Medical Advisory Council
With a passion for adolescent sexual health, the Medical Advisory Council is comprised of health professionals with backgrounds in pediatrics, adolescent health, women’s health, infectious diseases, epidemiology, and mental health. The council has two primary goals to support Health Connected’s mission and long-term vision of community impact 1) to provide guidance and review to ensure all instructional materials are medically accurate and developmentally appropriate, and 2) to help build awareness in the healthcare community about Health Connected's work and impact on youth. Click each name below to learn about these experts who believe in the advancement of Health Connected's mission.
Tamar Besson, FNP, MSN, MPH
Tamar is a Masters-prepared Family Nurse Practitioner with a focus on adolescent medicine and reproductive health care. She has been committed to working with youth and the underserved communities for more than 35 years. She has been a Nurse Practitioner at Sequoia Teen Wellness Center for over 20 years, and at San Francisco’s STD clinic for more than 10.
Tamar started out as a Health Educator for the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic working with youth groups and women’s organizations. She was later hired by Peace Corps as the Health Technical Trainer for other countries. She went on to get her master’s in public health from Yale University. Upon completion of that program, she became the Periniatal Department Director in a local community health clinic. Feeling the draw to do clinical work, she enrolled in University of California, San Francisco for her master’s in nursing.
After becoming a Nurse Practitioner, she specialized in adolescent medicine, with a focus on reproductive health. At New York Presbyterian Hospital, she was the Assistant Medical Director for School Based Health Clinics in Washington Heights and Harlem, overseeing the comprehensive health programs in 6 school based clinics. Currently, she is the Senior Nurse Practitioner at Sequoia Teen Wellness Center. Although she adores her clinical work, she continues to be committed to public health work and working directly with communities. She initiated outreach reproductive health clinics in Sequoia Union High Schools, as well as started the Sequoia Teen Wellness Center / Health Connected Youth Advisory Board. She recently served as a CDC STD clinical/technical consultant for the Micronesia Health Department.
As a Certified Health Education Specialist with years of experience as a Health Educator/Trainer, as well as an adolescent medicine provider with an expertise in reproductive health and sexually transmitted diseases, Tamar is excited and honored to be able to serve on the Health Connected Medical Advisory Council.
Cathy Gale, RN, BSN
Cathy Gale is a recently retired pediatric nurse. She has 20 years’ of hospital pediatric nursing experience and another 12 years’ of school nurse experience working with students from K -12 in the Fremont Unified School District. Before going back to school for nursing, Cathy worked as an analytical chemist for Alza Pharmaceuticals. Now she spends her time as a Nature Education docent and a house and garden docent at Filoli, traveling around the country and the world to visit with her three adult children and her 6-year-old granddaughter.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Smith College, a bachelor’s in nursing from University of California, San Francisco and a School Nurse Credential from San Jose State University.
Inge Hansen, PsyD
Dr. Inge Hansen is a Clinical Psychologist and the Asst. Director of Outreach, Equity and Inclusion for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at Stanford University. She the co-founder and Director of the Weiland Health Initiative, which is dedicated to promoting mental health and wellness across all genders and sexualities. This initiative has generated a variety of innovative clinical and educational programs at Stanford and beyond. Dr. Hansen is also a co-founder of Gender-Inclusive Stanford, a campus-wide initiative dedicated to creating a better environment for trans and non-binary students. Dr. Hansen has developed several new academic courses in the realm of gender and sexualities, including Challenging Sex & Gender Dichotomies in Medicine, Human Sexual Diversity and Health, and Transgender Studies. She is a popular speaker and consultant on gender and sexual diversity topics. Each year, Dr. Hansen holds a symposium on gender or sexual health, and for the last two years she has had the honor of co-organizing and hosting World Sexual Health Day on behalf of North America.
Dr. Hansen earned a Psy.D. from the California School of Professional Psychology and a B.A. in psychology from Bryn Mawr College.
Melissa Kelley, MA, LMFT
Melissa Kelley has been a School Counselor at Springer Elementary in Los Altos and Palo Alto High School, Alta Vista High School, and Kehillah Jewish High School. She designed and implemented a popular social skills group for K-1 students at Springer, which was later also offered at First Five in Mountain View. She has taught Social and Emotional Learning at the Nueva School in Hillsborough (Grades 1-3) and at Helios New School in Palo Alto (Grades K-5). Before coming to the counseling world, Melissa was a research director at the Stanford Center for the Study of Families, Children and Youth and a program officer in the area of at-risk youth with the Walter S. Johnson Foundation.
