Ninez Ponce

Ninez A. Ponce, PhD, MPP (BS UC Berkeley; MPP Harvard; PhD UCLA), is Professor and Endowed Chair in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, and Principal Investigator for the California Health Interview Survey, the largest state survey in the USA. Dr. Ponce is an elected member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and has served on the Board of Scientific Counselors, National Center for Health Statistics.  She has participated in committees for the National Academy of Medicine and the National Quality Forum, where her expertise has focused on setting guidance for health systems in the measurement and use of social determinants of health as tools to monitor health equity.  She has received numerous awards from community organizations recognizing her work in community-engaged research. In 2019 Dr. Ponce and her team received the AcademyHealth Impact award for their contributions to population health measurement to inform public policies. In 2021, Dr. Ponce served as a Commissioner for the RWJF Transforming Public Health Data Initiative and currently serves on the Data Disaggregation workgroup for the White House Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander Commission. Currently, she is an Associate Editor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at JAMA Health Forum and is on the editorial boards of Milbank Quarterly, Health Services Research and Health Affairs.

Dr. Ponce champions better data, especially for people from marginalized racial and ethnic, sexual orientation and gender identity, and immigrant populations.  She firmly believes that equity-centered data will lead to more meaningful program and policy inferences and better care for overlooked groups.


  • PhD, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
  • MPP, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
  • BS, University of California, Berkeley, CA

Areas of Interest

  • Health economics and health policy
  • Multicultural survey research
  • Community-based participatory research

Selected Publications

  • Ponce NA, Ko M. Multilevel social determinants of health. Forthcoming in: Changing the U.S. Healthcare System, 4th ed. Ed Gerald Kominski.  
  • Ko, M. and Ponce, NA. Community Residential Segregation and the Local Supply of Federally Qualified Health Centers. Health Services Research, 2013  
  • Viruell-Fuentes E, Ponce NA, Alegría M. Neighborhood Context and Hypertension Outcomes among Latinos in Chicago, Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 2012  
  • Ponce NA, Tsui J, Knight SJ, Afable-Munsuz A, Ladabaum U, Hiatt RA, Haas JS. Disparities in cancer screening in individuals with a family history of breast or colorectal cancer. Cancer, 2012  
  • Odierna DH, Afable-Munsuz A, Ikediobi O, Beattie M, Knight S, Ko M, Wilson A, Ponce NA. Early developments in gene-expression profiling of breast tumors: potential for increasing black-white patient disparities in breast cancer outcomes? Personal Medicine, 2011  
  • Cordasco, K, Ponce NA, Gatchell M, Traudt B, Escarce, J. English Language Proficiency and Geographical Proximity to a Safety Net Clinic as a Predictor of Health Care Access. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 2011  
  • Ponce NA, Cochran SD, Pizer JC, Mays VM. The effects of unequal access to health insurance for same-sex couples in California. Health Affairs, 2010  
  • Afable-Munsuz A, Ponce NA, Rodriguez M, Perez-Stable EJ. Immigrant generation and physical activity among Mexican, Chinese & Filipino adults in the U.S. Social Science and Medicine, 2010  
  • Gee GC, Ponce N. Associations between racial discrimination, limited English proficiency, and health-related quality of life among 6 Asian ethnic groups in California. American Journal of Public Health, 2010  
  • Shariff-Marco S,  Gee GC, Breen N, Willis G, Reeve BB, Grant D , Ponce NA, Krieger N,  Landrine H, Williams DR, Alegria M, Mays VM, Johnson TP, Brown ER.  A mixed-methods approach to developing a self-reported racial/ethnic discrimination measure for use in multiethnic health surveys.  Ethnicity & Disease, 2009  
  • Ponce NA, Cochran, SD, Mays VM, Chia J, Brown ER.  Health coverage of low-income citizen and noncitizen wage earners: sources and disparities. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 2008  
  • Ponce NA, Afable-Munsuz A, Nordyke RJ.  Conceptualising the impact of genetic testing on cancer disparities in the United States. International Journal of Health Technology and Management, 2007  
  • Ponce NA, Ku L, Cunningham WE, Brown ER. Language barriers to health care access among Medicare beneficiaries. Inquiry, 2006  
  • Ponce NA, Hoggatt KJ, Wilhelm M, Ritz B. Preterm birth: the interaction of traffic-related air pollution with economic hardship in Los Angeles neighborhoods. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2005  
  • Ponce NA, Huh S, Bastani R. Do HMO market level factors lead to racial/ethnic disparities in colorectal cancer screening? A comparison between high-risk Asian and Pacific Islander Americans and high-risk whites. Medical Care, 2005