Chia Thao was a teenager when she arrived in Fresno with her family to begin a new life. She was born in a refugee camp in Thailand, where her Laotian parents had fled after the Vietnam War.
“Our parents brought a skillset to the U.S., found a home in the Central Valley and began farming,” Thao said. “This connected them back to their homeland.”
Over the years, she witnessed the challenges small-scale farmers faced and it prompted her research interests. Now, she is using her cultural knowledge of her community to help improve health outcomes.