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APHA Kaiser Permanente Fellowship Recipients


Meet our fellowship recipients below!

2024-25 APHA Kaiser Permanenete Community Health Fellowship Recipients

Congratulations to our 2024-25 APHA Kaiser Permanente Community Health Fellows! Each Fellow will engage in implementation of programs and high-level projects at Kaiser Permanente and Kaiser Permanente community health partner sites to positively impact the public's health. 

Vanessa Joseph headshotVanessa Joseph

MPH, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

Placement Site: Kaiser Permanente International

Vanessa (she/her) is a first-generation Haitian-American committed to transformative change in global healthcare. Her professional mission is to eliminate health disparities by fostering trust and advocating for international solidarity. Vanessa has an MPH in Urban Health Disparities from Charles R. Drew University and a BS in Integrative Studies from Kennesaw State University. She is also a National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach.

Vanessa has worked as a full-spectrum birth worker, promoting birth equity and reducing maternal mortality in marginalized groups. She conducted a landscape analysis with the South LA African American Infant and Maternal Mortality Community Action Team, addressing maternal health issues through program evaluation and multi-sector collaboration.

As an MPH Primary Care Champion Fellow, she collaborated with healthcare leaders to improve medication adherence among patients with uncontrolled diabetes and led a clinical improvement project that established a Diabetes Clinic and significantly advanced diabetes care management at Altamed in East Los Angeles.

During her internship at Public Health Center 21 in Bangkok, Thailand, she engaged with patients, collected, and analyzed data, and addressed global healthcare disparities. She educated diabetes and hypertension patients on healthy lifestyle behaviors, focusing on nutrition and physical activity. Additionally, she contributed to research by collecting and analyzing data for the Institute of Urban Disease Control & Prevention, gaining experience in international research methodologies.

Vanessa strives to reduce health disparities by integrating collaborative education design, research, clinical services, community engagement, and social justice to support value-based healthcare. Her areas of interest are community-based participatory research, and transdisciplinary approaches aimed to drive positive changes in global healthcare delivery.

Sofia Ledesema headshotSofia Ledesema

MPH, University of California, Berkeley

Placement Site: CDC Foundation

Born and raised in the Bay Area, Sofia (she/her) is a Health and Social Behavior MPH graduate from UC Berkeley. She is deeply committed to advancing health equity through community-driven programs. Growing up in a close-knit immigrant family, Sofia became passionate about public health after witnessing her family's struggles with healthcare access. These experiences fueled her dedication to addressing the root causes of health inequities.

Sofia's work has focused on evaluating health education programs and providing direct community health services at John Muir Health’s mobile clinic, Clinica Tepati, and Clinica De La Raza. At UC Davis, she conducted a study on the readability of COVID-19 health communication materials for Spanish-speaking agricultural workers, emphasizing accessible and culturally competent communication materials. Her grandfathers' experiences as Bracero farm workers and past work with agricultural workers in Northern California inspired her to continue her work addressing disparities in agricultural worker communities during graduate school.

Her lived experience and past community health work remind her to advocate for change and center the voices of those most impacted by public health issues. In the future, she hopes to use her skills to inform system-level approaches to addressing health inequities through community-driven programs.

Amanda Li headshotAmanda Li

MPH, University of Washington

Placement Site: ecoAmerica

Amanda (she/her) is a second-generation Chinese American with an MPH in Global Health from the University of Washington and a BA in Environmental Studies-Biology from Whitman College. In 2024, Amanda received the Gilbert S. Omenn Award for Academic Excellence from the University of Washington School of Public Health.

With experience in telehealth access, rural cardiovascular health, and HIV, Amanda is passionate about expanding her public health knowledge and advocating for marginalized communities.

During her master’s program, Amanda specialized in health equity work. She was a Health Equity Scholar with the Pacific Hospital Preservation & Development Authority. Her work sought to better understand facilitators and barriers to telehealth access among elderly and immigrant Asian American communities and to propose recommendations for funding organizations to improve their health equity efforts. Through this project, Amanda became well-versed in qualitative research methods.

Amanda was also a Research Assistant with the Rural PRO-CARE Network, funded by the American Heart Association which focused on improving rural access to cardiovascular healthcare. In this role, Amanda supported two research projects: a policy landscape analysis on scopes of practice in cardiovascular care and a scoping review of best practices for non-physician management of heart failure.

Pilar Marin headshotPilar Marin

MPH, University of California, Berkeley

Placement Site: Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy

Pilar (she/her) is a dedicated advocate for radical inclusivity and equity in nutrition and public health. As a first-generation Central and South American, she holds a Master of Public Health from UC Berkeley and a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Syracuse University. Pilar's work focuses on creating a safer, more inclusive, trauma-informed, and equitable environment for marginalized communities. At UC Berkeley, she advocated for fat liberation and spearheaded the Weight Inclusive Public Health Symposium, a highlight of her academic journey.

Pilar aspires to become a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, and Lactation Counselor, aiming to influence food and health policy. She is passionate about walking alongside individuals as they redefine their vision of health and mend their relationships with food, body, and movement. Pilar’s approach is grounded in anti-colonial and body liberation frameworks, emphasizing social determinants of health and the importance of understanding socio-political and economic contexts in addressing health issues.

Her professional experience includes working in chronic disease management, eating disorder recovery treatment, and community health education, particularly with Spanish-speaking Latine and Mesoamerican Indigenous communities. Pilar is committed to making a tangible difference in public health by addressing the unique needs of these communities and advocating for progressive shifts in the "health and wellness" landscape that assist others with empathy and empowerment.

