About Us

Director's Message

Ninez Ponce, MPP, PhD

Director, CGIH

Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management


Welcome to the UCLA Center for Global and Immigrant Health (CGIH)!    As CGIH’s director, I have quickly learned that the CGIH approach to health is one that it is multidisciplinary, global and local, and hands-on.

A fundamental belief we share at the Center is that immigrant health and global health must go hand-in-hand.  We recognize this because we are situated in Los Angeles, where approximately 35% of the population was born outside of the U.S.  Our faculty and students reflect this diversity, with numerous committed faculty and students rooted in the rich immigrant communities of Los Angeles or connected to communities and institutions across the globe.   

In many cases, the challenges facing immigrant communities in Los Angeles mirror those of these communities’ home countries. Successes at home can be applied abroad, and vice versa.   CGIH aims to cultivate interdisciplinary collaborations among faculty and students working in global and immigrant health and is well positioned to spearhead the types of global and immigrant health initiatives that are urgently needed to improve health outcomes.

I am also honored to continue to support and grow the programs initiated by CGIH’s founding Director Gail Harrison at its inception in 2008, notably the Global Health Certificate.  Cohorts of students each year in the Global Health Certificate program come back with unique, life changing experiences: from working on reproductive health education in the streets of Kamapala, Uganda to working with families living south of the U.S.-Mexican border.  Since 2008, we have conferred the certificate to over 100 students both here at the Fielding School of Public Health and across several graduate and professional schools at UCLA.   I would like to thank Dr. Steve Wallace and Dr. Harout Armenian, who have supported the CGIH as associate directors for many years, and Dr. Shira Shafir, as assistant director.

With Dr. James Macinko, and Dr. Anne Rimoin as the new Associate Directors at the CGIH, our leadership team possesses area expertise in Africa, Latin America, and the immigrant communities here in the US, and content expertise in health services research, health policy, community health sciences and epidemiology.  But this is only a start.  Please check out our Faculty page to see the tremendous range of expertise our FSPH faculty offers and our Dispatches from the Field showcasing the fieldwork of our FSPH students.   

I hope you find our website helpful and we welcome your feedback and support.