TACKLE HIV/HCV Team

Waridibo (Wari) Allison, MD, PhD

Program Director

Dr. Waridibo (Wari) Allison is an Assistant Professor of Infectious Disease at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) and Medical Director at the San Antonio AIDS Foundation (SAAF). She attended Imperial College School of Medicine, London and completed an internal medicine residency at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and infectious disease fellowship at New York University (NYU). She holds a Ph.D. in Public Health from the Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, Australia. Dr. Allison is passionate about improving access to healthcare for under-served, disadvantaged populations in the US and in resource-limited settings overseas, whether that disadvantage is geographical, racial, cultural, gender-based or economical. Her current research focuses on prevention, screening, and linkage to care in relation to HIV and viral hepatitis (particularly hepatitis C). She has clinical responsibility for people living with HIV attending the SAAF Care Clinic. Dr. Allison is the principal investigator and program director for the TACKLE HIV/HCV in People of Color project.

Joel Tsevat, MD, MPH

Program Co-Director

Dr. Tsevat is a general internist and outcomes researcher. He holds a joint appointment at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) and Dell Medical School. In San Antonio, he is Professor of Medicine and Joaquin G. Cigarroa, Jr., MD, Distinguished Chair; Director, Center for Research to Advance Community Health (ReACH); and Director, Institutional Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) KL2 program. At Dell Medical School, he is a professor in the Departments of Population Health and Internal Medicine. Dr. Tsevat is a graduate of UT Austin (BA in Plan II) and of UT Health San Antonio. He received an MPH degree from the T.H. Chan Harvard School of Public Health and completed a fellowship in Clinical Decision Making at Tufts Medical Center. He was on faculty at Harvard, then moved to Cincinnati where he spent 22 years. He relocated to Texas in June 2017.

Barbara Taylor, MD, MS

Program Evaluator

Dr. Barbara Taylor is an Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases and the Assistant Dean for the MD/MPH Program at UT Health San Antonio with a co-appointment at the UTHealth School of Public Health. Dr. Taylor conducts impactful research to improve health outcomes for underserved populations living with or at risk for HIV. She provides treatment for patients living with infectious diseases in San Antonio. A strong community advocate, she is a co-chair of the End Stigma End HIV Alliance of San Antonio and the Clinician Key Opinion Leader for San Antonio’s Fast Track Cities Initiative. She also works with two programs to increase screening and treatment for Hepatitis C in South Texas: TACKLE and HEPVista. Dr. Taylor is an alumna of Princeton University, Harvard Medical School, and the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and is board certified in internal medicine and infectious diseases.

Trisha Melhado, MPH

Senior Research Scientist/Epidemiologist

Ms. Trisha Melhado is the Senior Research Scientist/ Epidemiologist for TACKLE. Ms. Melhado has experience in various research roles where she provides research guidance to faculty and residents on all aspects of the research process with an emphasis on study methodology and statistical analysis. She has successfully collaborated with faculty from multiple institutions to implement multi-year grant funded projects and has worked on CPRIT, DOD, and HRSA funded grants as well as provided analytical and statistical expertise to projects. She has presented research at local and national conferences in addition to co-authoring several publications based on her analytical contributions.

Andrea Rochat, MFA

ECHO Coordinator

Andrea Rochat serves as a Senior Research Coordinator for the Center for Research to Advance Community Health (ReACH) at UT Health San Antonio. After completing dual majors in English and Classics at Washington University in St. Louis, Andrea went to Pennsylvania State University, where she earned a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Her work in communications and content development led her to ReACH, where she has served as a coordinator and writer for over three years on projects involving HCV management in primary care, specialist teleconsultation, non-pharmacologic chronic pain management, and community engagement. Her background makes her passionate about improving the patient and provider experience through innovative forms of communication. As lead ECHO Coordinator on the TACKLE HIV/HCV project, Andrea is eager to help write a newer narrative of healthcare, in which individuals are empowered through access, technology, and education to improve their own health and the health of their community.

Kesi Williams, MPH

ECHO Coordinator

Kesi Williams serves as a Senior Research Coordinator for the Center for Research to Advance Community Health (ReACH) at UT Health San Antonio. Before joining ReACH, Ms. Williams was a program analyst for the National Institutes of Health for over 10yrs. She has also worked at the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Ms. Williams earned her Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in Community Health from the University of North Texas Health Science Center and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Tuskegee University.

Raquel Romero, MD, MPH, CDE

ECHO Education Outreach and Recruitment Coordinator

Dr. Romero is a bilingual foreign medical graduate physician who has a Master of Public Heath from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. She is certified by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators as a Diabetes Educator as well as a Texas State Community Health Worker Instructor. For the past 18 years, she has been working for UT Health San Antonio as a primary care practice facilitator in the 38 counties of South Texas. Her projects focus on improving health outcomes for underserved and rural communities at the clinic level through the implementation of quality improvement strategies. Dr. Romero has devoted her professional career to helping increase the capacity of primary care physicians in community based settings to work towards health improvement in their patient populations. She has joined the TACKLE team as the ECHO Education Outreach and Recruitment Coordinator to achieve this goal of creating awareness amongst primary care physicians about the HIV/HCV ECHO program.

Paula Winkler, MEd

Community Partner Liaison

Paula Winkler is the Director of the South Central Area Health Education (AHEC) Center at UT Health San Antonio. She has her Bachelors of Arts Degree in Latin American Studies from Texas Tech University and a Masters of Education from Southern Methodist University. She is a bilingual, native Texan health educator with over 25 years’ experience working with underserved communities in rural Illinois and south Texas.  Ms. Winkler has developed strong working relationships with physician practices across the vast 38 counties, primarily Hispanic, region of South Texas and with both rural and urban stakeholder groups that are county-based. Since 2008, the South Central AHEC has partnered with the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) Institute of the Integration of Medicine and Science (IIMS) to develop community engagement initiatives for the Health Science Center’s Clinical Translation Science Award (CTSA). She participates as a Community Liaison to facilitate program connection to community-based stakeholders and organizations.

