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Jared Blumenfeld, Administrator for EPA's Pacific Southwest Region (Region 9)
Jared Blumenfeld was appointed by President Barack Obama and Administrator Lisa P. Jackson to serve as EPA Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest in November 2009. Region 9 is home to more than 48 million people in California, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and 147 tribal nations.
Dr. Arcela Nuñez-Alvarez
Dr. Arcela Nuñez-Alvarez is Director of the National Latino Research Center (NLRC) at CSUSM, an applied social science research center specializing on increasing knowledge and understanding of the rapidly growing U.S. Latino population. NLRC’s current research focuses on education, health, and civic engagement. She has served as lead researcher for numerous projects in California and several national health promotion programs funded by the Office of Minority Health (OMH), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Education, The California Endowment, The California Wellness Foundation, The Bravo Foundation, and The Leichtag Family Foundation. She has designed and implemented studies and interventions aimed at reducing disparities and social inequalities and helped pioneer new evidence-based strategies for improving life outcomes. She has worked on Imperial County research and education projects since 2002 addressing environmental justice issues specifically focused on community action to fight asthma, water quality, and clean air. The Center has over ten years of experience evaluating programs, investigating health and educational disparities, and designing culturally and linguistically appropriate strategies to be employed in building healthy communities.
Olga de la Cruz
Olga de la Cruz is President of de la Cruz & Associates, a consulting firm specializing in nonprofit management, organizational development, research, evaluation and fund development. She helps a number of organizations build their capacity to fundraise successfully.
Preceding her consultant work, Olga was a Program Officer with The California Endowment, the largest private health care foundation in California. Olga’s work at The California Endowment centered on issues of health disparities and building the capacity of organizations through the foundation’s border health initiative.
Her community commitment is exemplified by her numerous appointments including serving as a board of director of numerous community-based, social service and health-related organizations. She has been called upon by several government agencies including, the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration, Department of Education and local government and philanthropic groups to provide grant reviews and make recommendations for funding.
Ms. de la Cruz received both her bachelor's degree in Sociology and Criminology and master's degree in Public Administration from the University of Utah.
Lori Copán is a Research Scientist with the Environmental Health Investigations Branch (EHIB) at the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). She has worked for more than 25 years in public and environmental health for non-profit and governmental agencies in the United States and Chile. Since 2002 Lori has worked at CDPH where she has coordinated the development of a statewide biomonitoring plan, directed a population-based asthma prevalence study at the US/Mexico Border, and participated in various biomonitoring studies that explore the impact of chemical exposures on disproportionately impacted communities. Currently Lori works in the area of emergency preparedness and participates in public health investigations when communities or workplaces are exposed to hazardous chemicals. This year she was selected by the Society of Public Health Educators to serve as a member of the National Environmental Health Promotion Network. In all her professional endeavors, Lori strives to integrate participatory approaches and community capacity building strategies into research about environmental hazards and health.
Galatea King is Health Surveillance Director with the California Environmental Health Tracking Program (CEHTP), within the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). CEHTP’s main goal is to enhance and communicate environmental and health data and information to be used for public health action (e.g. research, advocacy, policy) with expertise in the fields of epidemiology and statistics, information technology and software development, geographic information systems (GIS), participatory processes, and communication. Gala has been with CEHTP for six years, focusing her efforts on improving the collection, analysis, visualization, and translation of data and information to diverse stakeholders, including community members, researchers, local and state government employees, and policy makers. Prior to working with CEHTP, Gala worked as an Epidemiologist with the CDPH Office on Disability and Health, and the CDPH asthma surveillance program, California Breathing. Since 2000, Gala has been a member of and is currently on the advisory board of the Filipino/American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity (FACES), a transnational environmental justice organization that works with impacted communities in California and in the Philippines. Gala holds a BS in Mathematics from the University of Minnesota and an MPH from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where her focus was epidemiology and international health.
Luis Olmedo is the Executive Director of Comite Civico del Valle, an organization located in Imperial Valley whose mission focuses on addressing environmental health related problems in the farm worker community. Luis has an established reputation as a leading community activist and advises local, regional, and state programs on environmental health issues affecting Imperial County and Eastern Coachella Valley.
