2016 Cohort

Encore Career Seekers

Wendy Breu

My journey as a patient advocate begins with my family.  Having seen various family members dealing with a myriad of chronic illnesses, I had a desperate need to learn about health and wellness in order to care for them. This desire eventually led me to complete a patient navigation program. 

At the community health clinic where I work as a patient navigator and Certified Enrollment Counselor for Covered California, I interact with a very culturally diverse group of patients. Many of them have been are suffering from chronic diseases, and yet they are seeking primary care for the first time.

In the context of the healthcare continuum, I am interested in engaging people in the areas of outreach and survivorship, where I see prevention education as a common thread to improving their quality of life. I feel extremely fortunate to be part of the 2015-2016 SH4A Program. It is the vehicle that will equip me with the knowledge and toolkit to implement healthy lifestyle programs that will provide people with an achievable and realistic roadmap.

Outside of work, I coordinate science outreach for K-8 children for a local museum, and I am active with various non-profit organizations, including a women’s community center and Friends of Palo Alto Library. Previously, I worked in software development in the fields of telecommunications and network management. 

Seasoned Professionals

Andrea Neitzer

Convinced that health promotion and a focus on chronic disease prevention provide a major cornerstone for healthier communities, I am very excited to be part of this year’s Stanford Health 4 All cohort. I have always been passionate about healthy nutrition combined with an active lifestyle. For my Master’s degree in Nutritional Science, I conducted a community research project on lead pollution and its impact on health and growth of children in Jakarta, Indonesia. I continued my healthcare career in clinical research, which I greatly enjoyed. Working with a Canadian nonprofit organization on a study with asthmatic children to test the efficacy of vitamins and minerals to control their asthma was specifically rewarding. For the past five years, I performed research and quality improvement projects for a nonprofit dialysis provider in the Bay Area. I am particularly interested in nutrition-related research that addresses challenging medical conditions such as obesity and diabetes. How can we best provide the individual with clear, science-based information that is meaningful and applicable for them, support the individual and trigger sustainable behavioral changes? How can we create opportunities for low-income and underserved communities to make healthier food choices? Last fall I went on an educational journey to explore this country’s nutritional landscape and availability of healthy food options. This has further fueled my interest and social engagement. My goal is to pursue my career in research and to apply all the valuable knowledge gained with Health 4 All to my community.

John Morales

In my tech roles at Kaiser, Sutter, and Blue Shield, I helped develop models and algorithms into digital applications. Keeping pace with the latest processing designs and sourcing partnerships helped me get through the Great-Recession years, but spun me into chronic migraines. Seeking security, I enrolled in doctoral studies so I could handle whatever disruption came next. Surprisingly, engagement in community-based transformation retreats and life-coaching helped me fulfill on my 5 year academic journey with acceptance and peace. My NHANES cross-sectional dissertation research at Golden Gate University estimated the relationship between obesity and heart risk with the goal of understanding their impact on medical costs. While the American College of Cardiology's (ACC) heart calculator (which shows 10-year risk of heart attack, stroke or cardiac death) powerfully identifies "incubating” impairments, the vast majority of adults without symptoms/events don’t have calculator-required blood cholesterol and blood sugar lab work on file. Knowing when heart-obesity costs combine to cause a rise in treatment costs is useful in identifying patients with a similar symptoms trend and accommodating these seemingly non-symptomatic patients, but may also be useful in perhaps adjusting provider compensation based on risk-reduction (c.f., claims risk adjustment). I’d like to estimate clinic savings from the ACC’s heart calculator and obesity-based chronic disease treatment algorithm (i.e., cuts in unnecessary hospitalization from medication and weight loss adherence), and would love to design a course/lab on the model. I’m most pensive of how to extend a hand up for those seeking miracles of renewal. Sí, se puede!

