Beyond sensational headlines, what do we know about immigrants and their healthcare experiences today, and how can data inform our understanding of structural challenges to health and well-being for all? Maysoun Freij welcomes Drishti Pillai and Samantha Artiga of KFF, who present new findings from 2023 KFF/LA Times Survey of Immigrants, and Cheasty Anderson of the Protecting Immigrant Families Coalition, who describes recent evidence-based advocacy to counter anti-immigrant policies.

Your Host

Mayson Friej

Maysoun Freij
Senior Associate
Community Science

Maysoun has extensive experience in health equity and racial equity, specifically around healthcare coalitions, health & language access, immigrant health, social determinants of health, and intersectoral approaches to health and well-being. Recently, she has been specializing in COVID-19 related disparities and equity-focused mitigation efforts, and health informatics. Maysoun also has a background in cultural anthropology.

Your Panel

Samantha Artiga
Vice President, Racial Equity and Health Policy Program

Samantha focuses on how racism, discrimination, and social and economic inequities affect health. Her program provides timely and reliable data, information, and policy analysis on health and healthcare disparities affecting people of color, immigrants, and other underserved groups, as well as efforts to advance racial equity in health. Samatha has also conducted extensive work related to low-income populations’ health and healthcare needs and previously served as associate director of KFF’s Program on Medicaid and the Uninsured. Artiga holds a master’s degree in health policy from George Washington University.

Drishti Pillai
Director of Immigrant Policy

Drishti oversees data and policy analysis regarding healthcare access for immigrant communities, intending to advance health equity. Prior to joining KFF, she was the research director at the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum and also held research and faculty positions at George Washington University. Dr. Pillai holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Ohio State University, a Master of Public Health degree from Emory University, and a Ph.D. in public policy from George Washington University.

Cheasty Anderson
Deputy Director
Protecting Immigrant Families (PIF) Coalition

Cheasty comes to PIF from the Children’s Defense Fund-Texas, where she served most recently as the Director of Immigration Policy and Advocacy. Before that, Cheasty worked on the healthcare team at the Center for Public Policy Priorities (now Every Texan). Throughout her career, Cheasty’s work has focused on the intersection of children’s issues, health care, public benefits, and immigration. She has been a member of the steering committee for PIF since 2018. Cheasty has a Ph.D. in Latin American History (2014) from the University of Texas – Austin; her dissertation was on healthcare systems in Sandinista, Nicaragua. Cheasty completed her undergraduate work at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (2000).