Hi, welcome to my online space, and thank you for your interest in reading about me!
My name is Sandie Ha. I am currently an Assistant Professor of Public Health at the University of California, Merced (UCM). Before I go into my exciting research, let me share a little bit about my background.
Background: I was born in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam. My family immigrated to Tacoma, Washington in 1997 where I went to middle and high school. I attended the University of Washington, Seattle majoring in biology/physiology. I always had an interest in health but did not know public health was my call until I became one of the founding volunteers for a local charity clinic that aims to provide free basic healthcare and referral services for the uninsured in the Seattle area. Through this experience, I realized that I am more interested in prevention as opposed to treatment of health problems. I made a cross country move to complete a Masters in Public Health (MPH) with a concentration in epidemiology at the University of Florida, Gainesville. After completing a public health internship, I decided to pursue a PhD to get more training in Epidemiology at the same institution. After graduation, I joined the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) as a postdoctoral scholar for two years before becoming a faculty member at the UCM Department of Public Health in July 2017.
Research interest: My research interests center on identifying and understanding environmental risk factors for health across the lifespan with a focus on perinatal health. My work focuses on understanding how prenatal exposures affect subsequent health for both mothers and babies. Given an increasingly diverse at-risk population and the growing complexity of environmental threats, I am also interested in identifying vulnerable subgroups to help target effective intervention.
The San Joaquin Valley faces serious environmental issues including air pollution, extreme temperature, pesticides, and other social determinants of health. This area also has a relatively high prevalence of serious health issues including adverse pregnancy outcomes (e.g., preterm birth), asthma, Valley fever, diabetes, cancer and other chronic diseases.
My primary goals at UCM are two-folds. First, I want to use rigorous epidemiological methods to a) study the extent of adverse pregnancy outcomes as well as maternal and child health problems in the region, b) identify and understand the environmental causes of these problems, and c) ultimately devise intervention(s) to prevent these health problems at the population level. Second, I want to build on my prior research by expanding my work to understand the etiology of other diseases endemic to the San Joaquin Valley including asthma, Valley fever, and certain types of cancer. For a complete picture of my past and current research projects, please see my CV.
At UCM, I am also an active member of the UCM Health Sciences Research Institute and the Biostatistics and Data Support Core. Here, I also advise the Global Medical Training program and the Public Health Society.