Lai-king (Anna) Tee

In recent years, I have started to realize the importance of preventive health, i.e. to prevent diseases by adapting and maintaining a healthy life style. It is a more pleasant and less costly experience to adapt one's life style to prevent disease, than to go through the treatment, if and when the disease were to happen later. With the global trend in aging populations, cost-effective health care solutions are increasingly important for everyone. By learning about the science of prevention, and behavioral aspects, I plan to design tools and/or programs that can help everyone to improve their health conditions, based on the evidence from known studies on the correlations between diseases and life style choices. I had completed tertiary education in electronic engineering, with a BSc (Hons) degree in math and physics from the Hong Kong Polytechnic, and MS degree in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California, specialized in digital communications and signal processing. While working as a communication systems engineer, I have continued learning and completed classes on various topics, e.g. image and video compression, medical imaging, pattern recognition, Global BioDesign and medical device technical assessment, regulations and reimbursements etc., from Stanford, UT Arlington and Rutgers. My previous work experience includes circuit design, satellite/ cellular wireless systems modeling, simulation and analysis, wireless technology research, standards, IP and mobile device product development and evaluation etc. As an IEEE senior member, I have volunteered for a few chapters and conferences, e.g. IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology conference.

Recent Graduates

Alisha Giri

I'm a recent graduate of Wake Forest University on the east coast. During my undergraduate years, I was heavily involved in the anthropology department, with a focus on medical anthropology, and I feel incredibly fortunate to be a part of this awesome and necessary program! The preventative focus of the Stanford Health 4 All program resonates deeply with me because my family originated in remote Nepal, where easily preventable health issues typically ended by taking peoples' lives because of a lack of education and resources within the community. By truly engaging in the local community and promoting preventative health practices in a culturally relativistic manner, I believe we can significantly reduce health risks and the onset of chronic diseases in any community. I look forward to learning about the theories, tools, and optimal strategies for evaluating and engaging the community and transferring my newfound knowledge into the real world through the community engagement portion of the program!

Mayra Gonzalez

My name is Mayra Gonzalez and I am very excited and honored to be a part of the 2016 Health 4 All cohort. I recently graduated from Santa Clara University where I majored in Public Health Science and Psychology. As an undergrad, I immersed myself in different clubs and organizations such as MEChA-El Frente de SCU (our Latino/a club on campus), Psi-Chi (National Honor Society in Psychology), and the LEAD Scholars Program for 1st generation college students. Growing up in South San Francisco, CA, I witnessed first-hand the effects of health disparities and how they impact low-income minority families. I developed a passion for improving the health of all, especially those of underserved communities. This passion was confirmed during my visit to El Salvador for SCU’s Summer Public Health program. I learned the importance and need of primary care in these marginalized communities, but also the need of preventative approaches and community programs to maintain the health of those families using a holistic approach. As a Stanford H4A Fellow, I hope to gain the knowledge and tools to improve the health of my Latino/a community in California and other underserved populations. Ultimately, I would like to obtain my Master’s in Public Health to continue to empower others to lead healthier lives and to implement culturally competent community-based programs and services to combat the chronic diseases impacting our nation.

Adrienne Lazaro

Hello, I am Adrienne and I feel so grateful for the opportunity to be a Stanford Health 4 All fellow. I graduated from the UC Davis in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior and I minored in Chicana/Chicano Studies. During my time in Davis, I was involved in various grassroots organizations that worked to raise consciousness and empower marginalized communities. I was an active member of the student organization Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/Chicano de Aztlán and had the privilege of working for Yik’al Kuyum, a student-led, student-initiated support program for Chican@/Latin@ students. Through my experiences working in these organizations, I learned that communities empowered to create change are the most effective instruments of progress. After working as a stay-at-home mother for almost two years after graduating, I returned to the workforce as Health Educator at a school-based, federally qualified health center in a diverse high school in the Bay Area. I am now in my third year at this position and I look forward to putting the skills and science of preventing chronic diseases into practice as a Health Educator. I look forward to learning new approaches that I will use to empower underserved populations to make decisions to improve their health outcomes and help prevent chronic diseases that are so prevalent in our communities.

Sacha McBain

My name is Sacha McBain and I am a Ph.D. Candidate in Clinical Psychology at Palo Alto University under the direct supervision of Josef I. Ruzek, Ph.D. and Matthew Cordova, Ph.D. During my graduate training, I have had the opportunity to make contributions to the field of traumatic stress through my research examining the barriers to accessing military sexual trauma-related care in affiliation with VA Palo Alto Health Care System and my clinical work with traumatized young adults, veterans, and recently traumatized individuals as a part of the Early Intervention Clinic of Palo Alto University. I am passionate about advocating for trauma-informed psychological and medical care and hope to use my time with H4A to increase awareness of the physical and psychological impacts of traumatic experiences, reduce stigma, and increase access to quality care.

