SCIL Conference

StoryCon 2017
Tuesday, March 7, 2017 | 12-4 pm

Alumni House, UC Berkeley

The Student Collaborative for Impact Leadership (SCIL) thanks everyone who joined us for our 5th annual conference, StoryCon 2017: The Policy Puzzle!

Every day, policy determines the rights and freedoms we exercise as individuals. As public health leaders, policy plays an integral part in influencing health and has the ability to improve lives. Storytelling is essential to the legislative process. Through storytelling, we can advocate for policy change to improve population health, secure grant money for our research and organizations, and tell the stories of the communities we serve.

"The Policy Puzzle" reflects the complex nature of policymaking. Who are the key decision makers? How does the legislative process operate? How might we, as public health practitioners influence policy?

We hope StoryCon 2017 informed public health students and practitioners about the legislative process, initiated engagement with policy, and inspired individuals to play an active role in shaping policy in their respective fields.

This conference:

  • Informed students and public health practitioners about the legislative process
  • Initiated engagement with policy through storytelling
  • Inspired individuals to play a role in shaping policy

Resources from the conference:

Download our flyer here!

Keynote Speaker:

Thu Quach, Ph.D. is the Director of Community Health and Research at Asian Health Services (AHS), a federally qualified health center in Oakland, California, that provides culturally competent health care to more than 27,000 patients in English and 12 Asian languages. In this role, she oversees community outreach, patient engagement, and health policy advocacy efforts. In addition, she leads research projects, such as clinic-based interventions, quality improvement, and payment reform analyses. As an epidemiologist, she has focused much of her work on examining the influence of environmental and socio-cultural factors on the health of the Asian American and Pacific Islander populations. In addition to AHS, she also works at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California as a Research Scientist, where she leads research studies on environmental health issues affecting disadvantaged populations, including occupational chemical exposures for Vietnamese nails salon workers. Dr. Quach is involved in local, statewide, and national research and policy efforts to promote health equity, including data warehouses, community-based participatory research, civic engagement, and health policy. She received an MPH at UCLA and a PhD in Epidemiology at UC Berkeley.

Workshop: Partnering with Youth for Health Policy Reform
Presented by Anna Johnson, Lewis Cohen, and Tisha Ortiz

Anna Johnson is the lead policy analyst at the National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) working on reducing overmedication of foster youth and improving access to community and therapeutic services for youth. Anna works with young adults and current foster youth to ensure their voices influence policies affecting them. Passion for this work originated from six years of classroom experience in under-resourced schools. Prior to working in policy, Anna taught at Urban Promise Academy in Oakland Unified School District for four years, at Potter Thomas Bilingual Academy in Philadelphia, and in Madison, Wisconsin, serving homeless youth and families in the CASPER program. She witnessed how traumatic experiences, stress, poverty, and environmental factors impact children's development and relationships. Creating and maintaining a safe, supportive classroom environment was the primary focus of her work as an educator. Anna knows that providing services, care, and attention to youth who live under the daily stress of violence, poverty, and other forms of abuse can help young people build resiliency and thrive in the short and long term. Anna remains proud of her students' accomplishments and leadership in their communities. Anna dedicates NCYL policy efforts toward partnering with youth and young adults to improve the treatment of young people in schools, communities, homes, and neighborhoods. Anna holds degrees from UC Berkeley (MPP), UW Madison (BA, Social Work), and U Penn (Urban Ed). Follow her @AnnaMaureen83 on Twitter.

Lewis Cohen joined the National Center for Youth Law NCYL in 2014. He has an extensive background in public policy, advocacy, and journalism, with a particular focus on education. Lewis is a former deputy mayor of Oakland, California, and served as the mayor's Senior Policy Advisor for Education. He has also worked for the Oakland Public Schools as the Assistant Superintendent for Government, Policy, and Legislative Affairs. In addition, Lewis was executive director of one of the nation's best-known school-reform organizations, the Coalition of Essential Schools. Prior to working in the education arena, Lewis worked in television as a producer and was national affairs correspondent for Pacifica Radio. He earned his BA in sociology at the University of Michigan.

Student Speakers

Linh Chuong
Graduate Student—first-year MPH, Health Policy and Management
Linh Chuong is a first-year MPH candidate in health policy and management. She was formerly the health policy advocate with the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, a national organization that advances the interests of Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese Americans by empowering communities through advocacy, leadership development, and capacity building. She handled their state-level health policy advocacy work and also trained direct service providers, community members, and students on advocacy. Prior to this, she was a fellow in Taiwan working on the topics of immigrant integration and labor rights with Vietnamese immigrant women married to Taiwanese men and migrant workers.

