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Ann Chang, Senior Project Director

Ann Chang is the Senior Project Director of the MASALA Study Coordinating Center and the Associate Directory of the Women’s Health Clinical Research Center at the University of California, San Francisco. Ann received her B.S. in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from UCLA and has worked in clinical research since 2003. Ann first started working with Dr. Kanaya on the MASALA Pilot Study in 2006 and continues to support all ongoing programmatic needs for the MASALA Study Coordinating Center.


Eric Vittinghoff, Ph.D, Biostatistician

Eric Vittinghoff is an applied statistician who provides consulting and analysis for the MASALA study.  He got his PhD in biostatistics from UC Berkeley in 1993, is the first author of a well-regarded textbook, Regression Methods in Biostatistics, and co-author of more than 400 peer-reviewed publications, many of them concerning cardiovascular health and disparities, including several by the MASALA investigators.

Michael Schembri, Programmer Analyst

Michael Schembri is the data systems analyst for the Women’s Health Clinical Research Center where for 8 years he has developed data systems in support of clinical trials.  He has over 20 years of experience programming in health care research, with a list of publications that include areas of health policy research, longitudinal studies, cost effectiveness, as well as clinical trials.  In addition to developing the participant tracking database for the MASALA study, Mr. Schembri manages and develops the data integration processes for the project.  He currently leads the SAS Users Group at UCSF. 

Zubaida Qamar, PhD, Clinical Research Project Manager

Zubaida Qamar received her Ph.D. and M.S. in Nutrition from Texas A&M University, and Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from State University of New York at Oneonta. She has several years of research experience investigating the behavioral aspects of nutrition, and cultural and socioeconomic determinants of health in various communities. Furthermore, she is interested in utilizing technology and community based participatory research towards the development of health and nutrition programs for the prevention of diseases in South Asians.
Zubaida enjoys teaching, and has served in various instructional roles in academia. In addition, she has undertaken responsibilities for several community nutrition projects during her involvement at Alameda County Public Health Department and Nutrition Policy Institute, which exposed her to the translation of research into public health practice and policy. Being involved with the MASALA Study provides Zubaida a professionally and personally rewarding opportunity to interact with the South Asian community while contributing towards South Asian health research.

Shweta Srivastava, MBBS, Clinical Research Coordinator

Shweta Srivastava is a trained Obstetrics/Gynecology physician from Delhi University, India, with a broad background in teaching and research. Her teaching career started at Bryman College in Hayward, where she was a Medical Assistant Instructor. Shweta has also worked on a Clinical Trial Study of H1N1 vaccine at the Stanford-LPCH Vaccine Program. Shweta has been a part of the MASALA Study Team since Sept 2010. She has been actively involved with recruitment, data collection and data management. She thoroughly enjoys interacting with the participants during clinic visits. She loves being a part of the MASALA study which alligns with her interest of prevention of diseases in the South Asian community.


Fareeha Qureshi, MBBS, Clinical Research Coordinator

Fareeha Qureshi is a physician from Pakistan with a passion for clinical research. She joined MASALA team in March 2012.She has been involved in participant recruitment, conducting clinical visits and data collection in community based study visits. Fareeha is very excited to be part of the study that will provide us information for future treatments to prevent or cure heart disease in South Asians.

Evangeline Nithya Vijayakumar, MS, Clinical Research Coordinator

I am Evangeline Nithya from India. I completed my BS and MS in Microbiology and Biotechnology from Madras University, Chennai, India. Prior to joining the MASALA Team, I was an Instructional Designer, involved in writing training videos and manuals for various Biotechnology companies and Clinical Research laboratories.

I have a profound interest in clinical research studies, which drove me to be a part of the MASALA Study. Initially, I joined the MASALA Study as a Research Intern. The internship gave me new insights as to why South Asians have been more prone to cardiovascular disease at a very early age and how this study will provide new perspective to improve the prevention and treatment of heart disease in South Asians.

In June 2016, I started working as an Assistant Clinical Research Coordinator for the MASALA Study. I am very much delighted to affiliate myself with such a dynamic team and look forward to making my own contribution in preventing cardiovascular disease in South Asians living in America.

Beenish Najam, MBBS, Clinical Research Coordinator

I am a physician from Pakistan with a lot of passion for clinic research. I joined MASALA Study in 2014.I enjoy interacting with participants and following up with them via eMASALA to help identify etiology and risk factors that can help prevent cardiovascular diseases in South Asians living in North America. I work closely with participants to track any event that might have occurred in the past few days. I also enjoy data collection directly from participants to learn about social influences and what their diet and exercise patterns have on cardiovascular health. I am very excited to be a part of MASALA Study that targets South Asian population and provides an opportunity to work on preventing cardiovascular diseases in south Asians.