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.


SPARC Program Coordinator

Priya graduated with a Bachelor’s in Health Sciences- Concentration in Public Health from California State University, East Bay. Her interest lies in representing underserved AA & NH/PI communities through community-based participatory research (CBPR), advocacy, and creating culturally tailored resources. In her free time, she enjoys working with her mentor, Dr. Arnab Mukherjea and lab mates to learn more about Indo-Fijian health behaviors. Priya currently serves as the Program Director for the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus (APIC) for the American Public Health Association (APHA). Priya strives to bring representation for her diasporic Indo-Fijian community, in hopes of creating more public health advocates and community leaders.


ASPIRE Program Coordinator

Michelle holds a Masters in Public Health with a concentration in Health Management and Policy from Drexel University with graduate work focused on improving patient care rounding in hospitals and access to language services for limited English proficient patients. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Classical Civilizations with a minor in Biochemistry which translated into research on Greek and Roman public health and medicine from the University of Tennessee. She attended medical school at Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine in New Mexico before returning to her passions in health policy, health access, and mental health. She has worked in health administration, oncology, and quality improvement at various hospitals and clinics in TN and PA to ensure better health care delivery to vulnerable populations. She hopes to empower AANHPI communities and to inspire individuals from her Cantonese and Memphis/Delta Chinese heritage to advocate for health through social justice and health equity policies and programs. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys hiking, kayaking, cooking, photography, painting, yoga, martial arts, and billiards.


ASPIRE Program Associate

Kehaulani graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, with a focus in Public Relations from The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Prior to joining APPEAL, Kehaulani worked as an Account Coordinator for a Honolulu-based Public Relations agency, where she gained valuable experience serving clients across sectors including energy, hospitality, development, real estate, and organizations serving Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities. Kehaulani enjoys hiking, attending farmers markets, reading, and trying new restaurants in her free time


SPARC Program Associate

Karen is a dedicated professional in the field of public health, with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health. Karen joins APPEAL with a background in community-based health organizing, where she played a pivotal role in helping the community access health insurance coverage and educational information. During the pandemic, Karen served as a receptionist in urgent care to provide essential support during a challenging time. She has also organized health screening events and actively engaged in outreach efforts, creating culturally appropriate materials in multiple languages to ensure effective communication. As a proud Asian American, Karen is deeply passionate about advocacy and continues to utilize her expertise, compassion, and dedication to promote health equity and empower AA & NH/PI communities to lead healthier lives. In her free time outside of work, she loves to explore the city and try new restaurants, and spend quality time with her family and friends.