Melanie Sabado-Liwag | Cal State LA photo

A Filipina American professor has been named one of two faculty fellows at Cal State LA.

Melanie Sabado-Liwag, along with Shikha Upadhyaya, was selected as a Faculty Fellow for the Public Good for 2018-20, after a competitive review process by a team of former faculty fellows.

Sabado-Liwag and Upadhyaya, both assistant professors, are collaborating with community partners and the university’s Center for Engagement, Service, and the Public Good to address social, economic and health disparities.

An assistant professor of public health, Sabado-Liwag is working with the Filipino American Services Group, Inc. (FASGI) and other community organizations to understand their roles in the community. FASGI is one of the few non-governmental organizations serving low- income, marginalized, and underserved Filipinos in Los Angeles County.

“The role of a culturally-specific organization, such as FASGI, has a pivotal place in addressing social inequalities and social services gap created by health disparities,” she said.

Through the faculty fellowship, Sabado-Liwag is focused on addressing gaps in services to marginalized groups, and creating strategic plans to guide the enhancement and development of projects that reengage the community.

According to Sabado-Liwag, despite being one of the third-largest and rapidly expanding ethnic groups, the health needs of Filipinos are poorly understood and underestimated.

“The social and economic diversity of Asian American and Pacific Islander ethnic groups are often masked, overlooked and deemed as unproblematic,” she said.

Her objective is to inform and build services and resources for the community and existing research on health promotion.

A West Covina resident, Sabado-Liwag holds a Ph.D. in health promotion sciences from the School of Community and Global Health at Claremont Graduate University. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities in Bethesda, Maryland.

Upadhyaya, who teaches marketing, is working with Ascend to analyze national-level data on experiences related to the implementation of two-generation programs that empower, educate, and engage low-income families.

The Faculty Fellows for the Public Good program promotes engaged scholarship and interdisciplinary interaction around the central theme of the university and the public good. Cal State LA is designated an anchor institution by the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities.

The faculty fellows have received funding to complete their research projects during the summers of 2019 and 2020. 

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