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About Us

The Long Beach Public Health Conference is a one day conference hosted by the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (LBDHHS) and it is held annually every April. This will be our 5th conference and the theme this year is Long Beach Reimagined. The director of the LBDHHS, Kelley Collopy, will take a look back at past conferences and how they impacted and inspired programs that are still around today. There will be keynote speakers, breakout sessions and panels discussing many topics related to public health and safety such as, How will the legalization of cannabis affect our city, given its potentially negative impacts? What do we need to do to ensure equity – access for all – to healthy food, decent housing in a safe neighborhood, economic inclusion and opportunity and education in our city? The conference attracts about 500 people from public health and human services professionals to business and community leaders, so there will be many opportunities for networking throughout the conference.


2018 Conference Schedule

Speaker Bios

Freddie Agyin                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Freddie Agyin is a Branch Director of the District Surveillance and Enforcement (DSE) Branch at Environmental Health Division for the County of Los Angeles, Department of Public Health. The DSE branch comprises of twenty-nine District Offices and three Complaint Investigation Units.
The DSE branch is responsible for inspection and enforcement of public health laws at restaurants and markets, licensed housing and associated swimming pools at apartments and condominiums, temporary food facilities at community events such as fairs or carnivals, pet food stores, food warehouses, theaters, and self-service laundries. The DSE branch also addresses any general sanitation complaints such as refuse, sewage, and green pools, at private or commercial properties.Mr. Agyin received a Master in Management from University of Redlands and Bachelor of Science from Cal State, Fullerton. He’s a Registered Environmental Health Specialist (REHS) and active member of NEHA. Mr. Agyin also participates in several food safety policy committees.
Katie Balderas                                                     
Katie Balderas leads the Office of Equity for the City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services. Since 2006, Katie has worked on a variety of public health issues, including asthma, tobacco control, perinatal services, and housing as a social determinant of health. She is an alumni of Cal State Long Beach where she received her bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2005 and her master’s degree in public health in 2009 (Go Beach!). She is a proud (and tired) mom of a 3 year old son and in her free time loves gardening and eating anything with goat cheese. 

Dr. Romilla Batra                                                                                                                                                             

As Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Romilla Batra sets clinical policies and procedures at SCAN. She provides physician oversight of clinical programs including disease management and ambulatory and complex case management; and helps design clinical initiatives that support healthy, independent aging. She also works with SCAN Health Plan’s provider partners to advance best practices related to senior care.In addition, Dr. Batra oversees SCAN’s community benefit programs and services, including Independence at Home, which provides vitally needed services and support to seniors, disabled adults and their caregivers. She also directs SCAN’s community giving, health and education efforts and the robust Volunteer Action for Aging program.

Dr. Batra is a board-certified internist with more than 15 years of experience as a medical director, clinician and educator. Immediately prior to joining SCAN in 2011 she worked for five years as the director for ambulatory internal medicine and associate program director for medicine residency at the University of California, Irvine. Her previous experience also includes serving as a medical director at Indiana University Medical Group Community Health Center in Indianapolis and clinical instructor at UCLA/West Los Angeles VA Hospital.

Dr. Batra completed her residency in internal medicine at UCLA and earned her healthcare executive MBA at UC Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business.

She continues to volunteer at UC Irvine as an associate professor of medicine and also serves as a faculty member for UCI's Paul Merage School of Business.

Osvaldo Cruz                                                                                                                                                               
For the past 20 years, Osvaldo Cruz, Sr. has worked with Latino male youth and young adults in the greater Los Angeles area to address issues of male responsibility, Latino male rites of passage, teen-pregnancy prevention, teen fatherhood, reproductive health, community violence, and youth leadership development. Most recently, Mr. Cruz’s work involves working with men to address the issues and impact of sexual assault, as an advocate for survivors. He builds on the teachings of the National Compadres Network (NCN) to teach young men the skills for developing and maintaining healthy and honorable relationships. 

