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 

Allen LeBlanc


Allen LeBlanc, PhD

Interim Director

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 






Mirna Vasquez


Mirna Vasquez, MA

Administrative Coordinator

Email: hei@sfsu.edu


Jessica Wolin


Jessica Wolin, MPH, MCRP

Associate Director of Community Practice 

Email: jwolin@sfsu.edu




Affiliate Faculty


Alison Cerezo


Alison Cerezo
Assistant Professor of Counseling
website: http://counseling.sfsu.edu/people/faculty/alison-cerezo-0


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





Ugo Edu


Ugo Edu, PhD
Science, Justice and Health Equity Post-Doctoral Fellow



Health Equity Student Scholars 

 Student Scholars Spring 2018


Bozhidar “Bobby” Chakalov is currently a Masters of Economics student at San Francisco State University with an emphasis in Health Economics. He graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Economics from Sonoma State University in 2017. His previous research includes studying factors that influence youth risk behavior, in particular, binge drinking and illicit drug use. His research interests include health disparities in marginalized and disadvantaged communities, health market efficiency, and health policy evaluation. He works with HEI Assistant Professor Dr. Sepideh Modrek performing quantitative text analysis of tweets from the #metoo campaign. 


Chloe Gordon-Murer is a second year graduate student from the Kinesiology Department at San Francisco State University. She graduated magna cum laude from San Francisco State University with a B.A in Child and Adolescent Development with a focus in Youth and Family Services in 2012. Chloe currently works at Project Commotion located in San Francisco’s Mission District supporting children and families through movement and play. She is also a Graduate Research Assistant in the Health Equity Institute’s NeuroTech Lab researching the relationship between sensorimotor and cognitive development throughout childhood and examining social and cultural factors that might influence childhood developmental trajectories under the direction of HEI Associate Professor Dr. Charmayne Hughes​.


Aditi Grossman is a first year Masters of Economics student at San Francisco State University, where she earned a B.S. in Finance with a minor in Economics in 2017. While getting her undergraduate degree, Aditi worked in the financial sector covering healthcare companies including pharmaceutical firms, healthcare service providers and medical device companies. Aditi is a Graduate Research Assistant for HEI affiliate Professor and Economics Department Chair, Dr. Anoshua Chaudhuri, researching health inequities in the high-skilled immigrant labor markets. 


Anna Kaminski is currently a first year Masters of Public Health student at San Francisco State University. She studied International Affairs with a concentration in Global Health at George Washington University, graduating in 2013. She spent two years volunteering with an HIV/AIDS youth education program run by collegiate athletes in Washington, DC called Grassroots. In the last five years, Anna has volunteered with Street Level Health Project in Oakland as a Health Navigator, and worked as a Program Assistant at the Native American Health Center in Oakland. She is interested in mental health and women’s health, and addressing stigma and health disparities. Anna is working with HEI affiliate Associate Professor, Dr.Wen-Wen Li, on a manuscript and abstract in conjunction with research conducted by UCSF affiliates regarding hypertension and associated risk factors.


Emerald Mann is a first year graduate student in the Master of Public Health Program at San Francisco State University. She earned a B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior from UC Davis. As a clinic monitor at Shifa Community Clinic she worked on hepatitis B/C screening and the clinic’s culturally-competent health interventions for type II diabetes patients. She also pursued her interest in mental health as a research assistant for the Infant Sibling Study at the UC Davis MIND Institute, contributing to early detection and intervention efforts for autism. Under the guidance of HEI Associate Professor, Dr. Charmayne Hughes, Emerald is helping develop the mPOWERED system to educate health care providers on how to better assess, document, treat, and provide referral services to patients experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) in Sub-Saharan Africa.


Rebecca Mendez is currently a Master of Public Health student at San Francisco State University. She earned a B.S. in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Cell and Molecular Biology from SFSU. Rebecca has been working in the public health field since 2011, starting at the Public Health Institute as a Research Specialist. Since 2014 she has worked in the Health Equity Research lab, mentoring and training undergraduate students, facilitating lab meetings, and conducting research aimed at understanding biomarkers of health to help decrease health disparities. Her primary research interests lie in studying how the social and cultural environment impacts community health. Rebecca is working with HEI affiliate Associate Professor, Dr. Emma Sanchez, investigating how schools serving socioeconomically disadvantaged students are making decisions to provide exemplary physical activity opportunities and education programs for their students. 


Jacque Perkins is a first year Master of Public Health student at San Francisco State University. He is a Los Angeles native and a graduate of the University of Southern California with a B.S. in Health Promotion & Disease Prevention. Years of working with the Upward Bound program, the NFL Impact Youth Program, and the Manifest Your Destiny Foundation has underscored his dedication to improve the lives of youths. His previous research includes working with Mobile Healthy PLACES, a study designed to research smart-growth communities and their potential effects on childhood obesity. Jacque is currently working with HEI affiliate Professor and Dean of the College of Science & Engineering, Dr. Carmen R. Domingo, evaluating the impact of service and how institutional and social factors influence the success and career advancement of women faculty at SF State in terms of retention, tenure, and promotion.


Gladys Reyes is currently a Master of Public Health student at San Francisco State University. She earned a B.A. in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Neurobiology and Behavior from Cornell University. Gladys has been working in the public health field since 2012, starting at the SF Department of Public Health Communicable Disease Control and Prevention Unit, as a Public Service Aide. Since 2013 Gladys has worked at Health Initiatives For Youth, a health education community-based organization, where she facilitates youth workshops and adult professional development trainings to create empowering and safer learning environments for youth. Her primary research interests include reproductive justice, health inequities, and youth healthcare access. Gladys works with HEI affiliate Assistant Professor, Dr. Martha Kenney, analyzing qualitative data and incorporating themes from epigenetic neuroscience, restorative justice, and trauma informed care to foster resiliency among youth who have experienced adverse childhood experiences.


Michael Sera is a first year graduate student in Interdisciplinary Studies (Bioengineering and Rehabilitation Technologies) at San Francisco State University. He graduated from San Francisco State University with a B.S. in Kinesiology in 2015. His previous research includes examining ageing and precision demands on motor control during upper extremity activities of daily living. Michael is a Graduate Research Assistant in the Health Equity Institute's NeuroTech Lab. He supports the Lab’s outREACH system by developing a mHealth application for the delivery of personalized upper extremity stroke care for resource-constrained populations and utilizes haptic robotics for the assessment of proprioceptive and motor function, and the rehabilitation of upper extremity impairments under the guidance of HEI Associate Professor Dr. Charmayne Hughes. 


Xijun Zhang is currently a Masters of Economics student at San Francisco State University. She graduated with B.A. in Economics from San Francisco State University in 2015. She has a strong interest in quantitative and qualitative data analysis, time series forecasting and data visualization. Xijun currently works at TrueMedicines as a Data Analyst. Her work includes analysis of user-generated comments on medical cannabis varieties to identify varietals that are most effective for posttraumatic stress disorder patients with the least side effects. Xijun works with HEI affiliate Associate Professor, Dr. Alison Cerezo, examining minority stress and alcohol use among sexual minority women of color. 


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