2023

Student Perspectives: Community Health Sciences

students

Addressing Disparities in Prehospital Care

Esmeralda Melgoza

PhD Candidate, Community Health Science


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I study disparities in the prehospital care system, with a focus on Latinx older adults, under the mentorship of Dr. Hiram Beltran-Sanchez. I can trace that interest to 2015, when my monolingual Spanish-speaking grandmother was involved in a hit-and-run accident that resulted in a head injury, broken leg, and multiple contusions and lacerations. When emergency medical services arrived, she could not communicate with the first responders because they did not speak Spanish. That language barrier contributed to my family not being notified about the car accident until hours later. I vowed to conduct research designed to shape policy and practice in a way that makes the prehospital care system more equitable.

In addition to my doctoral research, being a certified health education specialist provided me with the foundation to take on a proactive role during the COVID-19 pandemic. The disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on the Latinx older-adult community amplified deep-rooted preexisting inequities. I joined the Virtual Training Academy (VTA), a partnership among UCLA Fielding, UCLA Extension, UC San Francisco, and the California Department of Public Health, under the leadership of Drs. Michael Prelip and Alina Dorian. During my three years with the VTA, I helped to train over 15,000 contact tracers and case investigators. I also worked with the VTA team to ensure trainings were available in both English and Spanish.

Closing Gaps in Disaster Resilience

Matthew Martinez

MPH Student, Community Health Science


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As a disaster responder, I provide comfort, care, and support to people on one of their worst days. Working closely with the community in this manner is beneficial, but also exposes me to the complex challenges people must navigate after a disaster. I quickly noticed that I often respond to the same neighborhoods, and the individuals I serve reflect my cultural background. It is difficult to consistently see people who remind me of my community losing everything and having to rebuild their lives with limited resources. A clear pattern emerged that those with lower income, limited English comprehension, or lack of a local social network face the greatest barriers to recovery.

After witnessing these disparities firsthand, I have looked to the field of public health to provide more sustainable solutions to disaster-related problems. In FSPH’s Department of Community Health Sciences, I have learned how to partner with community members to understand their needs and strengths. I plan to continue efforts to create more resilient communities through inclusive disaster preparedness programs — working with institutions to introduce more equitable disaster relief practices while ensuring that our disaster workforce is culturally competent and representative of the communities we serve.

Understanding Racism as a Health Determinant

Aisha Fletcher

PhD Student, Community Health Science


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Black men have the lowest life expectancy and highest mortality rate among all racial or ethnic groups in the United States. In my home state of Mississippi, Black men have the highest prostate cancer death rate in the nation. These data are personal to me because they reflect my father’s premature death from this disease. Upon my father’s passing, I asked his doctor to help me understand the cause of his untimely death. The doctor simply responded, “his race.” This life-changing experience influenced my career trajectory and began my journey to understand race, and subsequently racism, as determinants of health

As an FSPH doctoral student, my work with Dr. Chandra Ford and the Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice & Health provided me with the foundational skills to understand the complexities of structural racism, racial discrimination, and health. My current work with Dr. Courtney Thomas Tobin will foster my understanding of the linkages between racism, race-based psychosocial stressors, and disease manifestation. Studying under the tutelage of these professors in a department with values focused on social justice, equity, and academic excellence has inspired me to pursue rigorous and evidence-based research that substantiates and challenges systemic inequities experienced by marginalized and disenfranchised populations.

Advancing Reproductive Equity and Autonomy

Allie Wollum

PhD Candidate, Community Health Science


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For too long, policies, social and economic inequities, and social norms have prevented people from realizing reproductive autonomy. The ability to decide whether and when to have children is key to people being able to control their bodies and lives. From a young age, I was interested in gender justice issues. Studying public health has allowed me to develop language and frameworks to understand inequities and set me on a path to pursue global sexual and reproductive health research.

