The VOICE Project believes in young people and the power of their voices.
The VOICE Project believes in young people and the power of their voices.
The VOICE Project believes in young people and the power of their voices.

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About Us

Pediatric resident physicians at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland (BCHO) sowed the seeds of the VOICE Project in 2018. Partnering with the MLK Jr. Freedom Center, they organized a voter registration drive targeting patients and families at the BCHO Primary Care Center in North Oakland. Over the next several months, BCHO resident Dr. Fong Gomez, Noor Chadha, and the MLK Jr. Freedom Center worked together to design a comprehensive, nonpartisan voter empowerment program, and the Voting for Our health, Interests, and Communities Everywhere (VOICE) Project was born. The Oakland-based team has grown to include undergraduate research assistants from UC Berkeley, Anika Grover and Paula Miranda Nordstrom, as well as several faculty advisors. In 2020, our colleagues across the Bay Bridge joined the fun and launched VOICE Project SF in pediatric clinics at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and UCSF Mount Zion. Due to Covid-19, the VOICE Project looks different as we reimagine personalized virtual outreach, but the goals remain the same: a future where our democracy and healthcare systems value young voices and all youth are empowered to advocate for their health, interests, and communities everywhere.

 

Mission

Through nonpartisan outreach, capacity-building, and research in pediatric spaces serving communities disenfranchised by political systems, we support adolescents and families in developing the healthy habit of voting. We aim to amplify young people’s voices in order to build more equitable public policies & healthier communities. 

Vision

A future where our democracy and healthcare systems uplift the voices of all youth.

Core Values

We are rooted in social justice, health equity, cultural humility, and community engagement. We believe in young people and the power of their voices.

 

Our Team

VOICE Project Oakland @ BCHO Primary Care Center 

We were recently featured on the website for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) after receiving a CATCH grant - check it out!

Lead Organizers

Stephanie Y. Fong Gomez, MD, MS was born and raised in the Bay Area and has spent over a decade serving its youth and families through schools, nonprofit spaces, collaborative research efforts, and clinical care. A child advocate working at the intersection of pediatrics, community engagement, and urban health equity, she is invested in upstream solutions to address a broad range of child health issues, including racial justice, immigration, education, and health care access. She is an alumnus of Johns Hopkins University and the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program and a pediatric resident at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland.

Noor Chadha is a medical and masters student at the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program who strives to integrate her core values of justice, joy, and compassion throughout her life and medical journey. In medical school, her advocacy has included working on the VOICE Project, co-founding the Institute for Healing and Justice in Medicine, coordinating medical student volunteers at the Womxn’s free clinic of the Suitcase Clinic, and mentoring pre-med students. Noor also has a B.A. from UC Berkeley, where she majored in Molecular and Cell Biology and minored in Global Poverty and Practice. 

Navneet Kahlon, MD, grew up in Northern California and is a pediatric resident at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital of Oakland. She is an alumnus of UC Berkeley, where she is studied Molecular and Cellular Biology and Peace and Conflict Studies, and UC Irvine School of Medicine. Her undergraduate studies solidified the principle of healthcare as a human right and illuminated the role of advocacy and public policy in addressing healthcare disparities. This inspired her advocacy efforts at BPSHI, where she organized and participated in community clinics for underserved populations, as well as her role as board member of Physicians for Human Rights in medical school. She hopes to continue using public policy and community activism to advocate for the health of children as a pediatrician. 

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Anika Grover is an undergraduate student in her final year at UC Berkeley studying Public Health. She is an ardent and vocal advocate for children’s rights and has found her calling working with children experiencing homelessness in the Bay Area. Anika is one of the directors at the Suitcase Clinic’s Womxn’s and Children’s Clinic, a space that strives to foster a warm and loving environment for unhoused womxn and their children in Berkeley. Outside of Suitcase Clinic, Anika also enjoys her time as an undergraduate research assistant on two equity-minded research teams: the VOICE Project and the UC Berkeley Catalyst Group to End Youth Homelessness.

