Copyright 2018. Asian Pacific Islander Caucus. All Rights Reserved.
Brittany Morey, MPH, PhD
Dr. Morey is a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Riverside’s School of Public Policy. Her research focuses on how structural inequality shapes racial and ethnic health disparities, with a particular focus on Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and immigrant groups. Current projects include examining how immigration policy and anti-immigrant sentiments contribute to health disparities among broad populations of color. Dr. Morey received her PhD in 2017 and MPH in 2011 in Community Health Sciences from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. In 2015, she received the Don T. Nakanishi Award for Outstanding Engaged Scholarship in Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies at UCLA for community-based participatory research she conducted with Pacific Islander communities in Los Angeles County. Her published work appears in the American Journal of Public Health, Social Science & Medicine, Nicotine & Tobacco Research, American Behavioral Scientist, Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, and Environmental Justice. Dr. Morey previously served on the APIC Executive Board as a Student Representative from 2015-2016. She looks forward to supporting APIC’s mission by increasing membership to APIC and APHA as membership director.
Wei Perng, MPH PhD
Dr. Perng is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. She received her B.S. in Brain Behavior and Cognitive Science, followed by her MPH and PhD in Epidemiology at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on maternal and child health and falls under three lines of inquiry: (1) identifying pre- and perinatal determinants of childhood obesity and metabolic risk; (2) characterizing novel biomarkers of metabolic risk in pediatric populations; and (3) elucidating how maternal perinatal condition correlates with postpartum cardiometabolic health. Dr. Perng conducts her investigations primarily in Project Viva, a Boston-area pre-birth cohort, the Early Life Exposure in Mexico to ENvironmental Toxicants (ELEMENT) Project, a birth cohort in Mexico City. In the past, Dr. Perng has been involved in and collaborated with several organizations aimed at reducing health disparities among Asians and Asian Americans, including the Association for Asian Public Health Action (AAPHA), the Taiwanese American Student Association (TASA), and the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA). From 2011-2013, Dr. Perng served a 2-year term as the student/young professional director for the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus (APIC) and is looking forward to planning APIC's scientific programs in 2017 and 2018!
Adrian Matias Bacong, MPH
Adrian is current Community Health Sciences PhD student at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Prior to beginning his PhD program, Adrian completed his MPH at the San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health. There, Adrian was involved in a community-based participatory research project partnered with Pacific Islanders in San Diego. His current research interests include exploring the causes of health inequities within API populations, health within undocumented API communities, and the intersections of racism, colonialism, and imperialism on health. He has also been involved in a number of projects with the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, ranging from exploring decision-making within integrated Medicare-Medicaid programs to evaluating the efficacy of permanent supportive housing programs for homeless individuals. Adrian was the “Runner Up” for the APIC Best Student Abstract in 2016 and a “Honorable Mention” for the APHA Aging & Public Health Section Erickson Foundation Research Award.
Jennifer A. Wong, MPH, CPH
Jennifer is a Senior Program Coordinator at the Section for Health Equity within the Department of Population Health, NYU School of Medicine. She coordinates and oversees the activities of the Community Engagement & Dissemination Core of the U54 Center for the Study of Asian American Health (CSAAH) grant and CSAAH-related community-engaged research training and education projects. She has been actively involved in research and community engagement including prior work with the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and most recently, as the manager of curriculum development at the National Council for Behavioral Health, updating and supporting the implementation and continued sustainability of Mental Health First Aid.
Jennifer received her bachelor’s degrees (BS and BA) in Biology and East Asian Studies from Bryn Mawr College, and earned a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) from Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, with a Certificate in Health Promotion Research and Practice. Her commitment to working with underserved communities has honed her professional interest in community-based participatory research, evidence-based program design and implementation, dissemination, and evaluation. Her work focuses on advancing health equity and reducing health disparities among Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities through education, research, and advocacy.
Jay Nepal, MS
Originally from Nepal, Jay is a global health professional. Before coming to the U.S., he worked as a program coordinator in a community-based organization in Kathmandu, providing HIV/AIDS prevention services to minority groups and advocating for health and human rights issues. His areas of interests are public health education & health promotion, global health research and development, health equity, health disparities among Asian Americans, health systems strengthening. Jay is also actively involved with APHA International Health (IH) section and serves as a membership committee co-chair. Jay graduated with Master of Science (MSc) in Global Health and Development from University College London (UCL). He received his Bachelor of Science (BS) in Health Education and Promotion from San Francisco State University and was awarded the Zoe Clayson Award for Global Health and Social Justice by the Health Education department.