As Senior Training and Program Coordinator with the National Compadres Network, Mr. Cruz co-trains service providers to meet the growing demand for culturally competent curricula that promote safe and secure spaces for young men to grow, heal and develop. He currently coordinates the implementation of Fatherhood programing for NCN within Los Angeles County.

Through these efforts and many more, Ozzie is privileged and honored to realize the work necessary to enhance the quality of life of young men, fathers and their families.
Joel Davis                                                                                                                                                             
My career started 19 years ago as an EMT for Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. From there I went on to work as a Paramedic for 3 years until I was hired as Firefighter Paramedic with Riverside County in 2005. After 7 years in Riverside I was hired with the Long Beach Fire Department and currently work as a Firefighter Paramedic assigned to the HEART (Homelessness Education and Response Team) unit. All though the most in need cliental has never changed our approach has. The outreach we provide has proven to be a successful addition to helping individuals experiencing homelessness beyond emergency medical services.                                                                                   

Johnny Dodson III                                                                                                                                                             

I am a Quality of Life Officer for the Long Beach Police Department. I have been a police officer for 11 years and have been in this position for the last 2 years. I work for the police department as a Quality of Life Officer where I specifically handle Quality of Life issues within the homeless community.

I work together with the Inter-Departmental Team, the Multi-Service Center, non profit orginazations, the Long Beach Fire Department, and faith-based orginanizations on a street level to locate, identify, offer assistance, and conduct enforcement within the homeless community.

Dr. Ayana Elliott                                                                                                                                                                                
Ayana Elliott is board certified by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners as a family nurse practitioner with clinical expertise in family medicine, medical oncology, HIV and transgender health. She is a member of the American Academy of HIV Medicine.

Dr. Elliott received her undergraduate nursing degrees from the University of the District of Columbia, followed by a Master’s of Science degree - Family Nurse Practitioner at the University Of Maryland School Of Nursing in Baltimore, Maryland. She received her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree with honors from Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Currently, she serves as the Director of Clinical Operations at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in South Pasadena, California.
Dr. Elliott's research and clinical interest focus on health promotion, HIV prevention and treatment, as well as primary care for sexual and gender minorities of color. Major projects include consulting and co-investigator roles in behavioral health studies and clinical research protocols in addition to developing curriculum to train health care providers on providing culturally-relevant care to transgender populations, development of adapted CDC high impact HIV/AIDS prevention intervention into a grass-roots group-level HIV biobehavioral intervention for HIV positive and negative at high risk transgender girls and women of color, and served as faculty on several continuing educations courses via live training, webinar, recorded video and conference presentation.
Eve Gelb                                                                                                                                      

Eve Gelb joined SCAN in 1997. As Senior Vice President, Healthcare Services, Ms. Gelb is responsible for all care management and care coordination for all of SCAN’s products including special needs plans and straight Medicare Advantage. These are the areas that deliver the SCAN Model of Care, which revolves around caring for the whole individual and spans the continuum of a member’s health status.

Ms. Gelb has more than 20 years of healthcare experience, previously working at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston where she built asthma education programs and primary care networks for low income children.
Ms. Gelb earned her Master of Public Health degree from Tulane University and has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.

John Fort                                                                                                                                                         

1996 – 2001: Firefighter, Firefighter/Paramedic
2002: Fire Operations Engineer
2012: Assigned to Fire Prevention Bureau
     -High Rise Inspector
     -Business License Inspector
     -Code Enforcement Inspector
2017: Long Beach Marijuana Task Force Fire Representative
      -Team approach to administratively enforce local and state laws at unsanctioned businesses operating within city limits.
2018: Arson Unit Fire Investigator/Cannabis Inspector

Michael Johnston                                                                                                    

Michael Johnston is an Administrative Analyst in the Department of Public Works, overseeing the City’s Livability Program. He is a graduate of the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California with a Masters of Public Administration. Born and raised in San Diego, Michael established his roots in Long Beach as he attended California State University, Long Beach for his undergraduate studies. As a continuation of his personal investment in the City, he worked as an intern for the Long Beach Parks, Recreation, and Marine Department where he focused on financial feasibility studies for multi-million dollar parks projects.

