Skip Navigation LinksOHEAdvisoryCommitteebios

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.


Sarah De Guia

Sarah De Guia

As chief executive officer, Sarah de Guia oversees development and implementation of ChangeLab Solutions’ long-term goals, priorities, strategies, and budget. She is committed to applying her legal expertise and leadership experience to advancing equitable laws and policies that ensure healthy lives for all.

Before joining ChangeLab Solutions, Sarah worked at the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN), first as director of government affairs and then as executive director. Sarah developed and implemented CPEHN’s policy, community partnership, and research goals. She also expanded the organization through creation of a Southern California office and increasing the number of permanent staff members in Sacramento. Sarah’s accomplishments during her tenure at CPEHN include passage of more than a dozen legislative bills to further health equity; critical administrative policy wins to incorporate health equity into land use and planning regulations; and improving the quality of health care for immigrants, patients with limited English proficiency, and communities of color. 

She has authored many publications on the health of communities of color in California, oral health disparities, mental health, and Latino health. Prior to working at CPEHN, Sarah was a health program director at Latino Issues Forum and a legislative analyst at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Sarah sits on the advisory committee for the Office of Health Equity at the California Department of Public Health. She earned her law degree from Santa Clara University School of Law and her bachelor’s degree in ethnic studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

Aaron Gardner

Aaron GardnerAaron Gardner is an epidemiologist and program evaluator for the Epidemiology & Program Evaluation Branch of the Riverside County Department of Public Health (DOPH).  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 have included novel substance abuse treatment models for gay and bisexual men and African Americans. In the last decade, his research focus has shifted to health equity and the 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.  

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 has served on the Board of Directors for The Women's Building, a women-led community space and has 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.

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.​

Kismet Baldwin

Kismet BaldwinKismet Baldwin, MD, recently transitioned to a new position of Deputy Health Officer of Sonoma County Public Health.  She continues to strive to provide leadership in a broad array of programs and services to protect, promote, and improve the health and well being 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 Sonoma County will be healthy, safe, equitable, and thriving, Dr. Baldwin and the public health staff are dedicated to removing barriers and addressing the root causes of health inequity.  Sonoma County Public Health 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. 

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.

Lisa Folberg

Lisa FolbergLisa Folberg is the President and CEO of the California Academy of Family Physicians. 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.

Valentine Antony 

Valentine Antony

Valentine Antony is a First Nations (Mohawk) native living in San Francisco. He is the Research and Evaluation Coordinator for the California Consortium for Urban Indian Health (CCUIH). As part of his work at CCUIH, Valentine is an evaluator for the GONA Cross Site Study funded by California Office of Health Equity (OHE), California Reducing Disparities Project (CRDP) involving 5 Urban Indian Health Program members. Valentine also serves as an evaluator for the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) funded Tribal MAT initiative which works with Urban Indian and Tribal partners across California on a program evaluation and data collection efforts with community members and medical providers. He continues to work in collaboration with AIAN health agencies, tribal agencies and statewide partnerships to develop innovative solutions to addressing the health needs of American Indian communities in California. Valentine graduated with distinction from the University of New Mexico with an MS degree in Public Administration and an MS degree in Community & Regional Planning. 

Ana Gonzalez-Seda

Ana Seda

Ana González Seda, MPH is the Director Programs for the San Diego/Imperial Valley Chapter for the Alzheimer's Association. Under Ana's leadership, 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 has 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 and stimulate investment. As well as engaging 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 (HOPE) under the Leadership Institute- established to train Latina leaders in leadership and advocacy skills enabling to create fundamental change within their communities statewide. Ana is bi-cultural, bi-racial raised in San Diego. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Sociology from San Diego State University and earned a Master's Degree in Public Health with an emphasis in Health Services Administration. Ana recently received a certification in Project Management from the University of Redlands. In her free time, Ana enjoys spending time with her vivacious seven-year old son, Christian and husband, residing in San Diego.

