(This was originally posted on the website of one of our AmeriCorps placement sites and can also be found at http://www.ucsf-ahp.org/ladi-khoddam/)
Ladi Khoddam calls herself “a passionate ally to the LGBTQ community.” At AHP, that’s precisely what we need. But passion is only part of the job description Khoddam has written for herself in her quest to help AHP as an AmeriCorps member (our first!). She is steadfast in her course to change the world and her community. At AHP she has proven herself to be smart, articulate, and creative, helping on major projects including the introduction of our powerful new Electronic Health Inventory, being an HIV test counselor, and helping fundraise, including staffing our Art for AIDS auction.
What inspired her to work with people affected by HIV? She began as a camp counselor at Project Kindle, a camp for kids affected by HIV/AIDS. “A good friend of mine told me about the organization and I instantly fell in love; I ended up serving as a counselor for three summers.” Before beginning graduate school, she began interning at Shanti Orange County, an agency that provides programs and services to people living with HIV/AIDS. “Working with people affected by HIV was incredibly inspiring and eye opening, and ultimately [it] sparked my journey toward a career in public health.”
Established to connect Americans of all ages and backgrounds with opportunities to give back to their communities, each year AmeriCorps places more than 75,000 in service at nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community- and faith-based groups across the country. Since its inception in 1994, more than 900,000 AmeriCorps members have served, helping nonprofits to tackle social and cultural challenges.
Khoddam, originally from Southern California, attended the University of California, Irvine, where she received degrees in biology and English. She spent two years teaching for a tutoring company before making the decision to pursue a Master of Public Health degree at Loma Linda University. There, Khoddam was awarded the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, which supported her work on a photography program with homeless HIV-positive people at the Central City Lutheran Mission in San Bernardino.
“I feel extremely lucky because I’ve met the most inspiring and resilient people through my volunteer experiences,” Khoddam said. “I am left humbled because every place, every opportunity, and every person has given me another piece of who I am today.” We, at AHP, are so grateful that Khoddam has assembled those pieces in service of AHP’s clients and mission!