I am a Public Health Advocate because a passion for meaningful long-term social change was incorporated into my DNA growing up in Oakland in the 1960s. Combined with an early attraction to politics (as a 12 year old I loved watching the Watergate hearings) and fascination with the workings of the human body (thus my undergraduate degree in human physiology), being a public health advocate is the most rewarding career I can imagine. I am honored and grateful to work with extraordinary staff and remarkable partners to establish public policies that make it easier for all people – particularly those facing the greatest hardships – to live longer, happier, and healthier lives. To me, that is one of the fundamental purposes of our Democratic process.
Alfred Mata, Jr., MPA
I am a Public Health Advocate because I believe that where a person lives shouldn’t determine his or her life expectancy. As a lifelong resident of California and Los Angeles County, I’ve grown to love the great diversity that our state and region have to offer but have also become angered by the huge disparities I see in access to healthy food and physical activity opportunities. Public health, food access, and environmental justice will be among the most pressing civil rights issues of our generation, and I love going to work every day to fight alongside my fellow Angelinos and Californians in a battle I believe in.
Belinda Campos, MPH
I am a Public Health Advocate because I believe the disparity in access to healthy food in poor communities of color requires a community-driven solution to educate and foster sustainable change. As a PHAdvocates community organizer working in Boyle Heights, I am proud to be at the forefront of this struggle and am driven to succeed in creating change. Knowing the importance of leading by example, I actively strive to incorporate the health message of my work into my personal life. Doing so has allowed me to lose 90 lbs., completed five half marathons, and the Los Angeles Marathon in 2015. I have a bachelor’s degree in public administration from California State University, San Bernardino and a master’s degree in public health with an emphasis in health promotion, education and evaluation from Claremont Graduate University.
Director of Local Policy
I am a Public Health Advocate because advocacy is a part of who I am. Growing up in South Stockton, CA and South East Washington DC, I saw inequality in education, healthcare, and housing. I saw liquor stores on every corner, continuous crime, no grocery stores in our communities, over-crowded classrooms, no parks – I could go on and on. As a child, I was introduced to community organizing through my church and I became the first in my family to graduate college earning a bachelor’s degree in social work. PHA allows me to empower those who feel powerless and to advocate for those who do not know how.
Community Outreach Specialist
I am a Public Health Advocate because I want to engage, empower and help to activate the unique talents of all people within my community so that they can achieve total health and wellness and gain access to transformative opportunities. It is my ministry and faith that compels me to serve individuals who have been marginalized; impacted by daily stress, inequality, and chaos of today’s society.
I am a Public Health Advocate because I am passionate about my work to prevent and challenge the political, social, and economic systems that sustains racial, economic and health disparities. I believe good health is a right and not a privilege. These health disparities can be addressed through policy change to better the disadvantage communities in the Central Valley. I am a graduate of California State University, Fresno and received my degree in Public Health, Community Health and a minor in French. I love to work out daily and I enjoy reading.
Director of State Policy
I am a Public Health Advocate because at 6 years old “Feed the Children” infomercials changed the way a saw the world. After seeing images of children and families impoverished, starving and dying, I felt what I learned later in life was extreme empathy for those who were hurting. Seeing these disparities opened my eyes to see similar issues in my own community and created a desire within me to change them. Helping those who are marginalized, less privileged and oppressed understand their power and purpose is my goal. Tearing down barriers to access through education, awareness and policy change is my mission. I am a Public Health Advocate because the betterment of (my) people is truly my “life’s work”.
I am a Public Health Advocate because I am committed to providing opportunities that fundamentally change lives for the better. I want to help breakdown the economic, geographic, and cultural barriers to living healthy, and provide resources for the community to embrace health and wellness. Everyone should have the opportunity to live a healthy lifestyle, and together we can build a network of support to make healthy choices available to everyone.
Community Outreach Specialist
I am a Public Health Advocate because access to a healthy lifestyle should be a right and not a privilege. Growing up in Stockton, I have seen firsthand how limited access to resources coupled with poor policy decisions can be detrimental to the wellbeing of a community. I have also seen the resilience of those same communities in advocating for a better tomorrow. Having returned to Stockton once I received my Bachelor’s degree from CSU Sacramento in Government, I feel honored to work in the same communities I grew up in.
