Copyright 2018. Asian Pacific Islander Caucus. All Rights Reserved.

Board of Directors


​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.



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).


Angela Sy is a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine.  She conducts research on cancer and chronic disease health disparities among Asian and Pacific Islander communities with a focus on community engaged research and program evaluation. She is the Community Engagement Coordinator of the NIH National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities funded Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) Translational Research Network.  Angela serves as the evaluator of the CDC Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health to decrease tobacco use and promote good nutrition in the US Affiliated Pacific Islands.  She is a Co-Principal Investigator for “E-Health in Majuro and Pohnpei” under the CDC Sponsored Global and Territorial Health Research Network with the University of Rochester.  Angela is also Co-Principal Investigator of a National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities U24 “Inspiring Indigenous Samoan Partnerships to Initiate Research Excellence” to increase research capacity and colorectal cancer screening in American Samoa.  She served as a Research Director of the Asian American Network of Cancer Awareness, Research, and Training (AANCART) study to examine lay health educators in promoting colorectal cancer screening among Filipinos, Hmong, and Koreans.

Angela teaches public health and research courses including Introduction to Research Methods, Program Evaluation, Needs Assessment, and Community Based Participatory Research.  She received a DrPH at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and MPH at University of Hawaii at Manoa.

​Vananh Nguyen, MPH is the Project and Grant Coordinator at Asian Health & Service Center in Portland, OR. 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. Her MPH training concentrated in Mental Health and Epidemiology, especially in refugees and immigrants. Vananh is most interested in community-based participatory as well as epidemiological studies on health disparities among Asian and Pacific Islander population.

In her current position, Vananh facilitates grants development, research, coordinating programming and volunteers. Currently, she is working on project involving Community Health Resources and Needs Assessment in zip code area that is most diverse and has highest concentration of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in Portland Metro. The goal of this multi-year project is to improve places and systems that provide conditions for individuals to make healthier choices, leading to better chronic-disease outcomes. Concurrently, she is working on qualitative research project to identify the gaps and needs in services between providers and Asian cancer patients in order to establish a cancer resource that provides culturally and linguistically appropriate education and support services for the Asian community. 

Dr. Jennifer 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.


Suparna Navale, MS, MPH is a PhD candidate in Epidemiology at Kent State University’s College of Public Health and a statistical analyst at Case Western Reserve 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 Case Western Reserve, 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, where she was involved with the data analysis and product development for several accreditation products.  

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. Suparna also serves as Caucus Director for the Asian and Pacific Islander Caucus for Public Health (APIC).


Charlene Tomas.

Emily Makini serves as APPEAL's Program Associate and Executive Assistant where she provides coordination and administrative support to all programs including APPEAL's community-based participatory research project, health equity project, and national network project. She is a seasoned research and data analysis professional with experience in economics, public health, and environmental research in both California and Hawaii.  Emily graduated from University of Hawaii with a double major in Economics and Religion. Before moving out to Oakland, she worked for the Hawaii Legislature and a boutique Native Hawaiian focused consulting firm, providing consultation to governmental institutions and community organizations to ensure cultural appropriate programming for Native Hawaiians.   Her interests are in advancing health equity as it relates to food justice, food sovereignty, and eliminating food deserts.


Kate Moraras 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.


Serena Phillips, MPH, DrPH student is a second year doctoral candidate studying health behavior at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. Her research and service interests center around the effect of access issues on cancer disparities in immigrant communities. As a native of Queens, New York, Phillips grew up among very large Asian American, immigrant, and diverse communities. Upon joining the medical community as a registered nurse and seeing the lack of data and appropriate language services for these populations, she became passionate about becoming part of the solution. Since then, Phillips has worked as a patient navigator for Mandarin and Spanish-speaking cancer patients, collaborated with students and faculty to address the lack of curricular content on Asian American populations in a Master of Public Health program, contributed to the development of an academic Asian American Community Studies minor at Queens College, and completed internships on various New York City-based projects addressing Asian American health. She aspires to make a difference in addressing Asian American and immigrant health by adding to the growing body of scholarship on these populations, and better understanding and advocating for their needs.


Feng Qian, MD, PhD

​Dr. Feng (Johnson) Qian is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy, Management and Behavior, University at Albany-State University of New York. He received his medical education and residency training in cardiac surgery from Shanghai Medical University, China. He obtained his master of clinical science degree from the National University of Singapore and his PhD in health services research and policy from the University of Rochester. His research interests are  quality of care and outcomes research, racial and ethnic disparities in health care, and evaluation of medical innovations. His research projects are funded by Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, American Heart Association, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, etc. He has over 30 peer-reviewed journal publications and serves as a regular reviewer for leading medical journals. He teaches economic analysis for health policy and management and economic evaluation in health care.  He advises and mentors MPH, PhD, and DrPH students.


​Wei Perng, MPH PhD

Wei Perng, MPH PhD​, 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!


Heidi Tuason MPH, DrPH-C

Kris Pui-Kwan Ma MA, PhD-C

​Kris (Pui Kwan) Ma. M.A. 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. She aims to better understand the psychological and cultural mechanisms of health behavior, and designing effective and culturally responsive interventions for diverse communities. She is also interested in examining social determinants of health and using community-based participatory research approaches to promote health equity at multiple levels. She is keen on developing evidence-based integrated care interventions to enhance behavioral health and reduce physical comorbidities for Asians and/or Asian American populations with mental illness. Kris’ recent work examined the reverse colocation model for primary care-behavioral health integration in an Asian American-specific behavioral health setting. Kris was a recipient of APIC Best Student Abstract in 2015 and APHA Leadership Challenge Student Scholarship Award in 2016.