Faculty and Staff

HEI faculty and staff are a diverse group representing a wide array of disciplines, perspectives and backgrounds. We are united in our commitment to research, practice and policy that foster health equity:

HEI Core Team 


Jesus Ramirez-Valles, PhD MPH


Email: jrv@sfsu.edu

Allen LeBlanc


Allen LeBlanc, PhD

Professor of Sociology

Email: aleblanc@sfsu.edu


Jason Chang


Jason Chang, MS  

Statistical Analyst

Email: ykjason@sfsu.edu


Charmayne Hughes, PhD


Charmayne Hughes, PhD

Associate Professor of Kinesiology

Email: cmhughes@sfsu.edu


Laura Mamo


Laura Mamo, PhD

Associate Director/Professor of Health Education

Email: lmamo@sfsu.edu


Sepideh Modrek  


 Sepideh Modrek, PhD

Assistant Professor of Economics

Email: smodrek@sfsu.edu 







Administrative Analyst/Specialist I

Coming Soon.



Jessica Wolin


Jessica Wolin, MPH, MCRP

Associate Director of Community Practice 

Email: jwolin@sfsu.edu




Affiliate Faculty



Anoshua Chaudhuri


Anoshua Chaudhuri
Professor of Economics, College of Business
website: http://online.sfsu.edu/anoshua/


Steve Choe


Steve Choe
Associate Professor of Cinema
website: http://cinema.sfsu.edu/people/faculty/steven-choe


Carmen Domingo


Carmen Domingo
Professor of Biology
website: http://biology.sfsu.edu/people/carmen-domingo


Courtney Donovan


Courtney Donovan
Associate Professor of Geography and Environmental Science
website: http://geog.sfsu.edu/person/courtney


Jessica Fields


Jessica Fields
Professor of Sociology and Sexuality Studies
website: http://sociology.sfsu.edu/people/faculty/jessica-fields


Melissa Hagan


Melissa Hagan
Assistant Professor of Psychology
website: http://www.sfsustarlab.com/


Colleen Hoff


Colleen Hoff
Professor of Sexuality Studies
Director of the Center for Research and Education on Gender and Sexuality
website: http://cregs.sfsu.edu/about-us/whoweare/colleen-hoff/


Martha Kenney


Martha Kenney
Assistant Professor of Women and Gender Studies
website: http://wgsdept.sfsu.edu/people/25283/martha-kenney



Wen-Wen Li
Associate Professor of Nursing
website: http://www.nursing.sfsu.edu/people/faculty/wen-wen-li


Leticia Magaña-Marquez


Leticia Magaña-Marquez
Professor of Biology
SF BUILD Lead Principal Investigator and Core Leader
website: http://sfbuild.sfsu.edu/content/leticia-márquez-magaña


Rita Melendez


Rita Melendez
Associate Professor of Sexuality Studies
website: http://sxs.sfsu.edu/people/faculty/rita-melendez


Raquel Pinderhughes


Raquel Pinderhughes
Professor of Urban Studies and Planning
website: http://online.sfsu.edu/raquelrp/


James Quesada


James Quesada
Professor of Anthropology
website: http://anthropology.sfsu.edu/people/faculty/james-quesada


David Rebanal


David Rebanal
Assistant Professor of Health Education


Rori Rohlfs


Rori Rohlfs
Assistant Professor of Biology
website: http://rohlfslab.weebly.com/


Emma Sanchez


Emma Sanchez-Vaznaugh
Associate Professor of Health Education
website: http://healthed.sfsu.edu/people/faculty/emma-sanchez-suet


Grace Yoo


Grace Yoo
Professor of Asian American Studies
website: http://aas.sfsu.edu/yoo-grace


Susan Zieff


Susan Zieff
Professor of Kinesiology
website: http://kin.sfsu.edu/people/faculty/susan-zieff





Coming Soon.



