HEI News

Violence Trauma and Health (VTH) Initiative researcher highlighted in The Chronicle of Higher Education

VTH Initiative researcher and SF State Associate Professor of Cinema Steven Choe was interviewed by The Chronicle of Higher Education in its February 7, 2016 “People” section. His work focuses on revenge narratives mainly in Korean and German cinema. As part of the VTH Initiative, Choe works with Assistant Professor in Psychology Melissa Hagan, and HEI Associate Professor of Kinesiology Charmayne Hughes to research the effects of violence and trauma on health and wellness.

Read the article here. (Scroll to middle of page.)

HEI Associate Director Laura Mamo joined Drexel University Assistant Professor Ali Kenner to discuss her book manuscript on asthma

Laura Mamo

In January, Mamo and UCSF Associate Professor of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine Ian Whitmarsh, were participants in an author-meets-critic discussion of Ali Kenner’s book manuscript "To Breathe: The Place of Asthma in US Healthcare" at Drexel University. The ethnography examines asthma through the voices and concerns of asthmatics and those who care for them, and looks at the biomedical, community and embodied approaches to the disease.

Violence, Trauma, and Health Initiative

HEI Director Cynthia A. Gómez discussed HEI and SF Build efforts with attendees of the Violence, Trauma, and Health Initiative

On Monday, November 16, HEI and SF BUILD co-sponsored the Violence, Trauma and Health (VTH) Initiative, a gathering of researchers, funders and community partners interested in addressing the intersectionality of violence, trauma and health on individual and collective well-being.
Provost Sue Rosser delivered a welcome message to the community based organizations and SF State and UCSF faculty in attendance. HEI Director Cynthia A. Gómez discussed HEI and SF Build efforts and introduced the VTH Cluster of researchers — Charmayne Hughes, HEI Associate Professor of Kinesiology, Melissa Hagan, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Steve Choe, Associate Professor, Cinema, College of Liberal and Creative Arts — who discussed their work.
Attendees had an opportunity to meet and converse with each other in an effort to initiate possible collaborations of research or community projects addressing violence, trauma and health.

2015 HOPE SF Arts Assessment

Group photo at assessmentThe HOPE SF Arts Assessment took place at the San Francisco Public Library on Wednesday, July 29th, 2015. In this year’s assessment the HOPE SF team focused on how art can be a vehicle for healing and community transformation in the HOPE SF communities of Alice Griffith, Hunters View, Potrero Terrace & Annex, and Sunnydale. 

Over the course of the past six months, SF State graduate students conducted almost 70 interviews with community residents, arts program staff, city staff, funders, and policy makers about the role of art in the HOPE SF communities and what is needed to strengthen art programming. During this same time, a community engaged arts process with professional artist Brett Cook brought together HOPE SF residents and program staff to explore how art can foster community building and enhance their work. 

At the assessment, students in the SF State Master of Public Health (MPH) cohort presented findings and recommendations from the interviews, and residents from HOPE SF communities led the audience in a group meditation, and performed inspiring dance and musical routines. 

This year’s assessment was particularly engaging as the event emphasized the power of art and community through many interactive art activities. Check out our photos to see some of the art that was created! Learn more about the HOPE SF assessments and read the detailed assessment report.


Dr. Cynthia A. Gómez, HEI Director, delivered Keynote address at the National Sexual Health Conference

Dr. Gomez at the conference

This past year, Dr. Cynthia A. Gómez, HEI Director, was invited to present the Keynote speech at this year's National Sexual Health Conference on July 13th, 2015. In her talk, she spoke about the relationship between sexual health and health equity.

Dr. Gómez emphasized the importance of changing structures in order to change lives, and informed the audience that, “sexual health is more than body parts. It's our mind, our bodies, and our soul.”

Conference attendees were inspired by her talk and shared their thoughts on Twitter, using the hashtag #2015NSHC. Attendees came together to share information, efforts, and best practices to move sexual health forward in the United States. The conference took place July 13-14th, 2015, in Keystone, Colorado. It was targeted towards individuals across the range of sexual health, including individuals in organizations involved in clinical care, education, reproductive health, HIV, STDs, LGBT healthcare, advocacy, policy development, hepatitis, and sexuality from birth to death.

Learn more about the conference.

Documentary for Health and Social Justice: Spring 2015 films now available!

Since 2006, HEI and the SF State Cinema department have collaborated to offer Documentary for Health & Social Justice, a transdisciplinary film production course that has produced more than 50 short documentaries. In this course, student filmmakers partner with a community organization to create films on important health and social justice topics. The Spring 2015 films are now available to watch!  This semester's films include:

  • BEING SEEN shines a light on the unique situation of invisibility amongst urban American Indians on SF State’s campus. The film also highlights and addresses the mental health issues that can arise.
  • FIGHTING FOR HOME explores the journey of two San Francisco residents who are dealing with the possibility of eviction and the hardships that comes along with it. 
  • IN BETWEEN HOMES explores the reality of families struggling with homelessness in San Francisco, CA.
  • MEDICAL DESERT highlights the closure of a local hospital and its impact on the medically underserved community of West Contra Costa County. This film will be available soon.