Michael has also consulted on a myriad of projects, including work with the City of Hermosa Beach on sustainable parking models, and the City of Detroit to resolve issues in their transportation department by implementing more efficient updates to their revenue structures and routing systems. Michael’s dedication toward making cities more enjoyable, livable places for residents extends beyond his profession, as he is a part of outreach organizations making a difference in the lives of our neighbors both domestically and internationally.

Rachel Junken                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Rachel Junken is a Transportation Programs Planner for the City of Long Beach Bureau of Transportation Mobility in Public Works. Her work focuses on bicycle and pedestrian programs, grant writing for infrastructure projects, and City employee commute reduction. Rachel has a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from USC Price School of Public Policy and a Bachelor’s degree in Politics from New York University. Prior to her position with the City, she held graduate internship positions in transportation planning and policy at the Port of Long Beach, Los Angeles Department of Transportation, and the Office of Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin. She was a USC Price Dean's Merit Scholar and received the Women’s Transportation Seminar Los Angeles Myra L. Frank Memorial Graduate Scholarship in 2015. On weekends, Rachel enjoys reading non-fiction and exploring Long Beach with her greyhound rescue, Frankie.

Nelson Kerr                                                                                                                                         

Mr. Kerr serves as the Director of Environmental Health for the City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services. He has been employed by the City of Long Beach for 25 years, starting out as a trainee in Environmental Health. Mr. Kerr currently oversees the bureau’s planning, budgeting, staffing, and supervision of lead program staff. In addition, he is responsible for the development of internal and external partnerships and ensuring the timely and effective achievement of environmental health program objectives.

Mr. Kerr’s broad Environmental Health experience includes oversight of food facility regulation, hazardous materials, medical waste compliance, underground storage tanks, disaster preparedness; recreational water quality; vector control; housing and other complex interdisciplinary programs. He is a member of NEHA, CEHA and active in the California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health (CCDEH).

Alison King                                
Alison King is currently working as the housing Authority Bureau Manager for the City of Long Beach, she is responsible for the day – to – day operations of the Housing Authority, which provides rental assistance to over 7,500 families through several federally funded rental assistance programs: Housing Choice Voucher; Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing; Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS; Shelter Plus Care, and various Project – Based programs. In addition, she is responsible for managing a budget of $76 million and a staff of over 50. As the Housing Authority Manager, Alison will also act as the Deputy Executive Director for the Housing Authority Commission.

Alison has over 15 years of dedicated service working for housing authorities in Kansas City and Long Beach.                                                                            
Ajay Kolluri                                                                                                                                     

Ajay Kolluri is currently Manager for the Long Beach Office of Cannabis Oversight (OCO) in the City Manager’s Office. In this role, Ajay oversees the citywide regulatory and enforcement program for both licensed and unlicensed cannabis businesses.

Ajay first joined the City of Long Beach through the Management Assistant Program. As a Management Assistant, Ajay completed rotations in Public Works, the City Manager’s Office and Financial Management. After graduating from the program, Ajay worked for five years as a Budget Analyst in the Department of Financial Management.

Before joining the City of Long Beach, Ajay worked as a Research Analyst at LECG, an economic consulting company. He has also interned at the Office of Management and Budget in Washington DC, and Maxim Integrated Semiconductors in Northern California.

Ajay is a native of California and grew up in the Bay Area. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in economics from UC Santa Barbara and Master’s degree in public policy from University of Michigan.

Patti Laplace                                                                                                         

Patti currently holds the position of Lecturer at California State University Long Beach with the Recreation and Leisure Studies Department in the College of Health and Human Services. Prior to this position, Patti was the Mental Health Coordinator with the City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies from CSULB and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from California State University, Dominguez Hills. Patti has worked in Mental Health for over 30 years and has been recognized for her work with the City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, California Park and Recreation Society (CPRS), Recreation Therapy Section, Mental Health America, Long Beach Police Department and VA Long Beach Healthcare System. In addition, she has done numerous presentations for CPRS, City or Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services, Long Beach Police Department, Long Beach City College and other special interest groups in the greater Long Beach area. She is currently serves on the Board of Directors for both Mental Health America and Alternative 4 Vets as well as a community volunteer for various non-profit and advocacy organizations.

