Alexa Washburn, LEED AP
Vice President of Policy & Planning National Community Renaissance
Alexa Washburn is Vice President of Policy & Planning for National Community Renaissance, one of the nation’s largest non-profit affordable housing developers. She applies her creative land planning and design solutions to develop sustainable models that leverage community resources and enhance the feasibility, livability and sustainability of National CORE’s communities. Alexa has managed, prepared and implemented a variety of complex policy, planning and design projects in her 18 year career, including general, community/area, master, revitalization, downtown, and specific plans; corridor studies, housing elements, development entitlements, and sustainability strategies throughout California. Her projects have been recognized with 12 awards from the American Planning Association and Southern California Association of Governments.
Alfred Mata, MPA,
Program Manager, Public Health Advocates
Alfred Mata is Program Manager for Public Health Advocates and the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Cities Campaign in Southern California. With a strong passion for social justice and community engagement, he works to empower California communities to make groundbreaking policy changes that make the healthy choice, the easy choice. Mr. Mata’s work involves educating city leaders and community members on strategies to improve access to healthy food and physical activity such as nutrition standards in public parks, complete streets policies, and safe routes to schools programs. Mr. Mata is a graduate of Occidental College and received a Master of Arts in Public Administration program at California State University, Long Beach.
Dr. Ariane Marie-Mitchell
Assistant Professor, Department of Preventive Pediatrics at Loma Linda University
Dr. Ariane Marie-Mitchell practices primary preventive care and conducts clinical research. The goal of her research is to translate knowledge about associations between Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and risk of adult chronic diseases into primary prevention through primary care practice. Dr. Marie-Mitchell is involved in many initiatives in both San Bernardino and Riverside Counties to build resilience through interdisciplinary primary care, behavioral health and public health partnerships.
Arnold San Miguel, MBA., Urban Planning
Regional Affairs Officer, Southern California Association of Governments
Arnold San Miguel is currently serving as a Regional Affairs Officer representing the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) in San Bernardino County and Western Riverside County in supporting SCAG’s long range regional planning, programming and policy efforts in the SCAG Region. Prior to his regional affairs work Arnold served as a Transportation Planner at SCAG that included work on the Chino Hills\Carbon Canyon\Brea Traffic Study, the Imperial County Long Range Transportation Plan and the Imperial County Rail Vision document.
Arnold’s career history includes interning at Caltrans District 7, program staff at the Institute for Social Justice in San Bernardino, a short congressional campaign assignment and three years of active duty in the United States Marine Corps. His education includes a Masters in Urban Planning from UCLA, a Bachelor in Administrative Studies from UCR and an Associative of Arts in Liberal Studies from San Bernardino Valley College. When Arnold is not working, and not able to convince his wife to move to his hometown of Colton, he resides in the Inland Empire with his wife and daughter and is still trying to make that first hole in one on the golf course!
Dianne Leibrandt, MPH, MSc
Community Engagement Coordinator, Epidemiology and Program Evaluation, Riverside University Health System - Public Health
Dianne Leibrandt is a program coordinator for the Riverside University Health System—Public Health. Dianne is responsible for the planning and implementation of the SHAPE (Strategic Health Alliance Pursuing Equity) Initiative, a community health improvement effort formed to address health and social issues in Riverside County. Under this initiative, Dianne oversees the Riverside County Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), the Riverside Resilience initiative, the Riverside County Health Coalition and other community based activities. Dianne has a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in Health Promotion, Education and Evaluation from Claremont Graduate University and a Master of Science (MSc) degree in Public Policy from Queen Mary University of London.
Dottie Merki, REHS
Program Chief/PIO, Riverside County Department of Environmental Health
Dottie Merki is a Program Chief with Riverside County Department of Environmental Health. She currently oversees the Vector Control program, Mobilehome Park program, Trash and Sewage program, Retail Tobacco program and is the Public Information Officer.
She has been involved in a variety of Environmental Health programs over her 24 year career.
Ms. Merki received Bachelor of Science degrees in Zoology and Animal Science from Cal Poly Pomona.