Rinzin Wangmo, BDS, MPH
Rinzin Wangmo is a dentist (BDS) from India and a recent MPH graduate with a major in Health Policy and Management. Her experiences include working in a clinical setting (The Oxford Dental College), non-profit organization (Treatment Action Group), government (New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene), and volunteering (Campaign for New York Health). As a policy intern at the NYC Department of Health, she had co-authored a policy brief that articulates the legislative landscape of community health workers in other states and strategically recommending policy proposals to create a financial sustainable workforce in New York State. She aspires to amplify the voices of the APIC community through active youth participation in policy making processes.
Vananh Vuong, MPH, CPH
Vananh grew up in Vietnam. She is currently the Data Coordinator for Seattle Indian Health Board in Seattle, WA. In her current position, she works as health system administrator to collect, analyze, interpret, and present variety of health data and its correlation to health outcomes, including data from national and local surveillance systems, surveys, and clinical data from the network of Urban Indian Health Programs. Vananh also works on other programs that highlight, connect, and resolve some health and social issues that American Indian, Alaska Native, and Pacific Islanders people are facing in Washington state such as Homeless Investment program. Her past position was with Asian Health & Service Center in Portland, OR, the 2016 APIC Community Organization Recognition Award (CORA) recipient.
Vananh received her bachelor degrees (BS and BA) in Bioresource Research and International Studies, and earned a Master in Public Health (MPH) from Oregon State University. Vananh is most interested in community-based participatory as well as epidemiological studies on health disparities among Asian and Pacific Islander population. Vananh was the 2015-2017 APIC Treasurer.
Kate Moraras, MPH
Kate is the Senior Program Director at the Hepatitis B Foundation and Director of Hep B United. Kate is responsible for the development and management of Hep B United, a national coalition addressing hepatitis B with a focus on eliminating hepatitis B-related health disparities among Asian American and Pacific Islander and other high-risk communities.
Previously, Kate served as Senior Advisor to the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders where she led the Initiative’s health policy portfolio and community engagement and communications strategies. Prior to joining the Initiative, Kate was a fellow at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health where she supported the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health on development and coordination of program strategies related to improving the health of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Kate managed OMH’s national hepatitis B cooperative agreement program and coordinated the Department’s interagency workgroup on Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander issues.
Kate began her public health work at the American Diabetes Association focusing on racial/ethnic disparities and diabetes policy. Kate received her Master’s Degree in Public Health from the George Washington University.
PRESIDENT & CEO
Gem Le, PhD, MHS
Dr. Le is currently a Senior Epidemiologist at the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations (CVP) based at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and a Lecturer in the Department of Health Sciences at California State University, East Bay. She received her doctoral degree in Epidemiology from University of California, Berkeley, and her masters degree from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Her research interests are focused on social networks, health disparities, and cancer prevention and control with a focus in underserved populations. Prior to CVP, Dr. Le was a Research Scientist at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, working on cancer prevention and control studies in API populations, where she focused on disaggregating health data to support cancer control and prevention efforts in APIs. Dr. Le has also been involved with API-focused community centers, serving for 4 years on the Board of Directors for the Vietnamese American Community Center of the East Bay (VACCEB).
Sindura Gummi, MPH
Sindhura Gummi is currently a Program Associate within the Healthcare Delivery and Disparities Research program at Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). She has her Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health with a concentration in Sociomedical Sciences and certificate in Health Promotion and Research Practice. She has held various positions that focused on immigrant health, cancer prevention, and health education. Due to an interest in translational science and health systems, she worked at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City as a clinical research coordinator for two years prior to relocating to Washington D.C. During her graduate degree program, she completed her practicum at New York University’s Center for the Study of Asian American Health. Since then, she has had a strong passion for Asian and Pacific Islander populations and promoting health promotion and equity within this diaspora.
