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Who We Are

Since 2016, Homeless HEAL, also known as Homeless Health and Empowerment Across Learning, has been empowering hundreds of homeless individuals with health-based education classes to better their quality of life. As a student-run, non-profit organization, our strategy is to train Student Educators who believe in the power of knowledge in promoting self-awareness and improving health decision-making. We educate our clients on the consequences that their actions can have on their bodies from a scientific perspective and in a culturally competent manner.

We believe it is critical to understand that effective care for the underserved is incomplete without addressing the medical consequences of poverty. Therefore, our curriculum, which is tailored to each homeless facility we serve in San Diego, consists of over 20 diverse classes that focuses on treatment and preventative medicine for this community. Shelters we have offered and currently offer our services to include the San Diego Rescue Mission, Urban Street Angels, and Oasis Clubhouse. As we expand our organization, we are excited to reach out to other homeless and underserved shelters across San Diego.

We embrace the challenge of teaching science-based health classes to the underserved in our community. Our team consists of hardworking and dedicated researchers, medical students, educators, and pre-health students at the University of California, San Diego. We come together with the hopes of filling the void of health education, as well as generating creative solutions to address social and economic determinants of health in order to make a sustainable social impact.

“While conducting the annual census, I came to see and hear some of the hardships our local San Diego homeless community faces on a daily basis. Being a part of the census also opened my eyes to how underserved our homeless community really is and how much the community could benefit from increased outreach and accessibility to resources.” Shyam P.

“Teaching at Homeless HEAL has been a rewarding experience to educate the homeless community of downtown San Diego on health based topics. It has been a joy to see familiar faces return to learn more and ask questions about their health. ” Peter P.

Board of Advisors

Ramon A. Hernandez

PRIMARY BOARD ADVISOR

Dr. Ramón A. Hernandez, DrPH, MPH, is the Associate Director for the Center for Community Health and the Section Chief for Community Health in the Department of Pediatrics at UC San Diego, School of Medicine. He is part of a dynamic team focused on preventing chronic diseases and promoting health equity through policy, systems, and […]

Omar Sahial

CO-FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT

Omar is an alumnus of the UniversityLink Medical Science Program and graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a Bachelors of Science degree in Human Biology. He is currently enrolled in an MD program at the University of Washington, School of Medicine. Before medicine, Omar was a former business owner with a client-centered […]

Sadaf Chaudry

CO-FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT

Sadaf is from San Diego, California. She received her Bachelors of Science in Human Biology from the University of California, San Diego and will starting Medical School at the UCSD School of Medicine as part of the entering class of 2018. She has been honored to receive UCSD’s 2018 Change Maker’s Award. Sadaf has dedicated […]

Lindsay Ward

COMMUNITY OUTREACH ADVISOR

Lindsay Ward, IMF was educated at the University of Alabama and received her MS in Counseling Psychology. Lindsay is currently the Team Lead for Telecare PROPS Program. She has worked extensively with homeless youth and has served on the county of San Diego’s Housing council.

Christopher Larson

CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT ADVISOR

Chris serves on the Boards of Directors for the San Diego chapters of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and American Diabetes Association, and on the early-career grants review committee of The Obesity Society. He is an advisor to the Harrington Discovery Institute, the Center for Molecule and Translational Medicine at the University of California-Riverside […]

Administration/Officers

Cheyenne Mercer

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Cheyenne Mercer was born and raised in San Diego. She attended San Diego Mesa Community College where she studied biochemistry and obtained an Associates of Science in Biology. During her time at Mesa Cheyenne was involved in many on-campus activities. She volunteered in the chemistry laboratory, conducted research and created a course experiment on nutrient […]

Yosef Faig

OUTREACH DIRECTOR

Yosef was raised in San Diego and is currently a third year pre-medical student at UCSD obtaining his bachelor’s degree in physiology and neuroscience. During his earlier years at UCSD, he has devoted much time to shadowing various physicians, focusing his efforts primarily on internal medicine and emergency medicine, where he encountered numerous homeless individuals that were to be treated […]

Kevin Kahru

DIRECTOR OF ADMISSIONS / TREASURER

Deepti Gunge

EDUCATION DIRECTOR

Besma Chaudry

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Educators

Krystle Parnala

Krystle was born in Los Angeles, California. She is completing her Bachelors of Science in Physiology and Neuroscience with a minor in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego and will be graduating in 2019. In the future, she plans to pursue a career in medicine. Krystle is an advocate for mental health and believes in the power of preventative care in living healthy sustainable lives […]

Peter Park

Peter Park was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma until he was five when he moved to California to be raised in a little town called San Dimas. Now, he is a fourth year at UCSD finishing his Major in Human Biology and Minor in Healthcare Social Issues in pursuit of becoming a physician. In addition to Homeless HEAL, he is involved in another campus organization (GMMA) focused on uniting Christian pre-health students with local Christian healthcare professionals […]

Renu Bansal

Renu is from San Jose, CA and is currently a fourth year pre-medical student at the University of California, San Diego. She will be graduating this year with a Bachelors of Art in Global Health, and continuing her path to attend medical school to become a physician. As a Global Health student, she has explored and learned about the various health disparities that underserved communities experience […]

Judy Tang

Judy was born and raised in Alhambra, CA. She recently graduated from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), where she received her Bachelor of Science in Cognitive Science, with a Specialization in Neuroscience and plans to pursue a career in nursing. Through her years in undergraduate studies, she devoted herself to Cognitive Science and neuroscience by becoming an Instructional Assistant for the Introduction to Cognitive Science course […]

FOUNDING MEMBERS

Aaron Figueora
Cheyenne Mercer
Gabriela Benito
John Nungaray
Omar Sahial
Sadaf Chaudry

PAST MEMBERS

Michelle Hamed

Get In Touch!

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