Appendix B
Speaker Biographies

Ruben Abrica was born and raised in Mexico and immigrated as a teenager to California. He is a member of the City Council of East Palo Alto, California, where he has lived for 29 years. Abrica was involved in the movement for incorporation and was elected to the first city council in 1983. During the 1990s he served on the board of directors of the Ravenswood School District. He has also served on the boards of or been a member of various organizations, such as the Drew Health Clinic Board, Senior Center, YMCA, and Committee Latino. Abrica’s professional background is in teaching and educational research. He designed and conducted an evaluation, the Educational Exchange Program for Nurses in the Pacific Basin, for the University of Hawaii. As mayor of East Palo Alto in 2006, Abrica convened a Community Health Roundtable with the purposes of (1) gathering specific information on the health situation of East Palo Alto residents, (2) exploring the social and environmental justice issues that affect the health of the community, and (3) identifying ways for city government to become a stronger advocate for health issues. The Community Health Roundtable continues to serve as a vehicle for discussion and advocacy for health issues affecting all the diverse communities in East Palo Alto.


E. Richard Brown, Ph.D., is a professor at the School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He is also the founder and director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. Brown received a Ph.D. in the sociology of education from the University of California, Berkeley. Brown’s recent research focuses on health insurance coverage; the lack of coverage; and the effects of public policies, managed care,



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Appendix B Speaker Biographies Ruben Abrica was born and raised in Mexico and immigrated as a teen- ager to California. He is a member of the City Council of East Palo Alto, California, where he has lived for 29 years. Abrica was involved in the movement for incorporation and was elected to the first city council in 1983. During the 1990s he served on the board of directors of the Ravenswood School District. He has also served on the boards of or been a member of various organizations, such as the Drew Health Clinic Board, Senior Center, YMCA, and Committee Latino. Abrica’s professional back- ground is in teaching and educational research. He designed and conducted an evaluation, the Educational Exchange Program for Nurses in the Pacific Basin, for the University of Hawaii. As mayor of East Palo Alto in 2006, Abrica convened a Community Health Roundtable with the purposes of (1) gathering specific information on the health situation of East Palo Alto resi- dents, (2) exploring the social and environmental justice issues that affect the health of the community, and (3) identifying ways for city government to become a stronger advocate for health issues. The Community Health Roundtable continues to serve as a vehicle for discussion and advocacy for health issues affecting all the diverse communities in East Palo Alto. E. Richard brown, Ph.D., is a professor at the School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He is also the founder and director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. Brown received a Ph.D. in the sociology of education from the University of California, Berkeley. Brown’s recent research focuses on health insurance coverage; the lack of coverage; and the effects of public policies, managed care, 9

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0 DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGES, A VIEW FROM CALIFORNIA and market conditions on access to health care services, particularly for disadvantaged populations, ethnic minorities, and immigrants. The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, which he founded in 1994, is supported by grants and contracts that total more than $8 million a year. Brown is also the principal investigator for the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), one of the nation’s largest ongoing health surveys. Brown served as a full-time senior consultant to the President’s Task Force on National Health Care Reform, for which he cochaired the work group on coverage for low-income families and individuals. He has served as health policy adviser to two members of the U.S. Senate, where he was a Senate fellow and developed legislative proposals for major health care reform. He was health policy adviser to several candidates for U.S. president. Brown has also developed legislation for the California Legislature and advised mem- bers on a variety of health policy legislative issues. He has presented invited testimony to numerous committees in both houses of the U.S. Congress and in the California Legislature and has provided consultation services to many private, state, federal, and international agencies. He has also served on several study committees of the National Academies. He is a past president of the American Public Health Association. Luisa buada, R.N., M.P.H., has 27 years of experience in health care administration, management and organizational development. She was the founding executive director of both Clinicas de Salud in the Salinas Valley and the Berkeley Primary Care Access Clinic. She cofounded Life Long Medical Care in Berkeley, California, as part of a merger with the Over 60 Health Center in 1996. She participated as a consultant in the develop- ment of Ravenswood Family Health Center (RFHC) in East Palo Alto and in November of 2003 became the chief executive officer of RFHC. As a consultant, Buada worked with community health centers on strategic and financial planning, organizational development, architectural planning, and bilingual board training. She received a bachelor of science degree in nurs- ing from the University of California, San Francisco, School of Nursing in 1977 and a master’s degree in public health policy and administration from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1990. Marqueece Dawson has been a dedicated activist for more than twenty years. He completed his bachelor’s degree at Morehouse College and while there, cut his activist teeth on several important community issues includ- ing South African apartheid, police brutality, and youth and family ser- vices. Currently, he is the Executive Director of Community Coalition, a community-based organization in South Los Angeles. Dawson is the organization’s second Executive Director, following its founder, current California State Assembly Member Karen Bass. The organization is best

