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What to make your community healthier

Want to improve health in your Orange County community?

We can help you do that! The Allied Health Academy is supports students toward an allied health career. We provide services and resources at each step, through high school, community college, undergraduate, and graduate school!

The North Orange County Allied and other Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) aims to increase the pipeline of underrepresented Latinos, Pacific Islanders (including Native Hawaiian, Samoan and Chamorro) and Southeast Asians (particularly Vietnamese, Cambodian, Hmong and Lao), and other underserved, first generation college students into the professions of communicative disorders, counseling, occupational therapy, public health (including environmental health specialists, epidemiologists, health educators, and gerontologists), physical therapy, and social work. This multifaceted effort is specifically designed to increase retention and graduation of these diverse underserved students across the educational continuum, from high school and community college into four year college and graduate allied and other health profession programs.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number D18HP29033 Health Careers Opportunity Program for $1,765,528 (0% financed by nongovernmental sources). This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.


Ever heard of allied health?

Allied health careers help the community!

Allied health includes a variety of jobs, including rehabilitation therapy, mental health, and public health.

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Allied health careers pay well!

Average hourly wages range from $22-$45/hour.

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Source: BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook (2014-2015), California Employment Development Department Occupation Profile.

Allied health careers are needed in Orange County!

Allied health jobs are in demand and growing.

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Note: The growth rate for epidemiologists was not available for Orange County, so the national rate is used instead.

Source: BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook (2014-2015), California Employment Development Department Occupation Profile.

Student Profiles

These people sought careers in allied health to serve their community. Read more about their journeys below.


Read more of our students' journeys

Nancy Vagas

Nancy Vargas, MPH Student at CSUF

  • Proud daughter of Mexican immigrants, born in Laguna Beach, lived in an apt with 17 others, 1st gen college student,  1st in family to pass elementary school
  • Interests: how to achieve health equity by addressing social, cultural, economic, and environmental factors that affect dietary behaviors of Latinos

 “I struggled in college. I was morbidly obese, unhappy with my pre-med major, and I felt lost. I originally wanted to be a doctor, but volunteering as a peer health educator I realized I did not like the treatment side of medicine. By the last year of college, I had lost 90 lbs. and felt passionate about the change I could make not only within myself, but the change I could make in addressing the Latino obesity epidemic in my community. This eventually led me to pursue a degree in public health with a focus on health promotion and disease prevention.”

Read more about Nancy Vargas...

Vi Pham

Vi Pham, MS Counseling Student at CSUF

  • 2nd generation, Vietnamese American woman from Little Saigon
  • Interests: how young adult Vietnamese American men navigate romantic relationships, Asian masculinity, and interracial vs. within racial relationship experiences

“My ultimate career goal is to open a counseling office near Little Saigon specifically for the Vietnamese community. I rarely encounter any Vietnamese therapists and/or psychologists. One of the best ways to give back to my community is to help individuals who were involved in the Vietnam War, students who struggle to balance Vietnamese and Western identities, and other issues pertaining to Vietnamese culture.”

Read more about Vi Pham...

Calli Jackson

Calli Jackson, Doctor of Physical Therapy Student at Western University of Health Sciences

  • Originally from Portland, OR, went to Azusa Pacific University for undergrad, played collegiate sports

“I chose physical therapy because I wanted to be in a health care profession that was both personal and active. Physical therapy allows you to participate in your patients’ recovery by embarking on the journey alongside them. It is essential to provide services in the community in which one lives. Who knows the needs of your community better than you? It is essential for minorities to become more involved in the health care profession in order to better serve our community. We as humans, feel more comfortable and more willing to share our story with people who can understand and relate to our story.”

Read more about Calli Jackson...

Sergio Quirarte

Sergio Quirarte, MS Counseling Alumnus from CSUF

  • Son of Mexican immigrants, 1st male in family to get college degree, from East LA, Marriage & Family Therapist Intern, part-time faculty in Human Services at CSUF
  • Interests: mental health stigma in the Latino community

“My training helped me develop strong counseling skills that I utilize every single day in my work with clients. Through my work, I can actively work toward reducing the stigma of mental health services in the Latino community. I have the opportunity to work with Latino families and be a supportive figure in the community. I wish that I had connected with other Latino male therapists prior to starting my program. The guidance and support from individuals I identify with has helped me immensely through this process and I wish that I could have had this support sooner.”

Read more about Sergio Quirarte...

Emily Wang

Emily Wang, MA Communicative Disorders Alumnus from CSUF

  • Bilingual Mandarin-English speech therapist at preschools
  • Interests: speech and sound development of bilingual children

“Being able to communicate is such an important component to our quality of life that we often take for granted until we can no longer do it anymore! As an Asian-American speech therapist, I have noticed that there is a stigma against needing therapy, as well as a lack of knowledge in understanding exactly what speech therapy is. I hope that with my master's degree I will be able to educate people in my community about speech therapy, understanding difference and disorder, and help bilingual children receive the therapy services they may need to help them be fully functioning adults in the future.

Read more about Emily Wang...

Ualani Hoopai

Ualani Hoopai, MPH Alumnus from CSUF

  • Native Hawaiian, grew up in Honolulu, HI, moved to east coast for career in business/fashion, now serves the Southern California community through American Cancer Society, Pacific Islander Health Partnership, and the Hawaiian Civic Club
  • Interests: building community capacity, contributing to Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander research

"Published research on Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPIs) is sparse.  I want to contribute to existing NHPI research, build NHPI community capacity, and guide/nurture/teach the next generation to honor/respect those who came before us yet continue to progress forward. Obtaining my MPH has given me a brand new skill set to plan, design, implement, disseminate, and report research findings about my community in a professional scientific manner.”

Read more about Ualani Hoopai...


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