Thu Quach, PhD has been working in public health and health care for over two decades. Her research, service, and advocacy work have been grounded in her own lived experience as a refugee from Vietnam, and the struggles her family faced in the health care system. She was among the tens of thousands of boat people who left Vietnam to escape persecution. Arriving in the US with her parents and two siblings at age 5, her family struggled with resettlement, and it has made her a fierce advocate of immigrant rights.
Trained as an epidemiologist, she has conducted community-based research, focusing on Asian Americans and immigrant populations, including examining occupational exposures and health impacts among Vietnamese nail salon workers. This work was inspired by her own mother, who passed from cancer at the age of 58, after working as a cosmetologist for decades. These research findings have contributed to the extraordinary work of the nationally-recognized California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative, informing community engagement with the nail salon workforce and policy advocacy leading to the passing of the groundbreaking Healthy Nail Salon Recognition Program local ordinance in San Francisco and subsequent statewide bill.
Dr. Quach currently serves as the Chief Deputy of Administration at Asian Health Services, a federally qualified health center in Oakland serving approximately 28,000 patients in English and 14 Asian languages. She is involved in local, statewide, and national research and policy efforts to promote health equity, including data warehouses, community-based participatory research, civic engagement, and health policy. Her work includes promoting smoking cessation among Asian American immigrant patients, data disaggregation, and addressing social determinants of health.
In addition, she has been very involved in a relatively new organization – the Progressive Vietnamese American Organization (PIVOT), which engages and empowers Vietnamese Americans for a just and diverse America. She has also been very involved with her local church, Buena Vista United Methodist Church, which was founded to help Japanese immigrants and has become a Pan-Asian faith community.
Dr. Quach received her Bachelors of Art as U.C. Berkely, her Masters in Public Health at UCLA, and her PhD in Epidemiology at UC Berkeley.
She is the mother of two boys, who are of Japanese and Vietnamese heritage. Her goal for responsible parenting is to share with her sons about the past experiences of their ancestors, from her own refugee experience to the internment of their Japanese American grandfather, in hopes that they would be committed to also fighting for the most vulnerable communities.