Terra Russell-Slavin

Terra

Terra Russell-Slavin, Esq. is the Director of Policy and Community Building at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the world's largest provider of programs and services for LGBTQ people, 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 LBQT women's health; domestic, sexual violence, and hate crime services; and homeless youth and senior services. Terra regularly 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 a subject matter expert on issues related to LGBTQ domestic violence and is Chair of the LGBTQ Subject Matter Committee for the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence. An attorney by trade, Terra has a strong community health perspective.  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.

Angela Ball

AeoFdjFRBMXbAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC

Angela Ball has been the Director of the Division of Public Health Nursing for the Alameda County Public Health Department for 10 years and 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, Medically Fragile and Services to Enhance Early Development Units, Community Outreach and Pre-Eligibility Units, and the program with the Alameda County District Attorney's Office to reduce truancy among youth.  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. Her past and current work has been with very sensitive, vulnerable populations and she has strong partnerships with organizations such as, First 5 Alameda County, academic institutions, CBOs, local hospitals, and professional organizations.

​Jessica Buendia

Jessica Buendia

Jessica (Jessie) Buendia has fourteen years of experience in the foundation, government, and nonprofit sectors advancing progressive public policy and social impact programs. Currently, Jessie is the Deputy Director of the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC). SGC promotes sustainability, health, and equity across the state by helping California achieve its climate change goals through place based and community driven programming.

Prior to joining SGC, Jessie was the Community Benefits and Social Responsibility Manager at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. She was responsible for implementing the agency's landmark community benefits and environmental justice policies across its Water, Power, and Sewer Enterprises, directing its social impact program, and leading its participation in the Government Alliance on Race and Equity. She has held positions at the San Francisco Foundation, Health Access Foundation, California State Legislature, City of Newark, Urban Habitat, and the Greenlining Institute. She has also lived and worked in Mexico, France, India, and South Africa.

Jessie has a Master's degree in Public Policy from Princeton University, an Advanced Project Management Certificate from Stanford University, and a Bachelor's Degree from Macalester College. She is also a certified life coach with a focus on building transformational leadership within the social justice sector.

Shireen Malekafzali 

Shireen Malekafzali

Shireen Malekafzali serves as Chief Equity Officer at San Mateo County. She focuses on building more equitable county government structure, policies, practices, and procedures in order to support more equitable outcomes in communities of color, low-income communities, and other communities facing inequities. Shireen brings over 20 years of experience advancing equity through the non-profit, government and philanthropic sectors. She serves as board chair of Human Impact Partners and board chair of the Social Justice Committee at TransForm. Shireen has a passion for advancing a just democracy, eating Persian food, and playing with her two small kids. 

Califia Abwoon

Califia Abwoon

Califia Abwoon is a Peer Support Specialist (PSS), Certified Anger Management Coach (CAMF), Domestic Violence Management Facilitator (DMF), an Emotional Intelligence Rehabilitation Coach, and is in the process of earning her Substance Use Counseling License. She works with We Are Wayfarer, 1:1 Pilot Program developing relationships with the homeless population on Skid-row and in Long Beach. She advocates for underserved community members with mental health disorders who are homeless and lack effective case management services. She provides comprehensive mental health provisions that enhance the well-being of clinicians and patients. She also 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 (SAAC) 6 and 8, which functions as a local forum of consumers, families, service providers and community representatives to provide the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health with information, advice, and recommendations regarding the mental health service needs of those in South Los Angeles and South Bay. Califia is also with the California Association of Mental Health Peer Run Organizations on the Peer Action League Committee where she leads groups focusing on mental health efforts and updates peers on legislative policies. Califia is on the Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) pilot Reentry Health Advisory Collaborative (RHAC) funded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). Working on the funding committee for Men Central Jail Closure (MCJ), ordered by Los Angeles County Board of supervisors (LACBOS).  LAC BOS has ordered the Office of Diversion and Reentry to create a Jail Population Review Council which includes the RHAC.  The RHAC has partnered with the Participatory Budget Project (PBP) to help facilitate a community inspired budget. Califia collaborates with Community Coalition (CoCo) founded by Congresswoman Karen Bass, and with A New Way of Life Re-entry Project with All Of Us Or None (AOUON) founded by Susan Burton, who advocates for the rights of ex-prisoners and in prisoned populations. Califia has experienced homeless for 20 years. She is a violence, sexual, and mental abuse survivor. Califia provides a unique perspective to the Advisory Committee given her first-hand experience of being part of the community that the Advisory Committee serves.