Zaya Mejia                            

Zaya graduated from California State University, Long Beach and fell in love with the city. She began volunteering with at-risk youth in 2009 and in 2015 began her career assisting young adults with varying ability levels to transition into independent living, find employment, and pursue higher education. Zaya aims to utilize her experience in program coordination and individual client support to develop the Trans Health program’s comprehensive spectrum of care. She has a diversified background, ranging from information technology to musical performance, and looks forward to using these skills to create innovative programming at The Center.

In her free time, she enjoys writing and performing music, playing with new technology, and spending time with her two cats, Puppy and Kitty.

 Marsha Meyer                                                                                                                     

Marsha Meyer is Director, Health and Wellness Services, Independence at Home (IAH), a community service of SCAN Health Plan. Dr. Meyer’s responsibilities include directing programs that help seniors stay healthy and independent, including the innovative Community Medication Education, Data and Safety (C-MEDS) program. Dr. Meyer received her BS in Pharmacy from Virginia Commonwealth University and her PharmD from Rio Grande School of Pharmacy. She is a Board Certified Geriatric Pharmacist and is also a Certified Geriatric Care Manager.

Matt Middlebrook                                                                                                                   

Matt Middlebrook heads public policy for Airbnb on for much of the West Coast and Hawaii, managing the company’s relationship with the community as well as with state and local leaders. He is based in the company’s corporate headquarters in San Francisco.

Prior to joining Airbnb in 2016, he was the executive vice president of development for Caruso Affiliated, one of the largest privately owned real estate development companies in the nation which was known for its signature retail properties that included The Grove and The Americana at Brand.

Prior to his career in retail and real estate, he was a political and communications strategist with senior roles in both the public and private sector. Middlebrook worked in Los Angeles politics for nearly ten years, working on numerous successful political campaigns and serving as Deputy Mayor for Communications and Policy under then Los Angeles Mayor Jim Hahn. He also served senior staff member and campaign adviser to US Senator Dianne Feinstein.

Ana Lilia Morales-Mackay                                                                                                                 

Ana Lilia Morales-Mackay is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Clinical Reflective Supervisor at For The Child, Inc. Prior to working there, Ana Lilia was an Outpatient Mental Health Therapist and Program Manager at Amanecer Community Counseling Service, a Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health contracted agency near downtown Los Angeles. In her 8 years of experience, Ana Lilia has worked with predominantly Spanish speaking, low income and underserved families that have been exposed to complex and intergenerational trauma. Ana Lilia has developed specialties in working with young children and families manage past traumas, how trauma affects brain development, children’s developmental milestones, and having an interdisciplinary approach when working with a child's educational, medical, and developmental needs. Ana Lilia works on assisting parents with attachment and healing relationships. Ana Lilia’s specialties include helping children with anxiety, depression, disruptive behaviors, children with autism and developmental disabilities, play therapy, art therapy, early childhood assessments and treatment. Ana Lilia has also participated in the Napa Infant-Parent Mental Health Fellowship program under the direction of Dr. Kristie Brandt. She completed the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT) Phase I training with Dr. Bruce Perry. Ana Lilia is certified in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF CBT) and Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP). Ana Lilia is trained in Incredible Years (IY) group programs, Barry T. Brazelton’s Touchpoints, and in Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). Ana Lilia is working towards the California endorsement as an Infant Family and Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist and Reflective Practice Facilitator.

