Elena Ong, PHN, MS

Elected Member

Elena Ong

Elected: November 2015
Term Ending: November 2019
Email Elena Ong

America’s “wellth” – it’s wellness and economic well-being – depends on America’s social determinants of health.
The “wellth” of our nation depends on the health of our nation.

My name is Elena Ong, and I'm proud to be an elected member of APHA’s Executive Board because of what APHA believes in, and advocates for. For I believe that all people are created equal. I also believe that all lives have equal value and every person deserves the opportunity to lead a healthy and productive life.   Everyone should have the opportunity to "achieve their full health potential." No one should be "disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of their social position or other socially determined circumstance." That is why I became an APHA member, why I served as president & CEO of the Asian & Pacific Islander Caucus for Public Health, vice president of the Southern California Public Health Association, member of the APHA Awards Committee, chair of APHA’s Caucus Collaborative, national co-chair of APHA’s Community Health Planning & Policy Development’s Social Determinants of Health Workgroup, a leader in APHA’s Health Administration Section, and a member of the Public Health Education & Health Promotion Section, Epidemiology Section, Community Health Planning & Policy Development Section, and Public Health Nursing Section. It is also why I have successfully worked with the Caucuses, SPIGS, Forums and Committees to co-organize more than a dozen high profile invited sessions, from Women’s Health in All Policies; Health Equity 2020; Health Equity: Are We Making Progress?; A Global Approach to Violence Prevention; Health Insurance Exchanges; When Zip Code Trumps Genetic Code; Immigration Reform & the Affordable Care Act; Caring for the Uncovered: Living in the Shadows of Health & Immigration Reform; Becoming the Healthiest Nation, etc. It is also why I doubled APHA membership among APIC members, increased APIC revenue more than seven-fold, and co-wrote a successfully funded Robert Wood Johnson Foundation proposal that will award the RWJF-APIC Award for Health Equity over the next seven years.

Passionate about transformational planning and leadership, I am the director of Public Policy and Public Affairs at Ong & Associates, where I am a consultant to elected officials, commissions, academia, foundations, nonprofit organizations and business. Committed to advancing the health and economic well-being of all Americans, I am a consultant to The California Endowment and the primary guest editor of the aapi nexus journal special edition, AAPIs 2040. I also serve on the California Health Interview Survey Multicultural Technical Advisory Committee, and on the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association Advisory Board.  I have also served in a leadership capacity on a number of U.S. presidential and gubernatorial campaigns.

I believe that leadership is about empowering people to translate vision into reality, and that’s why I served in a number of executive leadership roles, including the governor’s first vice chair of the California Commission for Women, Rob Reiner’s appointee to the California Children & Families Commission’s Technical Assistance Advisory Board, member of the Los Angeles County Commission for Women’s Public Policy Committee, and president & vice president of appointments of the Los Angeles Women’s Appointment Collaboration.  

I also served as an elected Executive Board member of the Southern California Public Health Association’s Health Information Section, Executive Board Officer of the Bay Area Asian Health Alliance, president-elect of Chicanos in Health Education at UC Berkeley, co-founder of the Raza Health Education Network UC Systemwide, chair of the KRON-TV Health Fair, and three-time chair of the Hop Jok Fair/Chinatown Community Health Fair. In addition, I served as a member of the California State Economic Network Steering Committee, National Partnership for Women & Families, National Association of Women Business Owners–LA Public Policy Committee, National Association of Female Executives, California Elected Women’s Association for Education & Research, Hispanas Organized for Political Equality, Los Angeles African American Women PAC, UC Alumni Association, and Harvard-Radcliffe Club of Southern California’s Admissions Recommendation Committee.  

I believe that leadership is about doing the right thing, and using creativity, innovative thinking, and strategic action to create impact. That’s why I studied Advertising Art at the High School of Music & Art in New York City; studied Social Welfare, Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies at UC Berkeley; received my BSN/PHN with Honors in Ambulatory Care from UC San Francisco; earned my Masters in Health Policy & Management from the Harvard School of Public Health while cross-enrolling at the Kennedy School of Government; and graduated as a CORO Executive Fellow.

I believe in giving back to the community that invested in me, and that is why I am listed in Who’s Who Among American Women, Who’s Who in California, and Who’s Who in Western Governmental Research. I have also received a number of awards and honors, including the Director’s Finalist Award for co-founding Public Hospitals Week; Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald’s Community Service Award; the PEW Foundation’s Award for “Best Campaign Strategy;” the California Commission for Women’s Service Recognition Award: and APIAVote’s Recognition for “The Gift of Hope,” a national bone marrow drive for the Presidential Inaugural Committee’s National Day of Service Project. I was also awarded the APHA Community Health Planning & Policy Section Service Award for my leadership on the “Social Determinants of Health” and for co-founding the “CHPPD Community Day of Service.”

I invite you to reach me via email to advance health and health equity, at the local, state, national and global levels.


Elena Ong, PHN, MS