​Vong Mouanoutoua

​Vong Mouanoutoua

Vong Mouanoutoua was the founding Advisory Board Member for the Hmong Helping Hands Project in the Central Valley. Vong represents and is part of the Hmong community in the central valley, a very vulnerable and underrepresented community.  His prior experience include that of a program director in a non-profit for serval years. In that capacity 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 has afforded him the opportunity to be part of the California Reducing Disparities Project (CRDP), which has allowed him to learn more about the needs of the mental health services for diverse populations. Through his work at the Fresno EOC, Reading and Beyond, Community Medical Centers, CRDP Project and on the City Council, he has learned how important it is to provide services to communities that are many times forgotten. 

Robin Carter

Robin Carter

Robin Carter is the Interim Dean of the College of Health & Human Services at Sacramento State University.  Robin Carter has over 25 years of experience as a social work professor and administrator. As a clinical social worker, she has worked with vulnerable populations, including the elderly, those with chronic health and disabling conditions, and people at the end of their lives. The focus of her scholarly and community work is mental health assessment and treatment; gerontology and equity and inclusion. She has been the principle investigator in several large grants and contracts serving students and totaling over $2 million.  She has 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. She is one of the founding members of the MLK Center at Sacramento State and in her previous role of Interim Executive Director of Diversity she was charged with developing the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Sacramento State.

Nahla Kayali

Nahla KayaliA recipient of the "Champion of Change" award from the White House in 2014, Nahla Kayali works to empower underserved individuals and families to ensure they have access to health and human services.  Arriving to the United States as a Palestinian refugee from Syria at the age of 16, and only having finished the 9th grade, Nahla founded Access California Services (AccessCal) in 1998, a culturally and linguistically competent health and human services non-profit organization in Anaheim dedicated to empowering underserved populations, with a focus on Arab-American & Muslim-American communities. Under Nahla's leadership, AccessCal serves 11,000 unduplicated clients and provides over 65,000 services, annually. Nahla serves as the Chairperson of the Orange County Refugee Forum and holds the State Refugee Forum Seat for the State Advisory Council on Refugee Services.  Most recently in 2019, Nahla's work was featured in the book "Leadership with Impact: Preparing Health and Human Service Practitioners in the Age of Innovation and Diversity," written by Juan Carlos Araque, PhD, a Clinical Associate Professor and Eugenia L. Weiss, PsyD, LCSW, a Clinical Associate Professor who both work at the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work at the University of Southern California. 

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.

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.

Nancy Rodriguez

Nancy%20Rodriguez%20Photo%202

Nancy Rodriguez is a Health Program Analyst with Community and Field Services at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) 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's heavy involvement with the community will serve as a bridge for the Advisory Committee to engage directly with residents and obtain first-hand input on the various initiatives happening within the community. 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 in Public Health (MPH) 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.

Héctor Manuel Ramírez 

wDJetFoYGgDwAAAAABJRU5ErkJggg== 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 and is hard of hearing, 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, where he makes recommendations to the board of supervisors on strategies to address racial injustice through community investments such as youth development, job training, small business development, supportive housing services, and alternatives to incarceration.

Angelina Woodberry

wEKsfxv5al5bQAAAABJRU5ErkJggg==

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 has been 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.

Page Last Updated :