UCLA Center for Health Policy Research (CHPR) Health Equity Challenge Team

  • Ninez A. Ponce, PhD, MPP, is the director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and a professor and chair in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. She leads the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), the nation’s largest state health survey, recognized as a national model for data collection on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), and immigrant health.
  • Kathryn Kietzman, PhD, MSW, is the director of the Health Equity Program and a senior research scientist at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, and an associate researcher at the Department of Community Health Sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Her research focuses primarily on the long-term health and social care needs of physically, socially, and financially vulnerable populations.

“We know students can bring new insights and ideas to address some of our most pressing challenges. With support from mentors across the university and California public health community, students will fully develop their ideas and have the chance to turn these ideas into action. We’re very excited to get to work with UCLA students in this way and give them a unique opportunity to make an impact on issues they care about.”

  • AJ Scheitler, EdD, is the director of development, engagement, and strategic planning at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. AJ also manages several large programs at the Center, including a national network of population health survey leaders and data users promoting the improved collection and dissemination of critical local and state health data.
  • Tiffany Lopes is the director of communications and publications at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. Tiffany oversees the strategy and direction of the Center’s internal and external communications, including production of the Center’s publications, media relations, marketing, branding, email communications, website content, and social media.

Current Funders

MolinaCares Health Equity Challenge Team

  • Carolyn Ingram is the executive director of the MolinaCares Foundation and executive vice president for Molina Healthcare, Inc. As the executive director of MolinaCares, Carolyn leads the strategic direction and giving of the foundation. Prior to Molina, Carolyn notably served as the New Mexico Medicaid director for almost a decade, helping reform critical aspects of the program for Medicaid beneficiaries across the state.
  • Abbie Totten is the Molina Healthcare of California Plan president and has almost 20 years of Medicaid and California healthcare experience. Abbie has served in various public policy and Medicaid-centric roles, all focused on advancing care for low-income Californians.

“MolinaCares understands from our work across California, and across the country, that health disparities are widespread and require ongoing resources and solutions to resolve. We are excited to partner with UCLA to invest in the public health leaders of tomorrow and spur creative thinking on how to solve persistent issues faced by vulnerable communities across California.” — Abbie Totten

  • Stephen Somers, PhD, is an independent consultant who founded the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS), where he was president and CEO for more than 20 years. CHCS is a nationally recognized center on improving care for beneficiaries of publicly financed programs. Steve also taught an undergraduate policy task force at Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs for nearly two decades.

California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) Health Equity Challenge Team

  • Kara Carter is senior vice president of strategy and programs at the California Health Care Foundation, where she develops strategies, provides overall guidance, and leads the program teams in the development, execution, and assessment of CHCF’s work. In this role, Kara provides thought leadership and support to CHCF’s grantmaking programs and priorities, as well as CHCF’s program-related investments and learning and impact functions.

“CHCF is honored and excited to support the Health Equity Challenge. As a state and as a society, we can only deliver on the promise of better health for all if we address longstanding inequities in care. I cannot wait to see the solutions that this rising generation of leaders brings forth through this program and in the years to come.” — Kara Carter

  • Gina Martinez, PhD, is a learning and evaluation officer for the California Health Care Foundation’s Learning & Impact team, which aims to optimize the foundation’s impact by supporting organizational and field learning and evaluation. Prior to joining CHCF, Gina worked as a social impact researcher for 11 years at the intersection of community needs and public policy, most recently at Resource Development Associates Consulting, where she focused on behavioral health program evaluation.