Tenejah Mathis headshotTenejah Mathis

MPH, University of Colorado Anschutz

Placement Site: Kaiser Permanente Center for Gun Violence Research and Education

Tenejah (she/her) is from Tallahassee, Florida. She earned her MPH from the University of Colorado Anschutz, focusing on global health systems, management, and policy, and a BS in Public Health with a minor in African American studies from Florida State University.

Tenejah's interest in public health began during the 2020 pandemic, driven by a desire to impact the healthcare sector and promote systemic improvements. She values public health for its role in creating and advocating for policies and programs that address community needs.

Throughout her academic career, Tenejah dedicated herself to organizations focused on health equity, social justice, reproductive health, and refugee and migrant health. She collaborated with local Colorado organizations to organize community events and to help improve health outcomes for BIPOC communities. Her passion lies in working with marginalized groups.

Tenejah is committed to health equity for communities of color and implementing policies that benefit historically disadvantaged groups. She believes it is crucial to highlight the experiences and voices of diverse communities in public health.

Arshnoor Sudwal headshotArshnoor Sudwal

MPH, University of California, Irvine

Placement Site: AcademyHealth

Arshnoor (she/her) is a Punjabi-American who holds an MPH from the University of California, Irvine, and a B.S. in Public Administration from California State University of Dominguez Hills. She is passionate about improving healthcare outcomes and access for vulnerable populations.

She has experience working on the emergency room floor of Martin Luther King Hospital in Compton when the COVID-19 pandemic spread in the United States as a Patient Access Representative and aided in providing temporary medical assistance and basic intake. Arshnoor has also worked for a non-profit HIV organization in Los Angeles as a Patient Engagement and Retention specialist, where her role included implementing new strategies for operations to improve outreach and efficacy of patient services.

Academically, she has worked with Dr. Lipton on Medicaid vision and dental research to understand how coverage influences utilization to push policy changes. She has also worked as a data analyst at UCI’s Health and Wellness Program to understand the psychological distress, sense of loneliness, sense of belonging, and flourishing of students to develop and implement strategies to improve their well-being.

2023-24 APHA Kaiser Permanente Community Health Fellowship Recipients

Congratulations to our 2023-24 APHA Kaiser Permanente Community Health Fellows! Each Fellow will engage in implementation of programs and high-level projects at Kaiser Permanente and Kaiser Permanente community health partner sites to positively impact the public's health.

Felicia Boodram headshotFelicia Boodram

MPH, Georgia State University

Placement Site: Healthcare Anchor Network

Felicia (she/her) is a second-generation immigrant from Guyana. She has an MPH in Public Health with a focus in Epidemiology from Georgia State University and a BS in Biology and Psychology from The University of Georgia. She possesses a strong passion for public health research and a drive to make a positive impact on the well-being of others, specifically in the West Indian community.

During her graduate studies, Felicia was a research intern at Kaiser Permanente, where she led participant sessions on healthy habits and provided guidance as well as support for participants of the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP Hoops). As a Graduate Research Assistant at the Center for Leadership Disability at Georgia State University, Felicia worked with student survey responses for Project AWARE across multiple counties in Georgia to build or expand the capacity of State Educational Agencies in partnership with State Mental Health Agencies overseeing school-aged youth.

In her most recent role as Director of Strategic Accounts at Sentry Data Systems, Felicia showcases expertise in 340B compliance and program optimization. With her exceptional analytical skills and leadership abilities, she leads a team of subject matter experts and presents webinars on current topics in the 340B space.

Cameron Brown headshotCameron Brown

MPH, Morgan State University

Placement Site: APHA

Cameron (he/him) is an accomplished and driven individual from Bristow, Virginia whose passion for public health is deeply rooted in his unwavering desire to make a positive impact in the lives of others. He has an MPH in Public Health and a BS in Biology from Morgan State University.

During his time at Morgan State University, Cameron supported a community needs assessment in West Baltimore, in addition to participating in a research study with the prestigious Walter Reed Army Institute, where he actively engaged with high school students, teaching biology and fostering a love for scientific learning among the next generation. Alongside his academic pursuits, Cameron was a valued member of the men's Division 1 football team.

Cameron's ultimate aim is to focus on the social determinants of health and contribute to the improvement of health equity. In pursuit of this goal, he has taken the initiative to develop a credit education program in collaboration with colleagues, seeking to enhance financial literacy and empower individuals with the tools to make informed financial decisions. Looking to the future, Cameron aspires to attend medical school to become an orthopedic surgeon.

Kelsey Kamanani Conklin headshotKelsey Kamanani Conklin

MPH, University of California, Berkeley

Placement Site: Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy

Nani (she/her) hails from O'ahu and Maui, Hawai'i. She has an MPH with a concentration in Public Health Nutrition and Nutritional Epidemiology from UC Berkeley and a dual BA in Sociology and Philosophy from Williams College.

While at Berkeley, Nani served as the chair of the Food Institute Graduate Council, mentored public health, environmental science, and business students in social impact, and was a member of the Indigenous Graduate Students Association. She was also selected as a Kaiser Permanente Community Health Scholar and a fellow with the University of California Global Food Initiative and received the Dean's Diversity Award.

Her recent work includes designing a community-driven health indicator project for San Francisco Department of Public Health, supporting the development of the first-ever integrated food system policy plan for Hawai'i, designing and evaluating culturally relevant plant-based meal programs for acute care hospitals, and researching the relationship between socioeconomic status and physical activity behaviors in women of reproductive age. Nani hopes to be increasingly involved in data disaggregation initiatives and health policy advocacy, especially for her Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and Indigenous relatives.