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT & CEO
Gabriel Garcia, PhD, MPH, MA
Dr. Garcia is a Philippine-born, Alaska-grown, Associate Professor of Public Health at University of Alaska Anchorage. He received his B.S. in Biochemistry at University of California Davis and M.A. in Medical Sciences and M.P.H. in Social and Behavioral Sciences at Boston University. In 2008, Dr. Garcia received his Ph.D. in Public Health with a minor in Anthropology at the University of California Los Angeles. His research interests include tobacco and alcohol, cancer prevention and control, and health disparities among Asians and Pacific Islanders. Dr. Garcia was the recipient of the Alaska Public Health Association’s “Short Term Service Award” in 2002 and “The Barbara Berger Excellence in Public Health Award” in 2012. At UAA, Dr. Garcia has been awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Community Service, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Diversity, and the Center for Community Engagement & Learning’s Community Builder Award. Dr. Garcia, along with a group of UAA faculty and students, were awarded the UAA’s Stewardship Award in 2014 and American Lung Association in Alaska’s Breathe Easy Champion Award in 2015 for the group’s successful effort in making the University of Alaska system smoke and tobacco-free.
Charlene Tomas, MA, PhD
Jennifer Kue, PhD
Dr. Kue has 20 years of experience working with refugees and immigrants, and medically underserved minority populations. Her expertise is in community health promotion and achieving health equity in underserved ethnic minorities, community-engaged research, and refugee and immigrant health. Dr. Kue’s research applies the principles of community-engaged research to understanding and addressing cancer health disparities, including breast and cervical cancer prevention, cancer screening, and survivorship. Dr. Kue’s research examines the influence of culture, historical and refugee trauma, and intergenerational communication on cancer screening and health behavior. Dr. Kue is an Assistant Professor and Director of the Office of Global Innovations in the College of Nursing at the Ohio State University.
Lan Doan, MPH, CPH
Lan is a PhD student in Public Health, Health Promotion and Health Behavior, with at a graduate minor in Biological Data Sciences, at Oregon State University. She previously served as Secretary and Caucus Director for APIC. Lan has worked as a research coordinator for clinical trials focused on management and prevention of heart failure in pediatrics populations at Stanford University and tablet-based interventions focused on breast and prostate cancer risk education in minority populations at the University of California, San Francisco. Her research interests focus on data disaggregation to understand structural determinants of health and health inequities within elderly Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) populations.
Lan was recently a graduate fellow in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Graduate Summer Opportunity to Advance Research (GSOAR) program. She received a BA in Asian American Studies and Integrative Biology from University of California, Berkeley, and an MPH in Community Health and Education from Touro University California. Her dissertation work focuses on understanding the prevalence and determinants of cardiovascular disease in AAPI older adults, and the association between neighborhood- level characteristics and individual-level CVD in AAPIs.
Kris Pui-Kwan Ma MA, PhD-C
Kris (Pui Kwan) was born and raised in Hong Kong. She is currently a PhD candidate in Clinical-Community Psychology at DePaul University in Chicago. Her research centers on addressing physical and mental health disparities in underserved communities. In particular, she is keen on (1) developing evidence-based integrated care interventions to enhance behavioral health and reduce physical comorbidities for Asians and/or Asian American populations with mental illness; (2) promoting culturally responsive education and interventions for Chinese family caregivers and patients with dementia; and (3) understanding the psychological and cultural mechanisms of health behaviors among diverse communities. Kris was a recipient of APIC Best Student Abstract in 2015 and APHA Leadership Challenge Student Scholarship Award in 2016.
Suparna Navale, MS, MPH
Suparna is a PhD candidate in Epidemiology at Kent State University’s College of Public Health and a statistical analyst at Case Western Reserve (CWR) University's Population Health and Outcomes Research Core. Her research interests are diabetes epidemiology, with an emphasis on diabetes outcomes in the elderly, health services utilization, and health disparities. At CWR, she assists in designing studies using various statistical methodologies, creates algorithms to clean and analyze data in SAS, and presents results to both statisticians and non-statisticians, while gaining in-depth knowledge of Medicare, Medicaid, HCUP, and HRS datasets. Suparna earned her BS in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Virginia, MPH from Eastern Virginia Medical School, and MS in Epidemiology from the University of Louisville. While completing her MPH, Suparna worked at the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health as the assistant to the Emergency Planner, where she was an integral part of the 2009-2010 H1N1 vaccination campaign. She has also worked for the Research and Measurement department in URAC, a health care accreditation organization.
Suparna has been actively involved in APHA since 2011. She began her involvement as a Student Assembly Campus Liaison and an abstract reviewer and moderator at Annual Meetings. She served as the National Student Meeting Co-Director in San Francisco, Student Assembly Treasurer-elect, Treasurer, and Chair-Elect. As Chair-elect, she also served on the Inter-Sectional Council Steering Committee as the student representative. In her current position as Chair of the Student Assembly, Suparna hopes to increase student engagement and keep students involved within APHA.