I am motivated by research that can generate actionable change. In my experience, this requires deep partnerships among advocates, practitioners, community members, policymakers, and providers who have the lived experiences and expertise to ensure research is grounded in community priorities. Over the past decade, my research has focused on novel forms of sexual and reproductive healthcare, including pharmacist models, telemedicine, and community-based models for abortion and contraception care, as well as barriers and facilitators to accessing person-centered reproductive care. With the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the proliferation of restrictive policies in the U.S. that prevent people from accessing the care they need to control their reproductive lives, I hope my research can advance reproductive equity and autonomy, drawing lessons from partners who promote sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice every day.

Faculty Referenced in this Article

Dr. Hiram Beltrán-Sánchez
Hiram Beltrán-Sánchez
Community Health Sciences
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Dr. Michael Prelip
Michael Prelip
Community Health Sciences
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Paula Tavrow
Paula Tavrow
Community Health Sciences
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glik, deborah
Deborah Glik
Community Health Sciences
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Dr. Elizabeth Yzquierdo
Elizabeth Yzquierdo
Community Health Sciences
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Kimberly Gregory
Kimberly Gregory
Community Health Sciences
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Faculty/staff profile placeholder image
Wendelin Slusser
Community Health Sciences
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Robert Kim-Farley
Robert J. Kim-Farley

Robert J. Kim-Farley, MD, MPH, is a Professor-in-Residence with joint appointments in the Departments of Epidemiology and Community Health Sciences

Community Health Sciences Epidemiology
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Dr. Randall Kuhn
Randall Kuhn
Community Health Sciences
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Dr. Gilbert Gee
Gilbert C. Gee
Community Health Sciences
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Faculty/staff profile placeholder image
Sheba George
Community Health Sciences
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Sean Darling-Hammond
Sean Darling-Hammond
Biostatistics Community Health Sciences
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Faculty/staff profile placeholder image
Kimberley Shoaf
Community Health Sciences
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Dr. Shira Shafir
Shira Shafir
Community Health Sciences Epidemiology
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Dena Herman
Dena Herman
Community Health Sciences
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Dana Hunnes
Dana Hunnes
Community Health Sciences
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David Eisenman
David Eisenman
Community Health Sciences
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Virginia C. Li
Virginia C. Li
Community Health Sciences
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Marjorie Kagawa-Singer
Marjorie Kagawa-Singer
Community Health Sciences
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Philip Massey headshot
Philip Massey
Community Health Sciences
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Dr. Michael Rodriguez
Michael Rodriguez
Community Health Sciences
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Faculty/staff profile placeholder image
Ondine S. von Ehrenstein
Community Health Sciences Epidemiology
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Bo-Kyung Elizabeth Kim headshot.png
Bo-Kyung Elizabeth Kim
Community Health Sciences
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Faculty/staff profile placeholder image
Dawn Upchurch
Community Health Sciences
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Charlotte Neumann
Charlotte G. Neumann
Community Health Sciences
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Dr. Judith M. Siegel
Judith M. Siegel
Community Health Sciences
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Natalie Muth
Community Health Sciences
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Dr. May Sudhinaraset
May Sudhinaraset
Community Health Sciences
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James Macinko
James Macinko

Professor of Community Health Sciences & Health Policy and Management, and Associate Dean for Research

Community Health Sciences Health Policy and Management
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Dr. Alina Dorian
Alina Dorian
Community Health Sciences
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halbert, ronald
Ronald Halbert
Community Health Sciences
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Dr. Jessica Gipson
Jessica Gipson
Community Health Sciences
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May Wang headshot
May C. Wang
Community Health Sciences
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Dr. Donald Morisky
Donald E. Morisky
Community Health Sciences
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Courtney Thomas Tobin headshot.png
Courtney S. Thomas Tobin
Community Health Sciences
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Dr. Dana Rose Garfin
Dana Rose Garfin
Community Health Sciences
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Cathy Lang
Cathy Lang

Assistant Dean for Research & Adjunct Associate Professor of Community Health Sciences

