Professional Education

  • Bachelor of Arts, Hood College (2003)
  • Master of Science, Johns Hopkins University (2006)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of British Columbia (2015)

Stanford Advisors


All Publications

  • Years of Potential Life Lost Because of Cardiovascular Disease in Asian-American Subgroups, 2003-2012. Journal of the American Heart Association Iyer, D. G., Shah, N. S., Hastings, K. G., Hu, J., Rodriguez, F., Boothroyd, D. B., Krishnan, A. V., Falasinnu, T., Palaniappan, L. 2019; 8 (7): e010744


    Background Asian-American subgroups (Asian-Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese) display varied cardiovascular disease mortality patterns, especially at younger ages. This study aims to examine the years of potential life lost because of ischemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease among the 6 largest Asian-American subgroups compared with non-Hispanic whites. Methods and Results We used National Center for Health Statistics Multiple Causes of Death mortality files from 2003 to 2012 to calculate race-specific life expectancy, mean years of potential life lost, and years of potential life lost per 100000 population for each Asian subgroup and non-Hispanic whites. Asian-American subgroups display heterogeneity in cardiovascular disease burden. Asian-Indians had a high burden of ischemic heart disease; Asian-Indian men lost 724years per 100000 population in 2012 and a mean of 17years to ischemic heart disease. Respectively, Vietnamese and Filipino men and women lost a mean of 17 and 16years of life to cerebrovascular disease; Filipino men lost 352years per 100000 population in 2012. All Asian subgroups for both sexes had higher years of life lost to cerebrovascular disease compared with non-Hispanic whites. Conclusions Cardiovascular disease burden varies among Asian subgroups, and contributes to greater premature mortality in certain subgroups. Asian-Indian and Filipino populations have the highest years of life lost because of ischemic heart disease and Filipino and Vietnamese have the highest years of life lost because of cerebrovascular disease. Analysis of risk factors and development of subgroup-specific interventions are required to address these health disparities.

    View details for PubMedID 30890022

  • Diabetes-Attributable Mortality in the United States from 2003-2016 Using a Multiple-Cause-of-Death Approach. Diabetes research and clinical practice Rodriguez, F., Blum, M. R., Falasinnu, T., Hastings, K. G., Hu, J., Cullen, M. R., Palaniappan, L. P. 2019


    AIMS: Deaths attributable to diabetes may be underestimated using an underlying cause of death (COD) approach in U.S. death records. This study sought to characterize the burden of diabetes deaths using a multiple-cause of death approach and to identify temporal changes in co-reported causes of death among those with diabetes listed anywhere on their death records.METHODS: COD were identified using data from the National Center for Health Statistics from 2003-2016. We calculated age-adjusted mortality rates for diabetes as the underlying or contributing COD by race/ethnicity. We used ICD-10 codes to identify leading causes of death among those with and without diabetes on their death records. We compared temporal changes in deaths due to cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, cancer, and other causes.RESULTS: The study population included 34,313,964 decedents aged ≥25 from 2003-2016. Diabetes was listed as an underlying COD in approximately 3.0% (n=1,031,000) and 6.7% (n=2,295,510) of the death records, respectively. Decedents with diabetes listed as an underlying COD experienced a 16% decline in mortality, and the race/ethnicity-specific average annual percentage changes (AAPC) showed significant declining trends for most groups (AAPC ranged from 0.18 to -2.83%). Cardiovascular disease remained the leading underlying COD among diabetes-attributable deaths, although its proportion of deaths fell from 31 to 27% over time. Co-reported COD diversified, and were more likely to include hypertension and hypertensive renal disease among those with diabetes on their death records.CONCLUSIONS: Our findings underscore the importance of using a multiple-cause-of-death approach for more completely characterizing diabetes' contribution to mortality.