Melissa holds an M.A. in counseling psychology from the Institute for Transpersonal Psychology and a B.A. in history from Stanford University.
Ramsey Khasho, PsyD
Dr. Ramsey Khasho is the Chief Clinical Officer at Children’s Health Council in Palo Alto, CA, and is a licensed clinical psychologist with more than 20 years’ experience evaluating and treating children, teens and families. He specializes in pediatric anxiety and depression, ADHD, ASD, forensic assessment and family therapy. Dr. Khasho is a court-appointed expert for the State of California, and has provided testimony about the psychological evaluations of children and adolescents. He has more than 10 years of non-profit executive management experience and is actively involved in the supervision and training of graduate students. Dr. Khasho is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of San Francisco teaching graduate level courses for the School of Education, Counseling Psychology Department.
Dr. Khasho holds a Psy.D. in clinical psychology from Illinois School of Professional Psychology, an M.A. in clinical psychology from Illinois School of Professional Psychology, and a B.A. in psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Anne Liu, MD
Dr. Anne Liu, is an Allergy/Immunology specialist in Stanford, California. She attended and graduated from medical school in 2004, having more than 14 years of diverse experience, especially in Allergy/Immunology. She is affiliated with many hospitals including Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford, Stanford Hospital. She holds academic appointments as a Clinical Assistant Professor in Pediatric Immunology and Allergy and in Infectious Diseases. She has published articles on topics related to immunology and infectious diseases including HIV.
Dr. Liu holds an M.D. from University of California, Los Angeles.
Anjali Rao, MD, MPH
Dr. Anjali Rao is an obstetrician/gynecologist with a passion for preventive health and community outreach. She has practiced in the Bay Area for more than 10 years. While she was in medical school, Anjali felt a strong desire to touch the lives of patients beyond the exam room. She pursued a degree in public health while she obtained her medical training. Since then, she has sought to improve the lives of women and teens by optimizing their health and well-being.
Anjali was raised in Fremont but has called Redwood City her home since 2001. She earned an undergraduate degree from University of California, Los Angeles, attended New York Medical College for medical school/public health school, and did her ob/gyn training at Stanford University Medical Center. Anjali currently practices with Sutter Health in San Carlos. In her spare time, she enjoys laughing and giggling with her husband and two beautiful children.
Niki Saxena, MD, MS, MBA
Dr. Niki Saxena has been a practicing pediatrician in Redwood City for 21 years. Niki grew up in the Bay Area and considers herself to be as close to a Bay Area native as you can get. She attended University of California, Berkeley for her undergraduate degree in biochemistry, then worked in biotech while completing her master’s degree in cell biology at San Francisco State University. She made the decision to pursue medicine and moved to St. Louis, Missouri to attend medical school at St. Louis University. She completed her residency in pediatrics at Stanford Hospital.
In 1996, she joined a general pediatric practice in Redwood City and has been practicing locally ever since. In 2011, she and a long-time physician partner opened Pediatric Wellness Group, a pediatric private practice in Redwood City dedicated to promoting wellness and providing excellent primary care for patients and their families. She is currently Active Staff at Sequoia Hospital, having served as Chief of Pediatrics there 2007-2009, and has served as Courtesy Staff at Mills Peninsula Hospital and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. She recently completed a term as the President of the San Mateo County Medical Association and has served on several local hospital physician committees and councils.
She is currently pursuing an M.B.A. from Santa Clara University. In her spare time, she loves to travel, and is a big fan of swimming, hiking, dancing, entertaining, reading, cooking, theatre, good food, and exploring.
Martha Simmons, MD, PhD
Dr. Martha Simmons has a background in academic medicine, with current interests in lifestyle medicine, population health, and health technology. She works as a Senior Consultant for Clinical Program Development in the Education Division of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, developing and supporting initiatives for patient-centered healthcare.
She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Family Connections, a family learning community for local underserved children and parents. In the past, she sat on the Board of the Belmont-Redwood Shores Public School Foundation (School-Force), was a founding member of the Redwood Shores School District Wellness Committee, as well as holding many other volunteer positions.
Dr. Simmons earned a B.A. in biology with honors from Grinnell College, and an M.D. Ph.D. from the University of Iowa College of Medicine, completing a residency in Anatomic Pathology and fellowship in Neuropathology at the University of California, San Francisco. She lives in Belmont with her husband and two teenage daughters and enjoys trail running, hiking, yoga, reading, and travel.