AAPI Data, a nationally recognized publisher of demographic data and policy research on Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, is pleased to announce the expansion of its leadership team with the addition of a senior researcher and a co-director, and added expertise with respect to health policy and specific population groups. 

Dr. Janelle Wong will join the group’s founder Dr. Karthick Ramakrishnan as co-director of AAPI Data. Wong is Professor in the Departments of Government and Politics and American Studies and a core faculty member in the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Maryland. An expert on Asian American political attitudes and participation, Wong has served as a Senior Researcher at AAPI Data since 2015 and co-Principal Investigator of the National Asian American Survey since 2008. Wong is author and coauthor of several books, including most recently Immigrants, Evangelicals and Politics in an Era of Demographic Change (2018) and Asian American Political Participation: Emerging Constituents and their Political Identities (2011).

AAPI Data also welcomes Dr. Ninez Ponce to the team as a Senior Researcher. Ponce is Professor of Health Policy and Management in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, and Principal Investigator for the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS)—the nation’s largest state health survey, which has been recognized as a national model for data collection on race/ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity, and immigrant health. Ponce led the first CHIS efforts on the measurement of race/ethnicity, acculturation, physician-patient communication and discrimination, and devised the rationale and implementation of Asian ethnic oversamples. In 2020, she helped launch the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) Data Policy Lab as a health data resource for NHPI communities organizing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

An expert on immigrant and global health, survey-based research, social determinants of health and health disparities, Ponce has recently been named to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s newly established National Commission to Transform Public Health Data Systems. “Dr. Ninez Ponce brings unparalleled expertise to our survey work on AAPI populations,” said Karthick Ramakrishnan. “We are excited to have a scholar whose research contributes to better understanding, and ultimately eliminating, racial/ethnic disparities in health, including among Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and other Pacific Islander populations. She strengthens our team immeasurably as we build more capacity for AAPI Data and deepen our impact.”

AAPI Data’s reputation—among journalists, government agencies, community organizations, and scholars—is built on data, research, and narratives that are accurate, compelling, and timely. Over the next few months, the team expects to add two new full-time staff members and a research fellow that will enable the program to better serve community organizations, policy makers, journalists, researchers, and the general public. Since 2018, the program has organized its work along the principles of DNA: Data, Narrative, Action, aiming for meaningful improvements in policies, practices, and investments that serve AAPI communities.