Dr. Elisa Nicholas                                                                                                          

Dr. Elisa Nicholas is the Chief Executive Officer and practicing pediatrician for The Children’s Clinic, Serving Children & Their Families (TCC). Under her leadership, Dr. Nicholas has taken what was once a small, mostly volunteer-run clinic serving only children in Long Beach, California to an innovative and progressive system of eleven federally qualified health centers, and mobile medical clinic, that provide innovative, integrated high quality health and wellness services to all ages throughout greater Long Beach in Los Angeles County. Addressing not only the individual health issues of patients, but also the social determinants of health, Dr. Nicholas’ long-term passionate commitment to helping others to lead healthier and happier lives and experience success has driven her career. She has designed, led and overseen pioneering projects in the area of management of chronic diseases, such as asthma, diabetes, obesity, and most recently trauma, toxic stress and adverse childhood experiences.

Dr. Nicholas recognizes that policy decisions affect the health and well-being of those we serve and has been an active participant as well as serving in collective-impact, multi-disciplinary policy workgroups seeking reform in the areas of health care access, environmental pollution, asthma and asthma care, social determinants of health, health and housing and trauma and toxic stress. She participates in the Los Angeles County Trauma and Resiliency Informed Systems Change Initiative and Workgroup, the California Campaign to Counter Childhood Adversity (4CA), the Los Angeles County Community Prevention and Population Health Task Force, the Los Angeles Help Me Grow Leadership Council and the Los Angeles County Hospitals and Healthcare Delivery Commission.

Dr. Nicholas received her Medical School Degree from UCLA School of Medicine and she completed her residency in Pediatrics from Yale University School of Medicine, Yale-New Haven Hospital. She completed her preventative medicine residency as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar Fellow at UCLA, and completed her Masters of Science in Public Health (MSPH) from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. She is currently board certified in Pediatrics and she was recently promoted to Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at UC Irvine School of Medicine in recognition of her work.

Fern Nueno                                                                                                      

Fern Nueno works as a project manager for the City of Long Beach Economic Development Department. Fern previously worked as a planner for the Long Beach Department of Development Services focusing on long-range planning projects, including the Land Use Element, Urban Design Element, Climate Action and Adaptation Plan and Bicycle Master Plan. Fern’s professional interests include sustainability, placemaking, GIS, and livability. Fern is an AICP (American Institute of Certified Planners) Certified Planner and serves on the American Planning Association Los Angeles Section Board of Directors. She is also a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Accredited Professional and serves on the US Green Building Council Long Beach Branch Steering Committee. Ms. Nueno holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Master of Business Administration from Louisiana State University Shreveport.

Christina Oatfield                                                                                               

Christina Oatfield is an advocate for laws that enable more sustainable, local, and just economies. She has played leadership roles in support of California legislation to advance homemade food, urban agriculture, seed sharing, worker cooperatives, affordable housing land trusts, housing cooperatives, and local investing. She also develops legal information resources for small businesses on topics such as cooperative and nonprofit business structures, financing, and food and agricultural regulations. She has worked for the Sustainable Economies Law Center since 2011. Previously she co-founded a grocery cooperative and ran an underground restaurant out of her home. Christina is a lifetime resident of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Shu Ou                                                                                             

Shu Ou is a Product Design student at ArtCenter College of Design. She is currently working at the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services as a Design Fellow, in which she is helping roll out the STD campaign throughout Long Beach. Inspired by human behavior and urban development, she is interested in using design as an instrument to bridge the gap in social and environmental problems.

Hurley Owens                                                                                         

Hurley Owens has been with the Department and the City for 21 years. Before coming to the City he served in the United States Army from 1990 to 1994. In 1997 he started working with the City as a non-career Maintenance Assistant III. He was promoted to General Maintenance Assistant in 2001. In 2005, Hurley was promoted to Supervisor of Facility Maintenance of Parks and in 2009 he was promoted to Superintendent of Marine Maintenance. Over the years Hurley has worked hard and diligently to become the Bureau Manager of Maintenance Operations of Parks and Recreation in 2015.  

Belinda Prado                                                                                     

Belinda Prado has been working as the HIV/STD Surveillance Coordinator for the past two and half years at the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services. STD rates have increased at alarming rates during her tenure and she has made it her personal mission to be a part of developing innovative approaches to ensure individuals are taking care of their sexual health.

