"I became interested in studying diabetes self-care while I was working as a family nurse practitioner in Central California. Many of my patients were ethnic minority immigrants and it was difficult for them to manage their diabetes well because of language, cultural practices, and limited resources. Because I am an immigrant myself, I am very aware of the important cultural factors that influence diabetes self-management behaviors in immigrant adults and seniors.  I developed and tested a practical community-based diabetes self-management program for Korean immigrants, which showed significant improvement in diabetes outcomes."

At UCLA, Dr. Choi’s research focuses on identifying and understanding the biological, psychological, social, and cultural factors associated with chronic disease self-management. Dr. Choi has been particularly interested in the role of family support in self-management among Korean immigrants with type 2 diabetes. Her study interests have since broadened to include coronary heart disease and stroke prevention among diverse ethnic minority seniors and the impact of cognition and brain changes on diabetes self-care abilities.

Faculty Research and Clinical Expertise

Research: Multi-dimensional (bio-psycho-socio-cultural) factors associated with self-management of type 2 diabetes mellitus among adults from diverse cultural background.  This includes biological factors, risk perceptions, depression, family support, cognition, and brain changes. My current NIH-funded R01 project examines the relationship between brain tissue integrity (via MRI) and self-management abilities among adults with type 2 diabetes

Clinical: Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner

Professional Activities

American Diabetes Association

American Heart Association

Asian American Pacific Islander Nurses Association


B.S., Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea, 1986, Nursing

M.S., University of California, Los Angeles, 1994, Nursing

Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco, 2007, Nursing

Honors and Awards

2010UC Irvine Outstanding Community Research Award and Community Partnership

2013Pilot work ("Community-Based, Culturally Tailored Diabetes Education Program Helps Low-Income Korean Immigrants Improve Self-Management Behaviors") was selected for innovation by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)


Choi SE, Roy B, Freeby M,  Mullur R,  Woo M,  Kumar R. (2019) Prefrontal cortex brain damage and glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes, Journal of Diabetes, https://doi.org/10.1111/1753-0407.13019.

Choi, S., Roy, B., Kumar, R., Fonarow, G., Woo, M. (2019)   Heart Failure Self-care Associated With Brain Injury in Executive Control Regions, Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 34(6), 433-439.

Menkin JA, McCreath HE, Song SY, Carrillo CA, Reyes CE, Trejo L, Choi SE, Willis P, Jimenez E, Ma S, Chang E, Liu H, Kwon I, Kotick J, Sarkisian CA. (2019) "Worth the Walk": Culturally Tailored Stroke Risk Factor Reduction Intervention in Community Senior Centers, Journal of American Heart Association, 8(6) e011088. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.118.011088.

Chang, E., Choi, S., Kwon, I., Araiza, D., Moore, M., Trejo, L. Sarkisian, C. (2018). Characterizing beliefs about stroke and walking for exercise among seniors from four racial/ethnic minority communities, Journal of Cross Cultural Gerontology, 33(4), 387-410.

Henry, S.L., Jamner, L. D., Choi, S. E., Pahl, M. V. (2018). The effect of the interdialytic interval on cognitive function in patients on haemodialysis, Journal of Renal Care, 44(1), 44-51.

Menkin, J.A., Guan, S.A., Araiza, D., Reyes, C., Trejo, L, Choi, S., Willis, P., Kotick, J., Jimenez, E., Ma, S., McCreath, H., Chang, E., Witarama, T., Sarkisian, C. A. (2017). Racial/ethnic differences in expectations regarding aging among older adults, The Gerontologist, 57(suppl_2):S138-S148. PMCID: PMC5881800.

Fan, W., Lee, D., Billimek, J., Choi, S., Wang, P.H. (2017). The Changing Landscape of Diabetes Prevalence among First-Generation Asian Immigrants in California from 2003 to 2013, BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care, 5(1), PMCID: PMC5278214.

Choi, S. E., Kwon, I., Chang, E., Araiza, D., Thorpe, C. L., Sarkisian, C. A. (2016). Developing a culturally-tailored stroke prevention walking program for Korean immigrant seniors: A focus group study, International Journal of Older People Nursing, 11(4), 255-265. NIHMSID 747961.

Kwon, I., Bharmal, N., Choi, S., Araiza, D., Moore, M. R., Trejo, L., Sarkisian, C. (2016). Older Ethnic Minority Women’s Perceptions of Stroke Prevention and Walking, Women’s Health Issues, 26(1), 80-86. PMCID: PMC4690776.

Kwon, I., Choi, S., Mittman, B., Bharmal, N., Liu, H., Vickrey, B., Song, S., Araiza, D., McCreath, H., Seeman, T., Oh, S. M., Trejo, L., and Sarkisian, C. (2015). Study protocol of "Worth the Walk": a randomized controlled trial of a stroke risk reduction walking intervention among racial/ethnic minority older adults with hypertension in community senior centers, BMC Neurology, 15, 91 PMCID: PMC4465734.

Rook, K. S., August, K. J., Choi, S., Franks, M. M., Stephens, M.A.P. (2015). Emotional reactivity to daily stress, spousal emotional support, and fasting blood glucose among patients with type 2 diabetes, Journal of Health Psychology (Epub ahead of print, May 7, 2015).

