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OFFICE OF HEALTH EQUITY

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.

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Ana González​​-Seda

​Advisory Committee Co-Chair

Ana%20Seda%20pic

Ana González Seda, MPH is the Director of Programs for the San Diego/Imperial Valley Chapter for the Alzheimer's Association where she oversees the education, social engagement, diversity, and inclusion for the chapter focusing on senior health, people living with Alzheimer's, and their care partners. Ana worked in the non-profit health sector for leading organizations in San Diego for over 25 years, focusing on engaging communities of color. Ana sits on community boards which support quality affordable housing and livable neighborhoods, foster economic self-sufficiency, stimulate investment, and allows communities of color to participate in translational research through university-based educational institutions. Ana most recently became a fellow for the Hispanas Organized for Political Equality under the Leadership Institute.  Ana is bi-cultural and bi-racial raised in San Diego. She received her bachelor's degree in sociology from San Diego State University and earned a Master of Public Health with an emphasis in Health Services Administration. Ana recently received a certification in Project Management from the University of Redlands.​

Aaro​n Gardner

Aaron Gardner

Aaron Gardner is an epidemiologist and program evaluator for the Riverside County Department of Public Health.  Aaron's 20 years of social science and epidemiological research experience includes 14 years investigating infectious and chronic disease in Riverside County with a focus on social epidemiology. His past research topics included novel substance abuse treatment models for gay and bisexual men and African Americans. In the last decade, his research focus shifted to health equity and the social and environmental determinants of health and its impact on the chronic and communicable disease burden and life expectancy in minority populations and women. Aaron is on the forefront in research and policy development in his local health department coordinating the development, implementation, and evaluation of an innovative public health workforce training series and producing many of the county's first health reports on specific populations including the LGBT and transgender community.​​​

Angela M. Vá​zquez

Aaron Gardner

​​Angela M. Vázquez spent the last decade in education and child welfare public policy, working as a Policy Analyst at Advancement Project and the Associate Director for FosterEd California. Through these positions, she convened local and statewide education and child welfare stakeholders and facilitated policy development and implementation discussions for children in foster care.  In 2020, she was appointed to California's Citizens Redistricting Commission, an independent body tasked with redrawing California's elections boundaries. In March 2020, Angela became ill with COVID-19 and developed Long COVID. As the President of Body Politic, an all-volunteer grassroots organization at the forefront of Long COVID patient advocacy, Angela is leading intersectional children's well-being advocacy with and for other patients of color with chronic conditions and disabilities. Currently, Angela is a Policy Director at The Children's Partnership, covering a portfolio that includes mental health and child welfare. Angela received her master’s degree in social work from the University of Southern California and her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Claremont McKenna College.​​

Califia Abwoon

Califia Abwoon

Califia Abwoon is a Peer Support Specialist, Certified Anger Management Coach, Domestic Violence Management Facilitator, and Emotional Intelligence Rehabilitation Coach. She advocates for underserved community members who have mental health disorders, are homeless, and lack effective case management services.  She works with We Are Wayfarer, a 1:1 Pilot Program developing relationships with the homeless population on Skid-row and in Long Beach. Califia serves as the Chairman of the Board of Create Realistic Change Inc., a Peer Run Organization that is focused on the underserved community in Los Angeles. She is involved with the Service Area Advisory Committees 6 and 8, the California Association of Mental Health Peer Run Organizations, the Alternative to Incarceration pilot Reentry Health Advisory Collaborative, the Community Coalition, and with A New Way of Life Re-entry Project with All of Us or None. Califia experienced homelessness for 20 years and is a survivor of violence, sexual, and mental abuse​.​​​

