IHPSD Team Members

Founder + Director

team member
Anika Ullah,
Founder and Director of Intersectional Health Project San Diego

Anika Ullah is a Human Biology and Interdisciplinary Computing in Visual Arts student at UC San Diego who is passionate about the intersection of scientific exploration, women's and minority health, and activism through data-driven multimedia storytelling. Aside from leading IHPSD, Anika interns in the Rob Knight lab, where she is leading a multi-omics clinical study on urinary tract infections in women, constructing novel data visualization frameworks, and doing science writing for the American Gut Project. In her free time, she enjoys creating activist art, longboarding, and backpacking.

IHPSD Investigative Teams

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Kara Lu,

Kara Lu is an English Literature, Environmental Studies, and Education Studies student who is interested in humanizing and empowering underrepresented populations through narratives. As an aspiring teacher, the core belief behind her passion for education is that literacy and creative agency are fundamental instruments for individuals and their communities to gain visibility, mobility, and advancement. On campus, she tutors for the English In Action program, participates in leadership for incoming students at Revelle College, and runs a student creative writing group called Literary Tinge. She loves to paint, play guitar, and spend time outside in the company of nature.

Public Health

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Nina Escueta,
Public Health Lead

Nina Escueta studies Human Biology, Global Health, and Chemistry at UC San Diego. She spends her days wondering about gaps: the gap between generations, the gap between social/economic classes, and the gap between those who have the means to help others and those who are in need of help. While Nina is aware that none of her areas of focus are, strictly speaking, Public Health, she is very active in Public Health-related projects. She has spent a year as an intern with the Peer Empowerment Program for Physical Activity in Low Income & Minority Seniors (PEP4PA) and is currently a Life Course Scholar under the Urban Studies Planning department. She happily spends her free time with her precious loved ones or with her face glued to her books, her sketchbook, or her Netflix screen.

team member
Kristine Pisikian,
Public Health Writer + Researcher

Kristine Pisikian is a Biochemistry/Cell Biology and Ethnic Studies student who is passionate about thinking critically in relation to the social, environmental, and health impact that scientific innovation has had and continues to have on varying underserved and underrepresented communities throughout the United States. Aside from academics and IHPSD, Kristine volunteers some of her time at the Neonatal ICU at Jacobs Medical Center and is actively involved in coordinating and participating in diverse service-oriented opportunities as part of UCSD’s Pre-Pharmacy Society. In her free time, she enjoys listening to and discovering new music, playing the ukulele, and spending time with her friends and family.

team member
Samreen Haque,
Public Health Writer + Researcher

Samreen Haque is a Physiology and Neuroscience student who is fascinated by both the micro and macrocosm of human function. From a neural circuit to a system of organs to our collective humanity-- she strives to understand how these relationships work, and how to make them better. Aside from IHPSD, she does research at a neuroimaging lab at the VA Hospital, studying the physiological and cognitive outcome of traumatic brain injury on Veterans. She also works at Kaizen Brain Center, administering TMS treatment to patients with neurological and psychiatric disorders. On her free time she likes drawing, hiking and pretending she can sing.

Environmental Justice

team member
Saakib Akbany,
Environmental Justice Lead

Saakib is studying Environmental Engineering at the University of California, San Diego and hopes to address the ways in which underrepresented groups often face the greatest burden when it comes to environmental health issues. He currently works at the County of San Diego Department of Energy and Sustainability and currently fills the role of Chief of Staff of the Office of Environmental Justice Affairs at UC San Diego. In his free time, he enjoys playing the guitar, kicking around some soccer balls, and experimenting with different cooking techniques.

Bar Yosef,
Environmental Justice Writer + Researcher

Bar Yosef is a Physiology and Neuroscience student. She is interested in promoting equity in health related issues. Bar is an undergraduate researcher at the Komiyama Lab and assists in studying how memory affects decision making. She also reports for the Saltman Quarterly, UCSD’s undergraduate biology research journal, and does STEM outreach for underserved high school students through Bioscholars. Bar enjoys skiing and going to the beach.

team member
Tokio Shimamura,
Environmental Justice Writer + Researcher

Tokio is a pre-medical student studying Environmental Systems with a focus in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution at University of California, San Diego. He aspires to be a primary care physician, and believes in providing a community-centered care that addresses the problem to its environmental, racial, and political roots. Tokio is a BLUM Intern under Professor Forman and Professor Cruz researching effective cross-border solutions to maintaining a healthy Tijuana River Estuary through grassroots environmental action. He also serves as VP of Risk Management for Beta Theta Pi Fraternity. In his free time Tokio can be found exploring San Diego’s multicultural culinary scene, getting into impromptu dance parties with friends, and hosting BBQ’s at his home.

Urban Planning

team member
Javier Martinez,
Urban Planning Lead

Javier Martinez is a Political Science, Ethnic Studies, and Urban Planning and Studies student at the UCSD. He is currently conducting an urban development project for his hometown community, Westlake, Los Angeles. He hopes to create a meaningful community development plan through a bottom-up approach and highlight the voices of residents from Westlake in their struggle against gentrification. Javier’s work fits into his larger research interest of race, politics, and uneven development. He aims to urge scholars to think about how politics and urban development is acted out at an everyday level and represent the stories of individuals often overlooked in the urban development process. Outside the academia, Javier loves to run. He is currently training for his 9th marathon in San Diego. He also loves photography, filming, and urban exploration.