Choi, S. E., Ngo-Metzger, Q., Billimek, J., Greenfield, S., Kaplan, S. H., Sorkin, D. H. (2015). Contributors to patients’ ratings of quality of care among ethnically diverse patients with type 2 diabetes, Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health (Epub ahead of print, March 5, 2015) NIHMS ID: 702721.

Choi, S., Lee, J., Park, J., Sarkisian, C. (2015). Spousal Support in Diabetes Self-Management among Korean Immigrant Seniors, Research in Gerontological Nursing, 8(2), 94-104.  NIHMS 688665.

Choi, S. Reed, P. & Sarkisian, C. (2013). Gender differences in the relationship between diabetes specific quality of life and depressive symptoms in middle-aged and older Korean immigrants, Research in Gerontological Nursing, 6(4), 283-292. PMCID: PMC3882268.

Choi, S. Rush, E. & Henry, S. (2013). Negative Emotions and Risk for Type 2 Diabetes among Korean Immigrants, The Diabetes Educator, 39(5), 679-688. PMCID: PMC3815651.

Choi, S. E., Liu, M., Palaniappan, L. P., Wang, E. J., & Wong, N. D. (2013).  Gender and ethnic differences in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes among Asian subgroups in California,  Journal of Diabetes and its Complications27, 429-435. PMCID: PMC3769447.

Bhalla V, Zhao B, Azar K, Wang E, Choi S, Wong E, Fortmann S, Palaniappan L (2013) Racial/Ethnic Differences in the Prevalence of Proteinuric and Non-proteinuric Diabetic Kidney Disease, Diabetes Care, 36(5), 1215-1221. PMCID: PMC3631839.  

Choi, S & Reed, P (2013). Contributors to depressive symptoms among Korean immigrants with type 2 diabetes, Nursing Research, 62(2), 115-121   PMCID: PMC3594573.  

Myong, JP, Kim, HR, Choi, S, Koo JW (2013). Dose-related effect of urinary cotinine levels on bone mineral density among Korean females, Osteoporosis International, 24(4), 1339-1346.  PMID: 22890363.

Choi, S., Rush, E., & Henry, S. (2013). Health literacy in Korean immigrants at risk for type 2 diabetes. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 15(3), 553-559   PMCID: PMC3496807.

Holland, A, Zhao, B, Wong, E, Choi, S, Wong, N, Palaniappan, L (2013). Racial/Ethnic differences in control of cardiovascular risk factors among type 2 diabetes patients in an insured, ambulatory care population, Journal of Diabetes and its Complications, 27, 34-40  PMCID:PMC3587775.  

Jang, TW, Kim HR, Choi, SE, Yim HW, Lee, HE, Myong, JP, Koo, JW (2012). Smoking rate trends in Korean Occupational Groups: Analysis of KNHANES 1998-2009 Data, Journal of Occupational Health, 54, 452-458   PMID: 23060030.

Shin, J., Chiu, Y., Choi, S., Cho, S., & Bang, H. (2012). Serious psychological distress, health risk behaviors, and diabetes care among adults with type 2 diabetes: The California Health Interview Survey 2007. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, 95(3), 406-414 PMID: 22169109.

Myong, JP, Kim, HR, Choi, S, Koo JW (2012). The effect of socioeconomic position on bone health among Koreans by gender and menopausal status. Calcified Tissue International, 90:488-495 PMID: 22527203.

Choi, S & Rush E (2012). Effect of a short-duration, culturally tailored, community-based diabetes self-management intervention for Korean immigrants: A pilot study,  The Diabetes Educator, 38(3), 377-385.   PMCID: PMC3767570.    

Choi, S. (2011). Anthropometric measures and lipid coronary disease risk factors in Korean immigrants with type 2 diabetes. Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 26(5), 414-422. PMCID: PMC3137761.

Choi, S., Lee, J., & Rush, E. (2011). Ethnic and language disparities in diabetes care among California residents. Ethnicity and Disease, 21(2), 183-189. PMID: 21749022.

Choi, S. & Reed, P. (2011). Psychometric validation of a short acculturation scale for Korean immigrants. Nursing Research, 60(4), 240-246.  PMCID: PMC3128185.

Choi, S. Chung, S., Chow, V., & Wong, N. (2011). Do risk factors explain the increased prevalence of type 2 diabetes among California Asian adults? Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 13(5), 803-808. PMID: 20936431.

Choi, S. (2009). Diet-specific family support and glucose control among Korean immigrants with type 2 diabetes. The Diabetes Educator, 35(6), 978-985.  PMCID: PMC3793646.

Choi, S. & Rankin, S. (2009). Glucose control in Korean immigrants with Type 2 diabetes. Western Journal ofNursing Research, 31, 347-363.  PMCID: PMC3795774.  

Choi, S., Rankin, S., Stewart, A., & Oka, R. (2008). Perceptions of coronary heart disease (CHD) risk in Korean immigrants with Type 2 diabetes. The Diabetes Educator, 34, 484-492.  PMCID: PMC3795773.

Choi, S., Rankin, S., Stewart, A., & Oka, R. (2008). Effects of acculturation on smoking behavior in Asian Americans. A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 23, 67-73. PMID: 18158512.