Hiba Elkhatib headshotHiba Elkhatib

MPH, University of California, Berkeley

Placement Site: Kaiser Permanente, National Office of Community Health

Hiba Elkhatib (she/her) is a Palestinian Muslim American with an MPH in Public Health and a BA in Public health with a minor in Global Health from UC Berkeley School of Public Health.

Throughout her studies, Hiba dedicated her time to making strides for health equity, social justice, and the representation of locally and globally marginalized groups. She was recognized as a Public Health Changemaker by the Berkeley School of Public Health due to her continuous efforts for equity and social justice. Hiba is the founder of Palestinian Public Health (PPH), an organization dedicated to global equity, advocacy, and mentorship.

Hiba has researched the structural and generational impact of inequities through diverse topics like nutrition, oncology, and the structural factors that prevent globally marginalized communities from accessing and maintaining a healthy life.

Hiba’s professional experiences include working at the UCSF Department of Family and Community Medicine where she conducted patient safety and digital equity research.

In the future, Hiba hopes to use these skills to influence public policy, build community-based programs that foster community resilience, and promote long-term solutions.

Phylicia Hancle headshotPhylicia Hancle

MPH, Georgia State University

Placement Site: Alliance for a Healthier Generation

Phylicia (she/her) is a dedicated professional with a passion for public health and education. She has an MPH in Health Promotion and Behavior from Georgia State University and a BS in Health Sciences from Stony Brook University.

Phylicia is a recipient of the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship and studied in Tanzania. She aided in developing and implementing sustainable methods for creating reusable feminine hygiene products in the local community of Mtu Wa Mbu.  She also hosted a pop-up health clinic in the Gidewari village, providing essential preventive screening to an underserved population. 

Phylicia joined Teach for America as a STEM educator in Metro Atlanta. She demonstrated a strong commitment to empowering students with the knowledge and skills necessary for their success. Phylicia also worked as the State Opioid Response Grant Evaluation Coordinator, playing a vital role in evaluating the effectiveness of the grant's initiatives, contributing to addressing the opioid crisis, and improving access to treatment and recovery services.

Her academic and professional experiences have allowed Phylicia to develop a deep understanding of the challenges faced by underserved populations and the importance of implementing evidence-based strategies to promote health and well-being.

Alaa Hasan headshotAlaa Hasan

MPH, University of Washington

Placement Site: U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH)

Alaa Hasan (she/her) is a second-generation Palestinian immigrant. She has an MPH in Health Systems & Population Health from the University of Washington and a Bachelor’s in Public Health from San Jose State University. She is dedicated to advancing sustainable and equitable systems to enhance community health.

As an undergraduate, she embarked on collaborative initiatives with community-based organizations to implement multifaceted programs when addressing social determinants of health for students of color and the refugee and immigrant community. Upon relocating to Seattle, WA, Alaa engaged directly with the chronically unhoused community, serving as a Volunteer & Advocacy Program Manager. In this role, she worked on innovative solutions, such as the Tiny House Village Program, and advocated for policies that address the needs of individuals experiencing homelessness. Alaa continued to contribute to innovative programs benefiting the refugee/immigrant community as a Program Consultant with the Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance.

These experiences underscored the significance of actively listening to the voices of the communities being served to further enhance contemporary projects and future public health interventions.

Mariah Jiles headshotMariah Jiles

MPH, University of California, Berkeley

Placement Site: Tubman Center for Health and Freedom

Mariah Jiles (she/her) is a public health professional who is passionate about working towards a future where the wellness of minoritized populations is of utmost importance in society, with a specific focus on Black/African American communities.

She has an MPH in Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health from the University of California, Berkeley, and received her BA in Global Studies with a concentration in Global Health from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Mariah’s interest in public health was cemented when she served as a research assistant on an NIH-funded project analyzing state-sanctioned eugenic sterilization abuse in the U.S. from 1920-1962. In encountering these harrowing histories, she found her calling to ameliorate public health harms of the past and work towards a more equitable future. 

During her time at Berkeley, Mariah worked on the Evaluation Study of the Abundant Birth Project- the first pregnancy income supplement program in the country that provides unconditional cash supplements to Black and Pacific Islander people in California. Most recently, she has been working as an epidemiologist alongside the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation, examining access to family planning services in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Ayan Mohamed headshotAyan Mohamed

MPH, University of Washington

Placement Site: Grady Health System

Ayan Mohamed (she/her) has an MPH in Social & Behavioral Sciences and a BA in Public Health and Medical Anthropology with a minor in Diversity at the University of Washington (UW).

Ayan has worked with the Community Health Advancement Program (CHAP) under the UW School of Medicine as Program Assistant to provide medical services to medically underserved communities. She additionally assisted on a research project with Dr. LaShawnda Pittman researching Black Women’s lived experiences of systematic racial and gendered oppression during the Jim Crow era, through a reproductive justice framework.

During the pandemic, Ayan volunteered with the Somali Health Board to deliver vaccines to communities of color. Most recently, she has worked on the Lead and Toxic Education- Housing Action, a project led by the Somali Health Board in collaboration with Public Health-Seattle & King County, Horn of Africa Services, and Cultivate South Park.

Through both lived experiences and a background in research and practice, Ayan is passionate and dedicated to continuing to work with various communities to dismantle the barriers they face in their communities.