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 APPENDIX B known for leading grassroots campaigns to close more than 200 liquor stores and other nuisance businesses in South Los Angeles and winning the struggle to obtain college prep courses for all LAUSD high school students. For 5 years, Dawson ran the Community Coalition youth project, South Central Youth Empowered thru Action, as Program Director. During that time, he led a campaign to expose poor learning conditions at South Los Angeles High Schools. As a result of Dawson’s focused leadership and the student’s tenacity, they won $153 million in repairs for their schools. In addition to his work at Community Coalition, Dawson has extensive experience in electoral politics and is a key participant in the Progressive Movement in Los Angeles. Marqueece was a delegate to the United Nations World Conference Against Racism (2001, Durban, South Africa) and the World Festival of Students and Youth (1997, Havana, Cuba) and serves on a myriad of boards, committees, and organization affiliations. Recently, Dawson received a certificate in nonprofit management from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Lori Dorfman, Dr.P.H., directs the Berkeley Media Studies Group (BMSG), a project of the Public Health Institute. Dorfman oversees BMSG’s research on news and advertising, media advocacy training for advocates, and pro- fessional education for journalists. Her research examines portrayals of various public health issues including children’s health; nutrition and agri- culture; food and beverage marketing; paid family leave; racial discrimina- tion; violence; and alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Dorfman coauthored major texts on media advocacy: Media Adocacy and Public Health: Power for Preention and News for a Change: An Adocate’s Guide to Working with the Media (Sage Publications). She conducts media advocacy training for grassroots groups and public health leaders, consults for government agencies and community programs across the United States and internation- ally, and publishes articles on public health and mass communication. She edited Reporting on Violence: A Handbook for Journalists, which helps reporters include a public health perspective in their reporting on violence and is part of an interdisciplinary team that has conducted workshops on the reporting of violence for newspapers and local television news stations. Outside of BMSG, Dorfman is a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, where she teaches mass communica- tions and public health. She serves on the advisory board for the Center for Media Justice and on the Board of Trustees for Voices for America’s Children. Dorfman’s publications are available from www.bmsg.org. Douglas J. Fort has a lifetime of experience dealing with ex-offenders and at-risk youth. Growing up in the at-risk community of East Palo Alto, Cali- fornia, Douglas Fort was at risk himself. In 1992, his hometown became

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2 DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGES, A VIEW FROM CALIFORNIA the murder capital of the United States of America. Fort survived being shot twice in the face. Determined not to become another statistic in an already bleak situation, Fort was the first and only sibling of four to graduate from high school. After graduating from high school, Fort received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Jackson State University, graduating magna cum laude in May 2000. In 1998, Fort started For Youth, By Youth (FYBY) which is successfully finding avenues that allow inner-city youth to use their natural talents and interests to improve their own community and serve other youth. Today, FYBY has grown into a community of young people who practice “life-giving choices.” The FYBY leadership has a passion to work together to influence and direct youth and young adults who are likely to be involved in or affected by neighborhood violence. FYBY’s motto is “Dedicated to the Street!” Mindy Thompson Fullilove, M.D., is a research psychiatrist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and a professor of clinical psychiatry and public health at Columbia University. She was educated at Bryn Mawr College (bachelor of arts degree, 1971) and Columbia University (master’s degree, 1971; doctor of medicine degree, 1978). She is a board-certified psychiatrist, having received her training at New York Hospital—West- chester Division (1978–1981) and Montefiore Hospital (1981–1982). She has conducted research on AIDS and other epidemics of poor communities, with a special interest in the relationship between the collapse of communi- ties and the decline in health. From her research, she has published Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America and What We Can Do About It (2004) and The House of Joshua: Meditations on Family and Place (1999). She is also coauthor of Rodrick Wallace’s Collectie Con- sciousness and Its Discontents: Institutional Distributed Cognition, Racial Policy and Public Health in the United States (2008). She has also published numerous articles, book chapters, and monographs. She has received many awards, including inclusion on best doctors lists and two honorary doctor- ates (from Chatham College in 1999 and from the Bank Street College of Education in 2002). Her work on AIDS is featured in Jacob Levenson’s The Secret Epidemic: The Story of AIDS in Black America. Her current work focuses on the connection between urban function and mental health. genoveva Islas‑Hooker, M.P.H., is the regional program coordinator for the Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program (CCROPP). CCROPP addresses environmental- and policy-level factors that contribute to the escalating incidence of obesity in the central California counties of Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tulare. Islas-Hooker was born in Fresno, California, and grew up in small rural communities in central California, including Orange Cove, McFarland,

