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OHE Advisory Committee Members

Advisory Committee Member Bios

The OHE-AC consists of a broad range of experts, advocates, health clinicians, public health professionals, and consumers who understand the importance of the health and mental health disparities and inequities of historically vulnerable, marginalized, underserved, and underrepresented communities.

Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola

Sergio Aguilar-GaxiolaSergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, MD, PhD, is Professor of Clinical Internal Medicine, the Founding Director of the University of California (UC), Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities, Director of the Community Engagement Program of the UC Davis Clinical Translational Science Center, and Co-Director of the National Institute of Aging-funded Latino Aging Research and Resource Center. He has nearly 30 years of experience working in the mental health field as a researcher, clinician, professor, and advocate. He has created a substantive applied research program that focuses on cross-cultural comparative epidemiologic research on patterns and correlates of mental disorders, substance abuse, and health conditions; identification of unmet health and mental needs and associated risk and protective factors in underserved populations; community­ engaged approaches to reducing health disparities in underserved populations; and quality of care improvement through culturally and linguistically appropriate services. His recent work is focused on translating and bridging research with services delivery and policy development. He has been appointed to numerous policy and research advisory boards including a four-year appointment to the National Advisory Mental Health Council of the National Institute of Mental Health and the World Health Organization. In 2005, he was awarded the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health's National Minority Health Community Leader Award.

Rocco Cheng

Rocco ChengRocco Cheng, PhD. is Corporate Director of Prevention and Early Intervention Services at Pacific Clinics. A licensed clinical psychologist since 1996, Dr. Cheng has directed programs on mentoring, parenting, and gang awareness, as well as several prevention projects aimed at reducing substance abuse, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), youth violence, and gang affiliation. He has directed the Asian-Pacific Islander (API) Strategic Planning Workgroup (SPW) of the California Reducing Disparities Project (CRDP) since 2010. Additionally, Dr. Cheng and his culturally-responsive team, provide training and technical assistance for two statewide Stigma and Discrimination Reduction (SDR) Projects, collaborating with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), California and Mental Health America of California. Dr. Cheng advocates for underserved cultural communities. He is a steering committee member with the California Mental Health Services Act's (CalMHSA's) SDR Consortium as well as the Mental Health and Spirituality Initiative. Dr. Cheng also serves on the Mental Health Oversight and Accountability Committee's (MHSOAC's) Service Committee. He represents the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHP) immigrants/refugees populations in Los Angeles, the southern California region, and statewide (urban/rural).

Dr. Angelo Williams

Dr. Angelo Williams serves as Deputy Director of the California Black Health Network (CBHN), a 5013c focused on Black Health Equity and creating the conditions for #HealthyBlackPeople. CBHN's cycle of practice includes annual town hall meetings in seven cities statewide, advocacy for policy change at the California State Legislature and a biennial Black Health Agenda convening. Dr. Williams has served in a number of executive leadership capacities including his tenure as a Gubernatorial appointee and Assistant Vice Chancellor at the California Community College Chancellor's Office and as an Education and Family Economic Security Program Officer at the WK Kellogg Foundation. Angelo is active in his community where he serves as a professor of Sociology, African American/African Studies and Public Policy at UC Davis, CSU Sacramento, Sacramento City and Sierra Community Colleges. He is a Senior Fellow with the Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program and serves as an executive board member with the Los Rios College Federation of Teachers. Dr. Williams is honored to have received the Distinguished Alumni Award from CSU Sacramento, Champions of Change Award from CSUS Education Department and MBA Magazine's Diverse Executive Leader's Award. 

Donnell Ewert

Donnell EwertDonnell Ewert holds the position of Director of Shasta County Health and Human Services, where he and his colleagues are demonstrating leadership to build health equity in a rural county that is disadvantaged economically. His areas of expertise include epidemiology, program evaluation, survey research, public health, mental health, and social services.

Lisa Folberg

Lisa FolbergLisa Folberg is the President and CEO of the California Medical Association Foundation. She has expertise in health policy, including health system reform and financing, designing and implementing public health programs, physician practice and ethnic physician organizations, coalition building, health care workforce development, and non-profit administration.

Sandi Gàlvez

Sandi GalvezSandi Gàlvez, MSW, is Executive Director of the Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative (BARHII), a collaborative undertaking of eleven local health departments in the San Francisco Bay Area to transform public health practice for the purposes of eliminating health inequities. Galvez has worked in the field of public health for over 20 years, combining expertise in health education, community organizing, organizational development, and policy. She also has substantial experience in cross-sectoral partnerships to advance optimal health and well-being for all communities. She has served as a Planning Commissioner in the City of Oakland, a Policy Advisory Committee member to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and a Regional Equity Working Group member in the development of the Bay Area’s first Sustainable Communities Strategy. She holds a Master's degree in Social Welfare with an emphasis in Management and Planning from the University of California at Berkeley.

Guillermo Gonzalez

Guillermo GonzalezGuillermo Gonzalez is the Director of Consortia Services for the Health Center Partners of Southern California in the County of Riverside.  His areas of expertise are in Medicaid/ Medi-Cal policy, working with vulnerable, uninsured and underinsured populations including migrant farm workers, increasing access to health care, and legislative process and programs at the state and federal levels of government.

