Our Research Staff
May Sudhinaraset, PhD
May is an Assistant Professor in Community Health Sciences in the School of Public Health at UCLA. She also holds an adjunct faculty position in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at UCSF. She is trained as a social epidemiologist from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her research focuses on understanding the social determinants of migrant, adolescent, and women’s health both globally and in the US. Her global work includes women’s experiences during childbirth, family planning, and abortion services, development of quality improvement interventions, and large-scale maternal and child health evaluations. She has collaborated with institutions and researchers in the United States, Myanmar, Kenya, India, Thailand and China.
Irving is a medical student at the UCSF, and his research interests are in health equity and advocacy for API communities, immigrant, youth, LGBTQ, and other communities of color. As a Biology and Ethnic Studies double major at UCSD, he was always interested in examining the ways in which structural barriers such as institutional racism work to actively produce health inequity and disparities for marginalized communities. Passionate about social justice, health equity and issues facing communities of color, he hopes to make a difference for underserved populations through primary care and public health innovation and advocacy.
Hye Young Choi
Hye Young is a 1.5 generation unDACAmented immigrant from South Korea. She graduated from UC San Diego with degrees in Global Health and Biochemistry/Cell biology. During her time at De Anza Community College and UC San Diego, she engaged in activities and organizations promoting social justice education and advocacy for Asian American and migrant communities. She is invested in studying and addressing the roots of health disparities in marginalized populations. Hye Young aspires to become a physician and scholar in public health and medical anthropology.
Annie Ro is an Associate Professor in the Program of Public Health at UC Irvine. She is a health demographer who studies the social determinants of immigrant health. She has several projects examining the role of immigration status on health outcomes, focusing on Asians in the United States and college-aged young adults.
Alex Nguyen is a current student at UCLA in the dual-degree program earning his MPH in Community Health Sciences in the Fielding School of Public Health as well as an MA in Asian American Studies. His research interests are race and health, immigration and health, mental health, and data ethics. He double-majored at UC Irvine in Public Health Policy and Asian American Studies. Aside from working on the BRAVE Study, his current thesis project revolves around investigating the relationship between community-based public health researchers and community members around the issues of data access and control within community-based public health research. Alex’s goal is to work in program evaluation to improve programs and interventions for Asian American communities and all communities of color.
Tu My To, MPH
Tu My is a doctoral candidate in Epidemiology and Translational Science at UCSF. She received her MPH in epidemiology from Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health and was a Biological Sciences major at the University of Southern California. Her previous experience include internships at the California Department of Public Health and the CDC. Her research interests are in health disparities in cardiovascular and chronic diseases. In addition to the BRAVE study, she is also currently involved with the Sacramento Area Latino Study on Aging (SALSA) and the follow-up study on the SALSA participants’ descendants (the Niños Diabetes and Lifestyle Study).
Deborah is a second year graduate student pursuing her Masters in Public Health in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. She is originally from the state of Maryland on the east coast and received her Bachelor's in Science in Community Health and Public Health Sciences. She has always had an interest in promoting cultural competency and health literacy. Having grown up as a child of immigrants, she cares a lot about patient-centered care, particularly with regards to patients of diverse backgrounds in the healthcare delivery setting. As such, she hopes to become a leader and change agent in the healthcare system.
Subasri Narasimhan, MPH
Suba is a doctoral student in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Raised in North, she received her MPH in Maternal and Child Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Gillings Global School of Public Health. She comes to the BRAVE Study with prior experience in public health working on reproductive and sexual health primarily in under-resourced settings.
Kiana Chan is a recent graduate from the University of California Los Angeles, with a major in Geography and a minor Asian Languages. She is interested in a career as a Nurse Practitioner, where she would like to implement public health research and clinical care to underserved communities. At UCLA, she was involved in the Asian Pacific Health Corps, where she translated for patients and conducted basic health screenings at health fairs in predominantly Asian, Los Angeles communities. In addition, Kiana’s previous study abroad experiences in China and Taiwan have inspired her to continue mastering Mandarin in order to provide her with the linguistic and intercultural skills necessary when working in minority communities.After college, Kiana will be working for a non-profit which aims to provide nutrition education and sustainably-sourced produce to low-income communities in New York. Next year, she will teaching English and basic health education to high school students in Malaysia with the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.
Cristian De Nova Ledesma
Cristian was born in La Ciudad de Mexico and moved to South Los Angeles at the age of 6. He is an undergraduate, studying Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics. He is also an UndocBruin Research Program Scholar focusing on the factors that impact the holistic health of undocumented students at UCLA. Cristian's experiences has encouraged him to give back and support the community through various means. He has worked with several campus partners to host spaces in which the folks can engage in meaningful dialogues and feel empowered to create a change. He is also unapologetically queer and undocumented. After his time as an undergraduate at UCLA, Cristian plans on continuing his path in higher education through a career in Public Health. His time abroad in Peru, through a Global Health program, has reinforced his passion to improve equitable and culturally-competent access to health care.
