Ninez Ponce

Dr. Ninez A. Ponce, MPP, PhD, is Professor and Chair in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health's Department of Health Policy and Management, Director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, and was Associate Director of UCLA's Asian American Studies Center (2011-2013). She also devised the rationale and implementation of Asian ethnic oversamples and the cultural and linguistic adaptation of the survey. She teaches courses in applied research methods, health policy and health economics. Her research contributes to the elimination of racial/ethnic and social disparities in health and health care in three areas: multicultural survey research, social penalties in health and health access, and population-based cancer prevention and control studies.

Dr. Ponce is the principal investigator of the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), the largest state health survey in the United States, where she led the first CHIS efforts on the measurement of race/ethnicity, acculturation, physician-patient communication and discrimination. She has received major support from the National Cancer Institute, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the California Endowment, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and other organizations.  Dr. Ponce started and co-chaired AcademyHealth’s Disparities Interest Group.  In 2004, National Cancer Institute’s Special Populations Health Network recognized Dr. Ponce as a rising star in cancer disparities. In 2008, she received a National Institutes of Health merit award for her work in multicultural survey research. In 2009 she was an Institute of Medicine subcommittee member on Race/Ethnicity/Language data. Dr. Ponce has long consulted with community-based organizations such as Community Voices-Oakland/La Clinica de la Raza and Asian Health Services and served as Deputy Director of the Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum in San Francisco. In 2009, she received the Royal Morales Community Service award from the UCLA Pilipino Alumni Association. She was Board Chair of New Heights Charter School in South Los Angeles from 2006 to 2012 and currently serves as Vice-Chair on the board of the National Health Law Program.


  • 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