Since joining comite civico, Luis has collaborated with academic and research institutions to expand environmental research in Imperial County, included Border Asthma and Allergy Study, Percholorate Biomonitoring, Agricultural Burning Study, water quality study, Pesticide Illness and Surveillance Project and Reducing Exposure to Unhealthy Air. Luis is a member of the American Lung Association Cancer and the Environment Team, Advisor California Department of Public-Health Tracking Program, Co-Chair Imperial County Environmental Justice Enforcement Taskforce, California Asthma Partners, and the Good Neighbor Environmental Board-Federal Advisory Committee. Luis is passionate about environmental justice where he is a member of various state and national networks that focus on environmental policy and regulations.
Megan Beamin is a staff attorney for California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. Migrant Farmworker Project, based in the Coachella regional office. In this capacity, she advocates for justice for farmworkers in many contexts, including in their homes, schools, workplaces, and communities. Megan’s work with CRLA has tended to focus on impact projects relating to farmworker safety and health, and she has worked specifically on cases and issues related to heat stress, field sanitation, rest and meal periods, excessive production quotas, housing habitability, environmental injustice, infrastructure inequities, and groundwater contamination.
Through this work, Megan has provided training and comments to state and federal governmental agencies organizations including California Occupational Safety and Health Administration, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health Agricultural Sector Council, and diverse advocates of the national Farmworker Law Conference. She has also authored published and pending journal articles about housing habitability, farmworker unemployment, and water contamination. Megan volunteers and serves extensively outside of her professional capacity, including for the IVAN crowd-sourcing database for environmental hazards (www.ivanonline.org), as a legal volunteer for the United Farm Workers of America (UFW), and as an advisory committee on the Farmworker Initiative of UC Davis’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program.
Megan comes from a rural working-class background and is a longtime advocate for workers’ rights, civil rights, and racial justice.
Aide Munguia Fulton, RN, BSN,PHN,AE-C
Aide Munguia-Fulton is the Director of the Imperial Valley Child Asthma Program (IVCAP), a program funded program by the Imperial County Children and Families First Commission and administered by El Centro Regional Medical Center (ECRMC) in partnership with Pioneers Memorial Hospital District (PMHD). For a decade, registered nurse Aide Munguia- Fulton has work diligently in Imperial County to help improve asthma awareness and education in our community. After piloting a three-year asthma study monitor by the Integrating Medicine and Public Health (IMAP) program at the University of California San Francisco. She became the first Imperial County Nurse to be trained in asthma education and in best modern practices for asthma care. RN Fulton is Responsible for the Planning, development, implementation and evaluation of the IVCAP. She is also responsible for the case management of families of asthmatic children admitted to the Pediatric Unit and ER department. Other responsibilities include the facilitation of asthma educational workshops for Medical providers, School Nurses, and community Health Workers. She works in partnership with community advocate groups, organizations and local leaders in finding solution to help alleviate the current asthma epidemic in Imperial County. She completed her Bachelors of Science in Nursing at the University of Phoenix, and is certified as an Asthma Educator by the National Asthma Educator Certification Board.
Dave Fege, Assistant Director of the U.S. EPA San Diego Border Liaison Office
Dave Fege is an environmental protection specialist in EPA’s San Diego Border Office and assistant coordinator of the bi-national U.S.-Mexico Border Program (Border 2012) for the California-Baja California border region. Mr. Fege provides leadership for EPA’s Border Team to implement policy, projects, and other efforts to improve environmental conditions along the U.S-Mexico border. Mr. Fege has over thirty years’ experience in environmental management in the public and private sector. His experience includes working in the areas of industrial wastewater treatment, hazardous and solid waste management and enforcement, drinking water, air quality and pollution prevention. He has worked at EPA’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., at EPA’s Regional Office in Philadelphia and now for EPA’s Border Program in San Diego. Mr. Fege has a B.A. in economics from Kalamazoo College and a M.A. in Public Policy from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin.
Elizabeth Villa, Administrative Assistant Imperial Irrigation District
Born in Calexico, raised in Holtville, Ms. Elizabeth Villa is a mother of two teens currently living in Seeley, California. Villa is currently an administrative assistant at Imperial Irrigation District with over 20 years employment.
Villa was also employed 7 years at San Diego Gas & Electric in San Diego, giving her 27 years in the utility industry. She is a graduate of Holtville High School, Imperial Valley College, and University of Phoenix with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. She is currently Chairperson, Seeley Citizens United; on the Employees Appeals Board for the County of Imperial; and a member of Wintergarden Toastmasters. Her passion is family, helping the community, and visiting with Juvenile Hall teens.
John Hernandez, President of Our Roots Multi-Cultural Center, Inc.