Flojaune G. Cofer, PhD, MPH
Senior Director of Policy
I am a Public Health Advocate because I am living out my childhood fantasy of being Batman. Just like a Batman, Public Health Advocates have a strong sense of commitment to our communities. Our goal is to stop forces trying to destroy our cities and hurt our neighbors. We are reformers who gain public trust and act in their best interest. And, most like Batman, we don’t have any superpowers, but we rely on the tools in our utility belt! My utility belt includes my education, experience in research and public health practice, and service on non-profit boards and city commissions. I am a Public Health Advocate because I believe that health is a human right and differences in health outcomes reflect our commitment to creating an equitable and just society. Public health advocates are the silent guardians, the watchful protectors, and the real-life heroes we deserve.
Hector Ramirez, MA
I am a Public Health Advocate because I am aware first-hand of the benefits of knowing what access to good food does to a person’s body and health. Misinformation regarding the effects of certain food made my struggle with weight and diabetes a challenge. Since learning which foods are good for me and having access to these foods, my weight and A1C levels are trending towards normal.
I am a Public Health Advocate because I don’t want to become a statistic. Diabetes runs in my family and it is important to me to be proactive about educating myself and the public about the harmful causes of unhealthy choices and lifestyles. PHAdvocates gives me the opportunity to come in and help support our staff change policies and promote the idea that everyone has the right to be healthy. I’m proud to be the first person in my family to have graduated college; I received a bachelor’s degree in business administration with concentrations in accounting and international business from California State University, Sacramento.
Kanat Tibet, MA
Director of Local Policy
I am a Public Health Advocate because I believe that everyone on Earth deserves to be healthy and that health should not come with an extra cost. I know I cannot change the world but I can have an impact on my community and my vocation has enabled me to expand my sphere of influence and use my advocacy skills beyond just my own community. I have a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Bogazici University Istanbul and a master’s degree in broadcast communication from San Francisco State University.
I am a Public Health Advocate because I believe that your zip code should not determine your life expectancy. Having grown up in both Canada and California, I experienced first-hand the difference a health care system can have on a population. Through my work with PHAdvocates, I aim to advocate for equitable solutions in order to increase communities’ overall health outcomes and access to health resources. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in Global Disease Biology from UC Davis, I am committed to helping combat the many health disparities impacting California’s marginalized communities.
Kaytie Speziale, MS
I am a Public Health Advocate because I believe every person deserves a well body, a well mind and well soul. In my work as a therapist for children and families, I saw how even as children and families came to therapy for help, their attempts to heal were constantly set back by their environment. The atmosphere was blocking the healing. I believe when we are given the opportunity to live in safe spaces and form relationships our body and the mind are capable of amazing things; healing ourselves and passing on our health and wealth to others.
Community Engagement Coordinator, Part Time
I am a Public Health Advocate because I want to dedicate my life to empower and support under resourced communities in an effort to promote wellness, health, and prevention. Throughout low-income communities within the city of Los Angeles, specifically in the East LA-Boyle Heights area, there is an apparent disparity in access to healthy food options. Since these communities have limited options to healthy food choices, residents have become reliant on fast, cheap fast food, but are unaware of how negatively their eating habits are affecting their health. Many people in my own family suffer from chronic conditions related to poor diet, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. As a public health advocate, I am driven to combat childhood obesity and lessen the number of Latinos who are presently predisposed to getting diabetes. My community engagement has influenced me to positively impact my world. I will promote awareness to those who are clueless to the consequences of poor eating.
I am a Public Health Advocate because I am committed to raising awareness about public health issues and mobilizing community leaders to promote civic engagement. My work has focused primarily in impoverished communities who have been challenged by infrastructure deficiencies, which have perpetuated unhealthy diets and inactive lifestyles. Being a Public Health Advocate, to me means making the effort to ensure that all people have the right to a healthy lifestyle. It means doing my part and teaching my children to do theirs to support health equity so that generation after generation have a healthy successful life. One of my top priorities in life is to help others foster an environment that profoundly motivates each individual to achieve their personal best. PHAdvocates gives me an opportunity to support communities disproportionately affected by health inequities and to empower underrepresented community voices.