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 APPENDIX B Delano, Lost Hills, and Wasco. She comes from a migrant farm worker background. Islas-Hooker earned a bachelor of science degree in health science with an emphasis in community health from California State Uni- versity, Fresno. She received a master’s in public health degree in health education and promotion from Loma Linda University. Her experience in public health spans over 18 years in both the public and the private sectors. She has worked in the arenas of HIV/AIDS education, HIV case manage- ment, medical managed care, cultural and linguistic services, and diabetes prevention and control. Anthony (Tony) Iton, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., is the Alameda County Public Health Department director and health officer. Iton’s primary interest is the health of disadvantaged populations and the contributions of race, class, wealth, education, geography, and employment to health status. He has asserted that in every public health area of endeavor, be it immunizations, chronic disease, HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, obesity, or even disaster preparedness, local public health departments must recognize that they are confronted with the enduring consequences of structural poverty, institutional racism, and other forms of systemic injustice. He further asserts that the only sustainable approach to eliminating health inequities is through the design of intensive, multisectoral, place-based interven- tions that are specifically designed to identify existing assets and build social, political, and economic power among a critical mass of community residents in historically underresourced communities. Iton received a medi- cal degree at Johns Hopkins University Medical School and subsequently trained in internal medicine and preventive medicine at New York Hospital, Yale University, and the University of California, Berkeley, and is board cer- tified in both specialties. Iton has also received a law degree and a master’s of public health degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a member of the California Bar. In 2006, he was awarded the prestigious Milton and Ruth Roemer Prize for Creative Public Health Work, awarded by the American Public Health Association to a U.S. local health official in recognition of outstanding creative and innovative public health work. Keith Kelley is the founding executive of the Fresno West Coalition for Economic Development and is responsible for its operation, administra- tion, and financial management. Under his direction, the organization has grown from one to eight employees, who coordinate five program areas. Kelley is recognized both locally and nationally as a leader in community and economic development. He is currently a member of the board of the National Congress of Community Economic Development, based in Washington, DC, and of the Collaborative Regional Initiative’s Innovative Culture Committee. He has been tapped locally as the community cochair

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 DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGES, A VIEW FROM CALIFORNIA for the city of Fresno’s successful bids to be an Empowerment Zone and All-American City, as well as part of Mayor Alan Autry’s advisory com- mittee. Keith’s accomplishments were recently recognized when he became the recipient of the NAACP—Fresno Chapter 2005 Image Award for eco- nomic development. Kelley’s community activities include the following: past president of the African American Historical and Cultural Museum of the San Joaquin Valley and past vice president of the Fresno Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Fresno. Other areas of civic and community involvement include being a member of the Care Fresno Board of Direc- tors, the Salvation Army Advisor Committee, the Fresno County Economic Opportunities Commission’s Round Table Committee, the Fulton/Lowell Implementation Committee, the City of Fresno’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Unity Committee, and Congressman Calvin M. Dooley’s Race Relations Committee. Kelley is completing work on a master of administrative leader- ship degree from Fresno Pacific University. He also holds a bachelor of arts in management and organizational development. Maxine E. Liggins, M.D., has served as an area medical director for the Public Health Division of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services since 2000. The service planning areas in which she works include the wealthiest and the poorest residents of Los Angeles County. Public health’s mission of “improving the quality of life for the residents of Los Angeles County” serves as a yardstick by which the quality of health ser- vices provided in Los Angeles County is measured. Liggins’ personal mis- sion is the prevention of all vaccine-preventable illnesses and achievement of a greater understanding of the factors that contribute to the chronic diseases that detract from the quality of the lives of all Americans. Liggins was the first African American to receive a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1979. She later received a doctor of medicine degree from the University of Washington in 1985. She completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at the Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Medical Center in Los Angeles and Emmanuel Hospital in Portland, Oregon, in 1989. Liggins is a specialist in infectious diseases and public health medicine. As an infec- tious disease fellow, Liggins worked as a sub investigator for the AIDS Collaborative Treatment Group at the University of Southern California from 1989 to 1992. That research group enrolled the largest numbers of HIV-infected patients in the initial clinical studies evaluating the first medi- cations marketed for the treatment of HIV infection and AIDS. Liggins has served as the principal investigator for the first national AIDS study dedi- cated specifically to the treatment of women in 1999. Liggins is currently an investigator on three Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studies on sexually transmitted diseases. Liggins works for the day when Americans