    View details for PubMedID 30641162

  • The Representation of Gender and Race/Ethnic Groups in Randomized Clinical Trials of Individuals with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Current rheumatology reports Falasinnu, T., Chaichian, Y., Bass, M. B., Simard, J. F. 2018; 20 (4): 20


    This review evaluated gender and race/ethnic representation in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).Whites comprise 33% of prevalent SLE cases and comprised 51% of RCT enrollees. Blacks encompass 43% of prevalent SLE cases, but only represented 14% of RCT enrollees. Hispanics comprise 16% of prevalent SLE cases and 21% of RCT enrollees, while Asians comprise 13% of prevalent SLE cases and 10% of RCT enrollees. Males encompass 9% of SLE cases and 7% of RCT enrollees. The reporting and representation of males have remained stable over time, although their representation in RCTs is slighter lower than the prevalence of SLE in males. The representation of Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans increased over time. However, the representation of blacks among RCT participants has decreased since 2006-2011. RCTs among SLE patients need larger sample sizes in order to evaluate heterogeneity in outcomes among racial subgroups. It is imperative that novel strategies be developed to recruit racial minorities with SLE by identifying and improving barriers to RCT enrollment in order to better understand the disease's diverse population.

    View details for PubMedID 29550947

  • Do Death Certificates Underestimate the Burden of Rare Diseases? The Example of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Mortality, Sweden, 2001-2013. Public health reports (Washington, D.C. : 1974) Falasinnu, T., Rossides, M., Chaichian, Y., Simard, J. F. 2018: 33354918777253


    OBJECTIVES: Mortality due to rare diseases, which are substantial sources of premature mortality, is underreported in mortality studies. The objective of this study was to determine the completeness of reporting systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) as a cause of death.METHODS: In 2017, we linked data on a Swedish population-based cohort (the Swedish Lupus Linkage, 2001-2013) comprising people with SLE (n = 8560) and their matched general population comparators (n = 37717) to data from the Cause of Death Register. We reviewed death records of deceased people from the cohort (n = 5110) and extracted data on patient demographic characteristics and causes of death. We estimated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for not reporting SLE as a cause of death by using multivariable-adjusted logistic regression models.RESULTS: Of 1802 deaths among SLE patients in the study, 1071 (59%) did not have SLE reported on their death records. Most SLE decedents were aged 75-84 at death (n = 584, 32%), female (n = 1462, 81%), and born in Nordic countries (n = 1730, 96%). Decedents aged ≥85 at death were more likely to have SLE not reported on their death records than were decedents aged <50 (OR = 2.34; 95% CI, 1.48-3.68). Having renal failure listed as a cause of death decreased the likelihood of SLE not being reported on the death record (OR = 0.54; 95% CI, 0.40-0.73), whereas having cancer listed as a cause of death increased this likelihood (OR = 2.39; 95% CI, 1.85-3.07).CONCLUSIONS: SLE was greatly underreported as a cause of mortality on death records of SLE patients, particularly in older decedents and those with cancer, thereby underestimating the true burden of this disease. Public health resources need to focus on improving the recording of rare diseases in order to enhance the epidemiological utility of mortality data.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/0033354918777253

    View details for PubMedID 29928843

  • Unraveling Race and Social Context in Understanding Disparities in Lupus Mortality in the United States Falasinnu, T., Chaichian, Y., Palaniappan, L., Simard, J. F. WILEY. 2017
  • Impact of Sex on Systemic Lupus Erythematosus-Related Causes of Premature Mortality in the United States. Journal of women's health (2002) Falasinnu, T., Chaichian, Y., Simard, J. F. 2017


    Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disease that is a source of significantly decreased life expectancy in the United States. This study investigated causes of deaths among males and females with SLE.This cross-sectional study used the national death certificate database of ∼2.7 million death records in the United States, 2014. SLE was defined using Tenth Revision of the International Classification of Diseases codes: M32.1, M32.9, and M32.8. We compared sex-stratified demographic characteristics and the most commonly listed comorbidities in decedents with and without SLE. Relative risks (RRs) quantified the risk of dying with the most commonly listed comorbidities among decedents with SLE aged ≤50 years compared with non-SLE decedents.There were 2,036 decedents with SLE in the United States (86.2% female). Female SLE decedents were 22 years younger than non-SLE females (median: 59 years vs. 81 years). This difference was 12 years among male decedents (median: 61 years vs. 73 years). The most frequently listed causes of death among female SLE decedents were septicemia (4.32%) and hypertension (3.04%). In contrast, heart disease (3.70%) and diabetes mellitus with complications (3.61%) were the most common among male SLE decedents. Among younger male decedents, SLE had higher co-occurrence of coagulation/hemorrhagic disorders and chronic renal failure compared with non-SLE (RR = 16.69 [95% confidence interval {CI} = 10.50-27.44] and RR = 5.76 [95% CI = 2.76-12.00], respectively). These also contributed to premature mortality among women (RR = 4.98 [95% CI = 3.69-6.70] and 8.55 [95% CI = 6.89-10.61], respectively).Our findings identify clinically relevant comorbidities that may warrant careful consideration in patients' clinical management and the natural history of SLE.

    View details for DOI 10.1089/jwh.2017.6334

    View details for PubMedID 28891746

  • An assessment of population-based screening guidelines versus clinical prediction rules for chlamydia and gonorrhea case finding. Preventive medicine Falasinnu, T., Gilbert, M., Gustafson, P., Shoveller, J. 2016; 89: 51-56


    Much remains to be learned regarding the epistemology and utility of guidelines and clinical prediction rules (CPR), as well as the extent to which knowledge about risk at a population level might be pertinent to any given patient in terms of case finding accuracy. In the current paper, we offer an empirical examination that juxtaposes population-based guidelines and CPR for sexual health decision-making.We analyzed electronic medical records from asymptomatic patient visits involving tests for chlamydia or gonorrhea between 2000 and 2012 at nine publicly funded STI clinics in British Columbia to compare the case-finding accuracy for infection risk under two scenarios: (1) if the population had been screened using the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) screening guidelines for chlamydia and gonorrhea; or (2) if the population has been screened using a CPR. Performance metrics evaluated included the area under the ROC curve (AUC).In total, 35,818 individuals met the study inclusion criteria. The overall infection rate was 3.0%. Using the PHAC guidelines, the discriminatory performance of using any versus no risk factors and counts of risk factors were: AUC=0.55, 95% CI: 0.54-0.56 and AUC=0.64, 95% CI: 0.63-0.66, respectively. The model used to derive the CPR demonstrated good discrimination (AUC=0.73, 95% CI: 0.71-0.74).The current paper provides empirical evidence that demonstrates that population-based guidelines may not necessarily be a perfect fit for application at the individual level. Thus, we recommend risk estimation algorithms for use in sexual health services and programs.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ypmed.2016.04.001

    View details for PubMedID 27143496

  • Integrating gender and sex to unpack trends in sexually transmitted infection surveillance data in British Columbia, Canada: an ethno-epidemiological study. BMJ open Knight, R., Falasinnu, T., Oliffe, J. L., Gilbert, M., Small, W., Goldenberg, S., Shoveller, J. 2016; 6 (8)


    Surveillance data frequently indicate that young men and women experience high-yet considerably different-reported rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including bacterial infections such as chlamydia. We examined how several sex-based (eg, biological) and gender-based (eg, sociocultural) factors may interact to influence STI surveillance data trends.Employing ethno-epidemiological techniques, we analysed cross-sectional qualitative data collected between 2006 and 2013 about young people's experiences accessing STI testing services in five communities in British Columbia, Canada. These data included 250 semistructured interviews with young men and women aged 15-24 years, as well as 39 clinicians who provided STI testing services.The findings highlight how young women are socially and medically encouraged to regularly test, while young men are rarely offered similar opportunities. Instead, young men tend to seek out testing services: (1) at the beginning or end of a sexual relationship; (2) after a high-risk sexual encounter; (3) after experiencing symptoms; or (4) based on concerns about 'abnormal' sexual anatomy. Our results illustrate how institutions and individuals align with stereotypical gender norms regarding sexual health responsibilities, STI testing and STI treatments. While these patterns reflect social phenomena, they also appear to intersect with sex-based, biological experiences of symptomatology in ways that might help to further explain systematic differences between young men's and women's patterns of testing for STIs.The results point to the importance of taking a social and biological view to understanding the factors that contribute to the gap between young men's and women's routine engagement in STI care.

