Who We Are

Since 2016, Homeless HEAL, also known as Homeless Health and Empowerment Across Learning, has been empowering hundreds of homeless individuals with health-based education classes to better their quality of life. As a student-run, non-profit organization, our strategy is to train Student Educators who believe in the power of knowledge in promoting self-awareness and improving health decision-making. We educate our clients on the consequences that their actions can have on their bodies from a scientific perspective and in a culturally competent manner.

We believe it is critical to understand that effective care for the underserved is incomplete without addressing the medical consequences of poverty. Therefore, our curriculum, which is tailored to each homeless facility we serve in San Diego, consists of over 20 diverse classes that focuses on treatment and preventative medicine for this community. Shelters we have offered and currently offer our services to include the San Diego Rescue Mission, Urban Street Angels, and Oasis Clubhouse. As we expand our organization, we are excited to reach out to other homeless and underserved shelters across San Diego.

We embrace the challenge of teaching science-based health classes to the underserved in our community. Our team consists of hardworking and dedicated researchers, medical students, educators, and pre-health students at the University of California, San Diego. We come together with the hopes of filling the void of health education, as well as generating creative solutions to address social and economic determinants of health in order to make a sustainable social impact.

While conducting the annual census, I came to see and hear some of the hardships our local San Diego homeless community faces on a daily basis. Being a part of the census also opened my eyes to how underserved our homeless community really is and how much the community could benefit from increased outreach and accessibility to resources.” Shyam P

“Teaching at Homeless HEAL has been a rewarding experience to educate the homeless community of downtown San Diego on health based topics. It has been a joy to see familiar faces return to learn more and ask questions about their health. ” Peter P.

Board of Advisors

Ramon A. Hernandez


Dr. Ramón A. Hernandez, DrPH, MPH, is the Associate Director for the Center for Community Health and the Section Chief for Community Health in the Department of Pediatrics at UC San Diego, School of Medicine. He is part of a dynamic team focused on preventing chronic diseases and promoting health equity through policy, systems, and […]

Omar Sahial


Omar is an alumnus of the UniversityLink Medical Science Program and graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a Bachelors of Science degree in Human Biology. He is currently enrolled in an MD program at the University of Washington, School of Medicine. Before medicine, Omar was a former business owner with a client-centered […]

Sadaf Chaudry


Sadaf is from San Diego, California. She received her Bachelors of Science in Human Biology from the University of California, San Diego and will starting Medical School at the UCSD School of Medicine as part of the entering class of 2018. She has been honored to receive UCSD’s 2018 Change Maker’s Award. Sadaf has dedicated […]

Lindsay Ward


Lindsay Ward, IMF was educated at the University of Alabama and received her MS in Counseling Psychology. Lindsay is currently the Team Lead for Telecare PROPS Program. She has worked extensively with homeless youth and has served on the county of San Diego’s Housing council.

Christopher Larson


Chris serves on the Boards of Directors for the San Diego chapters of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and American Diabetes Association, and on the early-career grants review committee of The Obesity Society. He is an advisor to the Harrington Discovery Institute, the Center for Molecule and Translational Medicine at the University of California-Riverside […]

Ericka Vargas


My name is Ericka Vargas I have been the Program Supervisor at the Oasis Clubhouse for 2 years. The Oasis Clubhouse serves Transitional Age Youth (ages 16-25) who are experiencing and/or recovering from serious mental illness. Youth participating in the program have been in the foster care system, incarcerated or involved in the legal system, have been in crisis centers or County Mental Health, or other social services programs within San Diego County. […]


Cheyenne Mercer


Cheyenne Mercer was born and raised in San Diego. She attended San Diego Mesa Community College where she studied biochemistry and obtained an Associates of Science in Biology. During her time at Mesa Cheyenne was involved in many on-campus activities. She volunteered in the chemistry laboratory, conducted research and created a course experiment on nutrient […]

Besma Chaudry


Besma is a 3rd year General Biology major who was born and raised in San Diego, California. Her academic and extracurricular experiences drove her to join and play a pivotal role in Homeless HEAL in its early years. As an intern at the Palomar Health Pathmaker Internship, Besma is grateful to directly serve and deliver compassionate care to patients and contribute to their healing […]

Yosef Faiq


Yosef was raised in San Diego and is currently a third year pre-medical student at UCSD obtaining his bachelor’s degree in physiology and neuroscience. During his earlier years at UCSD, he has devoted much time to shadowing various physicians, focusing his efforts primarily on internal medicine and emergency medicine, where he encountered numerous homeless individuals that were to be treated […]

Kevin Kahru


Kevin has lived in San Diego his entire life, and is currently in his gap year after just recently graduating with a dual major in both Biochemistry and History from UCSD.
After following his passion for global health by working for 4 years in medical clinics in Mexico (during which time he became fluent in Spanish), he began to recognize through the patients he helped treat the incomparable nature of the healthcare challenges facing homeless communities […]

Deepti Gunge


Deepti Gunge is from Fremont, CA and is currently a 4th year at UC San Diego pursuing a degree in Cognitive Science with a Specialization in Neuroscience. She greatly enjoys teaching, as well as talking to people of diverse backgrounds and obtaining new perspectives on life. In addition to being Education Director of Homeless HEAL, she is a research assistant at the LCA lab, a Pathmaker Intern at Palomar Health, a member of Global Medical Brigades, and was the former Philanthropy and Service Director of Kappa Alpha Theta […]


