Congratulations to our 2022-23 APHA Kaiser Permanente Community Health Fellows! Each Fellow will engage in implementation of programs and high-level projects at Kaiser Permanente and Kaiser Permanente community health partner sites to positively impact the public's health.
MPH, University of Colorado Anschutz
Placement Site: Tubman Center for Health & Freedom
Kristina (she/her/hers) received her MPH with concentrations in Global Health & Community and Behavioral Health. While a student at Colorado School of Public Health, she worked at the Center for Health, Work, and Environment on campus and interned with the Unit on Occupational Health Research at the Mexican Institute of Social Security in Mexico City.
Her passion for working on projects surrounding public health and social justice initiatives was influenced by the time she spent teaching English as a foreign language in México for a year and a half prior to starting her MPH program. Kristina received her B.A. in Foreign Language (Spanish Language and Literature) from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. Her research interests include immigrant and migrant health, African Diaspora studies, Latino/Latina/Latinx studies, indigenous populations, environmental and occupational health, education, built environment, and maternal and child health.
In the future, she would like to pursue a career as a Physician Scientist (MD/PhD) devoted to social justice and positive public health outcomes within marginalized communities of the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
Maria Theresa Dizon
MPH, Portland State University
Placement Site: Hawai‘i Public Health Institute
Maria (she/her/hers) hails from the beautiful island of Saipan in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands. She is a first-generation college student and a proud product of community college. She graduated in 2019 as a transfer student with a B.S. in Community Health from Portland State University. She then earned her MPH at Portland State University (OHSU-PSU) with a concentration in Health Promotion.
She is certified in public health by the National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE). She has several years of health research experience, with focuses on alternative medicine, animal venom, Pacific health disparities, child anthropometrics, functional brain imaging, pediatric clinical trials, and more.
As a researcher, she has come to understand that health is more than the individual factors in one’s life and that is the main reason she pursued public health, due to its consistent focus on upstream determinants.
Maria has most recently served as an epidemiology researcher at Multnomah County Public Health Department in Portland, Oregon collaborating on community-based participatory research projects and COVID-19 response work for Pacific Islander and Filipino communities. She aims to be a part of building and strengthening local public health capacity in the Pacific Region, the place she calls home.
MPH, Charles Drew University
Placement Site: APHA & Institute for Health Policy
Shinece (she/her/hers) graduated from California State University, Bakersfield where she obtained her B.A. in Human Biological Sciences with a minor in Chemistry and Women Gender Studies. She recently received her MPH with an emphasis on Urban Health Disparities from Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU).
Throughout her time as a graduate student, she worked directly with and in the community. She volunteered for a COVID-19 education task force led by the Department of Health Services (DHS) in Los Angeles County where she was able to educate sheltered and unsheltered populations on the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine.
She was a research assistant/Study Coordinator for Dr. LaShonda Spencer at CDU/MLK OASIS Clinic where she was engaged in research that sought to address the many barriers that African American men and women who are living with HIV/AIDS face, keeping them from care. The study sought to link and re-engage participants back into care, with specific aims: 1) to increase viral load suppression, 2) adherence to medication and 3) to remain in clinical care.
She was an Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Scholar, gaining clinical experience while learning ways to develop population-based approaches to health professional education with a special emphasis on community-based training. She was a Project Lead at Eisner Health Community Clinic, where she was responsible for the post and prenatal quality measurements and statistics.
Shinece was also a graduate lead for a demonstration project in South Los Angeles, called Black Maternal Health and Excellence Center, where Women of Color are the focus of excellent maternal care. She was a Project Coordinator for Medical Careers and Project STRIDE I/II that helped to connect high school/graduate students to research opportunities in the community with renowned faculty/staff at CDU. Shinece was also a part of the pioneering CDU Global Health Leader Interns of 2021 and was honored to be nominated as the Secretary of the Public Health Student Association (PHSA).