John Hernandez retired after having been employed by the State of California for thirty-four years. He worked for several state agencies during his career. The agencies he worked for were Human Resources Development, Employment Development Department, Agricultural Labor Relations Board, Department of Social Services and Community Care Licensing. His experience as an employment developer and counselor with youth and adults later led him to be elected as a Trustee with the Central Union High School District. He also worked as a state programs analyst and auditor in San Diego, Imperial, Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange Counties. Child Care Licensing for Family Day Care and State Licensed Pre-Schools were also areas of his expertise. While working as an Investigator with the ALRB he was exposed to the plight of Migrant and Seasonal Farm workers in California and the west. He has been a Youth Leader., Job Corps Recruiter & served his country in the United States Marine Corps from 1969-1972. Health and human services have always been a focus of his activities in the community. He has served on the board of several non-profits in Imperial County and volunteers his services to several International Charities that include Border Angels & Angeles Sin Fronteras. He attended school at Booker T Washington Elementary, Woodrow Wilson Junior High, Central Union High School, Imperial Valley College and San Diego State Imperial Valley Campus. He has been a member of the California School Boards Association, California Latino School Board Association, MAPA, CSEA and California Chicano Advocates for Equality. Currently he is participating with the Imperial County Environmental Justice Task Force and serves as a member of the Comite Consultivo of the Mexican Consulate in Calexico for the IME. He is president of the Brawley Get-Together Senior Citizen Club and serves as president of the Brawley Parks & Recreation Commission. He is also a member of the Tzu-Chi Foundation Calexico-Mexicali-San Diego team for charity and disaster relief. He volunteers with Comite Civico Del Valle and is very happy to support and participate in the 4th Annual Environmental Health Leadership Summit.
Carolina Villa, Seeley Citizens United Group
Carolina L Villa was born in Calexico, went to Holtville Schools and then to Imperial Valley College (Human Relations Major) and Arbor Training Center in Modern Office Skills(certificate) Honor roll all through school and college. Was the Valvictorian speaker at the Arbor graduation. Speaker at the 3rd Environmental Summit. She worked for Westminster Day Care as a infant, preschool and school-aged teacher for around 3 years.
Carolina has worked as a State Preschool teacher for Campesinos Unidos for 3 ½ years. She has worked for a year in the Rodino Program for INS as a clerk 4 Step 1 and went to a step 4 when the program finished. Super Walmart Recruiter for signatures to open the Super Walmarts. Worked for the Census inputting information on the Computers at homes and traveling to areas of needed collection of data.
Her sister Elizabeth and herself brainstormed this Seeley Citizens United group and it was formed with solving a problem and took off from there. They have put on events for the Seeley area every year bringing their area much needed information on Social Welfare and well being subjects such as Domestic Violence, Drugs, Self Esteem. Seeley's group was key in requesting the 12- 14 lights put out for the kids in the area to be able to see while they played sports. They also have brought forth a drinking fountain with the donation of the County Jurg Huerbuerger and it was showcased in the Imperial Valley Enviornmental Task Force. Campaigned the first IVAN(Pioneering) in the surrounding areas of Holtville, El Centro and Seeley. Traveled to Sacramento to learn lobbying and helped support the AB1079 New River Bill come to be Manual Perez Vision instilled by many people that worked on that project. Have done much volunteering in many areas such as translating for the Home's help by County, translated for the Emergency Earthquake help by County. Assisted by taking food, water and supplies to the Fire in Potrero through the Red Cross. Assisted the Mexicali Area Earthquake victim's in April's last years earthquake with supplies food and water. Did Clean Air Iniative with American Cancer and Lung for 2 years. On the Parents Council at Finley for 2 years Imperial Valley Task Force for like 1 and ½ years. Group was recognized by Bob Filner and Manual Perez.
Brad Poiriez, Air Pollution Control Officer
Brad Poiriez was appointed the Air Pollution Control Officer for the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District (ICAPCD) on April 1, 2008. Brad is in charge of the day-to-day operations and activities of the ICAPCD, this includes supervising nineteen staff members that make up the engineering division, planning/rule development division, compliance division, special projects/grants, and the air monitoring programs. Brad is the past U.S. co-chair of the Imperial Valley / Mexicali Region Air Quality Task Force for Border 2012 and continues his border work and review for the newly proposed Border 2020 program. Brad has been instrumental in getting industry representatives and the community involved and participating in developing methods to improve the air quality in Imperial County.