Dannie Ceseña

Dannie CesenaD​​​annie Ceseña (he/they) is a transgender, two-spirit descendant of the Chichimeca tribe and is the LGBTQ Program Manager for the California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network. He has over 15 years of experience working with non-profits in program development and advocacy. Ceseña utilizes upstream interventions and addresses the root causes of lack of access to Transgender, Gender Nonconforming (TGNC) affirming healthcare. He also assisted in the creation of two TGNC community health care clinics and a monthly TGNC legal clinic in Orange County. Dannie is a trusted leader in LGBTQ health among partners in the California Tobacco Control Program. He is responsible for building We Breathe: Supporting Tobacco-Free LGBTQ Communities from the ground-up, and established the program as an innovator statewide, nationally, and even internationally.  He is a graduate of CSU Long Beach with bachelor's degrees in English and political science and is a graduate of National University with a Master of Public Health degree.​

Esperanza Macias​

Jei AfricaEsperanza Macias is the Director of Development and Strategic Communications at Instituto Familiar de la Raza (IFR) where she works to raise awareness and support the mental and behavioral health needs of the Latino community of San Francisco. Prior to her work at IFR over the past twelve years, she served as Executive Director of Health Initiatives for Youth and the San Francisco Women’s Building. As a Chicana lesbian, Esperanza was a past Advisory Board Member of the Dimensions Clinic in San Francisco. She is the current Chair of the Chicano/Latino/Indigena Health Equity Coalition which is comprised of various health-related Latino-serving organizations. She is also a member of the San Francisco Health Improvement Partnership (SFHIP) where she participated in developing the past two San Francisco Community Health Needs Assessments and serves as the current SFHIP Co-Chair. The focus of Esperanza’s policy work is Latino health equity with an eye towards increasing culturally-based practices, values and intersections in the public health system.​

Iliana Soto Welty

Jei Africa​Iliana Soto Welty has been an advocate for ending disparities and catalyst for systems change for over 25 years. She is passionate about strengthening communities to have a voice in the systems that impact their lives, and she advocates for improved access, quality, and equity of services for communities of color. Iliana is Co-Chair for the County of Orange Behavioral Health Equity Committee, the CalOptima Health Member Advisory Committee representing behavioral health, Equity Advisor with Public Health Advocates, and participates in collaboratives at the local and state levels. Her previous roles included Executive Director at the Multi-Ethnic Collaborative of Community Agencies and director positions at First5LA and OC Human Relations. She consults with public and private agencies on policy, programs and planning and works on Healthy Equity and Community Partnerships at Mind OC leading the Equity and Healing work for the Be Well OC Network of Care.​​

Jei Africa

Jei AfricaJei Africa made it his life's work to build equity and social justice in behavioral health care. Jei strives to integrate effective, culturally responsive and healing-focused practices into public health systems and services. As an immigrant and the first openly transgender behavioral health care director in California, Jei brings a deep connection to disadvantaged communities to his work. Jei helped establish the first LGBTQ+ center in San Mateo County, created a research scholarship for aspiring Filipino clinicians, developed statewide leadership curricula grounded on equity, and put together a framework for providing high-quality, nuanced care to diverse populations, including justice-involved youth and adults. Jei draws his expertise from over two decades in the field and he built relationships among diverse stakeholders to shape public policy, combat social stigma, and drive institutional change. He currently serves as director of Behavioral Health and Recovery Services for Marin County and sits on several state boards and commissions​​​

Nancy Rodriguez

Nancy RodriguezNancy Rodriguez is a Health Program Analyst with Community and Field Services at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health South Bay Regional Health Office. She conducts the planning, implementation, and evaluation of programs that promote authentic community engagement. Nancy serves as co-lead of the South LA/South Bay African American Infant and Maternal Mortality Community Action Team, a government-community partnership to address the alarming racial disparities in birth outcomes endured by African Americans in Los Angeles County. Her priority is to ensure that the voices of community members play a central role when planning and implementing community initiatives.  Nancy is a first-generation college graduate from a Mexican immigrant family. She completed her undergraduate education in Public Health Policy at the University of California, Irvine, and obtained her Master of Public Health with an emphasis in Health Communication from the University of Southern California. Nancy is also a Certified Health Education Specialist and a Certified Healthcare Interpreter.​​​​

