2022 Speakers 


Kenneth Wells, MD, MPH

Kenneth Wells, M.D., M.P.H.  is Director of the Center for Health Services and Society at the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, David Weil Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at David Geffen School of Medicine and Professor of Health Policy and Management, Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA.  He is staff psychiatrist at West Los Angeles VA and affiliated adjunct staff at RAND. He is Associate Director of the UCLA National Clinician Scholars Program and Research Co-Director for the UCLA/VA Center of Excellence for Veteran Resilience and Recovery. His work focuses on Community Partnered Participatory Research to improve equity in services access, quality and outcomes for persons with behavioral health needs. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine. He and Community co-leads the late Loretta Jones and Felica Jones of Healthy African American Families ii, with over 100 academic and community partners, received the 2014 Team Science Award of the Association of Clinical and Translational Science for Community Partners in Care (CPIC), a group-randomized trial of community engagement to improve outcomes for depressed adults in under-resourced communities. He co-led the American Red Cross post-Katrina mental health recovery effort in New Orleans and was UCLA lead for the Los Angeles Community Disaster Resilience initiative. He is joint PI for development and evaluation of free digital resources for supporting mental wellness for diverse populations in California during COVID-19 and for post pandemic recovery.  He is a choral director and composer of operas on mental health themes to address stigma.

 Felica Jones

Formerly the Director of Programs at Healthy African American Families II (HAAF), Felica Jones is now the new Executive Director. As the Executive Director at HAAF, she is committed to decreasing health disparities in Los Angeles County by addressing the Social Determinants of Health in South Los Angeles and the surrounding communities. Over the past 20 years, Ms. Jones has worked on numerous research projects in various roles from Community Researcher to Co-Investigator, including projects funded by the NIH and PCORI. These projects have addressed such diverse topics as autism, depression, preterm pregnancy, diabetes, and asthma, just to name a few. In addition, she is a co-author on more than 40 peer-reviewed publications and has provided mentorship and training to junior researchers and community members.  She views Community Partnered Participatory Research (CPPR) as a key method for improving community participation in research. Ms. Jones was one of the members of the partnership that received the 2015 UCLA Landmark Program of the Year Award, the 2015 Community Campus Partnerships for Health Award, and the 2014 Joint Team Science Award given by the Association for Clinical and Translational Science and the American Federation for Medical Research for Community Partners in Care, an NIH-funded CPPR project on depression in under-resourced communities. 

Robert Kaplan

Robert M. Kaplan is currently a faculty member at the Stanford School of Medicine Clinical Excellence Research Center (CERC).  He previously served as Chief Science Officer at the US Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) and as Associate Director of the National Institutes of Health, where he led the behavioral and social sciences programs.  He is also a Distinguished Research Professor of Health Policy and Management at UCLA, where he previously led the UCLA/RAND AHRQ health services training program and the UCLA/RAND CDC Prevention Research Center. He was Chair of the Department of Health Services from 2004 to 2009.  From 1997 to 2004 he was Professor and Chair of the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, at the University of California, San Diego. He is a past President of five different national or international professional organizations and has served as Editor-In-Chief for two academic journals.  His 20 books and over 565 articles or chapters have been cited nearly 70,000 times (H-index>114) and Google scholar includes him in the list of the most cited authors in science.  In 2019 Kaplan took on a new role as an opinion editorialist, contributing op ed pieces on about a monthly basis.  His work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe,  The San Jose Mercury News, STAT News (Boston Globe Media), RealClear Politics, MedPage, Health Affairs, and The Hill.


Dr. Nadereh Pourat, Ph.D.

Nadereh Pourat, Ph.D., is the associate Center director and the director of the Health Economics and Evaluation Research Program at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. She is also a professor of health policy and management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, professor at the UCLA School of Dentistry and a member of UCLA/Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Research. Pourat is the vice chair for cost in the California Health Benefits Review Program (CHBRP).
Pourat focuses on assessing disparities in access to care of underserved populations, including the role of the health care delivery system in disparities and health care outcomes. Within this context, she has examined disparities in insurance coverage (e.g., Medicaid, private insurance) and health care utilization (e.g., preventive, primary, specialty, oral health, mental health, acute care, long-term care) in multiple settings (e.g., safety net, private practice) and for multiple populations (e.g., older adults, immigrants and undocumented, Asian Americans, low-income adults). She has also examined the role of organization of the health care delivery system (e.g., dentist, physician, and health center supply and characteristics) and efforts to modify and improve the system (e.g., primary care redesign and patient-centered medical home, safety-net system integration) on access to care of general and underserved populations.

Dr. Michael Rodriguez

Dr. Rodriguez is professor and vice chair in the Department of Family Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, founding chair of the UCLA Global Health Minor, and Faculty-In-Residence for UCLA Residential Life.  He works collaboratively to promote health equity, including as founding director of the Health Equity Network of the Americas, an international network with representatives from 26 countries, as well as founding director of the UCLA Blum Center on Poverty and Health in Latin America, and the AltaMed Institute for Health Equity.  Dr. Rodríguez’s policy relevant research includes ethnic/racial and immigrant health equity, gun, youth and domestic violence prevention, primary care for urban underserved populations and global health. He received his BS in Nutrition at UC Berkeley; MD from UCLA; residency in family medicine from UCSF; MPH at the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health; fellowship as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at Stanford University and was previously a professor of family medicine at UCSF. He enjoys teaching, mentoring, and working with communities.