Paula Nordstrom Miranda grew up north of the Bay Area and moved down to Berkeley to earn her Bachelor’s in English, with a minor in Global Public Health at UC Berkeley. Throughout college, Paula found passion through working with children and adolescents as she began to mentor and tutor local elementary-school students. Her efforts have been funneled into working with the VOICE Project’s research and advocacy. Paula also finds joy and motivation as the Children’s Coordinator at the Womxn and Children’s Clinic of the Suitcase Clinic in Berkeley and as a Lab trainee at the Berkeley Free Clinic. Through her volunteer work, she strives to fight for equitable health, educational, and social opportunities for communities. 

Advisors

Gena Lewis, MD, Medical Director of FQHC at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland

Kelley Meade, MD, Associate Dean at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland

Coco Auerswald, MD, MS, faculty at the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program

Aisha Mays, MD, medical director of the Dream Youth Clinic

 

Our Community Partner

 

Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center is an Oakland-based nonprofit that advances youth and family civic engagement, ethical leadership, and economic and educational equity through personal transformation. It holds interracial, intergenerational programming for youth in middle school through college. Many of the youth who enter their Youth Leadership Academy identify as ethnic or racial minorities and/or immigrants, live in foster homes, experience housing insecurity, and/or speak limited English. Students study social justice history, organizing, and leadership and practice civic engagement, including voter education, voter registration, and get-out-the-vote efforts. Their leadership activities take place at local Oakland schools, public events, and a summer civic leadership tour throughout the west coast. 

 

VOICE Project San Francisco @ Zuckerburg San Francisco General Hospital and Mount Zion

Lead Organizers

Sarah Bourne, MD is a pediatric resident at UCSF in the Pediatric Leadership for Advancing Health Equity (PLUS) Program. Prior to pursuing medicine, Sarah was an elementary school teacher in the Bay Area and is interested in the intersection of health and education and committed to tackling a broad range of child health disparities/inequities. She is an alumnus of Dartmouth College where she studied Environmental Studies and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Daniela Brissett, MD was raised in East Palo Alto. She is committed to improving access to healthcare for adolescents, strengthening highschool pipeline programs and advocating against racism and social inequities in health. She is an alumnus of UC Berkeley, UCSF School of Medicine where she participated in the Program in Medical Education for the Urban Underserved (PRIME) and a Pediatric Leadership for Underserved Program (PLUS) resident at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, San Francisco.

Molly Rabinowitz, MD, MPH is dedicated to health equity, LGBTQ rights and racial justice in clinical medicine and beyond. Originally from Los Angeles, CA, she earned her undergraduate degree in Ethnic Studies from Columbia University, then worked in community public health in Guatemala and in San Francisco's Mission neighborhood before attending medical school at Oregon Health & Science University. She is currently a pediatric resident at UCSF, with plans to pursue a career in pediatric primary care and antiracist public health advocacy. 

Melinda Schneider, MD, MSc, grew up in the Bay Area and is a Pediatric Neurology resident at UCSF. She is enthusiastic about working towards creative, cross-disciplinary solutions for issues of health disparities, chronic care management and childhood trauma.  At UC San Diego, Melinda completed her undergraduate studies in biology, dance and music, and a Master’s degree in biology studying the gut-microbiome’s regulation of mood, learning and memory. Melinda is an alumnus of UC Irvine School of Medicine, where she found her passion in medicine as an avid volunteer with children’s organizations, research evaluating the use of dance as a rehabilitation strategy for children with cerebral palsy, and implementation of a medical education curriculum on trauma-informed care.

Advisors

Eleanor Chung, MD, Pediatric Faculty, co-coordinator of the Too Small to Fail initiative and co-director of the Bridges Clinic at the ZSFG Children’s Health Center.

Beth Griffiths, MD, MPH, Internal Medicine Faculty, founding member of the Division of General Internal Medicine (DGIM) Social Justice, Policy, Advocacy and Community Engagement (SPACE) Committee.

Zarah Iqbal, MD, MPH, Chief Resident in Pediatrics, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.

 

Participating Sites

UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals

Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital

Kaiser Oakland

 

Our Partners

   Bringing Best Practices in Civic Engagement    Reclaim Our Vote – National Voter Corps     VotER         

Family Information and Navigation Desk at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland

 

Our Sponsors

Community Access to Child Health (CATCH)

UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program Thesis Grant