Chief Financial Officer
I am a Public Health Advocate because I believe everyone has the right to a healthy life. I have seen how a lack of education, a lack of resources, and environmental factors can prevent an individual from living this life. At PHAdvocates, I have the opportunity to provide support and financial oversite to our program staff who work vigorously to ensure all individuals receive the education, tools, and resources to live their best and healthiest life possible.
Mike Nguy, MPH
Associate Program Manager
I am a Public Health Advocate because I am committed to putting the intersection of race, gender, class, sexuality, ability, documented status, along with other social identities to the forefront of health and healthcare in order to address health inequities that many individuals and communities face. I am dedicated to working alongside communities, especially communities of color, in advocating for health equity and justice.
I am a Public Health Advocate because I believe being healthy is a fundamental right that everyone should have access to. Knowledge truly is power and I want to use my background in communications to empower as many people as I can so that they can live their healthiest life.
Reggie Caldwell, LCSW
I am a Public Health Advocate because I believe everyone should live a world where social, economic, political and health justice prevails. It is my strong belief that justice requires a healthy society that includes neighborhoods that promote health and provide places for safe play, high quality education that lead students to job-readiness, resource rich communities that meet all the residence needs, spaces that foster strong social cohesion, and systems that prize cultural diversity. To achieve this level of health necessitates innovative and disruptive approaches that explore the complex and interactive factors that contribute to physical, mental and spiritual health. I am excited to be part movement that works to create communities for all people to thrive.
Sergio Zepeda, JD
Director of Administration
I am a Public Health Advocate because of my daughters. We have Type 2 diabetes on both sides of our family and with a higher incidence of the disease in Latino families, I worry that a healthy future may not be in my daughters’ future. But at PHAdvocates, I help advocate for policy, systems and environmental changes that make healthier choices real, feasible options, not just for my daughters, but for everyone.
Community Outreach Specialist
I am a Public Health Advocate because God loaned me one Temple and taking care of my Temple is my highest form of appreciation to my Creator. Growing up in Stockton I’ve watched those that look like me be marginalized, violated, disregarded, abused and ostracized. In neighborhoods that are predominantly African American the access and availability to fresh vegetables, fruits and grocery stores is limited. There are more liquor stores and Mc Donald’s built than libraries and schools. My frustrations with systemic oppression gnaws at me and has propelled my desire to provide solutions and be part of vital change especially among those of the African diaspora. I realized at a very young age that my friends who didn’t look like me, also with more resources were privy to a colorful world of nutritious fruits I had never knew existed. Being part of this team supports my personal mission to inform, advocate, support, and share all resources regarding mental and spiritual health within my community so that our future generation will be provided with health equity and justice.
Youth Development Specialist
I am a Public Health Advocate because I want to dedicate my life’s work to uplifting and serving communities that are over-looked and underserved. I am from East Oakland and I moved to Stockton at a young age. In both cities there was a clear distinction of the haves and the have-nots. I witnessed firsthand being discriminated against, having a lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables, having more police on my school’s campus than counselors, and many more disparities that our youth still face daily. My life’s experience and the experiences of those who look like me serve as my motivation to impact our futures. I am a strong believer in addressing community issues with community-based solutions and strongly advocating for implementation for those solutions. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences with an emphasis in Public Health and a minor in Sociology from San Diego State University. I intend to utilize my education and my life experiences to help mitigate the ethnic and racial disparities for youth and the community at large.
Vileana de la Rosa, MA
I am a Public Health Advocate because I am passionate about working with communities to strive for equity and social justice, which includes equitable access to green spaces, healthy food, and safety. I have my undergraduate degree in Comparative Literature from UC Irvine and my Master’s in Women’s Studies from San Diego State University. During my free time, I enjoy gardening, arranging flowers, riding my bike, yoga, boxing, cooking, and collecting vinyl records.
Accounting Coordinator, Part Time
I am a Public Health Advocate because I believe that all people should have access to education regarding proper nutrition, fitness, and health. I continually strive to engage in physical fitness activities and make wise decisions regarding food. Therefore, I believe in eating minimally processed products and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, as consumers, we are lured into making poor health decisions which are influenced by heavy marketing and limited access to education. Although challenging, promoting healthy lifestyle choices can influence how people perceive nutrition and fitness. Without a group advocating to promote public health, it would be difficult to make health-conscious choices, and for that reason, it is essential to reach out to all communities.