She is avid about creating an environment where equality and equity reside for minorities. Shinece plans to become a physician, specializing in Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN), so that she may provide comprehensive, quality care to women through resources, outreach, and policy development. Shinece hopes that she will utilize and strengthen her public health skills in her new role as a Community Health Fellow through Kaiser Permanente and the American Public Health Association to address barriers that are negatively impacting the lives of those in communities like the ones she was raised in. Shinece has a strong passion for serving underserved populations that are faced with racial/ethnic disparities and has made a life-long commitment to make a change.
MPH, University of Hawai'i
Placement Site: Kaiser Permanente Hawaii
Dejah (she/her/hers) is a second-generation immigrant of American Samoa. She is conversational in Samoan and holds a B.A. in Public Health. Her MPH is from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa (UHM) with a focus on Social Behavioral Health Sciences.
Prior to the Fellowship, Dejah was a Technical Assistance Specialist at the Pacific Islands Primary Care Association (PIPCA). Prior to joining PIPCA, Dejah worked for the University of Hawaii at Manoa Center on Aging, serving Hawaii’s geriatric population through research and dementia awareness programs. During her years as an undergraduate student, she interned at the Fetal Diagnostic Institute of the Pacific where she assisted a genetic counselor and conducted intakes for patients while sitting in on consultations to test for high-risk pregnancies.
During her graduate studies at UHM Dejah interned for Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Hawaii where she traveled to American Samoa to assist with the Impact of Mass Drug Administration Campaign using a novel three-drug regimen for a Lymphatic Filariasis Antigenemia assessment survey. During the 2019 Measles outbreak in Independent Samoa Dejah assisted in creating fundraising campaigns to raise monies and collected donated medical supplies to be sent to Independent Samoa for medical use and dissemination. Dejah is currently volunteering in a qualitative research study called Exploring behaviors and their contexts related to infection of COVID-19 among Pacific Islanders to help better understand the spread of COVID-19 within the Pacific Island communities by taking a more in-depth look at risk and protective behaviors based in Pacific Island culture, families, communities, and society.
MPH, Portland State University
Placement Site: Kaiser Permanente Washington
Meagan (she/her/hers) is an Oregon native and identifies as White and Native American. She is a proud member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of South Dakota. She has always wanted to enter the health care field in some capacity, but it wasn’t until she explored the medical field as an emergency and outpatient scribe that she recognized that clinical health care is predominately reactive rather than proactive. Meagan realized that her interests and passions are consistent with upstream, preventative care, community engagement principles, and health and social equity.
As a transfer student from community college, Meagan received her B.S. in Community Health Promotion from Portland State University in 2020 and graduated summa cum laude. She then earned an MPH in Health Promotion at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) – Portland State University in 2022. She is certified in public health (CPH) by the National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE).
Meagan has taken her passion for public health through various experiences while completing her education. She has advocated and lobbied alongside the Oregon Public Health Association, where she learned the importance of advocacy and upstream efforts in public health. She witnessed the social, economic, and environmental barriers children experience in education and worked with the Reading is Resistance Project to curate book lists geared toward children and adolescents to stimulate anti-bias perspectives. Additionally, she interned with the Multnomah County Health Department in Portland, Oregon, Communications and Marketing division, assisting with various health promotion campaigns and communication strategies.
During graduate school, Meagan worked with the Relational Leadership Institute (RLI) and Health Equity and Leadership at Richmond (HEAL-R) at OHSU. She co-facilitated community listening sessions to learn about community assets, needs, and inequities and disaggregated race and ethnicity data for BIPOC populations to better understand health disparities. She co-authored two manuscripts (one recently submitted for publication and one in progress) regarding community organizing for health equity. Finally, Meagan is an Adjunct Instructor at Portland State University for the School of Public Health, teaching Stress Management for Health.
Through all of Meagan’s experiences and professional activities, she has and will continue to apply an upstream and equitable lens to investigate how the social determinants of health and systemic inequities contribute to health disparities in minoritized and underserved communities. Meagan is determined to stimulate upstream, equitable changes to improve the health and social well-being of individuals and their communities.
DrPH, Morgan State University
Placement Site: Bon Secours Community Works
Tosin (she/her/hers) is a grassroots community health leader with several years of experience in clinical care, community/public health nursing practice, and administration. She attained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Community & Public Health Nursing from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. In December 2021, Tosin earned a DrPH degree from Morgan State University, School of Community Health and Policy, specializing in Health Policy and Management.