Rashon Lane

Simran Kaur

Rash​on Lane is a Senior Health Equity Scientist at Sutter Health. Rashon served as a Senior Health Scientist/Behavioral Scientist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for 15 years and led the development of health equity indicators in cardiovascular disease project for the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. She also served as the Principal Investigator (PI) for the Grady Hospital Heart Failure Program evaluation where she assessed the integration of social determinants of health measures into electronic health records to provide health equity interventions and reduce heart failure readmissions. In 2020, during the CDC's COVID-19 response, was lead for the Minority and Rural Health and Monitoring and Evaluation teams. Most recently, she was PI for behavioral and epidemiological studies on long-COVID and the team lead for the Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative. Rashon completed her doctorate in medical sociology at the University of California San Francisco, master's in social psychology and evaluation from Claremont Graduate University, and bachelor's from Tuskegee University in psychology.​

Simran Kaur

Simran Kaur

Simran Kaur is Director for the Center for Community Health at Valley Children's Healthcare, focused on improving the health and wellness of children in the Central Valley where they live, learn and play. She currently serves on the Fresno County Commission on the Status of Women. Previously, Simran was the Western Region Director for the Sikh Coalition, the nation's largest Sikh civil rights organization. In 2012, she led efforts to pass the California Workplace Religious Freedom Act, now the nation's strongest protection against religious discrimination in the workplace. In the past, Simran served on the Board of Directors for The Women's Building, a women-led community space and served as the Affirmative Action Officer on the Board of Directors for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California. She is an active member of the Sikh American community in California and her work was published in "Her Name is Kaur", an anthology of stories about Sikh American women.

Vong Mouanoutoua

​Vong Mouanoutoua

​​Vong Mouanoutoua represents and is part of the Hmong community in the Central Valley, a very vulnerable and underrepresented community. Vong was the founding Advisory Board Member for the Hmong Helping Hands Project in the Central Valley.  He gained prior experience as a program director in a non-profit for serval years, where he had the opportunity to write grants and supervise over $13 million in funding. Vong's current occupation with the Community Medical Centers and as a Councilmember for the City of Clovis afforded him the opportunity to be part of the California Reducing Disparities Project (CRDP), which allowed him to learn more about the needs of the mental health services for diverse populations. Through his work at the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission, Reading and Beyond, Community Medical Centers, CRDP Project and on the City Council, he learned how important it is to provide services to communities that are many times forgotten​.​



Bernadette Austin

​Advisory Committee Co-Chair

Bernadette AustinBernadette Austin is the Executive Director of the Center for Regional Change at the University of California at Davis where she works to build bridges across disciplines and support research that is community-engaged, policy-oriented, and equity-focused. Bernadette provides leadership on ​​​several projects  ​including: developing tools to support affordable housing, understanding megaregion migration, supporting transportation equity, and advancing carbon neutrality. She serves as a regional and statewide thought leader on a variety of topics. Bernadette founded a consulting firm specializing in community development and worked for an affordable housing developer, redevelopment agency, community development financial institution, and several nonprofit community health organizations. Her projects include Sacramento's first true transit-oriented development, West Sacramento's first urban farm stand, and the first project in the country to implement a program combining housing vouchers and health services for adults living with disabilities.

Angel​a Ball

Angela Ball

​​Angela Ball has been the Director of the Division of Public Health Nursing for the Alameda C​​ounty Public Health Department for 10 years and serves as the COVID-19 Deputy Safety Officer.  She is responsible for planning, organizing, and directing public health nursing programs, including the Older Adults/Healthy Results, In-Home Supportive Services, Adult Protective Services, Foster Care Assessment Center, Community Outreach and Pre-Eligibility Units.  Angela works towards improving access to and quality of care for incarcerated and detained individuals at the city and county holding cells, jails, and juvenile detention facilities through her management of the annual Title 15 jail inspections.  At the Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, Angela was responsible for ensuring the provision of high-quality breast and cervical cancer screening services to low-income, underserved women in Alameda County. She ​has strong partnerships with organizations such as, First 5 Alameda County, academic institutions, CBOs, local hospitals, and professional organizations.

