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Congratulations to the Irving Tragen Family Travel Fund Award recipients Leo Meller & Nhi Nguyen

The Tragen Family Travel Fund Award is funded by Irving Tragen to support trainees presenting at meetings focused on aging. This year’s recipients are Leo Meller & Nhi Nguyen.


Leo Meller

Leo Meller is a first-year medical student at UC San Diego School of Medicine. Leo graduated from UC Irvine, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in Human Biology, graduated from the Campuswide Honors Collegium with Magna Cum Laude, and was inducted to the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. Leo is passionate about research and has already co-authored nearly 100 publications/abstracts/presentations as just a first-year medical student, and received grant funding for his work, including from the NIH. His research has been published in prestigious journals including Nature Communications, Cell Reports, and Leo has given many presentations at national and international meetings. Leo is also passionate about community health and serves as one of the UCSD Free Clinic managers. Leo enjoys the outdoors in his free time and takes his climbing training very seriously.

Leo's focus: Syndemics, or co-occurring conditions that contribute to excess disease burden and vulnerability, complicate the care of vulnerable older adults. Leo's project highlights the challenges of addressing syndemics (substance use, frailty, HIV) in vulnerable older adults who experience social disparities of health. Furthermore, Leo's project emphasizes that policy and advocacy efforts may benefit from ongoing consideration of specific vulnerable older adult populations to effectively address their integrated social and medical needs.

Nhi NguyenNhi_Nguyen

Nhi Nguyen is a second-year medical student at UC San Diego School of Medicine. She completed her B.S. in human biology and M.A. in global health at UC San Diego. Her research interests include aging, psychiatry, mental health, and health equity.

Nhi's focus:
The legalization of cannabis across the United States has contributed to increased cannabis use among older adults, many of whom use cannabis for medical purposes. Still, we know little about older adults' interactions with healthcare providers regarding cannabis use. Using a qualitative approach, Nhi's project explores the experiences of discussing cannabis use with healthcare providers among older medical cannabis users (aged 65+) residing in Southern California. Understanding these experiences can help inform areas of research and advocacy for cannabis use screening and monitoring in healthcare settings.