She is the founder of Food and Care for All Inc. This non-profit organization promotes food security and sexual health services for underserved populations in Maryland and some regions of Sub-Saharan Africa. As a community health nurse leader, Tosin has served in various roles at Maryland local health departments and is passionate about health policy. Between 2018 and 2019, she advocated for Maryland legislation allowing minors to consent to HIV prevention treatments.
Tosin is a member of the American Nurses Association, American Public Health Association, and Howard County Local Health Improvement Coalition (HCLHIC) workgroup. In 2017 and 2022, she was named by the University of Maryland School of Nursing as an accomplished alumna in public health. Tosin received the Top Nurses 2020 Award by Baltimore Magazine for Excellence in Nursing. In addition, she has participated in various speaking engagements and, most recently in August 2022, served as a distinguished speaker at the fall 2022 White Coat Ceremony at the University of Maryland School of Nursing, Baltimore.
MPH, University of Colorado Anschutz
Placement Site: Healthcare Anchor Network
Hue (she/her/hers) believes through advocacy for equitable system changes, community partnerships, and policy changes is the continuous work needed to have positive change in the community.
Her fellowship placement is with the Healthcare Anchor Network. She will be responsible for supporting the organization with strategies to help change healthcare systems operations such as investments hiring to positively impact the health and economic outcomes of the community.
Hue holds a B.S. in Psychology and Ethnic Studies from the University of Colorado Denver and an MPH with a Global Maternal and Child Health concentration from the Colorado School of Public Health on the Anschutz Medical Campus. Hue is trained in program design, implementation, and has worked with refugees and immigrants in Colorado for the past several years.
Hue first started noticing the inequities around healthcare at a young age, when many of her friends claimed that their doctor appointments were at most one hour, but for Hue and her family it was usually a whole afternoon. Hue learned that because of the language barrier many Vietnamese community members traveled all over the state to receive care from a handful of Vietnamese providers. Another systemic barrier that she has witnessed was in the Lakota community in South Dakota when she was on an Alternative Break Trip. Many children suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome, lack of nutritious foods, and inadequate healthcare. Hue believes that without cultural humility many communities will continue to lack the care that is needed. She strives to address systemic barriers to promote easier access to healthcare for marginalized communities because without changes communities continue to suffer for generations to come.
Hue worked at the Asian Pacific Development Center and gained extensive experience in developing and presenting on mental health awareness for Asian communities. At the center, she led psychosocial groups for youth and elders as well as did specific outreach in the Vietnamese community. She managed the budget and deliverables of the Elder Wellness Program to provide AAPI elders social connection to improve mental health and decrease loneliness. Hue has been recognized as a leader in the community and someone who has built strong relationships through outreach and trust to destigmatize mental health and create a healthier community.
Hue has achieved change throughout the pandemic by listening closely to what community members need and advocating for system changes. She was contracted to work with Lifespan Local and worked closely with the H.E.A.T. program at the Public Health Institute at Denver Health. As an advocate, Hue educated individuals in various community spaces about COVID-19 misinformation and distributed informational flyers that were translated into various languages. At the community level, she outreached to various communities at businesses, nail salons, grocery stores, schools, and community events to answer questions around COVID-19. Tailoring conversations to answer individuals’ questions can change the perception of the vaccine, allow individuals to be advocates for their health, and inform decisions of ways to address inequities.
Taurica Vanessa Salmon
MPH, Portland State University
Placement Site: Clackamas County Public Health Division
Taurica (she/her/hers) is a recent graduate of the Oregon Health & Science University- Portland State University (OHSU-PSU) School of Public Health. She received her MPH in Epidemiology with a Certification in Public Health She received her B.S. in Health Studies with a focus on Community Health Education from PSU.
