AAPI and Health Disparities Consciousness


Dr. Elisa Choi, Asian American Commission (AAC)

Dr. Choi has previously served as both Vice Chairperson and Chairperson of the AAC, during her Commissioner tenure. She is currently the Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee of the AAC. She is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases, and practices both as an Internist and as an Infectious Disease, HIV, and Hepatitis infection specialist. Dr. Choi has a particular interest in healthcare disparities, and in providing culturally competent care of health issues affecting Asian-Pacific Islander and minority populations. She has published articles, has written book chapters, and has been invited to lecture regionally and nationally on various Infectious Disease, HIV, and healthcare and health policy topics. Dr. Choi has been on the faculty at Harvard Medical School for many years, and holds a clinical educational leadership position in her practice. She is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians (ACP), serves as an elected member of the Massachusetts ACP Chapter’s Governor’s Council, and currently holds an Officer position as Secretary/Treasurer. Dr. Choi is also the Co-Chair Emeritus of the Health and Public Policy Committee of the Massachusetts ACP Chapter and remains an active member of this committee. She has extensive experience in healthcare and public health advocacy efforts at Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, for a number of years, and has also been actively involved in the planning and organization of an annual Advocacy Day at the MA State House for the MA ACP Chapter since 2016. Dr. Choi has received the MA ACP Chapter’s Leadership Award in 2014, and serves on numerous national ACP committees. Dr. Choi is the current Governor-Elect, and will be the next Governor, of the MA ACP Chapter, becoming the first woman, and only Asian American female, to serve as Governor, in the history of the MA ACP chapter. In addition to her professional efforts, Dr. Choi has been active in the Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) community for many years, through her involvement as a Board member, Board Secretary/Clerk, Board Chair, and current role as Board Chair Emeritus of MAP (Massachusetts Asian & Pacific Islanders) for Health, a community-based nonprofit organization that works to improve healthcare access, disease prevention, and service delivery for the Asian & Pacific Islander (API) community in Massachusetts. She also serves on the Board of numerous other non-profit organizations (ATASK – Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence; KACL-NE – Korean American Citizens League of New England; NAAAP Boston – National Association of Asian American Professionals, Boston Chapter; Company One Theatre, as Board Advisor), which support the AAPI communities of MA in various ways. Dr. Choi is also an invited Advisory member of various regional and national healthcare related panels and committees. Dr. Choi remains passionately committed to promoting advocacy and awareness of issues affecting the AAPI populations of the Commonwealth in her role as Commissioner. 


Dr. Ivy Ho, Ph.D – Associate Professor, U-Mass Lowell

Ivy K. Ho received her PhD in Clinical Health Psychology from the University of
Louisville.  She is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of
Massachusetts Lowell.  She is also a founding member of the UMass Lowell Center for Asian American Studies.  She conducts research in women’s health, with particular focus on the biopsychosocial factors associated with physical health of women who occupy other marginalized identities.  Much of her work focuses on health disparities and social determinants of health among Asian American women. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in health psychology, women’s health and applied psychology. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Lowell Community Health Center, and is on the Greater Lowell Health Alliance’s Steering Committee. She also serves as a commissioner on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Asian American Commission.

Dr. C‎arolyn Leung-Rubin, ED, MA – Assistant Professor, Tufts Medical Center
In her teaching, Dr. Rubin utilizes experiential, art-based, hands-on pedagogical strategies to create a productive learning community for students. She is committed to teaching and mentoring that challenges students to be creative and empowered in directing their own learning paths, while honoring the history of their families and communities.


Research Interest(s):

Dr. Carolyn L. Rubin is a social scientist trained in theories of racial and ethnic inequality, immigration, community development and qualitative methods. Her research agenda focuses on using collaborative community research partnerships to address health disparities in underserved communities in Boston. She has led community-based participatory research projects related to Asian women’s health and also developed research capacity-building programs for community partners. Currently, she is co-investigator on two community-engaged projects, one with the Asian Community Development Corporation that looks at the impact of stable housing on health outcomes, and the second with the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood that looks at the role of arts and culture in promoting social cohesion and social networks.  Dr. Rubin also directs the ADAPT Coalition, (Addressing disparities in Asian populations through translational research), a project of the Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute. The ADAPT Coalition focuses on strengthening the capacity of Tufts researchers and Chinatown community partners to use community engaged research approaches to address Asian American health disparities.  Her work as a researcher and teacher is informed by twenty years of experience working as a community builder with the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in various cities around the US. She grew up in San Francisco, California.

Monica Valdes-Lupi, Executive Director, Boston Public Health Commission

Monica Valdes Lupi, JD, MPH, joined the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) as Executive Director in February 2016. Among other public health priorities, she has promoted three strategic organizational priorities: preventing and treating substance abuse, strengthening the city’s partnerships with healthcare organizations, and advancing health equity for all Bostonians.   

As the Executive Director of the BPHC, the city’s health department, she serves as the key advisor to Mayor Walsh on health issues and continues to build innovative partnerships across city agencies to leverage strategic opportunities for housing, economic development, transportation, education and environmental policies to positively impact the health of all Boston residents.
Prior to joining BPHC, Ms. Valdes Lupi served as the Chief Program Officer for the Health Systems Transformation team at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) where she led initiatives on health equity, public health integration with primary care, Medicaid/Public Health Partnerships, public health informatics, and state health policy.
Ms. Valdes Lupi also served as the Deputy Commissioner for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) before joining ASTHO. She was also the first Chief of Staff at the Boston Public Health Commission where she led the City’s early efforts to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities and oversaw the distribution of nearly $2 million in grants aimed at improving the health for Boston’s most vulnerable residents.  
Ms. Valdes Lupi received her JD from the Dickinson School of Law, her MPH from the Boston University School of Public Health, and her BA from Bryn Mawr College.  She lives in Boston with her husband, two children, and a house full of pets.