Tyra Parish headshotTyra Parrish

MPH, University of California, Berkeley

Placement Site: Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic

Tyra (she/her) is a first-generation college student born and raised in Bellflower, California. Tyra has an MPH with a concentration in Global Health and Environment and a specialty in Multicultural Health from UC Berkeley. She has a BS in Biology from Loyola Marymount University.

As a graduate student, Tyra was heavily involved in advocating, uplifting, and centering the voices of underrepresented and minoritized students. Tyra’s work as a co-facilitator of the Environmental Health Sciences Antiracist Action team and graduate student assistant at COEH led her to analyze over five years of student feedback and propose a new curriculum requirement. This proposal recentered the voices of those in the margin in a manner that honored and respected their stories and experiences. Her student activism led to her receiving the Leadership in Graduate Diversity Award and the Henrik L. Blum Award for Distinguished Social Action award at UC Berkeley.

Her passion for mitigating health disparities in communities of color and reimagining the delivery of healthcare in a manner that does not replicate the historical and present harm being done to marginalized communities is shaped by the mantra she lives by “Life as you climb.” This mantra highlights how it is important to reach back and stay connected to your community to help current and future generations.

Meldrick Ravida headshotMeldrick Ravida

MPH, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Placement Site: Kaiser Permanente Hawaii

Meldrick (he/him) is a first-generation college graduate with an MPH specializing in Epidemiology and a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health and Philippine Language and Culture University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM). His research focuses on the social determinants of health, with an emphasis on minority populations. During his graduate studies at UHM, he analyzed the prevalence of chronic health conditions among sexual and gender minorities (SGM) at risk for severe COVID-19 in Hawaiʻi. Meldrick’s research interests include community health, SGM health, mental health, health equity, health communications, cancer epidemiology, and legal epidemiology.

He interned at the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center, examining social and behavioral perspectives on skin cancer risk and sun safety in a multiethnic cohort. In 2021, he volunteered in community outreach efforts, collaborating with Hawaiʻi parishes and the Filipino Community Center helping vulnerable communities set up COVID-19 vaccination appointments. As an MPH student, he coordinated health programs in his community and tutored undergraduate and graduate-level courses such as Public Health Issues in Hawaiʻi, Biostatistics, and Native Hawaiian Law & Policy. Meldrick is currently working on publications related to historical trauma among Native Hawaiians.

Sylvia Rivera headshotSylvia Rivera

MPH, Portland State University

Placement Site: Kaiser Permanente Northwest

Sylvia Rivera (she/her) is an Afro- Puerto Rican storyteller, advocate, and Registered Nurse. She has an MPH in Health Promotion from OHSU-PSU School of Public Health.

She was previously employed at a level 1 trauma center and an STD clinic, and she supervised a medical team at a social services agency and federally qualified health center.

Her public health training is critically informed by her experience and engagement with coloniality, and Black feminist, Afro-Caribbean, Latinx, and decolonial theoretical traditions. As a research assistant for Associate Professor and scholar, Ryan J. Petteway, DrPH, MPH, her current portfolio of projects include: a public health and civic literacy project, a YPAR decolonizing data hub project, a public health poetry project with BIPOC youth, and a public health mixtape project- of which she is the lead analyst and podcast coordinator.

Sylvia is passionate about public health initiatives that are rooted in community, bridge the creative arts with social practice, and center the voices and stories of persons from the margins.

Lina Truong headshotLina Truong

MPH, University of Washington

Placement Site: Kaiser Permanente Washington

Lina (she/her) has an MPH in Public Health with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences and a BA in Psychology and Chinese Studies from the University of Washington (UW).

After undergraduate studies, she worked at a community-based organization providing case management and outpatient mental health counseling in Cantonese to Asian Americans. During this time, she also led the organization’s efforts on diversity, equity, and inclusion as the DEI workgroup co-founder.

While at UW, Lina worked at the Health Promotion and Research Center on culturally adapting a Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy program for older Korean adults. With her faculty advisor, she also published a paper on factors influencing COVID-19 vaccine uptake in Latino and Native American agricultural communities in Eastern Washington and Montana. She was also a Health Equity Scholar for the Pacific Hospital Preservation & Development Authority. Her research examined how to increase mental health utilization and health equity in the Asian American community through integrated behavioral health and primary care services. In her thesis, she conducted a qualitative study on examining mental health stigma and solutions to shift the conversation on mental health in the older Korean American community.

Ellana Valladares headshotEllana Valladares

MPH, University of Colorado Anschutz

Placement Site: CDC Foundation

Ellana Valladares (she/her/ella) has an MPH with a concentration in Health Systems, Management, and Policy from the Colorado School of Public Health at the Anschutz Medical Campus, a BS in Public Health, and a BA in German from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Her recent roles include a Research Projects Coordinator for the All of Us Research Program and a Behavioral Health Educator at Denver Health. In these positions, she worked towards gathering diverse health data to improve precision medicine and advocate for patients with complex needs in accessing mental health services. During her MPH, her capstone projects focused on addressing health-related social needs and digital health literacy support in primary care.

With lived experiences as a daughter of immigrant parents, Ellana has always felt a sense of responsibility in ensuring access to care, improving the built environment and promoting health equity. She’s worked in various settings including community-based programs, government agencies, and clinical care. Some examples include testing residential well-water for rural communities at the Gaston County Health Department and enrolling Spanish-speaking patients onto affordable care plans at a low-cost clinic. Looking ahead, Ellana hopes to advocate for equitable and systemic changes in healthcare and public services through strengthening research, public policy, and community building efforts.