Raudel Bobadilla, BS, CHW

Community Health Worker Coordinator

Raudel Bobadilla is a Community Outreach Coordinator and Community Health Worker (CHW) who serves as the CHW Coordinator for the TACKLE HIV/HCV Project. He has built a strong skill set for engaging and partnering with communities, care-providers, and clinics to improve the population’s health. In multiple projects, he has collaborated with community members, leaders, and organizations to connect the public to services and research opportunities. Mr. Bobadilla brings considerable experience as a Practice Facilitator and Case Manager for a CPRIT-funded grant to implement HCV screening and innovative treatment pathways within 18 clinics across 14 counties in South Texas. Through close collaboration with each clinic, Mr. Bobadilla, trains staff in program protocols, adapts the care model to the context of each site and serves as lead contact between clinic partners and the research team.

Kelli Williams, MA

Program Coordinator

Ms. Kelli Williams serves as the Program Coordinator for the TACKLE HIV/HCV Project. Ms. Williams has more than 20 years of Case management and Project Coordinator experience with an emphasis on Military family life. She has her Associates of Arts Degree in Health Administration and a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Psychology from The University of Phoenix. She also holds a Master’s of Arts Degree in Human Services Counseling in Marriage and Family Therapy from Liberty University. Kelli has always had a passion for helping people and is eager to contribute her professionalism, skills, compassion, and coordination to the TACKLE HIV/HCV Project and team.

Shreya Prasanna, BPTh., MSc.

Epidemiology Program Assistant (Research Associate)

Shreya Prasanna is a research associate/ epidemiology assistant for TACKLE program. Shreya is a physical therapist by training and completed her Bachelors degree in India in 2006 and her Masters in Rehabilitation Sciences from McGill University, Canada in 2010. She is presently completing her doctoral studies. Prior to joining the TACKLE team, Shreya has been involved in several research projects in a variety of health conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis and autism. Her research interests include evidence-based practice, community-based research, implementation sciences and healthcare access issues. As a TACKLE team member, she is excited to contribute her skills to reduce healthcare disparities and ensure equitable access to evidence-based HIV/HCV care.

Anmol Desai, MPH

Epidemiology Program Assistant (Research Associate)

Anmol Desai is a research associate/epidemiology assistant for the TACKLE Program. Prior to joining the TACKLE team Anmol had experience working with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in India as well as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI) in Washington DC. Anmol graduated from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health with an MPH. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Criminology from The University of Texas at Dallas. Her research interests include infectious disease prevention and treatment to improve preparedness and healthcare for all. She has always wanted to help people around the world and as a native Texan since the age of five, Anmol believes that starting her public health career in her home state is an invaluable experience. She is excited to contribute her skills and experiences to the TACKLE project.

Keito Kawasaki, MPH

Epidemiology Program Assistant (Research Associate)

Keito Kawasaki is a research associate/ epidemiology assistant for TACKLE program. Keito graduated from Tulane University School of Public Health with an MPH, with a focus on global health before joining the TACKLE team in January 2018. Her research interests include HIV, hepatitis C, social determinants of health, health systems strengthening, health program management, and program monitoring and evaluation. Prior to coming to the United States, she lived in Japan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan. She embraces diversity and as a TACKLE team member, she is eager to contribute to improving access to quality HIV/HCV care for all who needs care regardless of their race, ethnicity, age, gender, and socio-economic status.

James Bridges, BS

Database & EMR Manager

James Bridges has worked in data management for over 34 years. Previously at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, Mr. Bridges helped develop PEDSYS a pedigree-based database. He built and maintained several data files for pedigree information retrieval and analysis. He also coordinated data from several different laboratories and institutions for large program projects. Within the TACKLE project, Mr. Bridges builds and manages several REDCap databases and is responsible for coordinating and managing electronic medical record software modifications necessary for project data collection. Mr. Bridges has also been involved in innovative ways of utilizing REDCap for the UT Health San Antonio ECHO program.

Aro Choi, MS

Statistician

Aro Choi is a senior statistician in the Division of Infectious Disease at the UT Health San Antonio. Before She joined the TACKLE team, she worked with various clinical and pharmaceutical data at Duke Clinical Research Institute, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), NC Department of  Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), and the Center for Research to Advance Community Health (ReACH) at UT Health San Antonio. She has extensive experience in data management, data analysis, and data visualization using SAS. She graduated from Duke University with a Master’s degree of Biostatistics and her master’s project focuses on methods and applications for clustered data by sites in the subject and hospital levels. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics. She is an expert in SAS programming and has a passion for simple & effective data visualization to make a positive impact on eliminating health disparities.

Ariel Gomez, BS, CHES-Health Educator

Dissemination Coordinator

Ariel Gomez is a Health Educator for South Central AHEC. She is currently involved in the AHEC Scholars program, planning and managing Public Health Camp for middle and high school students, and helping plan and run Translation Advisory Boards across South Central AHEC’s 12 county region. She first joined AHEC as an intern in 2014 and officially became part of the AHEC team in 2016. Ariel graduated from UTSA with a BS in Community Health in 2014 and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Health in Health Promotion & Behavior Science. Within the TACKLE project, she manages and maintains the ECHO Facebook page. Her interests include bridging the gap between access to care in underserved and rural areas brought about by her experience living in a small South Texas town with a population of 11k during adolescence. Ariel grew up overseas but has called Texas home since she moved here in 2002.