Health Justice Now Webinar Series Part 5: A Conversation with AAPI Health Advocates - Families Usa Skip to Main Content

Health Justice Now Webinar Series Part 5: A Conversation with AAPI Health Advocates


This is part 5 of the Health Justice Now series.

In recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, Families USA hosted a virtual roundtable inviting AAPI leaders to share their thoughts and have an open dialogue about an array of health-related topics that affect the AAPI community, including access to health services, mental health and health policy advocacy. Attendees had an opportunity to hear from influential leaders at the local, state, and national levels who work daily to address the ongoing challenges and stigmas faced within the AAPI community.  Speakers also shared resources and reflected on the strong sense of leadership, resilience and courage shown within AAPI communities, particularly during the spike in hostility towards Asian Americans with the COVID-19 pandemic.



Yingjia Huang has been with the State of California for about eight years, all with DHCS, and is currently the Assistant Deputy Director of Health Care Benefits and Eligibility at the California Department of Health Care Services, where she oversees the development and implementation of both benefit and eligibility policy for the Medi-Cal program.  She was formerly the Assistant Division Chief of the Medi-Cal Eligibility Division (MCED) which promulgates all Medi-Cal eligibility policies across the Medi-Cal program, providing indirect oversight and monitoring overall Medi-Cal eligibility policy and system operations as it relates to the administration of the Medi-Cal program. In response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, Ms. Huang co-directed MCED’s efforts on all eligibility flexibilities, policy rollout, and implementation. Prior to this, Ms. Huang served as Chief, Policy Operations Branch in MCED. In this capacity, Ms. Huang was responsible for directing and managing a spectrum of eligibility policies and programs, specifically, Medi-Cal residency and immigration policies, Outreach and Enrollment grant programs, Medi-Cal eligibility system changes and implementation, and program oversight of the California Healthcare Eligibility, Enrollment, and Retention System and the Statewide Automated Welfare Systems. 

Ms. Huang earned a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations, History, and East Asian Languages and Culture, and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Public Management from University of Southern California, and earned a Master’s Graduate Certificate in International Studies from Johns Hopkins University. 

Ms. Huang grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii and enjoys giving recommendations to any interested Hawaii-bound visitors. Ms. Huang loves to travel internationally, and has studied and lived abroad in Beijing, Nanjing, and South Korea as a Fulbright-Hays scholar, and looks forward to more experiences in the future. 

Sarah Liu is Hamkae Center’s Public Health Program Coordinator. Born in Tokyo, Japan to Japanese and Taiwanese parents, she is bilingual in Japanese and English. She has an educational background in Global Maternal & Child Health.    

Sarah strives to create more equitable health structures for Asian Americans in her role through public health education, connections to services, and advocacy.  

She is currently working on achieving vaccine equity and compiling mental health resources for the Asian American community. She also has a passion for violence prevention and reproductive health equity stem from her experiences in El Salvador, where she worked with organizations to combat malnutrition in children, tackle violence against women, and advocate for more reproductive health education. Her other previous health experiences include investigating the accessibility of menstrual products for communities of color in Colorado and working alongside Postpartum Support Virginia, advocating for support groups for mothers experiencing PMADs.  

In her spare time, Sarah enjoys playing volleyball, traveling, singing karaoke, cooking, spending quality time with friends and family (including her adorable dogs), being a foodie, and writing reviews on Yelp.