2022-23 APHA Kaiser Permanente Community Health Fellowship Recipients

Congratulations to our 2022-23 APHA Kaiser Permanente Community Health Fellows! Each Fellow will engage in implementation of programs and high-level projects at Kaiser Permanente and Kaiser Permanente community health partner sites to positively impact the public's health.


Kristina Brandveen_APHA KP Community Health Fellow

Kristina Brandveen

MPH, University of Colorado Anschutz

Placement Site: Tubman Center for Health & Freedom

Kristina (she/her/hers) received her MPH with concentrations in Global Health & Community and Behavioral Health. While a student at Colorado School of Public Health, she worked at the Center for Health, Work, and Environment on campus and interned with the Unit on Occupational Health Research at the Mexican Institute of Social Security in Mexico City.

Her passion for working on projects surrounding public health and social justice initiatives was influenced by the time she spent teaching English as a foreign language in México for a year and a half prior to starting her MPH program. Kristina received her B.A. in Foreign Language (Spanish Language and Literature) from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. Her research interests include immigrant and migrant health, African Diaspora studies, Latino/Latina/Latinx studies, indigenous populations, environmental and occupational health, education, built environment, and maternal and child health. 

In the future, she would like to pursue a career as a Physician Scientist (MD/PhD) devoted to social justice and positive public health outcomes within marginalized communities of the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Maria Dizon_APHA KP Community Health Fellow

Maria Theresa Dizon

MPH, Portland State University

Placement Site: Hawai‘i Public Health Institute

Maria (she/her/hers) hails from the beautiful island of Saipan in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands. She is a first-generation college student and a proud product of community college. She graduated in 2019 as a transfer student with a B.S. in Community Health from Portland State University. She then earned her MPH at Portland State University (OHSU-PSU) with a concentration in Health Promotion.

She is certified in public health by the National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE). She has several years of health research experience, with focuses on alternative medicine, animal venom, Pacific health disparities, child anthropometrics, functional brain imaging, pediatric clinical trials, and more. 

As a researcher, she has come to understand that health is more than the individual factors in one’s life and that is the main reason she pursued public health, due to its consistent focus on upstream determinants.

Maria has most recently served as an epidemiology researcher at Multnomah County Public Health Department in Portland, Oregon collaborating on community-based participatory research projects and COVID-19 response work for Pacific Islander and Filipino communities. She aims to be a part of building and strengthening local public health capacity in the Pacific Region, the place she calls home.

Shinece Douglas_APHA KP Community Health Fellow

Shinece Douglas

MPH, Charles Drew University

Placement Site: APHA & Institute for Health Policy

Shinece (she/her/hers) graduated from California State University, Bakersfield where she obtained her B.A. in Human Biological Sciences with a minor in Chemistry and Women Gender Studies. She recently received her MPH with an emphasis on Urban Health Disparities from Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU).

Throughout her time as a graduate student, she worked directly with and in the community.  She volunteered for a COVID-19 education task force led by the Department of Health Services (DHS) in Los Angeles County where she was able to educate sheltered and unsheltered populations on the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

She was a research assistant/Study Coordinator for Dr. LaShonda Spencer at CDU/MLK OASIS Clinic where she was engaged in research that sought to address the many barriers that African American men and women who are living with HIV/AIDS face, keeping them from care. The study sought to link and re-engage participants back into care, with specific aims: 1) to increase viral load suppression, 2) adherence to medication and 3) to remain in clinical care.

She was an Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Scholar, gaining clinical experience while learning ways to develop population-based approaches to health professional education with a special emphasis on community-based training. She was a Project Lead at Eisner Health Community Clinic, where she was responsible for the post and prenatal quality measurements and statistics.

Shinece was also a graduate lead for a demonstration project in South Los Angeles, called Black Maternal Health and Excellence Center, where Women of Color are the focus of excellent maternal care. She was a Project Coordinator for Medical Careers and Project STRIDE I/II that helped to connect high school/graduate students to research opportunities in the community with renowned faculty/staff at CDU. Shinece was also a part of the pioneering CDU Global Health Leader Interns of 2021 and was honored to be nominated as the Secretary of the Public Health Student Association (PHSA).

She is avid about creating an environment where equality and equity reside for minorities. Shinece plans to become a physician, specializing in Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN), so that she may provide comprehensive, quality care to women through resources, outreach, and policy development. Shinece hopes that she will utilize and strengthen her public health skills in her new role as a Community Health Fellow through Kaiser Permanente and the American Public Health Association to address barriers that are negatively impacting the lives of those in communities like the ones she was raised in. Shinece has a strong passion for serving underserved populations that are faced with racial/ethnic disparities and has made a life-long commitment to make a change.

Dejah Fa'asoa

Dejah Fa'asoa

MPH, University of Hawai'i

Placement Site: Kaiser Permanente Hawaii

Dejah (she/her/hers) is a second-generation immigrant of American Samoa. She is conversational in Samoan and holds a B.A. in Public Health. Her MPH is from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa (UHM) with a focus on Social Behavioral Health Sciences.

Prior to the Fellowship, Dejah was a Technical Assistance Specialist at the Pacific Islands Primary Care Association (PIPCA). Prior to joining PIPCA, Dejah worked for the University of Hawaii at Manoa Center on Aging, serving Hawaii’s geriatric population through research and dementia awareness programs. During her years as an undergraduate student, she interned at the Fetal Diagnostic Institute of the Pacific where she assisted a genetic counselor and conducted intakes for patients while sitting in on consultations to test for high-risk pregnancies.