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 APPENDIX B can achieve a health status that allows each of us to reach our potential as physically fit, mentally healthy, and spiritually balanced individuals. Melieni Talakai, R.N. If you tune in to a biweekly health education radio program for Tongans on KEST (1450 AM), you hear a voice that has the warmth of a South Sea island breeze. The host is Melieni Falemaka Talakai, a nurse who was born and raised in Tonga and received her nursing and nurse midwife training in New Zealand. In 1982, Talakai immigrated to the United States. From 1984 to 2001 she was a home health and hospice nurse. She then joined the staff of San Mateo County Health Services, where she currently works as the clinical case manager and as a staff nurse for the Mobile Clinic of San Mateo County, California. Talakai knows more about the history of the clinic than any other board member. She was there at its inception in 1998, when a blue ribbon advisory committee met to lay out the blueprint for a community health center. From 2002 through 2004, she served as the chair of Ravenswood Family Health Center’s board of directors. Richard A. Veloz, J.D., M.P.H. With more than 30 years of health care and public health experience, Veloz has served on the front lines of providing care to the leadership of organizations organizing and delivering health care. Since 2002, Veloz has served as the chief executive officer of the South Central Family Health Center. Before assuming the leadership at SCFHC, he worked as the interim chief executive officer of the Community Health Foundation of East Los Angeles, a 330 federally qualified health center, during its bankruptcy reorganization. Veloz also served as the first director of government relations and public affairs at the Los Angeles Care Health Plan, a health maintenance organization public entity initially created to serve Medicaid beneficiaries, mostly women and children in Los Angeles County. Veloz was appointed by President Bill Clinton to be a special assis- tant to the administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminis- tration. He was also appointed by President Clinton to the Task Force on Health Care Reform as a senior health policy advisor. As the staff director of the House of Representatives Select Committee on Aging, Veloz directed all legislative activity for the 68-member committee and its four subcom- mittees. Veloz serves as chair of the Southside Coalition of Community Clinics, is an executive committee member and treasurer of the California Primary Care Association, finance chair of Health Care Los Angeles, and is a member of the board of the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County. He also serves as an executive committee member and secretary for the Board of Trustees for the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. Veloz received a juris doctor degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), School of Law, and a master of public

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 DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGES, A VIEW FROM CALIFORNIA health degree from the UCLA School of Public Health. He graduated from California State University, Los Angeles, with a bachelor of arts in history and from East Los Angeles Community College with an associate of arts degree in history. Lue yang has been the executive director of the Fresno Center for New Americans since 1993. His leadership at this organization has taken on educational and advocacy roles and critical issues in the community, such as employment, health, student performance, civic engagement, and grass- roots leadership development. His organization has had extensive health education projects that serve Southeast Asian refugees in Fresno, California. Yang has been a committee member on the Fresno County Local Child Care Planning Council and the HIV Planning Council of Sierra Commu- nity Medical Center. He served as chairperson of the Central California Forum on Refugee Affairs, family advisor for Valley Children’s Hospital, and as a board member of Central Valley Regional Center (an organiza- tion that works with mentally and physically challenged individuals). Yang is a Hmong clan leader (cultural leader) and has tremendous experience with the Hmong culture and background, a setting in which he is highly respected for his leadership and cultural broker skills.