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Integrating Special Populations


  • Miguel Cuevas

    Miguel Cuevas


    Assistant to Dr. Catherine Sarkisian

  • Carmen E. Reyes

    Carmen E. Reyes


    Director, Community Relations and Outreach

  • Jaspreet Saini

    Jaspreet Saini


    Assistant to Dr. Peter Szilagyi

  • Nathalie Vizueta, Ph.D.

    Nathalie Vizueta, Ph.D.


    Project Manager


Program Description

The Integrating Special Populations Program focuses on three special groups: children, older adults, and groups affected by health disparities. We prioritize these groups because of their poor health status in Los Angeles and nationally, the implications of their health for society including costs of care, and the emerging science of how life develops over the life course. The program will work to catalyze and strengthen research in special populations in three ways: (1) by attempting to increase the number of investigators studying special populations; (2) by offering advice on study design and intense mentoring to improve the quality of research; and (3) through thoughtful recruitment/retention activities.

Program Aim

The aim of the Integrating Special Populations (ISP) Program is to integrate special populations into the research enterprise of the UCLA CTSI to ensure that breakthroughs are quickly translated to the benefit of society and its subpopulations.

To achieve this aim, the program has established four objectives.

  • Objective 1. Provide consultations, mentorship and career development in special population-based research.
  • Objective 2. Foster and support collaborations on research with special populations and accelerate the inclusion of special populations in translational research.
  • Objective 3. Facilitate clinical research with a virtual core research facility for special populations.
  • Objective 4. Provide research platforms to facilitate research with special populations at UCLA and our CTSI partner institutions and as a hub for national CTSI activities.

Program Services

Special Population Services

ISP Consulting Services

To request a consultation, contact:
Nathalie Vizueta
CTSI Special Populations Program Manager
(310) 794-2744

The CTSI Integrating Special Populations Program (ISP) increases the quantity and quality of research in children, older adults, and populations affected by health disparities at the UCLA CTSI partner institutions: UCLA Westwood, LA BioMed at Harbor-UCLA, Cedars-Sinai, and Charles R. Drew University. Below are a list of ISP services (or view the flier).

Postdoctoral researchers and faculty at any level doing research relevant to special populations (i.e., children, older adults, health disparities) are encouraged to utilize the following free ISP consultation services:

Program Services

Internal Pre-Submission Grant Reviews
Approximately 4-6 weeks before submission deadlines, our experienced faculty offer: 

Career Consultations
An interdisciplinary team of senior faculty members provide one-time, or ongoing career advice. Interested faculty submit a CV and responses to key questions about their career trajectories. Discussion items can include:

  • Potential sources of funding 
  • Collaboration opportunities 
  • Suggestions for research content direction
  • Support with promotion
  • Career transitions
  • Strategies for achieving academic success
Consultations are especially useful to faculty at a career crossroads, e.g., near the end of a funding cycle, deciding between different employment opportunities. 
    Project-Specific Consultations
    Senior faculty provide concrete, one-time project-specific advice to:
    • Conceptualize projects
    • Identify key collaborations
    • Identify potential grant sources
    • Problem-solve
    • Get advice on tasks such as grant-writing, IRB submissions, hiring staff, and study recruitment  
    Nathalie Vizueta, Ph.D. 
    Integrating Special Populations, Project Manager

    Special Populations Consultation Service Task Force Leaders
    Catherine Sarkisian
    UCLA Geriatrics

    Peter Szilagyi
    UCLA Pediatrics

    Kimberly Gregory

    Teryl Nuckols

    David Martins
    Charles R. Drew University 

    Lynne Smith
    LA BioMed

    Katherine Ward
    LA BioMed