During her graduate studies at UHM Dejah interned for Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Hawaii where she traveled to American Samoa to assist with the Impact of Mass Drug Administration Campaign using a novel three-drug regimen for a Lymphatic Filariasis Antigenemia assessment survey. During the 2019 Measles outbreak in Independent Samoa Dejah assisted in creating fundraising campaigns to raise monies and collected donated medical supplies to be sent to Independent Samoa for medical use and dissemination. Dejah is currently volunteering in a qualitative research study called Exploring behaviors and their contexts related to infection of COVID-19 among Pacific Islanders to help better understand the spread of COVID-19 within the Pacific Island communities by taking a more in-depth look at risk and protective behaviors based in Pacific Island culture, families, communities, and society.

Meagan Laszlo_APHA KP Community Health Fellow

Meagan Laszlo

MPH, Portland State University

Placement Site: Kaiser Permanente Washington

Meagan (she/her/hers) is an Oregon native and identifies as White and Native American. She is a proud member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of South Dakota. She has always wanted to enter the health care field in some capacity, but it wasn’t until she explored the medical field as an emergency and outpatient scribe that she recognized that clinical health care is predominately reactive rather than proactive. Meagan realized that her interests and passions are consistent with upstream, preventative care, community engagement principles, and health and social equity.

As a transfer student from community college, Meagan received her B.S. in Community Health Promotion from Portland State University in 2020 and graduated summa cum laude. She then earned an MPH in Health Promotion at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) – Portland State University in 2022. She is certified in public health (CPH) by the National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE).

Meagan has taken her passion for public health through various experiences while completing her education. She has advocated and lobbied alongside the Oregon Public Health Association, where she learned the importance of advocacy and upstream efforts in public health. She witnessed the social, economic, and environmental barriers children experience in education and worked with the Reading is Resistance Project to curate book lists geared toward children and adolescents to stimulate anti-bias perspectives. Additionally, she interned with the Multnomah County Health Department in Portland, Oregon, Communications and Marketing division, assisting with various health promotion campaigns and communication strategies.

During graduate school, Meagan worked with the Relational Leadership Institute (RLI) and Health Equity and Leadership at Richmond (HEAL-R) at OHSU. She co-facilitated community listening sessions to learn about community assets, needs, and inequities and disaggregated race and ethnicity data for BIPOC populations to better understand health disparities. She co-authored two manuscripts (one recently submitted for publication and one in progress) regarding community organizing for health equity. Finally, Meagan is an Adjunct Instructor at Portland State University for the School of Public Health, teaching Stress Management for Health.

Through all of Meagan’s experiences and professional activities, she has and will continue to apply an upstream and equitable lens to investigate how the social determinants of health and systemic inequities contribute to health disparities in minoritized and underserved communities. Meagan is determined to stimulate upstream, equitable changes to improve the health and social well-being of individuals and their communities.

Oluwatosin Olateju

Oluwatosin Olateju

DrPH, Morgan State University

Placement Site: Bon Secours Community Works

Tosin (she/her/hers) is a grassroots community health leader with several years of experience in clinical care, community/public health nursing practice, and administration. She attained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Community & Public Health Nursing from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. In December 2021, Tosin earned a DrPH degree from Morgan State University, School of Community Health and Policy, specializing in Health Policy and Management.

She is the founder of Food and Care for All Inc. This non-profit organization promotes food security and sexual health services for underserved populations in Maryland and some regions of Sub-Saharan Africa. As a community health nurse leader, Tosin has served in various roles at Maryland local health departments and is passionate about health policy. Between 2018 and 2019, she advocated for Maryland legislation allowing minors to consent to HIV prevention treatments.

Tosin is a member of the American Nurses Association, American Public Health Association, and Howard County Local Health Improvement Coalition (HCLHIC) workgroup. In 2017 and 2022, she was named by the University of Maryland School of Nursing as an accomplished alumna in public health. Tosin received the Top Nurses 2020 Award by Baltimore Magazine for Excellence in Nursing. In addition, she has participated in various speaking engagements and, most recently in August 2022, served as a distinguished speaker at the fall 2022 White Coat Ceremony at the University of Maryland School of Nursing, Baltimore.

Hue Phung_APHA KP Community Health Fellow

Hue Phung

MPH, University of Colorado Anschutz

Placement Site: Healthcare Anchor Network

Hue (she/her/hers) believes through advocacy for equitable system changes, community partnerships, and policy changes is the continuous work needed to have positive change in the community.

Her fellowship placement is with the Healthcare Anchor Network. She will be responsible for supporting the organization with strategies to help change healthcare systems operations such as investments hiring to positively impact the health and economic outcomes of the community.

Hue holds a B.S. in Psychology and Ethnic Studies from the University of Colorado Denver and an MPH with a Global Maternal and Child Health concentration from the Colorado School of Public Health on the Anschutz Medical Campus. Hue is trained in program design, implementation, and has worked with refugees and immigrants in Colorado for the past several years.

Hue first started noticing the inequities around healthcare at a young age, when many of her friends claimed that their doctor appointments were at most one hour, but for Hue and her family it was usually a whole afternoon. Hue learned that because of the language barrier many Vietnamese community members traveled all over the state to receive care from a handful of Vietnamese providers. Another systemic barrier that she has witnessed was in the Lakota community in South Dakota when she was on an Alternative Break Trip. Many children suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome, lack of nutritious foods, and inadequate healthcare. Hue believes that without cultural humility many communities will continue to lack the care that is needed. She strives to address systemic barriers to promote easier access to healthcare for marginalized communities because without changes communities continue to suffer for generations to come.