Ashni Vora,
Urban Planning Writer and Researcher

Ashni Vora is a Biochemistry and Cell Biology student at UCSD. She hopes to someday find the cure for cancer, despite how cliche it sounds. She is passionate about helping people by any means available, and truly believes that an interdisciplinary approach is the best. She is a research intern at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Research Institute, where she studies the use of transdifferentiation of cells as a cure for genetic disorders. In her free time Ashni likes to dive into research, whether it is finding the perfect grilled cheese recipe or uncovering the biochemical basis of spontaneous human combustion; her curiosity is the major motivation for most things in her life. On any given weekend you could find her exploring San Diego, hiking, eating brunch or most likely, sleeping in.


team member
Kevin Patricio
Socioethnic Researcher

Kevin Patricio holds institutionalized cultural capital in the form of a BA in Sociology: Culture and Communication with a minor in Speculative Design/Visual Arts from the University of California, San Diego. Their particular areas of interest are in social practice art, DIY collectives/spaces, cultural production, the sociology of taste and distinction, performative social dramaturgy, technological consumption, knowledge (re)distribution, the subversion of institutional impositions of social reality, radical social movements, and micropunk communities. More importantly, they are interested in the ways that we can design the interface for intervening with and dismantling hegemonic cultural paradigms from the bottom-up to create the possibility for a better alternative future defined by collective shared responsibility and inclusive equity. They are currently involved with IHPSD, the Che Historical Project, and From Concentrate.

Data Visualization + Media

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Megan Chang
Data Vis Lead

Megan studies Applied Mathematics at the University of California, San Diego. She is interested in data analysis and exploring the way data-driven methods can be used to support all fields of study. In particular, she is passionate about researching the ways socioeconomic determinants impact population health. She currently works with the data visualization team at the UCSD Guardian to create visualizations that provide relevant information to students. She is concerned about the issues that affect the people in the city where she grew up and through IHPSD, she hopes to reach out and help the San Diego community in any way she can.

Anamaria Ancheta,
Photographer + Data Vis Researcher

Anamaria is a Biochemistry and Cell Biology undergraduate at the University of California, San Diego with the goal of becoming a pediatrician. She has a deep passion for the health and development of young children, taking it in action through working with the organization Saint Charles Caritas and providing children in orphanages in Tijuana, Mexico with basic hygiene kits, food, clothing, and school supplies. She is also an intern at the Shiley Eye Institute with the UCSD Eyemobile for Children, which provides free eye exams and glasses for preschool and elementary school children in underrepresented communities throughout San Diego County. Wanting to capture and share the stories of others, she happily joined IHSPD where she feels her photography can have a meaningful impact. In her free time, Anamaria enjoys playing basketball, hiking, reading and being around loved ones.

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Jacob Doering-Powell,
Photographer + Data Vis Researcher

Jacob is a Biochemistry and Cell Biology major at the University of California San Diego with the objective of going into the medical field. He loves telling stories through his film pictures on his Canon AE-1 for IHPSD and is constantly trying to learn from everybody he meets. Jacob is also an undergraduate research assistant at the Joe and Kit Pogliano lab at UCSD studying antibiotic resistant bacteria. In his free time, he enjoys good company, good food, traveling, soccer, and hiking.

team member
Krishna C. Suri,
Photographer + Data Vis Researcher

Unlike my GPA, my bio constantly evolves and is hard to compress and express into words...but I’ll give it shot here: I am a second year Environmental Systems major with a loosely defined aptitude for design and visuals. I hope to develop my programming, design and communication skills as applied to the club - in addition to other skills I already possess but am again, vaguely aware of. The one thing I know for certain is that I am fortunate to possess a malleable mind that enables me to be creative, and generate new and surprising ideas (at least to me, they are). I hope to rely on this sole ability of mine to keep up with my (clearly) more interesting and qualified partners on this exciting project. In the long term I hope to promote a culture of self-sufficiency and sustainability among people of the world.

Omron Hassan,
Photographer + Field-Interviewer

Omron is a Biochemistry & Cell Biology graduate of the UCSD class of 2017, and aims to become a physician. He is involved his home-city of San Diego’s community, where he works with organizations such as SDHHI to promote access to preventative health resources. Omron believes the key to impactful improvements in the quality of life of the underserved is to first understand the context behind their situation - the patient’s perspective in healthcare terms, synonymous with IHPSD’s mission of portraying the unfortunate realities of San Diego’s underserved population. In Omron’s quest for developing a skillset pertaining to practicing medicine, he has joined the UCSD Psychiatry Department where he conducts research with the aim of discovering therapeutics for neurodevelopmental disorders. On Omron’s free time, he enjoys the company of his local car enthusiast community, and loves to ballroom dance!

IHPSD in Action Teams

Self Sustaining Emergency Energy Devices for Barrio Logan Residents

Lin Hein,
Engineering Lead

Lin is an electrical engineering student with specialization in power engineering and alternative energy. He aims to work in the field of energy and power management or social innovation or academia (honestly, he’s really not sure at this point). He works on projects that promote sustainability and social innovation. Lin is heavily involved with the Jacobs School of Engineering’s humanitarian engineering program, Global TIES, where he works as an adviser to student lead projects. He likes to travel and eat, although he’s not a big fan of sweets. He prefers room temperature water to cold water, even on hot days! Lin’s latest method of procrastination is having Nerf gun fights with his roommates. Favorite quote: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” - Gandhi

Saakib Akbany, Sustainability Lead
Anika Ullah, Design and Civic Engagement Lead
Megan Chang, Data Vis Lead

Mobilizing Homeless Parents to Create a Community Plan + Providing Accessible Public Health Education

Anika Ullah, Public Health + Civic Engagement Lead
Nina Escueta, Public Health Lead
Javier Ambrosio, Urban Planning and Policy Lead
Kara Lu, Education Lead
Volunteer Coordinator
Meisha Khan