Preethi Veeragandbam

Preethi was born in Indiana and currently lives in Dublin, California. She is a third year majoring in Human Biology and minoring in Health Care Social Issues, and plans to pursue a career in the medicine after graduating. She currently works as a research assistant in the Saltiel Lab in UCSD School of Medicine, department of endocrinology. In addition to Homeless HEAL, Preethi is also a part of Associated Students, where she serves as a senator […]

Shyam Patel

Shyam was born in San Jose, CA and raised in the East Bay in a town called San Ramon, CA. Currently, Shyam is a fourth-year pre-medical student at UC San Diego majoring in Human Biology. Shyam plans to attend medical school following graduation with an interest to serve as a primary care physician in the future. In addition to being a student educator for HomelessHEAL […] 

Metta Ngyuen

I am a recent UCSD graduate in the process of applying to medical school. I joined Homeless Heal because I truly enjoy teaching and believe that learning, in any form, unites people and makes life more fulfilling. I have been involved in both educational and clinical service, and plan to continue this dedication throughout medical school and beyond […]

Max Rossip

Max was born in Palo Alto, CA and raised in Silicon Valley. Max is a fourth-year majoring in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience and minoring in Music. After graduating, Max plans to continue doing research and travel before attending medical school. During middle and high school, Max would often visit his father at Valley Medical Center where he worked as an emergency physician […]

Peter Park

Peter Park was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma until he was five when he moved to California to be raised in a little town called San Dimas. Now, he is a fourth year at UCSD finishing his Major in Human Biology and Minor in Healthcare Social Issues in pursuit of becoming a physician. In addition to Homeless HEAL, he is involved in another campus organization (GMMA) focused on uniting Christian pre-health students with local Christian healthcare professionals […]

Raven Wilbur

Raven Wilbur is a 4th year General Biology major and Bioethics minor. Having been with Homeless Heal since the Fall of 2018, she has been a student educator for several presentations as well as a Lead Instructor for the Women’s and Family Health Unit along with attending events in the community that support the homeless community […]

Somia Sahial

Somia is from San Diego, California. She is currently an undergrad at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) working on obtaining her bachelor’s of science in Global Health. She plans on continuing her education into the path of medicine and pursue pediatrics. She volunteered at the UCSD Student-Run Free Clinic where she assisted patients with their healthcare application process, alongside explored and communicated with multiple pharmaceutical companies regarding free healthcare programs for patients who are uninsured […] 

Krystle Parnala

Krystle was born in Los Angeles, California. She is completing her Bachelors of Science in Physiology and Neuroscience with a minor in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego and will be graduating in 2019. In the future, she plans to pursue a career in medicine. Krystle is an advocate for mental health and believes in the power of preventative care in living healthy sustainable lives […]

Jeffrey Huey-Chuan Chiu

As an Asian American, I had the rare opportunity to grow up in China and Malaysia. My travels and exposures helped me develop keen interests in human society and the natural world we live in. Since attending UCSD four years ago, I have completed my major in microbiology and is, currently, finishing up my minor in computer science […]

Dana Donahue

Dana is a 3rd year psychology student at UCSD, and is currently a Pathmaker intern and Care Giver at Sunrise Senior Living. She recently joined HomelessHEAL as student educator and secretary. Most of Dana’s experience lies in direct patient care, as she has been volunteering at Sharp, Palomar Health, and Alzheimer’s San Diego over the past 6 years, and is now working in a senior nursing facility. Dana plans on attending medical school in 2022 […] 

Stephanie Osuocha

Stephanie is a premed Non-traditional student returning to school after serving in the US Navy. She has an undergraduate degree in French and now is pursuing an associate in Chemistry and intends on applying to medical school 2020. Actively involved in the community she has participated in feeding the homeless through “path” as well as staying connected with the veteran community volunteering in soldiers who salsa. A program that helped veterans return home and reacclimate so civilian life […]

Carol Hafey

Carol Hafey was raised in San Diego and is a Junior at UC San Diego. She is studying Public Health pre-medical and will be graduating in 2021. She is working to go to medical school to become a physician. In addition to Homeless Heal, Carol also volunteers at the Veterans Association Hospital in La Jolla, volunteers for a non-profit prioritizing mother’s health, and works as a Standardized Patient at the UC San Diego School of Medicine […]

Danna Michelle Smith

My name is Danna and I’m a third year Human Biology transfer student with my sights set on medical school. I was born in Panama and, having been an Army brat, I’ve witnessed the beauty of many individuals from diverse backgrounds and believe knowledge is a wonderful way of unifying multitudes of communities. Aside from being a student educator, I’m a student ambassador for the UniversityLink Medical Science Program as well as working in the UCSD admissions office as a College Ambassador […] 

Omar Shalakhti

Omar was born in Irvine, California from Scottsdale, AZ. He is currently a third year at UCSD finishing his majors in Global Health and Biology and has hopes of becoming a physician. In addition to Homeless HEAL, he is involved with the Health Frontiers in Tijuana, translates at a free clinic in El Cajon, works as a research assistant for Dr. Ojeda at the UCSD School of Medicine, and tutors the SAT and ACT for free for underserved youth. In his free time, he likes to play squash or basketball and discover San Diego’s good eats […]


Aaron Figueora
Cheyenne Mercer
Gabriela Benito
John Nungaray
Omar Sahial
Sadaf Chaudry

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