    View details for DOI 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-011209

    View details for PubMedID 27566628

  • A validation study of a clinical prediction rule for screening asymptomatic chlamydia and gonorrhoea infections among heterosexuals in British Columbia. Sexually transmitted infections Falasinnu, T., Gilbert, M., Gustafson, P., Shoveller, J. 2015


    One component of effective sexually transmitted infections (STIs) control is ensuring those at highest risk of STIs have access to clinical services because terminating transmission in this group will prevent most future cases. Here, we describe the results of a validation study of a clinical prediction rule for identifying individuals at increased risk for chlamydia and gonorrhoea infection derived in Vancouver, British Columbia (BC), against a population of asymptomatic patients attending sexual health clinics in other geographical settings in BC.We examined electronic records (2000-2012) from clinic visits at seven sexual health clinics in geographical locations outside Vancouver. The model's calibration and discrimination were examined by the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) and the Hosmer-Lemeshow (H-L) statistic, respectively. We also examined the sensitivity and proportion of patients that would need to be screened at different cut-offs of the risk score.The prevalence of infection was 5.3% (n=10 425) in the geographical validation population. The prediction rule showed good performance in this population (AUC, 0.69; H-L p=0.26). Possible risk scores ranged from -2 to 27. We identified a risk score cut-off point of ≥8 that detected cases with a sensitivity of 86% by screening 63% of the geographical validation population.The prediction rule showed good generalisability in STI clinics outside of Vancouver with improved discriminative performance compared with temporal validation. The prediction rule has the potential for augmenting triaging services in STI clinics and enhancing targeted testing in population-based screening programmes.

    View details for DOI 10.1136/sextrans-2014-051992

    View details for PubMedID 25933609

  • Predictors identifying those at increased risk for STDs: a theory-guided review of empirical literature and clinical guidelines. International journal of STD & AIDS Falasinnu, T., Gilbert, M., Hottes, T. S., Gustafson, P., Ogilvie, G., Shoveller, J. 2015; 26 (12): 839–51


    SummarySexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are leading causes of substantial morbidity worldwide. Identification of risk factors for estimating STD risk provides opportunities for optimising service delivery in clinical settings, including improving case finding accuracy and increasing cost-efficiency by limiting the testing of low-risk individuals. The current study was undertaken to synthesise the evidence supporting commonly cited chlamydia and gonorrhoea risk factors. The level of empirical support for the following predictors was strong/moderate: age, race/ethnicity, multiple lifetime sexual partners, sex with symptomatic partners and concurrent STD diagnosis. The following predictors had weak evidence: socio-economic status, transactional sex, drug/alcohol use, condom use and history of STD diagnosis. The most frequently listed predictors among nine clinical guidelines were younger age and multiple sexual partners; the least consistently listed predictor was inconsistent condom use. We found reasonably good concordance between risk factors consistently listed in the recommendations and predictors found to have strong empirical support in the literature. There is a need to continue building the evidence base to explicate the mechanisms and pathways of STD acquisition. We recommend periodic reviews of the level of support of predictors included in clinical guidelines to ensure that they are in accordance with empirical evidence.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/0956462414555930

    View details for PubMedID 25324350

  • Deriving and validating a risk estimation tool for screening asymptomatic chlamydia and gonorrhea. Sexually transmitted diseases Falasinnu, T., Gilbert, M., Gustafson, P., Shoveller, J. 2014; 41 (12): 706-712