Hue worked at the Asian Pacific Development Center and gained extensive experience in developing and presenting on mental health awareness for Asian communities. At the center, she led psychosocial groups for youth and elders as well as did specific outreach in the Vietnamese community. She managed the budget and deliverables of the Elder Wellness Program to provide AAPI elders social connection to improve mental health and decrease loneliness. Hue has been recognized as a leader in the community and someone who has built strong relationships through outreach and trust to destigmatize mental health and create a healthier community.

Hue has achieved change throughout the pandemic by listening closely to what community members need and advocating for system changes. She was contracted to work with Lifespan Local and worked closely with the H.E.A.T. program at the Public Health Institute at Denver Health. As an advocate, Hue educated individuals in various community spaces about COVID-19 misinformation and distributed informational flyers that were translated into various languages. At the community level, she outreached to various communities at businesses, nail salons, grocery stores, schools, and community events to answer questions around COVID-19. Tailoring conversations to answer individuals’ questions can change the perception of the vaccine, allow individuals to be advocates for their health, and inform decisions of ways to address inequities.

Taurica Salmon

Taurica Vanessa Salmon

MPH, Portland State University

Placement Site: Clackamas County Public Health Division

Taurica (she/her/hers) is a recent graduate of the Oregon Health & Science University- Portland State University (OHSU-PSU) School of Public Health. She received her MPH in Epidemiology with a Certification in Public Health She received her B.S. in Health Studies with a focus on Community Health Education from PSU.

Taurica’s passion for public health and her community is shown through her vast experience and education. She was awarded the Dean’s Scholarship Fund by the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health and the William E. Keene Memorial Scholarship for epidemiology from the Office of Student Access & Completion. She has been involved in community efforts with the American Red Cross, Providence Health and Services, the Multnomah County Health Department, and Child Family Health International. In these positions, she organized outreach events, worked collaboratively with mental health professionals and health promoters, and learned cross-cultural skills locally and abroad.

After graduating with her Bachelor’s, she worked abroad with Global Glimpse as a Medical Fellow in the Dominican Republic. This program allowed her to gain valuable experience in building relationships with locals and the student team she was assigned to assist with medical concerns as needed. She also had the opportunity to work with the parents of the teen she was assisting within their medical care, carefully and respectfully managing cultural expectations and using professional, medical Spanish and English terminology interchangeably.

During her MPH, she sought opportunities to work with her community and local nonprofits. She was selected for a graduate internship with Providence Health & Services within the community health division. She worked collaboratively with several organizations to provide outreach to mental health services to the Latinx community. She was also involved in several projects related to equity and access to dental services for Latinx communities. This work transitioned into a position with the Providence Medical Group Sick Clinic assisting with COVID-19 testing in the community. During this time, she also interned for Familias en Acción and assisted with food box deliveries and data analysis projects for the community health workers and stakeholders.

Her former position was with Oregon Health Authority within the Covid Response and Recovery Unit within the Public Health Division as a Travel Epidemiologist. She previously worked as a Case Investigator and a Vaccine Navigator in collaboration with the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health for the COVID-19 Pandemic Response team. These positions have allowed her to be active immediately in the education she received in a climate that has been in urgent need of epidemiologists to assist with the ongoing pandemic.

Amanda Shi_APHA KP Community Health Fellow

Amanda Shi

MPH, University of Washington

Placement Site: Tubman Center for Health & Freedom

Amanda (she/her/hers) is a public health practitioner passionate about using community co-design and equity-based decision-making to address health-related social needs in Washington State. Her experiences focus on working with community-based organizations, on diversity, equity, & inclusion efforts within organizations, organizing diverse stakeholder groups, and in frontline service positions with people experiencing homelessness. She graduated from the University of Washington in June 2022 with an MPH in Health Policy & Systems from the School of Public Health and an MPA, Leadership & Decision-Making Concentration, from the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance. Amanda’s fellowship placement is with the Tubman Center for Health & Freedom, a non-profit organization addressing health and wellness using systems and clinical approaches. 

Amanda worked on community-engaged public health efforts in homelessness services and mobile outreach during her time in graduate school. With the Seattle Flu Study, Amanda worked in nine different emergency and temporary shelters in King County operated by DESC, Mary’s Place, Compass Housing Alliance, and other non-profit providers to provide weekly COVID-19 testing to people experiencing homelessness. During this time, she built relationships with individuals experiencing chronic homelessness and learned more about many of the systemic barriers to housing and healthcare services that they faced. When conducting a program evaluation for the Seattle Fire Department’s Health One Program, a mobile outreach that meets the needs of the community where they are and serves a large proportion of unhoused clients, she continued to hear these overlapping stories when riding along on outreach calls.

Amanda’s frontline experiences were directly integrated into upstream approaches to public health through her work with the King County Regional Homelessness Authority and Community Circle. She incorporated these experiences into her work with the King County Regional Homelessness Authority when consulting on a team to provide a playbook of anti-racist and equity-centered approaches to organizational culture and management. Further, in the co-founding and development of Community Circle, an application to provide real-time visibility into shelter space, Amanda included the learning from the various experiences and championed the development of a compensated lived experience steering committee.

Amanda’s experiences engaging with the unhoused community and homelessness services have been complemented by her other work researching mental health disparities, engaging in community health partnerships with the Community Health Board Coalition, and international community health experiences in Ghana and Tanzania. Her thesis researched disparate impacts of the COVID-19 shelter-in-place policies on depression, social isolation, and loneliness by socioeconomic factors, including race/ethnicity and insurance status. The results from this thesis are being used to support an ongoing community-based intervention sponsored by the CDC, P.E.A.R.L.S., for lower-income older adults.

