PJ is part of the Los Angeles Fellows Team. He is currently a Project Manager for the Health of Philippine Emigrants Study (HoPES). 

“Being the first natural born U.S. citizen in a family of immigrants, I hold this project very dear to my heart as it pertains directly to the Filipino community and it aligns with my passion in Public Health.  Not everyone is so lucky to live the best of both worlds. I feel extremely blessed to have the opportunity to give back to my community through this project, as well as provide valuable evidence-based information to future Filipino migrants.”

About the study:

The Health of Philippine Emigrants Study, or HoPES, is a collaborative effort between researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Health, the University of Washington School of Nursing, the University of the Philippines Population Institute and Demographic Research and Development Foundation, and the University of San Carlos Office of Population Studies.

Initial data collection for the study took place in the Philippines prior to migrants leaving for the United States. This allows us to analyze the outcome of migrating to the United States on an individual’s health. Information collected during this study will help us observe changes in general health status and chronic diseases, food and beverage consumption habits, attitudes and beliefs, stress levels, and smoking and drinking habits among Philippine migrants.

My role:

I started as a Research Assistant for HoPES in September 2018 and took on the role of Project Manager in May 2019.  My current duties as Project Manager include:

  • Help assess current project needs to plan all management and work group meetings; organize and deliver meeting notes and maintain archives of meetings and monitor progress on action items determined through these meetings.
  • Develop, communicate, monitor and update timelines and strategies in meeting project goals across all study sites.
  • Work with fund manager to ensure funding agency compliance; assist PI with completion of progress reports and correspond with funding agencies on progress reports.
  • Prepare and manage IRB/human subject documentation for research project and documents for collaborating organizations with human subjects approval processes.
  • Supervise research staff in administering project-related duties and tasks.
  • Liaison with key stakeholders to develop relationships to improve intervention implementation.
  • Help develop, plan, oversee and evaluate the implementation of training and follow up technical assistance.
  • Assist in the writing, editing and formatting of articles for publication in peer- reviewed journals and provide overall coordination of manuscript preparation.
  • Independently search for additional contract/grant funding opportunities to supplement existing research dollars.
  • Assist PI in writing, editing, and submission of additional funding/research proposals.

We  provide resources to study participants on our monthly newsletters as well as per request.  Since we have more than 900 migrants all over the United States, we try our best to look for resources depending on the inquiry and location.  We also provide resources on our Facebook page. We are approaching our final wave of data collection later this year and will have results on the study by Fall 2021.

You can find more information about HoPES on our website – https://hopesstudy.weebly.com.

Jake is our coach for the Southern California Students Team and also a long-time APPEAL leadership participant and supporter!


Public Health wasn’t a direct career pathway. To no surprise, I started with a pursuit for a career in medicine. It turned out to be more of a challenge than something I enjoyed. I pivoted and found public health. Thankfully, it was the best decision I have ever made.

After graduating with my MPH in 2016, I did a leadership training with APPEAL in which the experience has been the catalyst to a lot of my work and research interests as a current doctoral student and professional in Public Health.

As a doctoral student and thriving researcher, I consider my identity and privilege in my work. I understand that I come from and represent communities that are underrepresented and underserved, and it is my “Kuleana” or duty to uplift them.

Studying public health has been both frustrating and empowering. It is frustrating to learn about the inequities and health disparities especially in the communities I represent. I take this to also be empowering because I have the privilege and opportunity as a member of my community to bridge those gaps and contribute to providing solutions.

In my current research, I am investigating the effectiveness of existing health education materials on tobacco, cancer and healthy activities to improve health literacy and engagement for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities. Among the AANHPI population in general, health engagement remains relatively low compared to other groups. I hope to inform creative ways of developing and delivering health information that is representative and meaningful.

More importantly, I wish to bring more representation of the diverse AANHPI communities to my research. AANHPIs are heterogeneously rich in culture and experiences. Yet, many of the present literature is unable to capture those experiences. Most agencies, particularly at the federal level present AANHPI into one or two groups. I am a huge advocate for collecting and presenting disaggregated data. Having detailed data that highlights the diversity of our communities can better guide us to create meaningful, inclusive, and equitable policies for all.

Being a part of APPEAL has given me the opportunity to connect with community members and leaders who share similar interests, concerns, and goals. The experiences have always provided fresh and invigorating perspectives in ways to optimize the promotion of health equity and other areas that I have not yet been able to explore. APPEAL continues to inspire and propel my leadership in becoming a viable resource to improve health in our communities.

Andersen is part of the Gold Country Fellow Team. He is currently pursuing a Master of Public Health at UC Davis. Read about his project below.

“There is a growing concern of high smoking rates among international students on smoke-free campuses across the nation. Though the research on this topic may be limited, there is a need to address strategies that will engage this population with the campus smoke tobacco-free policy and tobacco cessation resources. This year-long project comprises three phases: outreach, data collection, and an adaption of a communication plan. In the outreach phase, we started marketing language-specific tobacco quitline advertisements in Chinese and Korean to new students at events on campus. During the data collection phase, we will be conducting focus groups with international students and international-related community stakeholders to gather information about health messages, strategies, and channels to effectively reach this population. Finally, we will use the data to develop tobacco prevention- communication materials and strategies in preparation for the next school year or for future campaign efforts.”

Alana is part of the Southern California Students Fellow Team. In September, she shared tobacco education resources at PIFA – the Pacific Islander Festival.

“PIFA is the largest and longest running Pacific Islander Festival on the mainland. This past year was it’s 25th anniversary and we welcomed more than 20,000 people. It takes place every year at Ski Beach in San Diego, CA and is held on the third weekend of September. My role for PIFA is Miss Pacific Islander of San Diego First Princess. Throughout the year I act as PIFA’s ambassador and take part in many community events throughout the year promoting PIFA’s message to promote, preserve, and perpetuate the cultures of Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia. Through this role I also created my own community project called “Sincerely, Alana.” I’ve been working on this channel and website for two years now and my mission is to educate youth about social issues, promote confidence, and provide resources – www.sincerelyalana.org. I’ve mentioned APPEAL and SPARC in multiple places on my website and have actually gotten a few people who have reached out and talked to me about applying for the next fellowship opportunity.”