Taurica’s passion for public health and her community is shown through her vast experience and education. She was awarded the Dean’s Scholarship Fund by the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health and the William E. Keene Memorial Scholarship for epidemiology from the Office of Student Access & Completion. She has been involved in community efforts with the American Red Cross, Providence Health and Services, the Multnomah County Health Department, and Child Family Health International. In these positions, she organized outreach events, worked collaboratively with mental health professionals and health promoters, and learned cross-cultural skills locally and abroad.
After graduating with her Bachelor’s, she worked abroad with Global Glimpse as a Medical Fellow in the Dominican Republic. This program allowed her to gain valuable experience in building relationships with locals and the student team she was assigned to assist with medical concerns as needed. She also had the opportunity to work with the parents of the teen she was assisting within their medical care, carefully and respectfully managing cultural expectations and using professional, medical Spanish and English terminology interchangeably.
During her MPH, she sought opportunities to work with her community and local nonprofits. She was selected for a graduate internship with Providence Health & Services within the community health division. She worked collaboratively with several organizations to provide outreach to mental health services to the Latinx community. She was also involved in several projects related to equity and access to dental services for Latinx communities. This work transitioned into a position with the Providence Medical Group Sick Clinic assisting with COVID-19 testing in the community. During this time, she also interned for Familias en Acción and assisted with food box deliveries and data analysis projects for the community health workers and stakeholders.
Her former position was with Oregon Health Authority within the Covid Response and Recovery Unit within the Public Health Division as a Travel Epidemiologist. She previously worked as a Case Investigator and a Vaccine Navigator in collaboration with the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health for the COVID-19 Pandemic Response team. These positions have allowed her to be active immediately in the education she received in a climate that has been in urgent need of epidemiologists to assist with the ongoing pandemic.
MPH, University of Washington
Placement Site: Tubman Center for Health & Freedom
Amanda (she/her/hers) is a public health practitioner passionate about using community co-design and equity-based decision-making to address health-related social needs in Washington State. Her experiences focus on working with community-based organizations, on diversity, equity, & inclusion efforts within organizations, organizing diverse stakeholder groups, and in frontline service positions with people experiencing homelessness. She graduated from the University of Washington in June 2022 with an MPH in Health Policy & Systems from the School of Public Health and an MPA, Leadership & Decision-Making Concentration, from the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance. Amanda’s fellowship placement is with the Tubman Center for Health & Freedom, a non-profit organization addressing health and wellness using systems and clinical approaches.
Amanda worked on community-engaged public health efforts in homelessness services and mobile outreach during her time in graduate school. With the Seattle Flu Study, Amanda worked in nine different emergency and temporary shelters in King County operated by DESC, Mary’s Place, Compass Housing Alliance, and other non-profit providers to provide weekly COVID-19 testing to people experiencing homelessness. During this time, she built relationships with individuals experiencing chronic homelessness and learned more about many of the systemic barriers to housing and healthcare services that they faced. When conducting a program evaluation for the Seattle Fire Department’s Health One Program, a mobile outreach that meets the needs of the community where they are and serves a large proportion of unhoused clients, she continued to hear these overlapping stories when riding along on outreach calls.
Amanda’s frontline experiences were directly integrated into upstream approaches to public health through her work with the King County Regional Homelessness Authority and Community Circle. She incorporated these experiences into her work with the King County Regional Homelessness Authority when consulting on a team to provide a playbook of anti-racist and equity-centered approaches to organizational culture and management. Further, in the co-founding and development of Community Circle, an application to provide real-time visibility into shelter space, Amanda included the learning from the various experiences and championed the development of a compensated lived experience steering committee.
Amanda’s experiences engaging with the unhoused community and homelessness services have been complemented by her other work researching mental health disparities, engaging in community health partnerships with the Community Health Board Coalition, and international community health experiences in Ghana and Tanzania. Her thesis researched disparate impacts of the COVID-19 shelter-in-place policies on depression, social isolation, and loneliness by socioeconomic factors, including race/ethnicity and insurance status. The results from this thesis are being used to support an ongoing community-based intervention sponsored by the CDC, P.E.A.R.L.S., for lower-income older adults.
