director of the UCLA research volunteer pool for HIV related studies (HIV RSVP).