Jason is currently a senior undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH) at UC San Diego. He is really interested in research related API migrant health as he comes from a Filipino-American background. His other major areas of research interest are HIV, other infectious disease, and forced migrant health both locally and globally. He is currently a SHARP intern in San Francisco for the summer working under the mentorship of May Sudhinaraset on both the BRAVE study and her research on migrant women in India. In addition to these studies, He is continuing his work at UC San Diego studying forced migrants and substance use patterns. He has also worked for the International AIDS Society and public health projects in Mexico and Belize. He loves trying new food from around the world and has a strong ambition to travel. He is always happiest at the beach!
Young Seok (Kevin) Lee
Young Seok is currently a senior undergraduate student pursuing a B.A. in Media Studies at UC Berkeley. His research interest in undocumented API health stems from his background as a DACA-recipient. As a Media Studies major, he plans to utilize his communication skillset for community building purposes. He is also passionate about immigration rights, education and Hip-Hop.
Jorge immigrated to the United States from Mexico, he is a lower middle class, first generation college student. He is passionate about learning and research interests are broad but sit between the intersection of law, policy, and child and family health and wellness. He sees each one of these issues as a part of the whole environment which guide individual behavior. Jorge is a recent graduate of California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) and is considering applying to a joint JD/PhD program. Jorge joined the BRAVE study in the summer of 2019 because the work the BRAVE study is working on will allow him to study the intersection of health care and immigration policies.
Our Community Advisory Board (CAB)
Marissa Raymond-Flesch, MD
Dr. Raymond-Flesch is a fellow at the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies (PRL-IHPS) and the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine within the Department of Pediatrics. She completed her undergraduate training at MIT and her medical training at Cornell University. Her interests in adolescent medicine and public health policy led her to do a Masters of Public Health in Population and Family Health at Columbia University. She then completed her residency and chief residency at Mount Sinai Hospital’s Internal Medicine and Pediatrics Program with a focus on global health. Dr. Raymond-Flesch’s research focuses on access to care for adolescents and young adults with a particular interest in improving reproductive health access for minority and border communities. She is especially interested in using community-based participatory research to bring health care and health education into these underserved communities.
Claire Brindis, DrPH
Dr. Brindis is a Professor of Pediatrics and Health Policy and the Director of the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at UCSF. She is a Director of the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health and Executive Director of UCSF’s National Adolescent and Young Health Information Center. Incorporating a variety of qualitative and quantitative methodologies, Dr. Brindis focuses on program evaluation and the translation of research into policy, particularly in the areas of children and adolescent health, and women’s reproductive health. She has special expertise on Latino/a diverse populations, global reproductive health, migration and health, as well as examining the impact of migration and acculturation on Latina/o immigrants. She has served on the Steering Committee of the University of California, Global Health Initiative’s Center of Expertise on Migration and Health (COEMH) (being one of the co-founders with colleagues at UCSD, UCLA, and UC Irvine) and the Center of Expertise on Women’s Health and Empowerment (also a co-founder), serving as a liaison between both groups.
Kathy Ko Chin, MPH
Kathy Ko Chin is president and chief executive officer of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF), a national health justice organization which influences policy, mobilizes communities, and strengthens programs and organizations to improve the health of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. Kathy has worked in senior management positions in community-based and philanthropic organizations throughout her 30 year career. Kathy has also worked in a number of health care settings and community clinics across the country, including San Francisco General Hospital, University of California San Francisco Institute for Health Policy Studies, Planned Parenthood SF, South Cove Community Health Center in Boston, and with the longest tenure as the Associate Director of Asian Health Services. Kathy is a graduate of the Harvard School of Public Health, as well as of Stanford University, with additional coursework at the London School of Economics and Fudan University in Shanghai.
Iyanrick John, JD, MPH
Iyanrick John is the Policy Director for the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF), a national health justice organization which influences policy, mobilizes communities, and strengthens programs and organizations to improve the health of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. He works on APIAHF’s policy and advocacy efforts, including those to improve outreach, education, and enrollment of AAs and NHPIs into health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act.
Prior to working at APIAHF, Iyanrick worked as a policy analyst for the Maryland Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. In this role, he was responsible for analyzing state legislation, regulations, and policies to promote health equity and improve the health of minority populations in Maryland. He also worked as a research consultant for the Loma Linda University School of Public Health, where he managed health-related research projects, performed statistical analysis, managed research databases, and designed surveys and data collection tools.
