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Utah StARR Scholars

Scholars Participating in the Utah StARR 2023-2024 Program Year

Current Utah StARR Resident Investigators

Dr. Amara Finch

Pediatrics Resident

Dr. Finch is the second Pediatrics Resident in the Program’s history. She completed medical school at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Finch’s research areas of interest are developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD), intergenerational health, and preventive medicine. Her UStARR research will focus on the intergenerational transmission of health and risk of disease, especially as mediated by the placental anatomy, physiology, and distinct nutritional profiles. She hopes that this work can ultimately be applied in the context of preventive health and may assist in reducing health disparities. View Dr. Finch’s ORCiD profile here:

Dr. Kayla Jordanova

Family Medicine Resident

Kayla is a 3rd year family medicine resident. Her primary research interests are in understanding how primary care practices can effectively address the social determinants of health and support patients in improving their lifestyles. She attended the Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine where her research focused on screening and interventions for food insecurity at rural primary care practices, with an emphasis on challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a Utah StARR scholar, she is working with Dr. Molly Conroy on the MAINTAIN PRIME trial based at University of Utah primary care clinics which evaluates the effectiveness of patient portal-based coaching to help patients sustain healthy weight loss. View Dr. Jordanova's ORCiD profile here:

Dr. Anna Jones

Pediatrics Resident

Anna is a third-year pediatrics resident. Her research interests include the intersection of adolescent health, public health, and infectious diseases. Her previous research has focused on contraceptive education and STIs in adolescents. As a UStARR scholar she is hoping to pursue research related to the epidemiology of pediatric infectious diseases. View Dr. Jones’ ORCiD profile here:

Dr. Alex Kolomaya

Internal Medicine Resident

Alex Kolomaya is a first-year internal medicine resident. He has previously explored a variety of research areas and is narrowing his interests to the field of cardiology. Broadly, his interests include health disparities and health policy. He wishes to investigate disparities among vulnerable populations and traditionally excluded groups in the context of cardiovascular disease and prevention. View Dr. Kolomaya’s ORCID profile here:

Dr. Meera Nagarajan

Pediatrics Resident

Meera Nagarajan is a second-year pediatrics resident. Her primary research interests surround the impact of social determinants of health on children’s health and well-being. She has participated in qualitative research about parent and provider perceptions regarding mental health boarding for youth and adolescents while attending the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. She also spent a year in Athens, Greece as a Fulbright research scholar examining the impacts of a public health nutrition program on dietary and quality of life outcomes. She hopes to pursue research as a UStARR scholar studying the impacts of health disparities in order to implement sustainable interventions. View Dr. Nagarajan’s ORCID profile here:

Dr. Boomer Olsen

Internal Medicine Resident

Boomer Olsen is currently an internal medicine resident at the University of Utah. As a person with type 1 diabetes, he has broad interests within both type 1 and type 2 diabetes research. His areas of focus have included diabetes genomics, beta-cell biology, novel therapeutics, management strategies, and clinical outcomes.

Dr. Sonia Parra

Obstetrics and Gynecology Resident

Sonia is originally from San Antonio, TX. She completed her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering at Yale University. She then completed a Masters of Science in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Oxford before entering the MD/PhD program at Baylor College of Medicine. While there, she completed her PhD in Bioengineering at Rice University where she worked on developing low-cost technologies for cervical cancer prevention. She is now a 3rd year Ob/Gyn resident at the University of Utah. Her primary research interests include developing and testing medical devices and new technologies that increase access to women's health care in low resource settings.

Dr. Cecilia Peterson

Internal Medicine Resident

Cecilia Peterson is an Internal Medicine resident; she has not decided on what specialty she will pursue but has a strong interest in Primary Care and Geriatrics. Her research interests include interprofessional teamwork and education, the comparative effectiveness of different healthcare delivery systems, and preventative medicine in the geriatric population. She is looking forward to growing as a researcher through the StARR program and hopes to pursue a career as a clinician investigator.

