Ninez Ponce, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, joined leaders from the government, health, business and other sectors at a Filipino American History Month virtual event hosted by the White House on Oct. 28.

Ponce, who also is a professor of health policy and management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, helped develop the influential California Health Interview Survey, or CHIS, in 2001.

During the meeting she explained that, compared with their share of the U.S. population overall, Filipinos are overrepresented among workers in health care and long-term care, and therefore have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our Center for Health Policy Research has provided technical assistance and examples for other federal, state and local health surveys to follow the values that we have in California with CHIS,” she said. “It’s important to stress that as we are losing Filipinos in the front lines of fighting the pandemic, that we were simultaneously lost in the data, and consequently lost in policy priorities.” 

The event was hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. Other featured speakers were Air Force Undersecretary Gina Ortiz Jones, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and California Attorney General Rob Bonta.