Jo Ann Julien

Jo Ann JulienJo Ann Julien leads the Office of Health Equity within Public Health Services, Health and Human Services Agency for the County of San Diego. She is also on the Center of Excellence for Health Promotion and Health Equity led by the University of California, San Diego.

Jo-Ann's public health career spans 20 years, starting at the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada, the Canadian  equivalent of the Centers for Disease Control, Food and Drug Administration, and the National Institutes of Health. Jo-Ann has worked in the area of cultural diversity and human rights at the federal level helping to create inclusive institutions.

Jo-Ann speaks French, and holds a B.A. in Communications and a Master's in Education, specializing in Counseling. She is trained in mental health first aid, risk communication, facilitation, deliberative dialogue, regulatory affairs, and public policy and is certified with the International Association of Public Participation. She will make an excellent addition to the Office of Health Equity Advisory Committee.

Nahla Kayali

Nahla KayaliNahla Kayali is the Executive Director and Founder of Access California Services and the Chairperson of the Refugee Forum of Orange County.  Ms. Kayali is described as a foot soldier for her community in making sure individuals and families receive access to quality health and human services.  Ms. Kayali believes in a world in which each individual leads a dignified and enriched life.

Dexter Louie

Dexter LouieDexter Louie, MD, JD, MPA, is a founding member and Chair of the Board of the National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians. This organization advocates as the voice of Asian-Pacific Islanders (API) physicians for improved and optimal health for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander (AANHPI) and all communities and populations, with particular attention to the underserved and vulnerable. He is past Chair of the California Medical Association Foundation, serves on the Steering Committee of the Foundation's Network of Ethnic Physicians Organizations, and is past Chair of the Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum. These organizations focus on issues of health and healthcare disparities, healthcare access, cultural competence and language access, and meaningful and effective patient engagement. Dr. Louie has worked both with policy-makers and legislators in government, and with patients, communities, and physician colleagues, at the grassroots level. He continues to practice in Chinatown, San Francisco, now for 35 years.

Yvette McShan

Yvette McShanYvette McShan is the Chief Operating Officer of Victorious Black Women, an organization she co-founded with a simple but powerful idea back in 2009 that the path towards healing lies in the ability of black women sharing their stories with one another. Her expertise lies in promoting life skills, mentoring, and substance abuse counseling, and she in strong advocate for individuals and communities facing incarceration and re-entry, addiction, and mental illness.

Lloyd Nadal

Lloyd NadalLloyd Nadal is directing the Safe Routes to School Program for the Solano Transportation Authority. He was previously the Program Manager for CA4Health, a program of the Public Health Institute. His expertise is in youth engagement (on a local, state and national level), organizing and advocacy, developing community- and youth-led public health programs/projects particularly in the areas of nutrition and physical activity policy, systems and environmental change. He has knowledge of school, after school and community based settings, where he has developed culturally appropriate and relevant curricula and social media/technology strategies and campaigns

Rye Baerg

Rye BaergRye Baerg is the Regional Planner for Southern California Association of Governments. His expertise is in land use, transportation and active transportation, public health, data collection, modeling, the social determinants of health, cultural identification, behavior change and Health in All Policies.

Dalila Butler

Dalila ButlerDalila Butler, MPH, Senior Associate at PolicyLink, works with the PolicyLink Center for Health Equity and Place to promote social, economic, and health equity through environmental and policy change, particularly in low-income communities and communities of color. As a co-lead of the statewide Alliance for Boys and Men of Color Health Policy Workgroup, she works with members of the network to advance policy to promote health, education, employment, and juvenile justice for California’s boys and men of color. Dalila also serves as a member of the Adverse Childhood Experiences Policy Workgroup and the YouthALIVE! START 2 Heal Advisory Group, focusing on health and healing for the communities that are most impacted by trauma.

Sarah de Guia

Sarah de GuiaSarah de Guia is the Executive Director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN), a multicultural advocacy organization dedicated to improving the health of communities of color in California. Sarah has over a decade of experience advocating for access to culturally and linguistically appropriate health care, advancing women’s reproductive justice, and promoting immigrants’ rights. Sarah currently serves as an advisory board member of the California Health Interview Survey and the Department of Health Care Services’ Stakeholder Committee. Previously Sarah worked with Latino Issues Forum and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Sarah earned her Juris Doctor from Santa Clara University School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley in Ethnic Studies and Public Policy.

Aaron Fox

Aaron FoxAaron Fox, MPM, is Health Policy Manager at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. Fox focuses his work with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) and underserved communities; advocates for effective policies that continue to support access to quality culturally competent health care; and provides education to the community on changing health policies and funding streams. He continues to underscore that LGBTQ and Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) communities who need continued support and increased access to care that reduces disparities and enhances community wellness. Fox serves as the Co-Chair for the California HIV Alliance, is a Steering Committee member for the California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network, and is a Commissioner on the Los Angeles County Commission on HIV. Additionally, he has served on the Policy Committee for the National Coalition for LGBTQ Health.