Jessica Tran_APHA KP Community Health Fellow

Jessica Tran

MPH, Portland State University

Placement Site: Grady Health System - Population Health

Jessica (she/her/hers) has a decade of experience in healthcare and public health. She earned her MPH in Epidemiology at Portland State University/Oregon Health and Science University and graduated with graduating with honors with bachelor’s degrees in microbiology, English, and International Studies. She currently holds a Certification in Public Health (CPH) and a Certification in Infection Control (CIC).

She started her career as a medical scribe in the emergency department (ED) during college, where she saw firsthand how the ED acts as a safety net for the community. Eager to help underserved community members, Jessica became the manager of clinics offering free medical and low-cost dental care in rural Oregon.

After graduating from her undergraduate institution, she became a research assistant in a lab studying the immune system’s ability to detect and respond to intracellular infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Jessica was also a volunteer coordinator for a non-profit organization that offers medical care for houseless individuals where they live.

Besides domestic experience, Jessica has also worked abroad. This international work includes volunteering at an otolaryngology clinic in Vietnam and interning with a breast cancer non-profit organization in Japan.

Prior to becoming a fellow, Jessica worked as an Infection Preventionist and supported hospital responses to infectious disease concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her role included leading outbreak investigations, educating staff on policies, performing surveillance for infectious conditions, and opening an emergency COVID-19 unit.

Melissa Wenceslao_APHA KP Community Health Fellow

Melissa Wenceslao

MPH, Charles Drew University

Placement Site: Kaiser Permanente Northern California

Melissa (she/her/hers) holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology and Spanish and an MPH from Charles Drew University. In the future, Melissa hopes to continue addressing public health challenges with an interdisciplinary lens.

Before the start of her fellowship, she was a project coordinator for a study on COVID-19 vaccination uptake among African-American and Latino public housing residents. She was recently a co-speaker at the Interprofessional Education Collaborative Institute, which allowed her and her team to speak on the importance of interprofessional work in community-based participatory research.

Previously, she was a research assistant and co-author of a study on barriers to palliative care published in the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. In addition to working in research, Melissa has interned in nonprofit organizations, government, and clinical settings.

Esperanza Zagal

Esperanza Zagal

MPH, Portland State University

Placement Site: Kaiser Permanente Northwest

Esperanza (she/her/hers) is an epidemiologist with experience in infectious disease and international research. Her professional accomplishments highlight her desire to advocate for health needs and reduce health disparities across cultures and ethnicities. At Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), Esperanza collaborated in the design and implementation of population-based epidemiologic interventions to reduce the burden of neurocysticercosis, a neurological condition that disproportionately affects impoverished communities worldwide across communities of Northern Peru. As a direct result of her involvement with neurocysticercosis, Esperanza was a 2020-2022 recipient of a Diversity Supplement from the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) to support her work with the diagnostic screening of this neurologic disease.

Her interest in health research started as an undergraduate at the University of Utah, where Esperanza graduated with an Undergraduate Research Scholar Designation (URSD) after working on social and basic science research projects in medical anthropology, paleoecology, and human genetics. Since her first project, Esperanza has been committed to working on pressing concerns in public health. Her interest in international health and health science led her to obtain her first MPH (Molecular Microbiology and Immunology) from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in molecular microbiology and immunology.

Esperanza was a community health worker with Comunidades Unidas (“United Communities”) providing the Latinx community in Utah with bilingual nutrition, mental health, reproductive health, reproductive health, and immigration resources. This experience oriented her to the value of hands-on community health work, inspiring her to learn more about leadership and intervention strategies that recognize the social determinants of health. Other community-health-related projects Esperanza worked on include: an international internship in her native town of Chiclayo, Peru, in the department of obstetrics and gynecology, generating a survey for the Ministry of Health to enhance understanding of local maternal and child health; collaboration with the Center for Global Surgery (a non-profit seeking to make surgery accessible to all), where she designed culturally sensitive surgical programs for Native tribes; research with the University of Utah and Intermountain Healthcare to explore mental illness and depression concepts to better meet the needs of local communities and scale up mental health outreach programs in Utah.

Esperanza is a proponent of the Arts, believing creativity is essential to happy, healthy lives. She is involved in local community theater, and choir, and is a trained musician.

Esperanza is honored to be an APHA/Kaiser Permanente Community Health Fellow, 2022-2023. During her Fellowship, she will work with Kaiser Permanente Northwest to establish community relations between Kaiser and local health agencies in Oregon.

2021-22 APHA Kaiser Permanente Community Health Fellowship Recipients

Congratulations to our 2021-22 Fellows. You may read more about them by visiting: "6 (future) public health leaders to watch."

Kyla Baron photo

Kyla Baron

MPH, Charles R. Drew University of Science and Medicine

Placement SiteKaiser Permanente, Southern California



Alexis Cabarga photo

Alexis Cabarga

MPH, Charles R. Drew University of Science and Medicine

Placement Site: Alliance for a Healthier Generation



Sumaiya Khan photo

Sumaiya Khan

MPH, University of California, Berkeley

Placement Site: Kaiser Permanente, Northern California



Kekoa Lopez photo

Kekoa Lopez-Paguyo

MPH, University of California, Berkeley

Placement Site: Kaiser Permanente, Social Health Practice



Camille Millar photo

Camille Millar

MPH, Georgia State University

Placement Site: Kaiser Permanente, Economic Opportunity



Justice Onwordi photo

Justice Onwordi

MPH, University of Colorado

Placement Site: Kaiser Permanente, Colorado