Ninez A. Ponce, PhD, MPP, is an expert on immigrant and global health, survey-based research, social determinants of health, and health disparities. She serves as director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and principal investigator of the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS). Ponce is a professor in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s Department of Health Policy and Management.

Ponce helped develop the first CHIS in 2001, and has led numerous pioneering efforts in multicultural survey research, including measures of racial/ethnic identity, acculturation, generational status, and discrimination. For CHIS, she devised the rationale and implementation of Asian ethnic oversamples and the cultural and linguistic adaptation of the survey in Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), Korean, Vietnamese, and Tagalog.

Ponce was deputy director of the Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum, a national advocacy organization promoting the health of Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities in the United States and U.S. territories. She has also served as a consultant with many community-based organizations, including Oakland’s La Clinica de la Raza and Asian Health Services.

Ponce has contributed extensively to professional societies and committees focused on racial/ethnic disparities research, such as the National Academy of Medicine Subcommittee on the Standardized Collection of Race, Ethnicity, and Language Data. Ponce was also previously a board member of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, and board vice-chair of the National Health Law Program. She currently co-chairs the National Quality Forum Disparities Standing Committee. She also serves on the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Center for Health Statistics, which conducts most major federal health surveys in the United States, and on the Multicultural External Advisory Council of the Nielsen Company (U.S.). Ponce also currently serves as a commissioner for the One Nation Commission focused on public charge.

Ponce earned her bachelor’s degree in science at UC Berkeley, her master’s degree in public policy at Harvard University, and her PhD in health services at UCLA.


  •   2019 HSR Impact Award

Authored by Ninez A. Ponce, Ph.D., M.P.P.