MPH, Portland State University
Placement Site: Grady Health System - Population Health
Jessica (she/her/hers) has a decade of experience in healthcare and public health. She earned her MPH in Epidemiology at Portland State University/Oregon Health and Science University and graduated with graduating with honors with bachelor’s degrees in microbiology, English, and International Studies. She currently holds a Certification in Public Health (CPH) and a Certification in Infection Control (CIC).
She started her career as a medical scribe in the emergency department (ED) during college, where she saw firsthand how the ED acts as a safety net for the community. Eager to help underserved community members, Jessica became the manager of clinics offering free medical and low-cost dental care in rural Oregon.
After graduating from her undergraduate institution, she became a research assistant in a lab studying the immune system’s ability to detect and respond to intracellular infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Jessica was also a volunteer coordinator for a non-profit organization that offers medical care for houseless individuals where they live.
Besides domestic experience, Jessica has also worked abroad. This international work includes volunteering at an otolaryngology clinic in Vietnam and interning with a breast cancer non-profit organization in Japan.
Prior to becoming a fellow, Jessica worked as an Infection Preventionist and supported hospital responses to infectious disease concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her role included leading outbreak investigations, educating staff on policies, performing surveillance for infectious conditions, and opening an emergency COVID-19 unit.
MPH, Charles Drew University
Placement Site: Kaiser Permanente Northern California
Melissa (she/her/hers) holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology and Spanish and an MPH from Charles Drew University. In the future, Melissa hopes to continue addressing public health challenges with an interdisciplinary lens.
Before the start of her fellowship, she was a project coordinator for a study on COVID-19 vaccination uptake among African-American and Latino public housing residents. She was recently a co-speaker at the Interprofessional Education Collaborative Institute, which allowed her and her team to speak on the importance of interprofessional work in community-based participatory research.
Previously, she was a research assistant and co-author of a study on barriers to palliative care published in the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. In addition to working in research, Melissa has interned in nonprofit organizations, government, and clinical settings.
MPH, Portland State University
Placement Site: Kaiser Permanente Northwest
Esperanza (she/her/hers) is an epidemiologist with experience in infectious disease and international research. Her professional accomplishments highlight her desire to advocate for health needs and reduce health disparities across cultures and ethnicities. At Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), Esperanza collaborated in the design and implementation of population-based epidemiologic interventions to reduce the burden of neurocysticercosis, a neurological condition that disproportionately affects impoverished communities worldwide across communities of Northern Peru. As a direct result of her involvement with neurocysticercosis, Esperanza was a 2020-2022 recipient of a Diversity Supplement from the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) to support her work with the diagnostic screening of this neurologic disease.
Her interest in health research started as an undergraduate at the University of Utah, where Esperanza graduated with an Undergraduate Research Scholar Designation (URSD) after working on social and basic science research projects in medical anthropology, paleoecology, and human genetics. Since her first project, Esperanza has been committed to working on pressing concerns in public health. Her interest in international health and health science led her to obtain her first MPH (Molecular Microbiology and Immunology) from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in molecular microbiology and immunology.
Esperanza was a community health worker with Comunidades Unidas (“United Communities”) providing the Latinx community in Utah with bilingual nutrition, mental health, reproductive health, reproductive health, and immigration resources. This experience oriented her to the value of hands-on community health work, inspiring her to learn more about leadership and intervention strategies that recognize the social determinants of health. Other community-health-related projects Esperanza worked on include: an international internship in her native town of Chiclayo, Peru, in the department of obstetrics and gynecology, generating a survey for the Ministry of Health to enhance understanding of local maternal and child health; collaboration with the Center for Global Surgery (a non-profit seeking to make surgery accessible to all), where she designed culturally sensitive surgical programs for Native tribes; research with the University of Utah and Intermountain Healthcare to explore mental illness and depression concepts to better meet the needs of local communities and scale up mental health outreach programs in Utah.
Esperanza is a proponent of the Arts, believing creativity is essential to happy, healthy lives. She is involved in local community theater, and choir, and is a trained musician.
Esperanza is honored to be an APHA/Kaiser Permanente Community Health Fellow, 2022-2023. During her Fellowship, she will work with Kaiser Permanente Northwest to establish community relations between Kaiser and local health agencies in Oregon.