Irene Calimlim
Graduate Student – first-year MPH, Health and Social Behavior & MCP, Environmental Design and Healthy Cities
Irene Calimlim is a current first year in the joint MPH (Health & Social Behavior) and master’s in City and Regional Planning program (Environmental Design & Healthy Cities), with an interest in the built environment and instituting equity focused policies in marginalized, low-income communities of color. She also holds a BA from Stanford University in human biology with a concentration in health in underserved communities. After graduating, Irene worked in rural India with the Comprehensive Rural Health Project to learn about their model of empowerment and development working with female village health workers; in southern Japan teaching English at a medical school; and in her hometown of Stockton doing local community organizing around health justice with Fathers & Families of San Joaquin and Reinvent South Stockton Coalition. Currently, she is working with The Greenlining Institute, a racial justice policy organization, around directing nonprofit hospital community benefit spending to the social determinants of health and to increase opportunities for girls of color to enter into the health careers pipeline.

Irene first got involved in policy last year from working with Fathers & Families of San Joaquin, a grassroots nonprofit organization with a history of getting people impacted by the criminal justice system involved in policy advocacy at the local and state level. There, she helped organize statewide advocacy campaigns for several large coalition lobby days, such as Quest for Democracy, California Parks Now Coalition, and Having Our Say Coalition, as well as other advocacy lobbying around bills of interest in criminal justice, trauma recovery, racial equity, educational equity, and health justice. Locally, she led an effort to pass an ordinance to require restaurants serving kids meals to make water the default beverage. She also put on a community forum, "Greenlining the Hood," to raise awareness of historical redlining practices in Stockton and the potential of statewide Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds to bring resources to the city's disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Pierce Gordon
Graduate Student - PhD
As a dual National Science Foundation (NSF) and Chancellor's Fellow in the Energy and Resources Group (ERG), Pierce researches frameworks, methodologies, and contexts for evaluating innovation for global poverty issues. As an inaugural member of the Designated Emphasis in Development Engineering, he investigates how socially-minded organizations practice design thinking to generate value for target community members, and characterizes current best practices for developing novel products, agnostic of geographic, temporal, or cultural context.

Pierce is also passionate about developing methods to spread innovation practice as forms empowerment; by co-founding Reflex Design Collective which consults and practices design thinking for social justice, and by co-running the Design for Social Impact section of Alice Agogino's BEST Laboratory, where he simultaneously develops research in his field and mentors undergraduate students in rigorous research practice.

He has been involved with a wide variety of organizations on campus: Black Graduate Engineers and Science Students, the Development Impact Lab's Idea Team, the Diversity and Social Media Committee of the Energy and Resources Group, and many other Berkeley organizations.

Questions? Please contact us at

Past conferences

2016 Annual Conference

StoryCon 2016
Thursday, April 21, 2016 | 12-4 pm

Anna Head Alumnae Hall
2537 Haste Street, Berkeley, CA

Stories of public health permeate our daily lives. As public health leaders, we are charged to see health in all its facets, synthesize what we see, and tell the stories of our communities and those we serve. It is through stories that we can best advocate for policy change to improve population health, secure grant money for our research and organizations, and communicate about the challenges and successes of our work with our friends, colleagues, and neighbors.

StoryCon 2016 brought together graduate student storytellers and their public health stories from across campus and universities. This event inspired to better craft and relay your stories in order to grow your professional career while helping the communities you serve.

Guest Storyteller:
David Riemer, MBA
Executive-in-Residence, Haas School of Business
Founder, Box Out Industries
Co-Founder, Spiral Staircase

Student Storytellers:

Alison Walter, Sociology Undergraduate
Lauren Valdez, Public Health and City & Regional Planning, Graduate
Sabine Dabady, Public Health Nutrition Graduate
Jessica Angélica, Gender and Women’s Studies Undergraduate
Smitha Gundavajhala, Public Health Undergraduate
Marvin Crespin-Gamez, Public Health Graduate

Download our flyer here!

Click here to download the agenda.

Questions? Please contact us at

2015 Annual Conference

StoryCon 2015
April 10, 2015 | 1-4 pm

150 University Hall, UC Berkeley

StoryCon 2015 Presenters

StoryCon 2015 brought together graduate student storytellers and their public health stories from across campus and universities. Experts in storytelling demonstrated important storytelling skills to be applied in everyday work. Participants were inspired to better craft and relay their stories to grow in their professional careers while helping the communities they serve.

