Health Equity

Health equity is the state in which everyone has a fair and just opportunity to attain their highest level of health.” CDC, 2022. More.

One important step toward health equity is the promotion of health literacy. With funding from the National Library of Medicine G08 LM014109, the Refugee Reproductive Health Network promotes digital sexual and reproductive health literacy among Afghan and Arab refugees in Sacramento, California, and beyond.

Our Aims

Create a publicly available digital library of multilingual (Dari, Pashto, and Arabic) reproductive health resources for Afghan and Arab refugee populations
Compile and curate resources in Dari, Pashto, and Arabic for audiences with limited literacy skills using standardized instruments to ensure that the materials are evidence-based, accurate, and culturally appropriate. The online library targets refugee women and service providers who work with refugees.
Enhance Afghan and Arab refugee’s reproductive health literacy (RHL) in Sacramento, California.
Conduct a series of 12 in-person and 12 online reproductive health education training sessions in coordination with the Sacramento Public Library and ReproNet partners in Sacramento [link to upcoming events]. The training sessions adapt the ReproNet resource materials (i.e., PowerPoint presentations, YouTube videoclips, online education training) and integrate additional didactic materials to develop and implement a three-session Reproductive Health Education program. All Dari-, Pashto-, Arabic-, and English-language materials used in this program are literacy, linguistically, and culturally appropriate.
Increase the capacity of refugee providers to integrate reproductive health education into their programs
Disseminate reproductive health education resources nationwide through the National Medical Library, the ReproNet network and partners. Offer webinars to build capacities across the United States to integrate reproductive health education into clinical care, English as a Second or Other Language (ESOL), cultural awareness, and culturally competent health promotion programs.

Core Executive Team

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Heike Thiel de Bocanegra, PhD, MPH
Asiya Yama
Asiya Yama, BA
Lana Machta
Lana Machta, BS
Madelynn Dickerson
Madelynn Dickerson
Marius Koga
Marius Koga, MD, MPH
Zahra Goliaei MD, MPH, PhD
Haidy Neamaallah, MD, MPH
Fahim Pirzada
Ahmad Fahim Pirzada, MD
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Katie Ball, BA
Gulshan Yusufzai
Molly Milazzo
Molly Milazzo, MLIS

Reproductive Health Equity Scholars

Donya Mohammadi
Donya is a 2nd year pre-med student majoring in biological sciences at UCI. She is passionate about women’s health and hopes to pursue a future a career as an OB-GYN and work against reproductive health inequities.
Usra Mursal Wasil
Usra Mursal Wasil is a dedicated and passionate individual who recently obtained her Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree in Afghanistan. She is currently volunteering for ReproNet and is preparing to pursue her career as a dentist in the USA.
Tariq Mukatash
Tariq received his B.A. in Microbiology with an emphasis on Public Health from the University of California, Davis. He then achieved his M.S. in Medical Physiology from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Tariq intends to pursue a medical degree to become a physician with aspirations to bridge the gaps of healthcare disparities amongst underserved communities.
Saria Nassar
Saria Nassar is a Public Health Major at UCI. He hopes to be able to better inform and deliver preventative care through his future career in dentistry as well as through Repronet’s Reproductive Care website.
Adiba Safiri
Adiba Safiri is a fourth year undergraduate student in a pre medical career with a major in Psychological Science. With both clinical and research experience, she is a dedicated individual and extremely motivated to pursue her future in the healthcare industry. In her free time, she reads, volunteers, and tries cooking new foods.
Gabriela De Lara, BS.
Gabriela is a 4th year pre med student majoring in Biological Sciences. Focusing on latinx and underrepresented communities. Her overall goal is to become a Physician in the Pediatric field.
Razan Al-Obaidy
Razan is majoring in Human Biology at UCI and pursuing a career in dentistry. Being an immigrant herself, Razan is currently conducting a study on identifying barriers in access to oral healthcare in refugees and immigrants. She is passionate about ensuring health quality amongst all people regardless of their background or ethnicity.
Nashrah Mariam
Nashrah is a Pakistani 3rd year Biological Sciences Major at UCI. She hopes to go into the healthcare field to be able to provide healthcare equity to immigrant populations and others who may be disadvantaged.
Layla D
Layla Dalati
Layla is a Biology Major going into Pre-Med. Coming from an immigrant background, she wants to be the first Surgeon in her family and that is what passionately drives her to work harder.
Amira Zayed | Arabic (العربية)
Amira is a fourth year biology major and Medical Humanities minor passionate about improving health literacy in Arabic-speaking communities, due to her Egyptian heritage. She hopes to become a dermatologist or pediatrician and to promote empathy and understanding in the medical field.
Laila Zaib
Laila Zaib, MPH, BS
Laila received her B.S. in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior and MPH with an emphasis in Global Health from UC Davis. Through her fellowship with CDPH CAl-EIS fellowship she hopes to further develop her knowledge in the field of public, maternal, and child epidemiology.
Taj Najjar
Taj Najjar
Taj is majoring in Public Health Sciences and aspiring to pursue a career in dentistry. Coming from a Syrian background, Taj is passionate about others specifically Arab refugees and immigrants achieve quality health.
Amanda Hoang
Amanda is a 4th year pre-med student at UCI and intends to become a physician in the field of pediatrics.
Ameryl Loi
Ameryl Loi
Ameryl is a dedicated advocate for reproductive health equity and justice. She has previously been involved with the UCSF HEAL Initiative and GlobeMed at Berkeley. She plans to become an ObGyn and continue working on reproductive health disparities.
Noor Abushaban
Noor Abushaban
Noor received her BSc in Microbiology and Immunology from UC, Irvine. She gained research experience through participation in reproductive health project and volunteering at surgical and nursing units. Noor is hoping to pursue a career in medicine.
Sima Naderi, MPH, MSc, Ph.D
Sima Naderi, MPH, MSc
Sima is a Global Health researcher from Afghanistan. She earned her MSc in Global Health from UCSF, in 2023. Currently, she is coordinating a project on health and life vulnerabilities of Afghan refugees in the United States.
Israa Al-Jumaa
Israa Al-Jumaa, BA
Israa is first-generation immigrant who received her BSc in Biological Sciences from UC, Irvine in 2022. She is interested in pursuing a career in preventative medicine.
Roseanne De Guzman
Roseanne is a pre-med student at UC, Irvine. She is aspiring to pursue a career in healthcare and hope to work against health inequity.
Pontea Doroudian
Pontea Doroudian, BA
Pontea is first year medical student at Wayne State University in Michigan who intends to pursue the field of reproductive endocrinology. She loves traveling, fashion, art, music, and fighting for reproductive health equity and justice!
  1. “What Is Health Equity?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 July 2022,,health%20and%20health%20care%3B%20and.
  2. “Health Literacy in Healthy People 2030.” Health Literacy in Healthy People 2030 – Healthy People 2030, Accessed 24 July 2023.
  3. National Library of Medicine (NLM), NLM Strategic Plan for 2017-2027: A platform for Biomedical Discovery and Data Powered Health, 2017.