Contact Our Team

Our mission is to partner with cancer stakeholders to ensure equitable, high-value health care delivery for patients with cancer.

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Manali I. Patel, MD MPH MS

Associate Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine and Staff Oncologist, VA Palo Alto Health Care System

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manalip@stanford.edu

Dr. Manali I. Patel is a medical Thoracic Oncologist and Health Services Researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System. She obtained her MD and Masters in Public Health at UNC-Chapel Hill and completed her Internal Medicine residency, fellowship in Hematology and Oncology, and Masters in Science in Health Services Research at Stanford University.  

Dr. Patel's research involves developing and evaluating interventions that overcome systems-level barriers to improve equitable, value-based cancer care delivery. Her expertise lies in designing, implementing, and evaluating new models of cancer care delivery with cancer stakeholders aimed to improve patient experiences with care, clinical outcomes, and reduce unwanted healthcare utilization and health disparities. Dr. Patel also has expertise in linking large cancer registries to investigate modifiable etiologies for disparate care receipt among populations.

Dr. Patel is widely recognized for her research. She has published widely and has a diverse funding portfolio ranging from the National Institutes of Health, the State of California Governor's Office, to foundations.

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LaKedia Banks, DNP

Medical Oncology Nurse Practitioner, VA Palo Alto Health Care System

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lakedia.banks@va.gov

LaKedia is a Nurse Practitioner at the VA Palo Alto. She received her Master's degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and in 2018, obtained her Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) from the University of Alabama. Her passion is symptom management. She has worked with Dr. Patel on a study called Improving Supportive Care for Patients with Thoracic Cancer that used a proactive telephonic symptom assessment strategy to improve symptom management in patients with thoracic malignancies. She looks forward to continuing to find new ways to improve symptoms in all cancer types.

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Meera Ragavan MD, MPH

Hematology/Oncology fellow, Kaiser Permanente

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mvragavan1@gmail.com

Meera is a current hematology/oncology fellow at UCSF. Her primary research interests include developing methods to mitigate financial toxicity in cancer care and studying the impact of safety net programs on outcomes in uninsured and underinsured cancer patients. She has a background in operations research, policy evaluation, and cost-effectiveness analysis, and hopes to dedicate her career to applying these techniques to develop and improve models of high value care delivery within oncology. Meera received her M.D degree at Stanford University and stayed at Stanford to complete her training in Internal Medicine. She also holds a Masters in Public Health with a focus in health policy from the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health. Meera is a native of Northern California and enjoys hiking, cooking, and digital photography.

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Divya Ahuja Parikh, MD

VA Staff Oncologist

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divyaa@stanford.edu

Divya Parikh received her medical degree from Boston University where she graduated Alpha Omega Alpha and completed Internal Medicine residency at Stanford. She is an Oncology fellow at Stanford University and a research fellow in the AHRQ-Stanford Health Services Research Training Program. She has studied disparities to access to cancer care and as a fellow in our group conducted the first multi-institution study of the financial toxicity in cancer patients. She surveyed patients in three disparate healthcare systems – a county hospital, a VA hospital, and an academic hospital and identified demographic factors associated with increased financial toxicity. She is interested in addressing the rising cost of cancer care and its impact on vulnerable populations by evaluating patient-facing interventions.

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Emily H. Wood, MPH

Senior Manager of Research Operations

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ehwood@stanford.edu

Emily H. Wood, MPH obtained her Master’s Degree in Public Health from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University. Ms. Wood has been a project manager and health services research professional at the Stanford School of Medicine since 2021. Prior to joining Stanford, Ms. Wood served at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) David Geffen School of Medicine and the Transplant Research Education Center. There she served on multiple research grants and innovation projects in transplant and living donation, with a special focus on increasing access to living donor kidney transplant for racial and ethnic minority groups. Her work has involved creating and testing patient education and behavior change interventions through randomized controlled trials. Ms. Wood has worked with diverse healthcare and community organizations including the National Kidney Registry, Canadian Blood Services, and Venice Family Clinic, an FQHC in Los Angeles. Her research interests include using innovative platforms like digital storytelling, virtual learning modules, animated education, and decision aids to help more patients learn about their health, actively engage with the health system, and make informed decisions about their care options.