Angelina Woodberry

Angelina Woodberry​​Angelina Woodberry is currently a Consumer Advocate Liaison with Cal Voices in Sacramento County and brings 20​​ years of front line nonprofit social services experiences. Angelina has been involved in community based advisory boards for 14 years. She serves as a Peer Action League Member with the California Association of Mental Health Peer Run Organizations and is a member on their Cultural, Racial Ethnic Equity Committee. She is also the Chair Sacramento County Children's Coalition. With her roles on these boards, she provides the unique perspective of a woman of color who came from the foster care system. She is both a consumer of mental health services and the parent of a child with a physical disability and mental health challenges. Angelina previously worked as a mental health patients' rights advocate, representing people with lived mental health challenges in administrative hearings to help them fight for voluntary outpatient treatment.

Chris Miller

​Vong Mouanoutoua

D​r. Chris Miller is a religious studies teacher at a Catholic high school in the San Francisco Bay Area.  He also serves as co-chair of the Pastoral Care and Mental Wellness Ministry Network through the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry and is a member of the California State Mental Health Policy Workgroup, the NAMI National FaithNet Steering Committee, and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s Faith Communities Task Force. He most recently worked for Catholic Charities Santa Clara County supporting the Community Action Poverty Simulation program and served as the youth and young adult coordinator at a 5,000-family parish. Miller graduated from Santa Clara University with a bachelor's degree in history, California Teaching Credential, and master’s degrees in education and pastoral ministries and a doctorate in education from the University of San Francisco. Most recently, he received a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Notre Dame de Namur University. Chris is currently enrolled in a post-master’s Certificate in Spiritual Formation at Boston College.​

Eddie Hu

​Vong Mouanoutoua

​​Eddie Hu currently serves as a Program Director at Asian Resources, Inc. Eddie accumulated extensive experience as a health advocate, working with individuals across various age groups and linguistic backgrounds to address health disparities. With over seven years of experience in public health, Eddie leads a network of community-based organizations and clinics that primarily serve Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. Eddie advocates for health care and oral health access, culturally and linguistically appropriate care, quality of care, and social determinants of health at the local, state, and national levels. As a first-generation immigrant and member of the LGBTQIA+ community, Eddie is passionate about advocating for equitable social change and participates in several coalitions and committees focusing on healthcare access, data equity, oral health access, and cultural and linguistic access. Eddie holds a Master of Public Health and a Master of Social Work from the University of Southern California. Eddie is also a native speaker of Cantonese and Mandarin.

Héctor Manuel Ramírez 

Hector Manuel Ramirez

Héctor Manuel Ramírez (he/them/they) is an Apache and Mexican Two Spirits person occupying space in Yaanga, Tongva-Los Angeles, CA -- the ancestral lands of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians. He is an Autistic person with a psychiatric disability, is hard of hearing, and is a lifelong disability rights advocate focusing on the intersections that impact disabled people, families, and communities. He is a formerly institutionalized person and a consumer of the largest public mental health system in the country -- Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, where he chairs the Latino UsCC. He is the first openly gay person ever appointed to the Los Angeles County Mental Health Commission, a board member of Disability Rights California, and the National Disability Rights Network. He has been appointed to California's Governor Gavin Newsom's Behavioral Health Task Force to address the urgent mental health and substance use disorder needs across California and to the Los Angeles County Measure J Reimagine LA Advisory Committee. ​