Dr. Eric Stulberg

Neurology Resident

Eric’s research interests include translating modern causal inference methods into clinical neurology research, as well as studying how social factors influence neurologic health and healthcare delivery. He is currently working under Dr. Adam de Havenon on projects involving clinical-epidemiologic features of stroke and continuing his work in BASIC.

Dr. Tetsuyuki Kawai

Family Medicine Resident Biography: Tetsuyuki Kawai is an incoming first-year family medicine resident passionate about ensuring culturally competent and patient-centered palliative care is accessible for all ages and settings. During his studies at Texas Tech Paul L Foster School of Medicine in El Paso, he participated in research focused on both palliative care education and the specific needs of the Hispanic border population. This focus on inclusivity in palliative care informs his future research goals as a UStaRR scholar. View his ORCID profile here:

Dr. RJ Williams

Internal Medicine Resident

RJ Williams is a fourth year Internal Medicine resident working under Dr. Daniel Leung. His current research involves employing sero-surveillance and other location specific parameters to develop a clinical prediction model for Dengue Virus. He plans to pursue a career in Infectious Disease working within the realm of global health and neglected tropical diseases. View Dr. Williams’ ORCiD profile here:

Scholars who have graduated the Utah StARR program

Graduated Utah StARR Resident Investigators

Alexander Zheutlin

Graduated Utah StARR Scholar

Dr. Alexander Zheutlin’s primary research interest is in better understanding drivers of suboptimal cardiovascular care (e.g., therapeutic inertia, social and geographic barriers), particularly among vulnerable populations, with an ultimate goal of improving implementation of evidence-based treatment strategies. Following his successful tenure as a Utah StARR resident investigator, he has accepted a fellowship at his first-choice Institution - the cardiology program at Northwestern University in Illinois. During his fellowship, Dr. Zheutlin plans to continue pursuing his primary interest in preventive cardiology and working towards the goal of maintaining a career as a clinician-scientist.

View Dr. Zheutlin's ORCiD Profile

Dr. Zheutlin's ORCiD

Victoria Vardell

Graduated Utah StARR Scholar

As a UStARR scholar, Dr. Vardell's research focused on real world outcomes in hematology patients. By using large real-world databases, she aims to improve the understanding and prevention of cardiac and vascular adverse events in chronic myeloid leukemia and multiple myeloma patients. She has been involved in multiple projects identifying areas of outcomes disparities in the treatment of patients with hematologic malignancies. Her goal is to continue research in the fields of classical and malignant hematology as a clinician-investigator hematologist. Dr. Vardell will be continuing her career locally as a fellow at the prestigious Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City.

View Dr. Vardell's ORCiD Profile

Dr. Vardell's ORCiD

Lauren Gimbel

Graduated Utah StARR Scholar

Dr. Lauren Gimbel graduated from Utah StARR in 2022, and since then has continued her clinical and research pursuits in an Obstetrics and Gynecology fellowship position at the University of Utah Health system. Her research while in Utah StARR focused on maternal mental health outcomes, most recently those associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. During her time with the program Dr. Gimbel also developed a plan to create infrastructure for a mental health in pregnancy clinic and program that will form the basis for future work. Dr. Gimbel maintains a close mentee relationship with Utah StARR program directors, and continues to elevate her career goals as a clinician researcher in her position in Salt Lake City.

View Dr. Gimbel's Faculty Profile

Dr. Gimbel's Profile

Kathleen Campbell

Graduated Utah StARR Scholar

Dr. Campbell graduated the Utah StARR program in 2021 and is now a Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Fellow at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Her research interests include brain development, autism spectrum disorders, and children with complex medical needs, focusing on neurodevelopment of infants born with critical congenital heart disease (CHD) - namely how neurobehavioral profiles of infants with CHD and their medical course after corrective surgery relate to later skills and behavior. Her work "Abnormal infant behavior and later neurodevelopmental delays in children with critical CHD" was recently published by Cambridge University Press.

View Dr. Campbell's ORCiD Profile

Dr. Campbell's ORCiD