CBPR Institute 2013

Home » Advancing a Worker Health and Safety Agenda for Nail Salons

Advancing a Worker Health and Safety Agenda for Nail Salons



The nail salon sector is a large, rapidly growing industry and has become an economic cornerstone for Vietnamese immigrants. Nail salon workers routinely handle cosmetic products containing numerous hazardous compounds, including carcinogens, reproductive and developmental toxicants, respiratory irritants, and allergens. Chemicals in personal care products are virtually unregulated in the United States. The California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative was established in 2005 out of a growing concern for the health, safety and rights of nail salon and cosmetology workers, owners, and students. The Collaborative includes over forty organizational members and allies, including members from environmental and reproductive justice groups, the salon workforce, non-profit organizations, researchers, government agencies and other key stakeholders. The Collaborative conducts its work through an integrated approach using research, policy advocacy, and  community engagement strategies. To date, there have been some important community-driven research efforts that have supported social and policy changes and promoted community awareness around worker health and safety.




Dr. Thu Quach

Cancer Prevention Institute of CA

Julia Liou

Asian Health Services



Dr. Thu Quach – Dr. Thu Quach’s primary research interest has focused on immigrant populations to examine environmental, occupational and socio-cultural factors which may influence their health. She has a strong commitment to community-based participatory research (CBPR), and has worked with different advocacy, environmental and community-based organizations to leverage public health goals that promote the health and well-being of under-served populations. In her current capacity as a research scientist at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, she leads several studies focusing on the booming nail salon workforce, comprised largely of Vietnamese immigrant women.  Her studies include examining cancer incidence in salon workforce members, conducting exposure assessments within salons and developing intervention studies aimed at encouraging salon workers and owners to collectively reduce their workplace exposures to harmful chemicals. In 2011, after years of community-research collaboration, she also joined Asian Health Services as the Research Director to establish a research arm within this community health center that serves low-income Asian Americans and Pacific Islander patients. In this capacity, she oversees research collaborations and works to promote community driven research efforts to promote health equity. Dr. Quach currently serves on the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative Steering Committee, the NIOSH Service Sector Council, and the community Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organization. She received her Masters in Public Health from University of California, Los Angeles and her Ph.D. in Epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley.


Julia Liou  – As the Director of Program Planning and Development at Asian Health Services, Julia Liou oversees program planning, grants, manages various community projects, and coordinates the agency’s strategic planning efforts. She co-founded and manages the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative, a statewide coalition effort to address the health and safety issues nail salon patients and community members face in their work environment. The Collaborative received a Momentum Award from the Women’s Foundation, a Community Health Champion Award from the Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum in 2011, and an EPA Environmental Justice Award in 2007. She also currently leads a community engagement project related to the City of Oakland’s Lake Merritt Planning process, which seeks to ensure community input, vision, and ideas into this proposed transit oriented development planning process. During her time at AHS, she has managed the Revive Chinatown! project, a community transportation and urban planning effort, developed language access policy recommendations, coordinated the capital implementation of Revive Chinatown!, and has published peer reviewed articles related to pedestrian safety, community health, and nail Julia currently sits on the American Public Health Association By-Laws Governance Committee, UC Berkeley’s California Pacific Public Health Training Center Advisory Board, and Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership Healthy Eating and Active Living Advisory Committee. She also served on the East Bay Municipal Utility District Community Advisory Board, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum Board of Directors, and was a Policy Fellow with the Women’s Foundation Policy Institute.  Julia received “Excellence in Advocacy” Awards in 2006 and 2010 from the Community Health Center Network. She holds a Masters in Public Health from the University of California Los Angeles and a bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College.


Presentation Materials


Collab Brochure 2012_EN

Collab Membership Agreement_2013

CollabStrat Plan_FINAL


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