Dr. Elizabeth Baca, MD, MPA
Senior Health Advisor, California Governor's Office of Planning and Research
Dr. Elizabeth Baca is passionate about innovations to foster total health and well-being. She currently serves as the Senior Health Advisor in the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR). She is engaged in innovation in the public sector to foster health through multiple projects including healthy planning, healthy food systems, big data, and public-private partnerships. For healthy planning and food systems she works across sectors to foster collaboration, elevate the connection between health and the built environment, and leads the effort to incorporate health considerations into the planning process to build healthy, resilient communities. Additionally, she serves as a lead for the Governor’s Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine. Through her role in OPR, she is an advisor for Urban Land Institute’s Health Leaders and FS6, a Food System Accelerator. Dr. Baca also served on the National Academy of Sciences Consensus Committee for Community Based Solutions to Promote Health Equity.
Dr. Faed, DrPH, MPH
Senior Program Officer, First 5 LA's Health Systems Department
Dr. Pegah Faed is an early childhood advocate and systems change leader who partners with public systems, academia, philanthropy, service providers and community members to design and implement initiatives that seek to reduce disparities and improve outcomes for the most vulnerable children and families. As Senior Program Officer within First 5 LA’s Health Systems Department, Dr. Faed oversees the organization’s strategy around trauma informed systems change for Los Angeles County. Prior to this role, she spent over a decade designing and overseeing large scale programs and research and evaluation projects including projects around home visiting, prevention of early childhood obesity, and a data linkage project, the Children’s Data Network (). Dr. Faed holds an Adjunct Faculty position at the California State University, Dominguez Hills in the Health Sciences Department. Additionally, she was selected as a 2017 Leadership L.A. Fellow and Co-Lead for the Early Childhood Sector as part of the California Campaign to Counter Childhood Adversity (). Dr. Faed holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley; a Master’s degree in Public Health, with an emphasis in Maternal and Child Health from the University of Southern California; and a Doctorate degree in Public Health, with an emphasis in Preventive Care from Loma Linda University.
Dr. Geoffrey Leung, M.D.,
Chief of Family Medicine, Riverside University Health System - Public Health
Dr. Geoffrey Leung is a family physician who has been with the County of Riverside for over 11 years. He currently serves as the Riverside University Health (RUHS) System Ambulatory Medical Director and helps support the physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants at the RUHS Medical Center Clinics and 10 community health center sites. Dr. Leung first worked at the RUHS Jurupa Family Care Center and later at the RUHS Rubidoux Family Care Center. He is the RUHS Medical Center Family Medicine Department Chair and also previously served as a Family Medicine Residency Program Director. Dr. Leung currently serves as the President-Elect of the RUHS Medical Center Medical Staff and helps to support the Medi-Cal 2020 Waiver programs at RUHS. Dr. Leung is passionate about Clinical Excellence, Patient Education, Community, and Population Health. He completed his medical degree at Baylor College of Medicine, his training in Family Medicine at Kaiser Orange County, and his Master of Education at Harvard. On a personal note, Dr. Leung is married and has two children (ages 6 and 8) who keep him grounded and inspired.
Director of Administrative Services – City of Perris
Isabel Carlos serves as the Director of Administrative Services for the City of Perris where she oversees Human Resources, Risk Management and the City’s public health initiative, Live Well Perris. Under this initiative, she directs the team responsible for the City’s Nutrition Education Obesity Prevention Program, Grow Perris, and leads other public policy projects. Ms. Carlos is responsible for the City’s work under the nationwide Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge which aims to expand health equity and improve health outcomes for Perris residents. Most recently, Ms. Carlos successfully worked on bringing a Healthy Beverage Ordinance for adoption by the Perris City Council. Ms. Carlos holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Redlands.
Advocacy Director, American Lung Association
John Yi is Advocacy Director for the American Lung Association in California where is advocating for clean air and tobacco control. John previously served and did community organizing work as the Interim National Director for Parent Revolution, an education and social justice non-profit. He received his Master's degree at Georgetown University and his Bachelor's degree at the University of Michigan.
Johnathan O. Skinner, MBA, CPRP
Director of Community Services, City of Lake Elsinore
As a veteran in Parks, Recreation and Community Services, Johnathan has been in the field for over 40 years, creating programs that have benefited communities on the west coast. A graduate of Cal State Northridge with a B.S. in Recreation and Masters in Public Administration he has had the privilege of working for cities such as Beverly Hills, Simi Hills, Reno, Santee and now Lake Elsinore. With an incredible team, Johnathan and the City have created a powerful program, promoting health and activity in the Community. The Healthy LE initiative has garnered local and state recognition for getting residents to “Get Active” through physical, mental and interpersonal connections with residents who call Lake Elsinore their home to live, work and play, build futures and fulfill dreams.
