Executive Director

Rod Lew, MPH, is the Founder and Executive Director of APPEAL. Prior to APPEAL, Rod was the Health Education Director at Asian Health Services and the Associate Director for the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations. Rod was a contributing author to the 1998 Surgeon General’s Report on Tobacco Use and has written and published widely on tobacco and health disparities. Rod provided testimony to the U.S. Congressional Committee on Commerce on the impact of national tobacco policy in 1999 and to the U.S. Surgeon General in 2004. He has also served on numerous national health advisory committees, including the State of California Tobacco Education and Research Oversight Committee (2000-2006), American Public Health Association (APHA) Equal Health Opportunity Committee (2005-6) and APHA Asian Pacific Islander Caucus, where he served as Chair (1998-2000). Rod was the 2002 recipient of the Christopher Jenkins Cancer Control Award. In 2009, he also received the Lester Breslow Lifetime Achievement Award from the UCLA School of Public Health, his alma mater.


Program Coordinator

Camille Mendaros joins APPEAL as Program Coordinator. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Politics from the University of California Santa Cruz where she also engaged in student organizing that focused on Asian/Pacific Islander student retention in the UC Santa Cruz campus. In the past, Camille has worked for political consulting firms that managed and provided winning strategies for public office campaigns and local ballot measures which included Yes on E in 2014, San Francisco’s first Soda Tax campaign. She has also worked for a nonprofit that provided one-on-one mentorship and STEM tutoring for under resourced public schools in the Bay Area.

Laura Hamasaka

ASPIRE Program Director

An equity champion, Laura has a background in program development and implementation with nearly 30 years of experience in local and national non-profits, the public sector, and philanthropy. Laura has worked in a variety of areas: public health, youth development and leadership, and environmental justice. She has nearly 20-years of experience in tobacco control including 15-years at Truth Initiative where she served as the Vice President of Community and Youth Engagement. More recently Laura has been a public health consultant working with the CDC Office on Smoking and Health, Emory University Rollins School of Public Health, and ClearWay Minnesota.

Additionally, Laura sits on the Board of Directors at Breast Cancer Action and serves as an Advisor to the Pacific Partners for Tobacco-Free Islands. When time allows, she enjoys cooking and traveling internationally.

Beatriz Aurelio

SPARC Program Manager

Beatriz Aurelio, also known as Bea, holds a Masters in Public Health from the University of San Francisco and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the California State University, Sacramento. Beatriz is passionate about breaking down barriers to health equity and strives to be an agent of change in the community. Beatriz has presented on health equity topics at the National School of Public Health in Cuba, Pantawid Pamilya Programs in Cainta, Philippines,  and the United Nations University of Peace in Costa Rica, as well as for the Asian and Pacific Islanders in Higher Education, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Active Minds, and other national organizations. Beatriz also assists with refugee health equity with The Courageous Kitchen, a 5013c in Bangkok, Thailand. In her free time, Beatriz enjoys traveling, cooking, and hiking.

Cassandra Park

Program Associate

Cassandra Park, also known as Cassie, is a Program Associate at APPEAL. She graduated from San Francisco State University (SFSU) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Education and Minor in Race and Resistance Studies. Prior to working with APPEAL, Cassie served as the Program Coordinator for the Regional Pacific Islander Taskforce and a Peer Mentor for the Asian American and Pacific Islander Retention Education program at SFSU. During her free time she enjoys dancing hula, doing yoga, hiking, and cooking.

Allison Barcelon

Communications Associate

Allison Barcelon joins APPEAL as a Communications Associate. She graduated from the University of California, Davis with a bachelor’s degree in Clinical Nutrition, where she also explored community education and nutrition research. Previously, she worked for a SNAP-Ed (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) funded nutrition education program within the San Francisco Department of Public Health. In her free time she loves to cook and play word games.