Jazmine Garcia Delgadillo

Jazmine Garcia DelgadilloJazmine Garcia Delgadillo is the Health and Equity Program Manager at the Strategic Growth Council. Jazmine has extensive experience translating research into health equity-centered policy, evaluating and designing community informed programs, and collaborating with diverse stakeholders and sectors, including community-based organizations, nonprofits, local government, associations, and policymakers. Previously, she served as a Health Policy Fellow for Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal where she had the opportunity to work on legislative health issues at the intersection of immigration and health. While a Doctoral Candidate, Jazmine also collaborated with California’s Primary Care Association, the National Collaborative for Health Equity, the District of Columbia’s Department of Public Health, Office of Health Equity, and Trust for America’s Health, among other organizations. Jazmine has a Doctor of Public Health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and a Master of Public Health degree and bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley.​​

Jo-Ann Julien

Jo Ann Julien

J o-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 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 bachelor's degree in communications and a master's degree 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.

Lark Doolan

Patricia LeeLark Doolan is currently the Executive Director of Queer Humboldt. He works to ensure 2S/LGBTQIA+ people have equitable access to support and services. He holds a special education teaching credential with an emphasis on moderate/severe disabilities, and a school administrator credential, with 6 years of experience as a superintendent of a public school district. Additionally, he earned a master’s degree in clinical psychology and is a practicing Marriage and Family Therapist, specializing in serving 2S/LGBTQIA+ youth, adults, couples, and families. In his work as a professional trainer and group facilitator, he uses an anti-racist lens to support systems change in mental health, education, and community settings so that all community members, including queer people, have equitable access to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness on the Pacific North Coast of California and beyond.

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 in the California Medicaid population, to be undertaken by OMD, and disseminates 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.

Robin Carter

Robin Carter

Robin Carter is the Interim Dean of the College of Health & Human Services at Sacramento State University. Robin has over 25 years of experience as a social work professor and administrator. As a clinical social worker, she worked with the elderly, those with chronic health and disabling conditions, and people at the end of their lives. Her scholarly and community work focuses on mental health assessment and treatment, gerontology, and equity and inclusion. She has been the principal investigator in several large grants and contracts serving students and totaling over $2 million.  She held board membership in multiple professional organizations, including the Sacramento Family Justice Center, Cal Post Doc Advisory Board and the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education. Robin is one of the founding members of the MLK Center at Sacramento State and was previously tasked with developing the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Sacramento State Interim Executive Director of Diversity.​​

Terra Russell-Slavin

Terra Russell-SlavinTerra Russell-Slavin, Esq. is the Director of Policy and Community Building at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, which she has been a part of for 15 years. Terra's policy work focuses on advocating for health and mental health services for the LGBTQ community, including HIV, STD and LBTQ women's health; domestic, sexual violence, and hate crime services; and homeless youth and senior services. Terra works in coalitions at the local, state, and national level with other community-based service providers representing LGBTQ community groups, larger community non-profits, and governmental entities. Terra is Chair of the LGBTQ Subject Matter Committee for the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence. Terra received the Los Angeles County Betty Fisher Award for Phenomenal Leadership in the field of domestic violence and has been recognized by the National LGBT Bar Association as a Best Attorney Under 40. Terra is a graduate of Pitzer College and Northeastern University School of Law.

Weiyu Zhang

Weiyu ZhangWeiyu Zhang (she/her) is a Community Advocacy Manager with the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network. As a public health practitioner, Weiyu is committed to leveraging the vision, knowledge, and toolkit of public health to solve racial and social inequities. She advocates for policy and decision-making processes that center community self-determination and expertise for Black, Indigenous and other marginalized communities in California. Weiyu has more than seven years of experience working in public health and social justice, including community health education and community crisis response, organizing multicultural coalitions, and analyzing public policy. She also has a strong analytical background from training as a biomedical scientist and working in clinical cancer research and biopharmaceutical production. Weiyu holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Science in Applied Biology and Biotechnology from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Weiyu is a native speaker in Mandarin Chinese.​​​


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