Senior Policy Advocate, California Bicycle Coalition
Linda Khamoushian is the Senior Policy Advocate at the California Bicycle Coalition (CalBike). Based in Sacramento, Linda advocates for and helps to shape active transportation policies at the state level for the purpose of creating healthy, prosperous, and sustainable communities across California. Last year, Linda launched the American Planning Association California Chapter’s Planners4Health Initiative as Project Manager. Prior to joining CalBike, Linda worked as an urban planning researcher in health equity, environment, and transportation. Linda is a graduate of UC Berkeley and UCLA, and holds a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning.
San Bernardino County Public Health Safe Routes to School Coordinator
Mark Friis is currently the San Bernardino County Public Health Safe Routes to School Coordinator. He has 12 years of experience in bicycle and pedestrian advocacy along with working to further active transportation infrastructure. Not only does Mark work for bike and pedestrian, but he contuse to use his bike as a primary source of personal transportation and adventure. In 2017, he crossed the US traveling 5500 miles from coast to coast.
Mark Hoffman, MPP, MPDS
Associate Principal, PlaceWorks
Mark Hoffman serves as an Associate Principal with PlaceWorks, a consulting firm specializing in community planning, environmental services, and design for local governments, nonprofits, and foundations across California. Mark has dedicated his career to advancing the fields of healthy communities, housing policy, and comprehensive planning. In 2017, he served as a coauthor of the Senate Bill 1000 Toolkit, the first local environmental justice guidebook, in collaboration with the California Environmental Justice Alliance. Mark also authored the Practical Guide to Planning Healthy Communities. Mark has prepared environmental justice and healthy community assessments for many cities in southern California. His efforts have been recognized by the Center for Civic Policy and Leadership, California Chapter of the American Planning Association, Southern California Public Health Association, Association of Environmental Professionals, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation among others.
Mary Wright, AICP, LEED AP ND
Vice-President, Civic Solutions
Mary P. Wright is the Vice President of Civic Solutions, Inc., a well-respected Southern California planning and community development firm. In this capacity, Ms. Wright works with public agencies to provide a full range of urban planning and municipal staffing services. Ms. Wright also served as the City of Jurupa Valley’s General Plan Program Manager overseeing the preparation of the City’s first General Plan. She was also the primary author of the Jurupa Valley Environmental Justice Element, an optional general plan element containing comprehensive policies to address all forms of environmental equity. Ms. Wright holds a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and a Master of City Planning degree from San Diego State University and is an AICP-certified, and LEED-accredited planner.
Mayor Paul Leon,
City of Ontario
Mayor Paul Leon was first appointed to the Ontario City Council in 1999. In addition to his Mayoral duties, Mayor Leon also serves as Senior Pastor of Hope Chapel Foursquare Church. Over the years Mayor Leon has represented Ontario on regional boards with Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG), and Omnitrans, and has served as the City Council liaison to the Los Angeles World Airports Board of Airport Commissioners. A native of Southern California, Paul is a graduate of Nordhoff High School in Ojai, the U. S. Army Security Agency Training Center & School at Ft. Devens, Massachusetts, and attended the Cleveland Institute of Electronics. Since completing military service in 1977, Paul has been a resident of Ontario. Dedicated to the betterment of youth in his home region, Paul has contributed thousands of volunteer hours to area organizations including the Ontario Salvation Army, San Bernardino Communities Against Drugs, San Bernardino County Gangs and Drugs Task Force, Ontario Gangs and Drugs Task Force, Chaffey Joint Union High School District CAT Council, Family Solutions Collaborative, Vernon Middle School, and the West Valley Family Violence Council. In 1998, Paul received the Montclair/Inland Valley Soroptimist President's Award, in 1999 the Positive Choices for Youth "Exemplar" Award, the Chaffey Joint Union High School District Community Service Award and in 2006 was selected by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Latino Business Council as the Community Leader of the Year.
