All Projects

 Kate Murray, PhD, MPH

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Kate is Senior Lecturer at Queensland University of Technology. She received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Arizona State University and an MPH in Epidemiology from San Diego State University. Her work focuses on using community-based participatory research to address community-identified health and mental health concerns within immigrant and refugee communities. For a copy of a recent curriculum vitae click here


Physical Activity Team 2013-2015
Ladnaan Project


Amina Sheik Mohamed, MPH

Amina Sheik Mohamed  served as Program Director with Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, in which she oversaw a physical activity and obesity prevention research program for the Somali/East African women Living in San Diego. She holds an ongoing appointment in the Department of Pediatrics at UC San Diego and in this role she concentrates her efforts on promoting active living and the increase of fruits and vegetables in daily regime.

Ms. Mohamed is a dedicated public health professional contributing ten years of service in all aspects of local and state public health policy and advocacy. She is an experienced manager and consultant versed in strategic planning, policy development, implementation and evaluation.  She is a bilingual (Somali) and culturally competent professional specializing in marketing and public relations. Ms. Mohamed is well experienced in working with low income and diverse communities including African- American, African, Middle- Eastern, and the refugee community as a whole. Academically, Ms. Mohamed holds her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Public Health.


Azieb Ermias

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Selamat!  My name is Azieb Ermias and I am a graduate student working on a Master’s in Public Health in Epidemiology at San Diego State University. I am a proud Eritrean- American with hopes of effecting policy change dealing with disenfranchised communities. In my free time I enjoy to dance, engaging in active political debates, and traveling. 

Amber Lung

Amber Lung studies epidemiology at the San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health and is the Peace Corps Field Based Recruiter in San Diego.  She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Namibia from 2005 to 2009 after working as an HIV test counselor at the UCSF AIDS Health Project.  She obtained bachelor’s degrees in biology and communications from the University of California, San Diego.    

Zana Shirwan

I came to the United States in 2001 and started learning English by enrolling in ESL classes. I received my Bachelor of Human Biology degree from the University of California, San Diego in 2007. I then started a full-time career research job at the VA Hospital in San Diego. During my work at the VA, I was encouraged to apply to medical school by my mentors and research colleagues. In 2010, I started a 5-year MD/Master program at the UCSD School of Medicine. I am currently in my fourth year of the program working on my MPH degree with a focus on health promotion. I am planning to pursue a primary care residency and hopefully will be able to integrate what I am learning during this year in my future service as a physician. My goal is to come back and serve local immigrant and refugee communities. In my free time I like to travel, watch documentaries and historical movies, exercise, and listen to music. 


Video Project Team


Amy Pan, PhD

Amy Pan provides program evaluation and grant writing support for the Institute. Her primary research interests include violence prevention and other preventive health issues in immigrant and refugee communities.

Alice Mills, MD, MPH

 Alice is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Family & Preventive Medicine at the University of California, San Diego.  As a core faculty member of the UCSD/SDSU Preventive Medicine Residency Program, she is involved in a health screening program for newly arriving refugees to San Diego County.  She also has a long-standing interest in cancer prevention and control research and practice.  

Maria Reyes, MD, MPH

 Dr. Maria Lourdes F. Reyes, MD, MPH is the Director of California Programs for PCI. Dr. Reyes is a physician with specialty in Pathology and Cytopathology and trained at St. Louis University and was a research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School and Georgetown University. Dr. Reyes has pursued a Masters in Public Health with concentration in Health Services Administration and Management (May 2002) and graduated with highest honors and was awarded most outstanding graduate (John Hanlon Award) with induction into the Phi Kappa Phi National Honors Society. She is also a Faculty at San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health. Dr. Reyes has held many local, statewide and national leadership positions including: President of the California Division of the American Cancer Society (2000-2001). She has several scientific publications. Dr. Reyes has received many honors including “One in a Million” award from the ACS, California Division; the San Diego County Public Health Champion award for her work with CBHS; Outstanding Alumnus of the UCLA Anderson School of Management Health Care Executive program, National Achievement award in Medicine and Education by Filipinas Magazine, an International Magazine; and Community Health Improvement Partners Outstanding Community Partner Award. Dr. Reyes’ personal mission statement is: “I am dedicated to the realization of human potential through servant leadership.”

Hope Velarde

Hope Velarde completed her undergraduate degree at UC Irvine with a bachelors in Public Health Science. During her time at UC Irvine she was involved in various non profits that focused on under-served low income populations. Her experiences in undergrad really sparked her interest to pursue a masters in Public Health. Hope is now a second year grad student at San Diego State University pursuing her Masters in Public Health with a concentration in Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences. She is an intern at PCI and has an interest in global health and under-served populations. 

Sahra Abdi, BA

Sahra Abdi is a community activist in San Diego. A respected advocate for refugees from Somalia and for other African immigrants, she is a co-founder and director of the United Women of East Africa Support Team (UWEAST). 

Pat Clark, MA

Pat Clark is an award winning artist and filmmaker currently living in San Diego, CA. He received a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Master of Arts in Television, Film and New Media from San Diego State University. Currently, he is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Multimedia from San Diego State University.  His latest documentary film, The Language of War, highlights the importance of language and cultural understanding during combat. Featuring compelling firsthand accounts and dramatic images, The Language of War captures the risks faced by Iraqi combat translators in one of the world's most dangerous places.

Veronica Villarreal, MD

Dr. Veronica Nicole Villarreal, MD completed a Family Medicine Residency at The University of Kansas Medical Center. She is currently completing a second residency in Preventive Medicine at UCSD/SDSU General Preventive Medicine Residency. In addition, Dr. Villarreal is pursuing a Masters in Public Health at San Diego State University with a focus in Epidemiology.  

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