Iyanrick holds a J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law, an M.P.H in Epidemiology from the Loma Linda University School of Public Health, and a B.S. in Biology from Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Maryland.
Meng So, MA
Meng L. So currently is the Director of the Undocumented Student Program at UC Berkeley, facilitating efforts to initiate and enact a holistic system of critical support services for undocumented students. The program has quickly emerged as a best practice of support being replicated at other universities in California and nationwide. Today, he sits on the UC Presidential Task Force on Undocumented Students, is a Rockwood Immigrant Rights Fellow, and lends his voice to national efforts to advocate for inclusive immigration policies and a federal DREAM Act. His research interests focus on institutional equity, student access and success, in addition to exploring the intersections of identity formation, storytelling, and activism in higher education.
Having emigrated from Thailand to the Bay Area when he was nine years old, New is now a graduate of UC Berkeley. Since 2010, he has been an immigrant rights activist as the first co-chair of ASPIRE, a scholar of Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC), and within the campus community—advocating for policy changes while sharing his personal story as an API-undocumented youth to reframe the immigration conversation. In 2012, he co-founded Pre-Health Dreamers to serve as a community, resource, and advocate for all undocumented students pursuing their dreams in the health and sciences. As a current medical student at UCSF, New aims to become a physician who practices medicine through a public health lens, using primary care, research, and policy to shape health for the individual and the community.
Thu Quach, PhD
Trained in epidemiology, Dr. Quach has a strong research interest in examining environmental and socio-cultural factors on the health of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). As a research scientist at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, a non-profit research organization, she leads research studies focusing on the booming nail salon workforce, comprised mainly of Vietnamese immigrants, as well as environmental health issues affecting disadvantaged populations.
She is also the Director of Community Health and Research at Asian Health Services, where she leads research projects and oversees the Community Services department to promote community engagement and advocacy. She serves on a number of advisory committees, including the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Service Sector Council, the Steering Committee of the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative, and the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organization’s Institutional Review Board.
Steve Li was born in Lima, Peru and came to the United States when he was ten years old. In 2010 Steve Li was put into deportation proceedings and spent over two months in a detention center in Arizona awaiting deportation. Fortunately, he was able to come back home to San Francisco with the support from the community and the Asian Law Caucus, which led to Senator Dianne Feinstein introducing a private bill to delay Steve's deportation to Peru. Steve Li was a recipient of the San Francisco Asian Pacific American Heritage Award in 2011 for his advocacy work in the undocumented youth movement. He has been involved with ASPIRE, E4FC, The UCLA Labor Center and Pre-Health Dreamers advocating for social justice, highlighting the importance of immigration reform in conjunction with labor, health care and human rights issues. He's also a co-author in the book, Dreams Deported: Immigrant Youth and Families Resist Deportation, an anthology of stories of courageous immigrant youth and families who have led national campaigns against deportations. Steve received his undergraduate degree from University of California Davis in 2014 and hopes to pursue a graduate degree in Public Health.
Hong Mei Pang
Hong Mei Pang is the ASPIRE Community Organizer at Asian Americans Advancing Justice- Asian Law Caucus. She spent several years in New York City where she graduated from The New School and cultivated a strong passion for community organizing.
As an undocumented API youth, she has been actively involved in community organizing and is a co-founder, member and previously the Lead Organizer at Revolutionizing Asian American Immigrant Stories on the East Coast (RAISE), affiliated with Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. She has also worked with Damayan Migrant Workers' Association and their youth program, serving Filipino children and youth whose parents are domestic workers and trafficking survivors.
Josue Chavarin is a Prevention Program Associate at The California Endowment. He currently helps manage the day to day media and research activities for the #Health4All campaign. Previously, he served as a Legislative Aide in the office of Assemblymember Gilbert Cedillo. Most recently, he served as a Fulbright Scholar in Brazil researching access to healthcare issues. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California Berkeley in Political Science.
Wei Lee is the Program Coordinator for ASPIRE, the nation’s first pan-Asian undocumented youth group. Wei first became involved with ASPIRE as a member in the fall of 2011. He strives to bring more visibility and create safe space to API undocumented immigrants. During the Summer of 2013, Wei was part of the Eva Lowe Fellowship for Social Justice at Chinese Progressive Association in San Francisco. There he learned more about grassroots organizing and social justice movement building by working with low-income working class Chinese immigrants and community organizers in the Bay Area. Born and raised in Brazil, Wei immigrated to the U.S. when he was 16 years old with his family. He graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2011 with a B.A. in Psychology.