Health Equity Student Scholars 

Julia Barba

Julia Barba is currently a second year Master of Public Health student at San Francisco State University. She earned her B.S. in Health Science with a Minor in Sociology from San José State University, and currently works at Community Health Partnership providing trainings and supporting quality improvement projects with member community health centers. Julia’s interests include community engaged programming, racial equity and improving social determinants of health through public health policy. Julia is working with HEI Associate Director, Dr. Laura Mamo, researching the intersection of environmental racism & health injustice, and its impact on public housing residents.


Sarah Boroujerdi is currently a second year graduate student at San Francisco State University’s Women and Gender Studies Department. She graduated with a B.A in Sociology from University of California, Santa Barbara in 2016. Sarah has been working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the Department of Journalism at San Francisco State University since Fall of 2018, and was previously a GA for the Department of Women and Gender Studies. She is also a Graduate Research Assistant in the Health Equity Institute’s NeuroTech Lab, where she studies the potency of intimate partner violence (IPV) curriculum within academic institutions. Under the mentorship of HEI Associate Professor Dr. Charmayne Hughes, Sarah’s research addresses misconceptions of what constitutes as abusive relationships through the mPOWERED education module for IPV care.



Rebecca Eiseman is a first-year graduate student in the Master of Public Health Program at San Francisco State University. She earned a dual B.A. in Cultural Anthropology and Music Theory from Oberlin College in northeast Ohio. Rebecca has a background working on food access and environmental issues in the non-profit sector. She supported the fundraising efforts for organizations such as the California State Parks Foundation, Urban Sprouts, and People’s Community Market, including a campaign raising over $1 million in one year to open a grocery store in West Oakland. She has also pursued her interest in health equity by supporting educators in the planning and delivery of bilingual nutrition and cooking demonstrations, and a summer curriculum for low-income and minority high school students focused on job training, gardening, science, and social justice. Under the guidance of Assistant Professor of Women and Gender Studies Dr. Martha Kenney, Rebecca is contributing to research looking at how schools and community organizations utilize the emerging science of epigenetics to inform innovative programming around Adverse Childhood Experiences, Restorative Justice, and Trauma-Informed Care in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest.



Andrea Gonzalez is currently a second year Masters of Public Health student at San Francisco State University. She graduated with a B.A in Anthropology with a concentration in Psychology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2012. Andrea has been working in the Public Health field since 2013, beginning in cardiovascular health education and fitness at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Since then, Andrea has worked in qualitative data collection and analysis for the City Parks Alliance, as well as other foundation experience. She is interested in the removal of stigma associated with aging and disability, as well as transit justice. Andrea is working with HEI affiliate Associate Professor, Dr. Emma Sanchez-Vaznaugh, generating code and descriptive statistics for research related to school-based obesity prevention policies.


Kristan Olazo is currently a second year Master of Public Health graduate student at San Francisco State University. She earned a B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Physiology and a minor in Asian American Studies from SFSU. She first gained exposure in the public health field volunteering at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital as a Wellness Navigator and then working as a Health Educator at Health Initiatives for Youth. Currently, Kristan is employed at the Daly City Youth Health Center and San Francisco Health Service System. Her primary research interests include social determinants of health, Filipino/a American health, and children’s health. Kristan is working with HEI affiliate Assistant Professor David Rebanal, exploring the role of political participation on Asian American health.



Emerson Shiang is a first year Masters of Public Health student at San Francisco State University and is currently working with Jesus Ramirez-Valles on layered stigma in the LGBTQ POC community. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in History from Lafayette College in 2014. Emerson got his 200 hour yoga teacher training from India in 2015 and teaches vinyasa and meditation throughout the peninsula. His research interest areas are in Asian American health, HIV stigma, mind-body connection, and LGBTQ health.

Affiliated Project Staff

To see affiliated project staff, please visit the specific project page


Katherine Kim, PhD, MPH, MBA

HEI Professor in Residence

Sonja Mackenzie, DrPH, MSc

Adjunct Assistant Professor