Kismet Baldwin, MD

Kismet Baldwin, MD, is the Health Officer of San Joaquin County Public Health Services (PHS), providing leadership in a broad array of programs and services to protect, promote, and improve the health and wellbeing of county residents.  Her dedication to public health started with her experiences as a neonatologist, where she saw first-hand the devastating effects that health inequity can have on a community; that dedication has been cemented by further experiences as a health officer.  With a vision that all communities in San Joaquin County will be healthy, safe, equitable, and thriving, Dr. Baldwin and the 235-member staff are dedicated to removing barriers and addressing the root causes of health inequity.  PHS works with colleagues across all sectors -- traditional and non-traditional community partners; private and public entities; with other County agencies and within their own -- to improve the social, economic, and physical conditions that have shortened our more impoverished residents' life-spans by nearly 20 years. 

Carrie Johnson

Carrie JohnsonCarrie Johnson, PhD., (Dakota Sioux) is a licensed clinical psychologist and the Director of the Seven Generations Child and Family Counseling Center at United American Indian Involvement in Los Angeles, California. Dr. Johnson has been involved in local county-wide and state-wide advisory boards to increase the access and cultural competence of services provided to American Indians. Dr. Johnson has also been involved in various state and federal grants and other initiatives as an advocate and educator about tribal issues in county, state, and national policy for urban Indian communities. She is an experienced trainer and consultant on the impact of intergenerational trauma on Indian children, families, and communities; and provides consultation, training, and workshops. Dr. Johnson received her Ph.D. in clinical Psychology, with an emphasis in Multicultural and Community Psychology, from the California School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles.

Manel Kappagoda

Manel KappagodaManel Kappagoda, JD, MPH, is a senior staff attorney and program director at ChangeLab Solutions, a national non-profit that helps communities craft law and policy solutions that address America’s most common and preventable diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and asthma.  Before joining ChangeLab Solutions, she worked for many years at the East Bay Community Law Center in Berkeley as an attorney in the HIV/AIDS law practice. Her areas of expertise include using law and policy tools to improve health access and outcomes in under-resourced communities; obesity prevention and nutrition policy; and public health law.

Patricia Lee

Patricia LeePatricia Lee has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Rhode Island and is currently the Research Scientist for the Office of Medical Director (OMD) in the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS). Dr. Lee determines potential key areas of research in health disparities and inequities, to be undertaken by OMD, and disseminate findings of scientific research in written reports. Prior to joining the OMD, Dr. Lee worked for the Office of Women’s Health (OWH) in DHCS. Before working for the state, she was an assistant professor in the department of Health Behavior at the University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB) School of Public Health, and she was an associate scientist position in the UAB Minority Health Research Center.

Ana Seda

 Ana González Seda, MPH is the Director Programs for the San Diego/Imperial Valley Chapter for the Alzheimer's Association. She started her position December of 2016. She is managing the care and support arm of the local chapter and oversees the program department. Ana has been working in the non-profit sector for leading health organizations in San Diego for over 20 years. As a San Diego native, Ana received her Bachelor's Degree in Sociology from San Diego State University and went on to receive her Master's Degree in Public Health with an emphasis in Health Services Administration. Ana has recently received a certification in Project Management from the University of Redlands. During Ana's free time, she enjoys spending time with her vivacious 5 year old son, Christian and husband residing in La Mesa.

Hermia Parks

Hermia ParksHermia Parks, MA, RN, PHN, is Director of Public Health Nursing/Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health for the County of Riverside. Parks has enhanced the quality of care to the community by developing population and evidence-based services to the community. As a member of the Council of Multicultural Health, Parks was part of the workgroup that updated the California Medical Association Foundation's Child and Adolescent Obesity Provider toolkit. As 2011/12 President of Directors of Public Health Nursing (DPHN), she initiated a partnership that contributed to updating the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health Care. She also engaged DPHN in strategic planning that resulted in a Health Equity/Social Determinants of Health workgroup and co-authored a white paper titled The Role of Public Health Nurses in Achieving Heath Equity. Parks also serves on the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials Health Equity committee.​​

Linda Wheaton

Linda WheatonLinda Wheaton is the Assistant Director for Intergovernmental Affairs for the California Department of Housing & Community Development (HCD). Linda works at the interface of housing policy, planning, and financial assistance related to transportation, air quality, and the influence of the built environment on public health. She is a member of the Health in All Policies Task Force of the Strategic Growth Council, chairing the Housing Siting and Air Quality Workgroup. Linda has managed or led housing issues representation on collaborative projects involving statewide affordable housing and other advocacy groups, e.g., the 2012 State Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing, TOD Housing Program Guidelines, the 2010 Regional Transportation Plan Guidelines update, SB 375 implementation, and the Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA) process. She has a Master's Degree in Urban and Regional Planning, University of California, Berkeley, and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and the Ass’n. of Environmental Professionals.

Michael Witte

Michael WitteMichael Witte has been a physician since 1970 and currently serves as the Chief Medical Officer for the California Primary Care Association, where he works with a dynamic group of health policy experts who support the most vulnerable populations in California. Family medicine and Federally Qualified Health Centers are his primary areas of expertise.
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