    There has been considerable interest in the development of innovative service delivery modules for prioritizing resources in sexual health delivery in response to dwindling fiscal resources and rising infection rates.This study aims to derive and validate a risk scoring algorithm to accurately identify asymptomatic patients at increased risk for chlamydia and/or gonorrhea infection. We examined the electronic records of patient visits at sexual health clinics in Vancouver, Canada. We derived risk scores from regression coefficients of multivariable logistic regression model using visits between 2000 and 2006. We evaluated the model's discrimination, calibration, and screening performance. Temporal validation was assessed in visits from 2007 to 2012.The prevalence of infection was 1.8% (n = 10,437) and 2.1% (n = 14,956) in the derivation and validation data sets, respectively. The final model included younger age, nonwhite ethnicity, multiple sexual partners, and previous infection and showed reasonable performance in the derivation (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve = 0.74; Hosmer-Lemeshow P = 0.91) and validation (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve = 0.64; Hosmer-Lemeshow P = 0.36) data sets. A risk score cutoff point of at least 6 detected 91% and 83% of cases by screening 68% and 68% of the derivation and validation populations, respectively.These findings support the use of the algorithm for individualized risk assessment and have important implications for reducing unnecessary screening and saving costs. Specifically, we anticipate that the algorithm has potential uses in alternative settings such as Internet-based testing contexts by facilitating personalized test recommendations, stimulating health care-seeking behavior, and aiding risk communication by increasing sexually transmitted infection risk perception through the creation of tailored risk messages to different groups.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000205

    View details for PubMedID 25581805

  • A Critical Appraisal of Risk Models for Predicting Sexually Transmitted Infections SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES Falasinnu, T., Gustafson, P., Hottes, T. S., Gilbert, M., Ogilvie, G., Shoveller, J. 2014; 41 (5): 321-330


    Prediction rules have been proposed as alternatives to screening recommendations and have potential applications in sexual health decision making. To our knowledge, there has been no review undertaken providing a critical appraisal of existing prediction rules in sexual health contexts. This review aims to identify and characterize prediction rules developed and validated for sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening, describe the methodological issues essential to the suitability of derived models for clinical or public health application, and synthesize the literature on the performance of these models.We searched MEDLINE (2003-2012) to identify studies that reported on models predicting STIs. We explored the methodological quality of the studies based on a 16-item quality assessment checklist. We also evaluated the studies based on data extracted on model discrimination, calibration, sensitivity, and testing efficiency.We identified 16 publications reporting on STI prediction rules. The most poorly addressed quality items were missing values, calibration measures, and variable definition. Overall, the performance of risk models as measured by discrimination (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve range, 0.64-0.88) and calibration was found to be generally good or satisfactory. Eight studies attained or were close to attaining the performance benchmark of testing less than 60% of the target population to achieve 90% sensitivity. The 2 risk models that were externally validated displayed adequate discrimination in new settings.Although we identified several well-performing STI risk prediction rules, few have been validated. Future developments in the use of prediction rules should address their clinical consequence, comparative usefulness, external validity, and implementation impact.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000120

    View details for Web of Science ID 000334797300010

    View details for PubMedID 24722388

  • Risk prediction in sexual health contexts: protocol. JMIR research protocols Falasinnu, T., Gustafson, P., Gilbert, M., Shoveller, J. 2013; 2 (2)