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Madhuri Agrawal, MS

Study Coordinator, VA Palo Alto Health Care System

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madhuri.agrawal@va.gov

Madhuri Agrawal is a Study Coordinator at the Veterans Affairs Health Care System, Palo Alto. She obtained her Master’s Degree in Statistics from New Delhi, India. She has worked on a variety of industry and federally sponsored clinical trials and surveillance including (but not limited to) Pulmonary, Dermatology, Oncology and Infectious diseases (MRSA, Norovirus and COVID-19). As a coordinator, Madhuri ensures that all aspects of a clinical trial are running smoothly and as per the protocol. Madhuri has worked with patients, medical providers, and clinical researchers to advance medical science and research and contribute towards innovative cures and breakthroughs.

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Sarah Packer

Program Manager, VA Palo Alto Health Care System

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spacker@pavir.org

Sarah Packer brings over 20 years of professional experience in the fields of public health and human rights. She currently manages a national program aimed at improving proactive, patient-centered symptom management for veterans with cancer. Prior to joining PACC, her work focused on reducing the use of toxic chemicals, including carcinogens, in the environment and consumer products. She co-created and led a program addressing the climate and health impacts of petrochemicals and plastics. Before that, she worked for 15 years in international reproductive health, rights and justice, where she worked to increase access to safe and supported healthcare. Sarah is a certified project manager with extensive experience in strategic planning and the use of human-rights based approaches and human-centered design principles in program and project design and management. Her background includes policy advocacy, litigation, research and evaluation, community partnerships, institutional engagement, health system strengthening and technology introduction and integration. Sarah has a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and lives in Durham, North Carolina.

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Kassandra Escobar

Assistant Clinical Research Coordinator Associate

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kas831@stanford.edu

Kasandra Escobar holds a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with a wellness concentration from California State University, Monterey Bay. She is pursuing a Master’s in Public Health at San Jose State University, specializing in Community Health Education. She has a diverse background in clinical research and community health advocacy. She has worked as a Community Health Advocate managing access to care initiatives within the farmworker community in the Salinas Valley. Kasandra’s interests revolve around health promotion, chronic disease prevention and improving healthcare access for underserved populations. She is passionate about continuing her work at the PACC Lab to educate, engage and empower members of the community.

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Matthew Walsh

Assistant Clinical Research Coordinator Associate

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matthew.walsh4@va.gov

Matthew graduated from the US Naval Academy in 2017 with aBS in Mechanical Engineering. Following graduation, Matthew commissioned as anuclear submarine officer, completed nuclear power training, and was assignedto the USS Toledo (SSN 769). After 5 years of active-duty service, Matthew washonorably discharged and began pursuing a career in healthcare. As aveteran-to-veteran hospice volunteer, Matthew developed a deep appreciation forveteran-focused healthcare and patient autonomy with respect to end-of-lifecare. As a research assistant in the PACC Lab, he hopes to contribute toresearch identifying the most effective way of delivering supportive cancercare.

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Rafaay Kamran

Assistant Clinical Research Coordinator Associate

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rafaayk@stanford.edu

Rafaay Kamran is a UC Berkeley graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Environmental Biology. He found the Darya Foundation, a nonprofit in Pakistan focused on preventing waterborne diseases through the construction of hand pumps. Rafaay aims to adopt a holistic approach to medicine by integrating his role as a future physician with public health innovations to improve healthcare delivery throughout underserved communities. Rafaay served as the Lead Research Assistant at UCSF, where he examined the effects of oxytocin in veterans with schizophrenia through various study days, MRI scans, and nasal spray administration.Rafaay's long-term goal is to become a community-oriented physician. He hopes to utilize his deep ties to Sacramento and Pakistan to serve community organizations and lower socioeconomic populations, while simultaneously investigating innovative ways to provide new patient care.