Michael Osur, MBA
Assistant Director, Chief Health Strategist, Riverside University Health System - Public Health
Michael Osur is the Assistant Director and the Chief Health Strategist for the Riverside County Department of Public Health. He is responsible for leading the Division, which includes HIV/AIDS, Nutrition Services, Tobacco Control, Injury Prevention Services, Public Health Nursing, Public Health Laboratory and Epidemiology and Program Evaluation as well as the Healthy Riverside County/Building Healthy Communities Initiatives. He oversees more than 350 staff with a combined budget of over $35 million. Under Mr. Osur’s leadership, Riverside County has received numerous awards including the American Public Health Association, National Public Health Week recognition of Riverside County as a “Blue Ribbon Model Community,” for its work in “Designing Healthy Communities, Raising Healthy Kids.”; the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) Challenge Awards for “Creating Livable Communities. In 2011, Mr. Osur was the runner-up for the National Public Health Leadership Network’s Balderson Leadership Project Award.
Michael is one of 14 Directors on the Toastmasters International Board of Directors and is a professor at both the Loma Linda University School of Allied Health where he teaches Healthcare Management and at the University of La Verne where he teaches Public Health. Michael has presented at numerous state and national conferences, including the American Planning and American Public Health Associations on Healthy Communities. In April 2013, Mr. Osur received the American Planning Association National Planning Excellence Award for a Planning Advocate and in 2015 received the Southern California Public Health Association Leadership Award.
Michael Paalani, DrPH, RDN, CDE, CHES, EP-C
Supervising Nutritionist I, Riverside University Health System – Public Health
Michael Paalani has been in the health care field since 2010, when he graduated from Loma Linda University with a Doctorate in Public Health specializing in Preventive Care. He also has a Master’s degree in Biology from Cal Poly Pomona as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Redlands. Before joining the Riverside County Department of Public Health, he worked as a dietitian specializing in weight loss counseling and chronic disease management. As a Public Health Nutritionist for Riverside County, Michael has coordinated and evaluated nutrition and physical activity based events for the Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention program, and now works as a WIC clinic supervisor in the North Riverside area. He is also an associate faculty member at University of Phoenix, and an adjunct faculty at Los Angeles Pacific University and Loma Linda University. Michael has taught numerous courses in Nutrition, Health Science, and Public Health, and is a big advocate of prevention as an effective way to lower people’s risks for chronic diseases.
Monica Guerra, Ph.D
Planner, Raimi + Associates
Monica Guerra is a planner with Raimi + Associates. Her work is focused on building healthier and more equitable communities across the state. She has experience with diverse planning efforts across the public and private sector, including community planning; healthy communities research; land use planning; and strategic planning. Prior to joining Raimi and Associates, she conducted extensive research on urban poverty interventions in Medellin, Colombia. She brings experience in report writing, data analysis, and qualitative research. While trained as an urban planner, she draws from her global field experience to study issues at the intersection of urban planning and health. Prior to joining the Raimi + Associates team, she was an academic researcher and instructor. She studied issues of urban poverty and planning in Colombia. Monica holds a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley. She taught at the Center of Latin American Studies at Tulane University from 2014-2015 and in the Department of City & Regional Planning at the University of California at Berkeley from 2009-2012. She has taught courses on development, healthy planning, poverty, and social equity.
Olivia Sanchez, MBA
Administrative Analyst, City of Riverside Public Works Department, Solid Waste Division
Olivia started her career in the solid waste and recycling field in 1999. Areas of expertise include solid waste and recycle program planning/implementation, grant management, household hazardous waste and used oil programs, waste/recycling analysis and trending, school gardening education, composting, environmental outreach and education. She also focuses on franchised hauler contracts and monitoring environmental legislation. She is on the Board of Directors for the Southern California Waste Management Forum and is affiliated with several waste reduction NGOs.
Dr. Rhonda Spencer, DrPH, MPH
Associate Professor, Loma Linda University School of Public Health
Dr. Rhonda Spencer-Hwang is an associate professor and director of the Educational Theatre Program in the Center for Community Resilience in the School of Public Health at Loma Linda University (LLU). She is not only an epidemiologist and resiliency researcher, but a community member herself in one of the only five blue zone regions in the world. Blue zones are regions where people live significantly longer, healthier lives, with many passing the 100 year mark. Dr. Spencer-Hwang has conducted extensive research into childhood experiences of community members, including numerous centenarians (individuals 100+ years), living in the only US blue zone region. Her research findings, including the burden of ACEs identified among the US blue zone members along with their positive health practices, she presented as one of the keynote speakers at the First Annual Blue Zone Symposium held this past year at LLU. Over the past five years, Dr. Spencer-Hwang has received millions in funding from government agencies providing her the opportunity to reach over 10,000 children and their families annually. She has a keen interest in children’s health promotion, has numerous peer reviewed publications, and given presentations around the world. Based on her ground breaking research findings, Dr. Spencer-Hwang is working on a nonfiction book for parents to help them put into practice the centenarian’s for raising resilient children today.
