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

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.