Interested in creating documentaries on important health and social justice issues? 

Sign up for CINE 527 today! Join the Fall 2015/Spring 2016 Cohort to make documentaries that explore the question: What will it take to make the U.S. one of the best places to raise children? Students from all disciplines welcome. No filmmaking experience needed. Learn more 

The HOPE SF Learning Center presented four abstracts at APHA 2015

Hope sf pictureWe are excited to share that the HOPE SF Learning Center team presented four abstracts and/or poster sessions at the American Public Health Association (APHA) conference in October 2015.

The following abstracts were accepted:

  • Jessica Tokunaga, MPH , HOPE SF Learning Center Evaluation Coordinator
  • Danielle Gordon, MS , HOPE SF Learning Center Evaluation Manager
  • Jessica Tokunaga, MPH , HOPE SF Learning Center Evaluation Coordinator
  • Danielle Gordon, MS , HOPE SF Learning Center Evaluation Manager
  • Sarah Wongking, MPH, HOPE SF Learning Center Campus-Community Partnership Manager
  • Jessica Tokunaga, MPH , HOPE SF Learning Center Evaluation Coordinator
  • Rebecca Chigas, MPH , Department of Health Education, San Francisco State University

Youth Leadership in Public Housing: A Community Based Participatory Research project to elevate the needs of young people living in San Francisco's HOPE SF public housing communities 


  • Sarah Wongking, MPH, HOPE SF Learning Center Campus-Community Partnership Manager
  • Sophia Simon-Ortiz, MPH, HOPE SF Learning Center Research Assistant 

About The Annual APHA Meeting: The Annual APHA meeting strengthens the profession of public health, shares the latest research and information, promotes best practices and advocates for public health issues and policies grounded in research. This year's meeting will take place October 31st - November 4th 2015, in Chicago, IL.

About the HOPE SF Learning Center: The HOPE SF Learning Center fosters an innovative culture that links reflection and action through strategic, coordinated, and applied learning activities. Since the start of HOPE SF, the initiative has done a significant amount of evaluation, assessment and piloting work. The HOPE SF Learning Center integrates these activities into a formal structure to institutionalize and maximize these efforts and ensure they have significant impact.

Pictured above: Danielle Gordon, Jessica Tokunaga, and Sophie Simon-Ortiz. Not pictured: Sarah Wongking and Rebecca Chigas

Dr. Laura Mamo has been promoted to Full Professor of Health Education

Laura MamoThe Health Equity Institute is honored and pleased to announce that Dr. Laura Mamo has been granted promotion from Associate Professor to Full Professor of Health Education at SF State University. This is the final stage of academic rank promotion approved by President Wong.

The promotion is based on merit as demonstrated by teaching effectiveness, professional achievement and growth, and contributions to the campus and community. We are very proud to have Laura as core HEI faculty! Learn more about Laura and her research.

Congratulations to the SF State Class of 2015!

Congratulations to the San Francisco State Class of 2015, including HEI Graduate Student Research Assistants:

Kayla Bowen, Project SHARe research assistant:  Kayla received her Master of Arts (MA) in Psychology and was honored as a a distinguished graduate of the Psychology MA program.

Jesus Gaeta, Studying Field Emergence: HPV and the Expanding List of Oncovirusesresearch assistant: Jesus Gaeta received his Master of Public Health (MPH). While he was in the MPH program, he was awarded the 2013-2014 John Blake West Award and was selected as a Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholar (2013-2014).

Sophie Simon Ortiz, HOPE SF Learning Center research assistant: Sophie received her MPH and was honored in the MPH Recognition Ceremony as one of the 2015 Department of Health Education distinguished graduates. 

David Stupplebeen, Project AFFIRM research assistant: David received his MPH and was selected as the College of Health and Social Sciences Graduate Hood Recipient. While in the MPH program, David was awarded the 2014-2015 John Blake West Award

We are so proud of our graduating student research assistants! We are lucky to have had such great students work with us at HEI and we wish them the best as they continue their professional development. 

Welcome to R. David Rebanal, HEI Senior Evaluator

David Rebanal

David Rebanal, DrPH, has joined the Health Equity Institute (HEI) team as the HEI Senior Evaluator. David will lead the design and implementation of evaluation studies concerning health and social services and policies.

He previously worked at the Public Health Institute as the Interim Program Manager for the Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative (BARHII) and the Senior Program Officer at the Northwest Health Foundation in Portland, OR, focused on overseeing its strategic investments in public health, research, and legislative advocacy efforts. To read David's bio, click here.