Robin Nishiwaki Ronkes, MPH, RDN
Public Health Nutritionist, San Bernardino County Department of Public Health Nutrition Program
Robin Ronkes is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health. Her versatility in program planning, community organization, and grant writing has enabled her to work in a variety of settings, including Child Health and Disability Prevention (CHDP), Maternal Health, Nutrition Quackery Prevention, Sports Nutrition, Detention Facilities, WIC, and as a grant writer. After a 16 year “leave”, Robin returned in 2013 to Public Health as the coordinator of the SB County Nutrition Action Partnership (CNAP) and collaborates with organizations to address healthy food access and food insecurity. Ms. Ronkes holds a BS in Nutrition/Dietetics from CSU Long Beach with a minor in Spanish, completed a dietetic internship in St. Paul, and has an MPH in Nutrition from the University of Minnesota.
Program Manager, Prevention Institute
Ruben manages programs addressing community trauma, mental health, and violence prevention at Prevention Institute. He has more than 20 years of nonprofit experience in public health, equity, program and organizational management, and technical assistance and capacity building. Prior to joining Prevention Institute, Ruben served as Associate Director at the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN) where he managed development, outreach, and communications initiatives to inform, mobilize, and advocate for the constituents of the state’s largest multicultural health policy organization. As CPEHN’s lead on mental and behavioral health, he authored California’s strategic plan for reducing mental health disparities, a part of the California Reducing Disparities Project, funded through the Mental Health Services Act. Before his nine years at CPEHN, Ruben was Senior Specialist and Project Director at Mosaica: The Center for Nonprofit Development and Pluralism in Washington, DC, where he led activities funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of HIV/AIDS Policy and provided technical assistance to small and large community organizations across the country. He has held positions at the National Minority AIDS Council and Human Rights Campaign, also in Washington, D.C. A native Texan and graduate of the University of Houston, he serves on Regional Asthma Management and Prevention's advisory committee and several state mental health advisory committees. He has worked extensively with organizations and community members fighting to advance health equity for the underserved.
Senior Regional Planner, Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG)
Rye Baerg is a Senior Regional Planner in the Active Transportation and Special Programs Department at the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). At SCAG Rye oversees a variety of projects and programs related to public health, active transportation and big and open data. Prior to SCAG, Rye worked on active transportation policy and projects for the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the Los Angeles Department of City Planning. Rye received his Bachelors of Arts in Anthropology and a Masters of Urban Planning, both from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).
Public Health Program Manager, San Bernardino County – Department of Public Health
Scott Rigsby is a Public Health Program Manager with the County of San Bernardino, Department of Public Health, Community Outreach and Innovation Program. He oversees Community Vital Signs, Reentry, the departments Statistical Analysis and Epidemiologists, and the Healthy Communities program. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from California State University, San Bernardino and has supervised a variety Public health programs over his 18 year Public Health career.
Tricia Gehrlein, MBA
Director, Population Health, Morongo Basin Healthcare District
Tricia Gehrlein is the Director of Population Health for the Morongo Basin Healthcare District, a Special District of the State of California. The District owns and operates two Federally Qualified Health Centers, located in Yucca Valley and Twentynine Palms (The Morongo Basin Community Health Center). In her role, she is responsible for collaboratively implementing programs that further the District’s mission of improving the health of its residents. This includes working across sectors within the community to foster better health outcomes and improve overall health and wellness. Prior to her current position, she was the Director of Community Health Transformation for the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. Working with national and regional thought leaders, she was responsible for implementing systems change within seven targeted communities across the United States, including the Coachella Valley, to improve health outcomes. An alumni of College of the Desert, Tricia received her B.S. in Business and Management from the University of Redlands and her M.B.A. from Western Governors University.