Meet Our Team
Nazanin Firooz, MD, FACR
Dr. Firooz is board-certified in Rheumatology and Internal Medicine. She is an active member of the American College of Rheumatology, and is affiliated with the Department of Rheumatology at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. She received her medical degree from the University of California at Irvine, and completed her residency at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Los Angeles Veteran’s Hospital. She trained at Cedars Sinai Medical Center for her fellowship in rheumatology.
Dr. Firooz has been published in peer-viewed medical journals and has presented her research in several national rheumatology meetings. She is the recipient of a research award for her presentation at the American college of rheumatology in Washington, D.C.
Realizing the rapidly evolving nature of the field of rheumatology, with new discoveries and treatments that can improve the lives of many patients, Dr. Firooz keeps her commitment to her patients up-to-date by attending the Carl Pearson rheumatology update meeting at UCLA and the American College of Rheumatology scientific meeting every year. She reviews the latest discoveries in the field with several other rheumatologist at the monthly journal club meetings at Cedars Sinai. She prides herself at offering her patients the latest in diagnostic approach and available treatments.
In her free time, Dr. Firooz enjoys traveling, oil painting and salsa dancing. She is fluent in English, Farsi, and Medical Spanish.
Phillip Aleksiejuk, MD
Board Certified Physician
Dr. Aleksiejuk is a board certified physician in both Rheumatology and Internal Medicine. He completed Rheumatology fellowship training at the University of Southern California (USC).
Originally from Toronto, Canada, he realized at a young age that he wanted to pursue a career in medicine after spending countless hours filing medical records at his father’s medical practice. He trained at SUNY Upstate Medical University where he found his passion for diagnosing and treating autoimmune disease.
Dr Aleksiejuk understands the value of comprehensive medical care especially in Rheumatology, given the chronicity and multi-systemic nature of the conditions. He finds immense joy in establishing long-term relationships with his patients and works relentlessly to improve their quality of life. With all of the exciting developments in the field, he strives to formulate individual treatment plans while maintaining a holistic approach.
Outside of medicine, Dr. Aleksiejuk loves to spend time with his family, travel and follow everything related to sports.
Emily is board certified as a nurse practitioner in family medicine. She is an active
member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the Rheumatology
Nurses Society. She received her undergraduate degree in nursing at Temple
University, Philadelphia, and then worked as a registered nurse in Los Angeles while
completing her Master’s degree at Samuel Merritt University.
Emily has taken a special interest in the diagnosis and management of inflammatory
arthritis. She strives to stay up to date on the latest guidelines and treatment
opportunities; medical as well as non-medical modalities, thus adopting a holistic
approach to transforming her patients into happier, healthier people. Her compassionate
and empathetic practice instills hope in her patients.
Outside of the office Emily enjoys staying active, whether that be rock climbing, surfing,
or hiking with her golden retriever. She is passionate about helping her patients
continue to do what they enjoy as well.
Medical Assistant/Biologics Coordinator
Tannia is our senior medical assistant that has really grown in our practice. She
started as a student here in 2014. Now known as our biologics coordinator she
handles all specialty medications and works closely with insurance companies to
get approvals. If getting approvals isn’t enough she strives to help patients with
copay assistance or free drug programs. She coordinates all the infusions and
makes sure everything is covered and is always on top of obtaining medication
authorizations. She works closely with specialty pharmacies to get patients the
medications delivered and administered on time.
Tannia is also a certified phlebotomist that takes pride in the utmost precision,
which encouraged her to attain her IV tech certification. Not only does she do the
heavy lifting in approving specialty medications, she takes it upon herself to
administer them at our in-house infusion center.
Her personal life consists of her fiancé and her pride and joy of a daughter. Tannia is very adventurous and loves to do arts and crafts in her spare time. She also enjoys cooking and loves to eat.
As the biller, Larissa is responsible for coordinating with insurance companies for the coverage of our patients’ medications, visits, and procedures. She can often be found handling mounds of paperwork. Her diligence and prior experience allows her to obtain approvals in a timely manner. She also fills into various odd jobs around the office to help maintain our workflow. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, hiking, and dancing.
Sharzad is the lead research study coordinator at our site. She helps patients decide if
a particular study is right for them, coordinates study visits once a patient is in a study, and ensures that data is collected and communicated accurately while maintaining patient privacy and confidentiality. She can answer questions about study protocol and activities, possible risks and benefits (such as free medication or labs), visit schedule, or
anything else patients want to know. She can also communicate patient concerns and
observations with the doctor and with the study. Her hope is that through research, not only our patients benefit, but that we contribute to better treatment and outcomes for everyone with Rheumatic diseases.
Sharzad is also a mother of two, a former school psychologist, and teaches bilingual
preschoolers through music and dance on her off days. She obtained her B.A. in
Human Development from UC San Diego, and her Masters in School Psychology from Cal State Northridge. She loves singing, learning musical history, and finding many
variations of the same song. Figure skating and basketball are her favorite sports to
watch, though she is not great at either. Sharzad loves reading and also enjoys a
variety of TV and movie fandoms, including Avengers, Star Wars, Lost, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and especially Harry Potter. Did we mention she is a Harry Potter fan?
As a research assistant, Kedar helps with the collection and input of data amongst
various studies. He aims to maintain the utmost accuracy while making the experience
as seamless to our patients’ regular visits as possible. He can also be found aiding in
other aspects of the office, filling in as needed to help keep the office running smoothly.
Kedar is a recently graduated pre-medical student with the hopes of one day becoming
a physician himself. In his free time, Kedar enjoys surfing, playing music, and hiking.
Talia is responsible for taking patients to their exam rooms and asking them questions about
their medical history to prepare them to see our providers. She also administers injections and. sends out blood samples for analysis at the laboratory. When she is not in a room with a patient, you might see her at the front desk answering calls and emails, as well as scheduling patients to help make their experience in our office a comfortable one. In her free time, Talia enjoys photography, hiking, and spending time with her family and dogs.