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AS PART OF NATIONAL PUBLIC HEALTH WEEK 2018, April 2-6, the Fielding School’s Students of Color for Public Health organized a week of events around the theme Public Health (Re)Action. Activities included a discussion about immigrant rights, services and ways to empower immigrant communities and allies; a self-care mindfulness workshop; and a session entitled “Using Science to Make a Difference.” The students led activities that engaged community members across the UCLA campus, and ended the week with an FSPH alumni/student volunteer day at L.A. Kitchen, working alongside L.A. Kitchen students, graduates, and chefs to transform rescued California produce into healthy meals that were distributed to local social service agencies.
DR. NINEZ PONCE is the new director of the Fielding School’s UCLA Center for Health Policy Research (CHPR), effective July 1.
An internationally recognized health disparities researcher, award-winning teacher, and faculty member in FSPH’s Department of Health Policy and Management since 1999, Ponce examines the health effects of national and state policies in her research, with a particular focus on impacts in low-income neighborhoods and for racial/ethnic/linguistic minority groups in the U.S.
Ponce is a pioneering expert in multicultural survey-based research who helped develop the first California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), for which she has been principal investigator since 2012. CHIS, which is based at CHPR and continues to be the U.S.’s largest state health survey, is a nationally recognized data tool that provides a broad and deep look at the health and health care needs of California’s diverse population and informs policy at the local, state and national levels.
Separately, Ponce has served as director of the Fielding School’s Center for Global and Immigrant Health since 2014.
DR. DAVID M. CARLISLE (MPH ’88, PHD ’92), president and CEO of the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, spoke about his work to eliminate health disparities at the Lester Breslow Distinguished Lecture in April. Carlisle, who has dedicated his career to providing care for people traditionally underserved by the medical community, serves as a member of the Fielding School of Public Health Board of Advisors.
The annual event, held in honor of the late Dr. Lester Breslow, former FSPH dean and renowned public health leader, included presentations by the 2018 FSPH Student Public Health Challenge finalists: Teni Adewumi-Gunn, Hajar Ahmed, Adva Gadoth, Jeffrey Jacobs and Benjamin Rogers. The winner of the competition, Hajar Ahmed, was awarded the $5,000 Lester Breslow Student Fellowship, which was established and is supported by the generosity of faculty, alumni and donors moved by Breslow’s work. Each of the four runners up received a $1,000 prize, courtesy of Golden Shore Medical Group.
LOS ANGELES COUNTY SUPERVISOR SHEILA KUEHL received the 2018 Ruth Roemer Social Justice Leadership Award from the Fielding School in May. The award is named after the late FSPH professor, who advocated for the importance of human rights in public health. Kuehl was recognized for providing funding and services for people who are homeless and for working to improve the health of citizens in Los Angeles County.
The event included induction of new members into the UCLA Fielding School Alumni Hall of Fame. This year’s honorees are Emily Feher (MPH ’12), interim executive director at Teen Health Mississippi; Michael Prelip (MPH ’85), professor and chair of community health sciences at the Fielding School; Myat Htoo Razak (MPH ’91, PhD ’95), director of the Division of Global Programs within the HIV/AIDS bureau at the Health Resources and Services Administration; and Vonthanak Saphonn (PhD ’03, MS ’04), rector at the University of Health Sciences in Cambodia and adjunct associate professor at the Fielding School.
The evening also featured a presentation of the Ruth Roemer Social Justice Fellowship to three Fielding School students: Onyemaechi Anoruo of the Department of Epidemiology, Jeannette Reynaga of the Department of Health Policy and Management and Heidi Tuason of the Department of Community Health Sciences.
THANK YOU TO TEAM FSPH for a great #RaceToHealth in this year’s LA Marathon. The team and FSPH community raised $35,000 in support of fellowships for 2018 summer fieldwork. Every $5,000 raised supports 400 student fieldwork hours. To support FSPH student summer fieldwork, visit
UNTIL NOW, there’s been inadequate information about whether child marriage is a substantial problem in the United States. A 2018 Fielding School study by postdoctoral scholar Alissa Koski and her mentor, Dean Jody Heymann, revealed that between 2010 and 2014, approximately 78,400 children living in the U.S. were or had been married, and that child marriage threatens the well-being of children and youth in every state. Although all states in the U.S. set 18 as the legal age minimum for marriage, exceptions to the minimum can be granted in 49 states under varying conditions, including parental consent and official approval. Learn more at ph.ucla.edu/childmarriage.