2019-2020 Fellows and Projects

Varina Clark
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
First 5 LA

Through her project, eMpower: Strengthening Mothers’ Mental Resilience, Varina strives to improve perinatal mental health and related birth outcomes amongst Black women.  She will contribute to the development and implementation of resources and trainings for clinicians and community health workers to improve education, rates of detection, and treatment referrals for perinatal mental health conditions of Black women in Los Angeles. This initiative will further promote increased access to culturally responsive, informed perinatal care.

Jessica Faraj
UC Irvine School of Medicine
UCI Health Family Health Center – Santa Ana

Jessica seeks to build on an existing Diabetes Group Medical Visit model established at the UC Irvine’s Family Health Center. The primary objective of her project is to impart the knowledge and tools necessary to empower low income Hispanic adults in the Santa Ana community to make informed decisions and healthy choices regarding their diabetes.

Hannah Na
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Violence Intervention Program – Los Angeles

Hannah aims to empower at-risk adolescents in East Los Angeles who have experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences, such as abuse and neglect, with tools for healing from their traumas. She has partnered with the Violence Intervention Program to create a yoga and mindfulness program aimed at fostering mental well-being and building social connectedness. She wants to create a safe space for adolescents to feel empowered and have fun while learning practical skills for their everyday lives.

Cecilia Garcia and Daniel Padilla Vega
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy
LAC+USC Wellness Center

Cecilia and Daniel seek to implement a community project aimed to provide empowerment and health education to the Spanish-speaking Latino community of Boyle Heights, with or at risk for diabetes, to incorporate culturally sensitive lifestyle habits and routines to take control of and manage their health. The classes they will administer at the LAC+USC Wellness Center will be facilitated in Spanish and cover topics about living with and managing chronic conditions.

Precious Fortes and Jeannie Radoc
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Women, Infants, and Children Center at UCLA OBGYN Clinic

Jeannie and Precious will be implementing monthly birthing classes for low income and uninsured expecting families in Los Angeles. They seek to increase the proportion of pregnant women who receive adequate and consistent prenatal care.

Clay Thibodeaux and Jenny Tang
UC Irvine School of Medicine, MD/MBA Program
UC Irvine Outreach Clinic

Clay and Jenny seek to improve health outcomes in the low-income communities of northern Orange County by increasing access to nutrition.  In partnership with the UC Irvine Outreach Clinic and local food pantries, their project will implement a comprehensive screening, education, and on-site resource referral program to address the locally pervasive issue of food insecurity.

Meril Tomy
UC Irvine School of Medicine
Madison Park Neighborhood Association

Meril is collaborating with Madison Park Neighborhood Association to address mental health education in the community of Santa Ana. Her project aims to empower both children and adults in the Santa Ana community with stress-reduction tools, educational material, and dialogue about mental health and wellness.