    In British Columbia (BC), we are developing Get Checked Online (GCO), an Internet-based testing program that provides Web-based access to sexually transmitted infections (STI) testing. Much is still unknown about how to implement risk assessment and recommend tests in Web-based settings. Prediction tools have been shown to successfully increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness of STI case finding in the following settings.This project was designed with three main objectives: (1) to derive a risk prediction rule for screening chlamydia and gonorrhea among clients attending two public sexual health clinics between 2000 and 2006 in Vancouver, BC, (2) to assess the temporal generalizability of the prediction rule among more recent visits in the Vancouver clinics (2007-2012), and (3) to assess the geographical generalizability of the rule in seven additional clinics in BC.This study is a population-based, cross-sectional analysis of electronic records of visits collected at nine publicly funded STI clinics in BC between 2000 and 2012. We will derive a risk score from the multivariate logistic regression of clinic visit data between 2000 and 2006 at two clinics in Vancouver using newly diagnosed chlamydia and gonorrhea infections as the outcome. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) and the Hosmer-Lemeshow statistic will examine the model's discrimination and calibration, respectively. We will also examine the sensitivity and proportion of patients that would need to be screened at different cutoffs of the risk score. Temporal and geographical validation will be assessed using patient visit data from more recent visits (2007-2012) at the Vancouver clinics and at clinics in the rest of BC, respectively. Statistical analyses will be performed using SAS, version 9.3.This is an ongoing research project with initial results expected in 2014.The results from this research will have important implications for scaling up of Internet-based testing in BC. If a prediction rule with good calibration, discrimination, and high sensitivity to detect infection is found during this project, the prediction rule could be programmed into GCO so that the program offers individualized testing recommendations to clients. Further, the prediction rule could be adapted into educational materials to inform other Web-based content by creating awareness about STI risk factors, which may stimulate health care seeking behavior among individuals accessing the website.

    View details for DOI 10.2196/resprot.2971

    View details for PubMedID 24300284

  • Implementing a Novel Citywide Rapid HIV Testing Campaign in Washington, DC: Findings and Lessons Learned PUBLIC HEALTH REPORTS Castel, A. D., Magnus, M., Peterson, J., Anand, K., Wu, C., Martin, M., Sansone, M., Rocha, N., Jolaosho, T., West, T., Hader, S., Greenberg, A. E. 2012; 127 (4): 422-431


    In June 2006, the District of Columbia (DC) Department of Health launched a citywide rapid HIV screening campaign. Goals included raising HIV awareness, routinizing rapid HIV screening, identifying previously unrecognized infections, and linking positives to care. We describe findings from this seminal campaign and identify lessons learned.We applied a mixed-methods approach using quantitative analysis of client data forms (CDFs) and qualitative evaluation of focus groups with DC residents. We measured characteristics and factors associated with client demographics, test results, and community perceptions regarding the campaign.Data were available on 38,586 participants tested from July 2006 to September 2007. Of those, 68% had previously tested for HIV (44% within the last 12 months) and 23% would not have sought testing had it not been offered. Overall, 662 (1.7%) participants screened positive on the OraQuick® Advance™ rapid HIV test, with non-Hispanic black people, transgenders, and first-time testers being significantly more likely to screen positive for HIV than white people, males, and those tested within the last year, respectively. Of those screening positive for HIV, 47% had documented referrals for HIV care and treatment services. Focus groups reported continued stigma regarding HIV and minimal community saturation of the campaign.This widespread campaign tested thousands of people and identified hundreds of HIV-infected individuals; however, referrals to care were lower than anticipated, and awareness of the campaign was limited. Lessons learned through this scale-up of population-based HIV screening resulted in establishing citywide HIV testing processes that laid the foundation for the implementation of test-and-treat activities in DC.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000306622600010

    View details for PubMedID 22753985

  • Use of AIDS Drug Assistance Program data to increase the completeness of HIV/AIDS reporting Journal of HIV/AIDS Surveillance & Epidemiology Castel, A., Jolaosho, T., Vangani, R., Griffin, A., Ehrmann, T., Gurung, D., West-Ojo, T., Hader, S. 2011; 3 (1)
  • A Population-Based Evaluation of the Intention to Quit Smoking, Cervical Cancer Screening Behaviour, and Multiple Health Behaviours Among Female Canadian Smokers Journal of Smoking Cessation Falasinnu, T. 2011; 6 (2): 119-125
  • Electronic Record Linkage to Identify Deaths Among Persons with AIDS --- District of Columbia, 2000--2005 MMWR Jolaosho, T., Gauntt, J., West-Ojo, T., Castel, A., Selik, R., Durant, T., Peters, P., Tai, E. 2008