Shanon Parker                                                                                 

Shannon is DHHS Homeless Services Officer. Shannon has worked with people experiencing homelessness for more than 20 years, starting her career in her home state of Montana. Her work there focused on people who were homeless due in part to changes in the extractive industries and the unique challenges faced by Native Americans living outside one of the seven Indian reservations in the state. She later moved to Los Angeles where she worked for a large Permanent Supportive Housing provider on Skid Row. There she began to immerse herself in the Evidence Based Practices of Housing First, Harm Reduction and Critical Time Intervention. Parker has participated in innovative programming in Los Angeles, including the County-funded Project 50, the Hilton Foundation’s Prioritization Project and two Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration projects as well the County’s Homeless Housing Prevention Fund.

Elsa Ramos                                                                               

Elsa Ramos is the Special Projects Coordinator for the City’s Homeless Services Division (HSD). She previously served as the Multi-Service Center Coordinator (MSC) for 10 years providing oversite of programs and services for people experiencing homelessness. The HSD, along with collocated social service agencies, work collaboratively to provide services including street outreach, comprehensive assessment, case management and housing coordination to quickly stabilize households. The MSC serves as the point of entry for the Long Beach Continuum of Care, which includes grant funding for a dozen homeless service agencies located at the MSC, Villages at Cabrillo, and Mental Health America-The Village. The HSD provides oversight for approximately $11.5 million in federal, local, and private funding per year which support efforts to end homelessness in Long Beach.

Elsa Ramos is a graduate from CSULB with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Master’s in Public Administration. Ms. Ramos also has a certificate in Human Resource Management from Loyola Marymount University. She has over 19 years of experience working in the health and human services field, with her first career job working for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, STD Community Outreach and Testing Unit. Ms. Ramos is passionate about her community, embodying the live, work and play lifestyle. She spends her spare time serving on the Board of Directors for Comprehensive Child Development and In2Vision Supportive Employment Services as well as volunteering in the Junior League of Long Beach.

Meredith Reynolds                                                                                 

Meredith Reynolds is the Park Development Officer for the City of Long Beach Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine, and is responsible for planning and development of park and open space projects.

Previously, Meredith served as the Community Services Manager and Environmental Programs Administrator for the City of Irvine. She also served as a Sustainability Coordinator with the City of Long Beach Office of Sustainability where she was part of a team responsible for developing and implementing model sustainability programs for the City of Long Beach. Prior to this, Meredith worked as an Administrative Analyst for the Department of Development Services and started with the City of Long Beach in the Management Assistant Program in 2005, with rotations and projects in the Department of Planning and Building, the Department of Financial Management, the City Manager’s Office and the Department of Human Resources.

Ms. Reynolds has a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University, a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration with a minor in Organizational Communication from CSU Chico, and a professional certificate in Advanced Public Engagement from Pepperdine’s Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership.

Ms. Reynolds is an alumni of the Coro Fellowship Program in Public Affairs in San Francisco and a member of ICMA, CPRS, NRPA and a graduate of the NRPA Green School and Leadership Tomorrow programs.

Alejandro Sanchez-Lopez                                                                           

Alejandro Sanchez-Lopez is a 2017-2018 Management Assistant at the City of Long Beach, serving in four distinct rotations through the City Manager’s Office, the Long Beach Airport, the Department of Development Services, and the Finance Department.

Before joining the City, Alejandro was a Data Analyst at the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity and the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration at USC. While at USC, he conducted quantitative and qualitative data analysis on various environmental justice, immigrant integration, regional equity, and community organizing projects; he also coauthored various PERE publications, including Planning, Power, and Possibilities: How UNIDAD is Shaping Equitable Development in South Central L.A and Linking Innovation With Inclusion: Demography, Equity, and the Future of San Diego.

Prior to joining PERE/CSII, Alejandro previously worked on housing justice, economic development, and city planning issues, including roles with the City of Pico Rivera’s Planning Division, the Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA), and the City of Los Angeles. Originally from Ensenada, Mexico, Alejandro holds a Masters of Planning with a focus on Economic Development from the University of Southern California and a BA in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine.