Student Speakers

David Chaulk, MD, MPH in Health Policy & Management
Ejiro Ntekume, MPH at UCLA
Kavya Parthiban, BA in Public Health
Sharada Prasad, MS/PhD in Energy & Resources
Karen Reyes, MD, MPH in Health Policy & Management
Rachel Sklar, MPH in Environmental Health

Guest Speakers

Dr. Robert Nap Hosang, MD, MPH, MBA
Lecturer & Director of On-Campus/Online MPH Degree Program
UC Berkeley School of Public Health

Tammy Pilisuk, MPH
California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Stories of vaccine-preventable disease

Diane Rachel
Performer, Coaching and Corporate Training Staff
BATS Improv

Storyelling Videos

Keynote Address
Robert Nap Hosang, MD, MPH, MBA, UC Berkeley School of Public Health

Into the Pit
Rachel Sklar, MPH
Sharada Prasad, CS, MS, PhD

Disabled but Not Defeated
Karen Reyes, MD, MPH

Shot by Shot: Stories of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, Impact of Storytelling
Tammy Pilisuk, CA Department of Public Health

Yemeni Fried Chicken
David Chaulk, MD, MPH

Dance Your Way to Health
Ejiro Ntekume, MPH

Homelessness and the Secret Health Inequities of Home
Kavya Parthiban, BA

2014 Annual Conference

FRIDAY, APRIL 11, 2014
12:00PM - 4:00PM

Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

As public health leaders, we are charged to see health in all its facets, synthesize what we see, and tell the stories of the communities we serve. The Center for Health Leadership Association (CHLA) had an afternoon full of storytelling and skill-building that inspired us to help drive change!

We heard thought provoking stories from expert storytellers like Dr. Hector P. Rodriguez, Amanda Cooper, Julieta Kusnir, and Kiril Stoimenov and from our graduate student storytellers. We built our skills in crafting and framing our own stories.

For a taste of what occurred at StoryCon 2014, watch our promo video at

Guest Speakers

Dr. Hector P. Rodriguez, PhD, MPH
Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management
Associate Director
Center for Healthcare Organizational and Innovation Research (CHOIR)
UC Berkeley School of Public Health

Story Crafting
Amanda Cooper
Lightbox Collaborative

Story Framing for Advocacy
Julieta Kusnir, MPH
Strategic Communications Specialist
Berkeley Media Studies Group

Improv for Creative Confidence
Kiril Stoimenov

Student Storyteller Videos

Kunchock Dorjee, PhD, Epidemiology
"The Story of TB Among Tibetan Refugees in India"

Justin Jones, MPH/MPP, Health Policy and Management
"I Am Big Blue"

Margae Knox, MPH, Health Policy and Management
"Navigating the US Healthcare System"

Diana Marangu, MPH, Global Health, University of Washington
"Fighting for Children's Health"

Juan Nie, MPH, Global Health, University of Washington
"China's One-Child Policy and Induced Abortion of Females"

Rachel Sklar, MPH, Environmental Health Sciences
"Mizikannou: A Story of Music and Resilience in Haiti"

Aileen Suzara, MPH, Public Health Nutrition
"Writing the Way Home"

2013 Annual Conference


FRIDAY, APRIL 19, 2013 - 1:00PM TO 4:30PM

Hearst Memorial Mining Building, Room 290
UC Berkeley Campus

Inspire. The CHLA's first annual Leadership Conference, Passion in Action: Inspiring Innovation in Public Health did just that. This afternoon of conversation, collaboration and good food amplified the voices of some of Berkeley's most dedicated drivers of change and provided a forum for discussing the process of turning passion into meaningful action.

Over 40 students and faculty were in attendance to hear the stories of 5 inspired students from various programs. Speakers addressed strategies for healthcare equity and medical record access, early HIV screening, sustainable agriculture, sexuality education and more. Attendees and presenters enjoyed collaborative activities and nontraditional presentation of important work in public health with a focus on ideation, problem solving process and future opportunities.

Keynote speaker, Ana Marie Jones, Executive Director of Collaborating Agencies Responding to Disasters (CARD) kicked off the event with a call to empower communities in addressing health by bringing joy, accessibility and resilience to the table. Ralph Catalano, Health and Social Behavior professor, also spoke. Will Haar, MPH/MSW candidate, hosted the day’s activities. The event brought together diverse individuals engaging in dialogue around common conviction to see healthier lives in a safer world. In this way, the CHLA certainly achieved its mission to create a space that inspires to lead from where you are.

Conference Goals:

  • Provide a forum for cross-disciplinary discussion among students, faculty and community members working to improve public health.
  • Inspire ideas and new ways of thinking through the expression of personal passion.
  • Drive passion into action and motivate the attendees to aspire to lead from where they are.
  • Promote the good work of UC Berkeley and the Berkeley community to the world!

Student Talks:

- How Passion Became a Big Idea: Salud x Chile
Soledad Martinez, MD MPH; PhD Candidate in Health Services and Policy Analysis

- Fight HIV/AIDS Through Early Detection, and Help Folks Live to be 100
Christopher Ategeka, CEO Privail Inc, PhD Candidate in Mechanical Engineering

- Emmunify: Leveraging Technology to Save Children's Lives
Jessica Watterson, MPH Candidate in Health Policy and Management

- There Grows the Neighborhood
Chaya Nayak, MPP Candidate

- Sexuality Education Online: Content and Delivery
Summer Starling, MPH, DrPH Candidate, Research Scientist with the Public Health Institute