Maisa Morrar

Salamu Alaykum everyone. I am thrilled to be apart of this cohort and this amazing program. My name is Maisa and I am a Saint Mary’s College graduate with a BA in Kinesiology. During my undergrad I worked closely with young men and women in underserved high schools across the Bay to teach health workshops. I am currently an EMT working for an ambulance company in the Bay Area where I am able to see and learn from a wide range of patients. I am also a community activist/organizer and I work among Arab communities in Oakland and San Francisco. I am a strong advocate of social justice and much of the work I do is structured around that. I work closely with Arab youth in marginalized neighborhoods of San Francisco, such as the Tenderloin. In the past couple years I have devoted much of my time to Palestinian activism for the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) which is a transnational grass-roots organization that focuses on cultural empowerment, youth development and internal political growth. I am most interested in incorporating preventative health and holistic practices into my personal practice, in order to live in a stronger and empowered community. I feel that healing, on all levels, first begins with one’s health and we unfortunately, live in a time where not many people know how to take care of themselves. I would like to be a part of the people that make that shift in health care in our society. I hope to continue my education in medicine so that I may serve my community in not only theoretical but also practical ways. I am extremely excited to start this fellowship and be a part of the Stanford community. Additionally, I love playing volleyball and I am currently venturing out to become a photographer as a form of art expression, world traveler, healer, passionate enthusiast about creating social justice and lover of all things chocolate.

Amia Nash

My name is Amia Nash and I am very excited to be a part of the Stanford Health 4 All 2015-2016 cohort. Born and raised in Edmonds, Washington, I moved to northern California for my undergraduate education at Santa Clara University. As a public health major with minors in biology, sociology, and religious studies, my diverse coursework has challenged me to think critically about different perspectives on global issues. I am passionate about public health as a social justice issue, and addressing the oppressive systems that lead to health inequalities. During my undergraduate career I worked for non-profit organizations that focused on improving the health and well-being of underrepresented populations. I worked in San Jose with the homeless population, created social opportunity for youth living with physical and mental disabilities, and helped provide resources for individuals struggling with eating disorders. This past summer I lead a project in India doing Yoga & Sports with women and children in a rural village. This community-based initiative was aimed to empower women by improving physical and mental health, increasing self-esteem and confidence, and offering leadership opportunities. Ultimately, my long-term goals are to earn my Master’s and PhD in community health and preventive medicine. I am looking forward to having a diverse group of talented peers to learn from, as well as the mentorship of the Stanford faculty. I am excited for the opportunity to work in a community with a shared vision for developing disease prevention, promoting health and wellness, and pursuing health equity.

Jesmin Ram

As a first generation student, I recently graduated from Santa Clara University with a major in Public Health Science and minor in Biology. I am truly appreciative for the opportunity to be a Stanford Health 4 All Fellow, and look forward to the countless experiences this year. During my undergraduate career, I interned with local hospitals and participated in several immersion trips where I was able to be present with others and their challenges. Last summer I participated in a Study Abroad Program in El Salvador which focused on public health education. Working with local communities, health promoters, and medical professionals has strengthened my passion for providing service and advocacy to underrepresented communities. I have longed for an environment where I can directly help change the lives of individuals for the better through education and support. As an aspiring medical professional, I believe the program’s emphasis on community engagement is imperative to changing human behavior to form healthier communities. I look forward to learning the essential tools of preventative medicine and strengthening my skills to empower local communities. While learning about medicine and biological processes is important, understanding individuals’ lifestyles and cultures allows us to provide appropriate care and education, discover new technologies, and grow professionally and intellectually. The beauty of healthcare not only lies with its growing nature, but with the people we meet and the relationships we build.

Paolo Rigo

I graduated from UC Berkeley in December 2014 with a major in Integrative Biology with an emphasis on Human Biology and Health Sciences. My involvement at Cal has included the Pilipino Association for Health Careers and Biology Scholars Program where I also tutored biology and chemistry. I have gained a better understanding about what community health is and its importance through being part of the Mabuhay Health Center, a free health clinic that aims to address health disparities of low-income Filipinos in the San Francisco area. Through this experience I have discovered the need for cultural competence in the field of health and how it facilitates the clinician-patient interaction. I hope to become a physician who is responsive to the needs of the community that I serve. Through this program, I hope to continue learning about and eventually implementing effective health interventions for our communities and affect positive health outcomes. I enjoy graphic design, long distance running, and SCUBA diving.