Alison Spindler                                                                               

Alison Spindler works as a Planner for the City of Long Beach Department of Development Services. As part of the Advance Planning Division, she works on long-range planning initiatives such as updating the city’s Land Use Element, developing the city’s first ever Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, food systems planning work such as developing urban agriculture, vacant lots and drive-thru policies, as well as race & health equity initiatives. Alison completed the Long Beach City Manager’s Management Assistant Program in 2015-2016, which included rotations in the Health Department, Budget Office, Development Services and City Manager’s Office. She holds a dual Masters in Urban Planning and Public Administration from the USC Price School. At USC, she worked as an evaluator for two CDC-funded community health grants in South LA focused on reducing hypertension and obesity rates through built environment and policy interventions to increase access to healthy foods, physical activity resources, and to better connect South LA residents and community organizations with planning and policy change opportunities. While in graduate school, Alison was part of the first group of urban planning students nationally to earn a slot as finalists for the USDA’s Agricultural Innovation Prize, where they competed for funding to develop a food systems app to better reach low-income communities. Prior to graduate school, Alison was Program Director at the nonprofit Building Impact in Boston, MA. Alison rides her bike to work most days and tries (with varied success) to grow her own food.

Dr. Silene St. Bernard                                                                         

Dr. Silene St. Bernard received her B.S. Zoology (1988) and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (1998) degrees from The Ohio State University. She also completed two years of Masters level studies in biomedical engineering and business at Case Western Reserve University. She has 20 years of experience in emergency and general companion animal veterinary practice as an associate and a practice owner. Dr. St. Bernard is currently a Regional Consulting Veterinarian with Elanco Animal Health and was previously in a similar position at Novartis Animal Health. Prior to her work with Novartis, Dr. St. Bernard spent six years with Bayer Animal Health in pharmacovigilance, training, product research, product development and marketing. She also served two years as the Director of Veterinary Marketing for Nationwide Pet Insurance. She is currently pursuing advanced Board Certification through the American College of Veterinary Preventative Medicine, which focuses on Infectious Disease, Public Health, Epidemiology, Food Safety, Environmental Health and Toxicology.

Dr. St. Bernard is the Past-President of the American Association of Industry Veterinarians, is a member of the Platt College RVT Program IACUC Committee and is an Ambassador for the international World of Children charity. She has previously served as a Board member for the Wild West Veterinary Conference, the Kansas State Animal Response Team, the California Veterinary Medical Association Legislative Committee and the American Veterinary Medical Association Animal Welfare Committee.

Lara Turnbull                                                                       

Lara Turnbull is the Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention Division Officer for the City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services. With the department since 1999, she has served as the Project Director for the City’s Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention (NEOP) funded Healthy Active Long Beach program, was the Coordinator and Contract Manager for the First 5 Long Beach Collaborative, and also worked for the Department’s HIV Early Intervention and Youth Health Education Programs. Ms. Turnbull is committed to the field of public health and has a strong interest in chronic disease prevention, built environment/active transportation, and health policy. In addition to her work at LBDHHS, Ms. Turnbull is an Adjunct Faculty Instructor at Long Beach City College in the Health and Kinesiology Department and is the Affiliate Manager for the Southern California Public Health Association. Ms. Turnbull received her BA in Clinical Psychology from San Francisco State University and MPH in Health Promotion and Education from Loma Linda University School of Public Health and received her Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential from the National Commission on Health Education.

Brian Ulaszewski                                                                     

Brian Ulaszewski is the Executive Director and Principal of City Fabrick, a nonprofit urban design studio dedicated to enhancing communities through collaborative public interest design, planning and policy development. Brian has over two decades of experience working in the design and planning field on work spanning tactical interventions like pop-up plazas and parklets to building and landscape projects to regional-scale planning and state policy, all dedicated to improving communities Brian has extensive experience working with local governments, developers, affordable housing providers, and nonprofit organizations on a wide variety projects ranging graphic, environmental, building, landscape and urban design. He has also returned to teach within the Landscape Architecture and Urbanism Department at the University of South California, School of Architecture. Brian is a recognized leader in city building, having been recognized by the American Planning Association – Los Angeles with the John Chase Visionary Award and invited to speak at several academic and industry publications.