Community Health Sciences
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Ilan H. Meyer
Ilan H. Meyer
Community Health Sciences
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Dr. Elizabeth D'Amico
Elizabeth D’Amico
Community Health Sciences
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Dr. Chandra Ford
Chandra Ford
Community Health Sciences
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Dr. Anne Pebley
Anne Pebley
Community Health Sciences
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Dr. Samuel Stratton
Samuel Stratton
Community Health Sciences
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Sarah Blenner
Sarah Blenner

Director of Field Studies and Applied Professional Training

Community Health Sciences
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Jennifer A. Wagman
Jennifer A. Wagman
Community Health Sciences
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Dr. Michael Goldstein
Michael Goldstein
Community Health Sciences
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Dr. Alina Dorian
Alina Dorian
Community Health Sciences
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Dr. Chandra Ford
Chandra Ford
Community Health Sciences
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Dena Herman
Dena Herman
Community Health Sciences
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Faculty/staff profile placeholder image
Sheba George
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Michael Rodriguez
Michael Rodriguez
Community Health Sciences
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Kimberly Gregory
Kimberly Gregory
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Donald Morisky
Donald E. Morisky
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Michael Prelip
Michael Prelip
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
halbert, ronald
Ronald Halbert
Community Health Sciences
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Virginia C. Li
Virginia C. Li
Community Health Sciences
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Faculty/staff profile placeholder image
Wendelin Slusser
Community Health Sciences
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Dr. Randall Kuhn
Randall Kuhn
Community Health Sciences
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Dr. Elizabeth D'Amico
Elizabeth D’Amico
Community Health Sciences
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Charlotte Neumann
Charlotte G. Neumann
Community Health Sciences
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Dr. Shira Shafir
Shira Shafir
Community Health Sciences Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
James Macinko
James Macinko

Professor of Community Health Sciences & Health Policy and Management, and Associate Dean for Research

Community Health Sciences Health Policy and Management
Read Faculty Profile
May Wang headshot
May C. Wang
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Philip Massey headshot
Philip Massey
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
David Eisenman
David Eisenman
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Sean Darling-Hammond
Sean Darling-Hammond
Biostatistics Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
glik, deborah
Deborah Glik
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Dana Hunnes
Dana Hunnes
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Hiram Beltrán-Sánchez
Hiram Beltrán-Sánchez
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. May Sudhinaraset
May Sudhinaraset
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Michael Goldstein
Michael Goldstein
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Paula Tavrow
Paula Tavrow
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Anne Pebley
Anne Pebley
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Ilan H. Meyer
Ilan H. Meyer
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Marjorie Kagawa-Singer
Marjorie Kagawa-Singer
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Faculty/staff profile placeholder image
Ondine S. von Ehrenstein
Community Health Sciences Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
Cathy Lang
Cathy Lang

Assistant Dean for Research & Adjunct Associate Professor of Community Health Sciences

Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Gilbert Gee
Gilbert C. Gee
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Samuel Stratton
Samuel Stratton
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Sarah Blenner
Sarah Blenner

Director of Field Studies and Applied Professional Training

Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Robert Kim-Farley
Robert J. Kim-Farley

Robert J. Kim-Farley, MD, MPH, is a Professor-in-Residence with joint appointments in the Departments of Epidemiology and Community Health Sciences

Community Health Sciences Epidemiology
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Elizabeth Yzquierdo
Elizabeth Yzquierdo
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Courtney Thomas Tobin headshot.png
Courtney S. Thomas Tobin
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Faculty/staff profile placeholder image
Kimberley Shoaf
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Jessica Gipson
Jessica Gipson
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Judith M. Siegel
Judith M. Siegel
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Jennifer A. Wagman
Jennifer A. Wagman
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Dr. Dana Rose Garfin
Dana Rose Garfin
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Bo-Kyung Elizabeth Kim headshot.png
Bo-Kyung Elizabeth Kim
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Faculty/staff profile placeholder image
Natalie Muth
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Faculty/staff profile placeholder image
Dawn Upchurch
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile
Courtney Thomas Tobin headshot.png
Courtney S. Thomas Tobin
Community Health Sciences
Read Faculty Profile

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