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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

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

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 […]

Ericka Vargas

PROGRAM SUPERVISOR AT OASIS CLUBHOUSE

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 […]

Besma Chaudry

PRESIDENT

Besma is a 3rd year General Biology major who was born and raised in San Diego, California. Her academic and extracurricular experiences drove her to join and play a pivotal role in Homeless HEAL in its early years. As an intern at the Palomar Health Pathmaker Internship, Besma is grateful to directly serve and deliver compassionate care to patients and contribute to their healing […]

Yosef Faiq

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

Kevin has lived in San Diego his entire life, and is currently in his gap year after just recently graduating with a dual major in both Biochemistry and History from UCSD.
After following his passion for global health by working for 4 years in medical clinics in Mexico (during which time he became fluent in Spanish), he began to recognize through the patients he helped treat the incomparable nature of the healthcare challenges facing homeless communities […]

Judy Tang

TREASURER

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 […]

Deepti Gunge

EDUCATION 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 […]

Raven Wilbur

Raven Wilbur is a 4th year General Biology major and Bioethics minor. Having been with Homeless Heal since the Fall of 2018, she has been a student educator for several presentations as well as a Lead Instructor for the Women’s and Family Health Unit along with attending events in the community that support the homeless community […]

Preethi Veeragandbam

Preethi was born in Indiana and currently lives in Dublin, California. She is a third year majoring in Human Biology and minoring in Health Care Social Issues, and plans to pursue a career in the medicine after graduating. She currently works as a research assistant in the Saltiel Lab in UCSD School of Medicine, department of endocrinology. In addition to Homeless HEAL, Preethi is also a part of Associated Students, where she serves as a senator […]

Shyam Patel

Shyam was born in San Jose, CA and raised in the East Bay in a town called San Ramon, CA. Currently, Shyam is a fourth-year pre-medical student at UC San Diego majoring in Human Biology. Shyam plans to attend medical school following graduation with an interest to serve as a primary care physician in the future. In addition to being a student educator for HomelessHEAL […] 

Metta Ngyuen

I am a recent UCSD graduate in the process of applying to medical school. I joined Homeless Heal because I truly enjoy teaching and believe that learning, in any form, unites people and makes life more fulfilling. I have been involved in both educational and clinical service, and plan to continue this dedication throughout medical school and beyond […]

Somia Sahial

Somia is from San Diego, California. She is currently an undergrad at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) working on obtaining her bachelor’s of science in Global Health. She plans on continuing her education into the path of medicine and pursue pediatrics. She volunteered at the UCSD Student-Run Free Clinic where she assisted patients with their healthcare application process, alongside explored and communicated with multiple pharmaceutical companies regarding free healthcare programs for patients who are uninsured […] 

Max Rossip

Max was born in Palo Alto, CA and raised in Silicon Valley. Max is a fourth-year majoring in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience and minoring in Music. After graduating, Max plans to continue doing research and travel before attending medical school. During middle and high school, Max would often visit his father at Valley Medical Center where he worked as an emergency physician […]

Jeffrey Huey-Chuan Chiu

As an Asian American, I had the rare opportunity to grow up in China and Malaysia. My travels and exposures helped me develop keen interests in human society and the natural world we live in. Since attending UCSD four years ago, I have completed my major in microbiology and is, currently, finishing up my minor in computer science […]

FOUNDING MEMBERS

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

PAST MEMBERS

Michelle Hamed
Renu Bansal
Luay Naji

Get In Touch!

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