Morgan Venter                                                                                                                                                          

Morgan VenterMorgan Venter coordinates the Cannabis Education Program for the City of Long Beach, Department of Health and Human Services. In this role, she has worked to research, develop, and implement a campaign working with youth-serving organizations, parents, medical cannabis dispensaries, the community, and fellow Health Department and City of Long Beach colleagues. The program's mission is to serve those who live, work and play in Long Beach through being an unbiased and trusted resource for health and safety information related to cannabis, and by ensuring that everyone can make informed decisions about cannabis use. Additionally, Morgan is working with other City departments to ensure consideration of community health and equity during the development of a local, adult-use cannabis retail ordinance. Morgan is also a valued member of the Public Health Emergency Response Team, and is co-developing a Digital Media Strategic Plan for the Health Department.
Prior to her current position, Morgan worked for the Child Health and Disability Prevention (CHDP) and Child Passenger Safety programs in the Nursing Services Division. There, she established, created, and coordinated the first video-based, remote learning for CHDP Pediatricians – the first among any health jurisdictions in the state of California, and hosted a variety of community presentations on different topics in order to influence healthy behavior change.

Morgan possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science, Community Health Education and a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration from CSU, Long Beach.

Justin Verga                                 

Justin Verga is a firefighter paramedic with the City of Long Beach Fire Department and a member of the new Homelessness Education and Response Team (H.E.A.R.T).  Justin grew up in the Long Beach area and began his career with the Long Beach Fire Department fifteen years ago. Justin has firsthand experience with the challenges and barriers surrounding those experiencing homelessness and Justin has seen the impact that the unique issues surrounding homelessness has on the community. Across the continuum of health care this issue touches the Fire Department, local hospitals, and the medical system as a whole. He knows homelessness can affect everyone whether its close friends or the many vulnerable people he has helped while working in Long Beach. The H.E.A.R.T. unit offers a coordinated and efficient utilization of department resources and works to connect those experiencing homelessness with the services and support in the Long Beach area.

Marley Williams                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Marley Williams currently works in the City of Long Beach Department of Health & Human Services as a Public Health Professional for Equity and Violence Prevention. She was a 2016-2017 Management Assistant Fellow in the City of Long Beach, where she completed rotations in the Health and Human Services Department, Parks & Recreation Department, Department of Financial Management and Office of the City Manager.

In May 2016, Marley completed a dual Master’s degree program in Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and a Masters of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin. While in graduate school, Marley worked on criminal justice reform with the Texas House Legislature, education equity initiatives in Houston Texas, as well as program development and evaluation with the KDK-Harman Foundation in Central Texas. Prior to beginning her work with the City of Long Beach, Marley worked with the Liberty Hill Foundation in Los Angeles, where she managed and developed boys and men of color initiatives and other grassroots, movement building training and leadership programs for young people across Los Angeles County.

Prior to graduate school, Marley was a Litigation Assistant for the Prison Law Office, where she monitored conditions of confinement for incarcerated individuals across the California prison system. She also served as a Youth Development Coordinator for Juma Ventures, a non-profit, youth development program aimed at ensuring that low-income youth have access to and complete a four-year college education.

Dr. Heewon Yang                                                                  
Dr. Yang earned his master’s degree in Leisure, Tourism, and Hospitality at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and received his Doctoral degree in Leisure Behavior from Indiana University. Currently, Dr. Yang is a professor and interim chair of the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at California State University Long Beach. Dr. Yang has been teaching both general recreation and therapeutic recreation courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels. His primary research interest is in examining the effects of various recreation therapy programs for various populations. He has been working as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) since 1999 and as a practitioner, he has provided multiple service-learning projects including Respite and Recreation Program for adopted children with special needs, aquatic program for older adults, and brain fitness program for people with brain injuries.

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