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Fernanda Urrutia

Assistant Clinical Research Coordinator Associate

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furrutia@stanford.edu

Fernanda was born and raised in El Salvador and has a deep-rooted passion for holistic health and well-being. She holds an Honors Bachelor of Science in Human Biology and was honored to deliver the commencement speech for Rachel Carson College at UC Santa Cruz.Fernanda’s journey took a heartfelt turn when she lost her father to cancer. This personal experience ignited her commitment to patient-centered Cancer Care. She served as the program coordinator for the Canopy Cancer Collective and currently, is part of the PACC team, where she aims to dive deep into understanding health disparities and social determinants of health through research to implement public health innovation and improve healthcare access for underserved populations. Her long-term vision is to become a compassionate physician, combining clinical expertise with a Master’s in Public Health.Beyond her professional pursuits, Fernanda loves teaching yoga and meditation and spends her free time connecting with nature, cherishing moments with her family, friends, and her beloved puppy.

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Olivia Felice Viruet Quintero

Research Volunteer

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ovq27@stanford.edu

Olivia is a senior at Stanford University studying Bioengineering and Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. She served as a research assistant in the Winn lab where she aided in developing a human placenta stem cell model to ultimately try and reduce adverse pregnancy outcomes. Her long-term goals are to become a pediatrician focused on working with Indigenous and Latinx communities. In her free time, Olivia enjoys hiking and spending time with friends and family.

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Gladys M. Rodriguez, MD

Hematology/Oncology Fellow 

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gladys.rodriguez@stanford.edu

Received her bachelor’s degree from Baylor University, her medical degree from Yale School of Medicine, and completed her internal medicine residency at UCSF. Gladys has an interest in cancer disparities affecting vulnerable populations. During residency, she focused on understanding barriers to transitioning survivorship care from oncologists to primary care providers that affect safety net cancer survivors. During fellowship, she looks forward to continuing her research in cancer related healthcare disparities with a focus on interventions.

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Omar Esteban Ramos

Bilingual Assistant Clinical Research Coordinator

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oramos@stanford.edu

Omar graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology. As a non-traditional Latino student, he has acquired a diverse range of experiences, including over 5 years of working as a chef in the Bay Area. Amid the pandemic, he redirected his focus towards community engagement, serving as a mentor for At-Promise youth in Alameda County through organizations in Oakland, CA. Driven by a profound desire to support his local community, Omar pursued certification as a Community Health Worker (CHW) and started aiding patients at a free medical clinic in San Pablo, CA. He actively advocates for his patients in both community and medical settings, aiming to promote, maintain, and enhance their well-being through social support and personalized counseling. His long-term goal is to become a compassionate physician focused on working with immigrant, indigenous and Latinx communities.In his free time, he enjoys hiking with his dog Chester and cooking new recipes for his family.

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Kekoa Taparra, MD PhD

RESIDENT IN RADIATION ONCOLOGY - RADIATION THERAPY

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ktaparra@stanford.edu

Kekoa Taparra, MD PhD is a Native Hawaiian radiation oncology physician-scientist trainee at Stanford Medicine. He was born and raised in Mililani, Hawaiʻi and is a Kamehameha Schools ’08 graduate. He completed his PhD at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Cellular and Molecular Medicine followed by an MD at Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine. His research has been published in The Lancet, JAMA, JAMA Network Open, JAMA Health Form, IJROBP, and JCO Oncology Practice on research topics including Pacific Islander health disparities, “AAPI” data disaggregation, disparities in time to cancer treatment, access to cancer care disparities, and the impact of cancer healthcare costs on survival outcomes. He is passionate about mentoring underrepresented individuals in medicine and showing the next generation of Pacific Islanders that they are capable of careers in medicine and the health sciences. He is working towards his life mission of returning home to the islands to provide high quality cancer care to Hawaiʻi’s communities.

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Natalia Ledford

Web Designer

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natalialedford1@gmail.com

Natalia Ledford is a multidisciplinary designer and award-winning visual storyteller. She specializes in web design and content creation  for scientific, nonprofit and educational groups. Her work has been funded by National Geographic Society and has appeared on PBS World. She currently produces cross-platform content and web design for scientific groups and educational institutions in the United States.

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Donna Galvez

Senior Administrative Assistant

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drgalvez@stanford.edu