Brad received his Bachelor of Science in Health Studies from Eastern Illinois University in 1990 and has worked in the environmental field for over eighteen years. He has been with the ICAPCD for the past seventeen years. Prior to joining the ICAPCD, Brad was employed by the Peoria County Environmental Health Department in Peoria, Illinois.
Brad has been a Board of Director for the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association (CAPCOA) for the past 5 year and is the current Legislative Committee chair and also Vice-President of the association.
Dr. Ryan G. Sinclair, Assistant Professor
Dr. Ryan G. Sinclair is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Geoinformatic Sciences at the Loma Linda University School of Public Health. Dr. Sinclair teaches courses in environmental sampling, research methods, and water quality. Research areas in environmental microbiology include topics such as drinking water treatment, wastewater treatment, pathogen contaminated surfaces and microbial risk assessment.
Dr. Sinclair worked as a post-doc, then research scientist at the University of Arizona Water Village where he authored many peer reviewed papers on the detection of microbes in drinking water distribution systems. His PhD research at Tulane University investigated the health impact of drinking water processed using a solar treatment system in rural Cambodia.
Dr. Sinclair has also completed a Masters in Public Health at Loma Linda University, a Bachelors in Anthropology and a Bachelors in Zoology from Brigham Young University. He is originally from Desert Hot Springs in the Mojave Desert of California.
Dr. Alfredo Cuellar , Dean of the Division of Behavioral and Social Science
Dr. Cuéllar was born in the border city of Matamoros, Mexico. Since his early education he became bicultural and bilingual, by attending American schools in Brownsville, Texas in the morning, and Mexican schools, in the same level, in the afternoon. Presently, he is Dean of Behavioral and Social Studies at Imperial Valley College.
He distinguished himself not only as a student but as an athlete he was All State in Texas, during his High School years, and played at College in Mexico City. Later, in Europe, while studying at Sporthohchule, (School of Sports) in Colone, Germany, he played professional basketball with the renowned team Bayer of Leverkusen.
He did obtain a Bachelor, a Master, and a Ph. Degree at the University of Alabama.
He has worked in more than 20 universities, and he became the first Mexican Professor teaching at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Some of the seminars, which he established then, are still in the university catalogue.
He is the author of numerous scholar publications in the United States, Mexico and other countries in topics related to education, social science, higher education, and educational policies. He was the Senior Instructor and Chair of Educational Leadership at the Graduate program of Educational Administration at California State University, Fresno, before becoming Dean of the Division of Behavioral and Social Science at Imperial Valley College.
He appears regularly as an expert political and social issues commentator in UNIVISION, other local TV channels in English and Spanish, and radio stations.
Dr. Cuellar has created research centers and educational institutes in Mexico and the United States. He is also an active consultant for innumerable organizations in Mexico and the United States in addition to an elected member of the Institute of Mexicans Abroad (IME), the organization representing the millions of Mexicans in the United States and Canada.
In a more personal note, Dr. Cuellar was an active student leader in the historical students demonstration in Mexico City in 1968. He is a survival of the student massacre of Tlatelolco, where the army killed hundred.
Gideon Kracov, Esq., Lawyer
Berkeley Law, University of California Boalt Hall, J.D.and Environmental Law Certificate, 1995; University of California, Berkeley, B.A. with high honors, 1992
Mr. Kracov is a lawyer in private practice in Los Angeles, where he represents clients in civil law, environmental and zoning cases. His work includes high-stakes litigation and complex regulatory matters. Kracov offers experience honed by work for diverse non-profit and business clients and as a government lawyer.
Previously, Kracov served as a Deputy Los Angeles City Attorney where he counseled the Departments of Planning and Sanitation. He was on the team that negotiated the $168 million settlement to remove trash from the Los Angeles River and he advised the City's brownfield redevelopment program.
Before his public sector work, Kracov practiced at Rose, Klein & Marias LLP, a trial law firm. There he handled toxic tort and environmental matters that helped shape these areas of the law. Kracov started his legal career at the prominent Los Angeles firm Weston, Benshoof LLP (now Alston & Bird LLP) where his practice involved tort defense for Fortune 500 clients.
In 2009, the authoritative lawyers Daily Journal named Kracov one of the top 20 attorneys under age 40 in California. He also is a Los Angeles Magazine Super Lawyer Rising Star.
Pro-Bono and Community Activities:
Kracov served as Vice-Chair of the Los Angeles Proposition O Bond Committee supervising $500 million to protect the City's rivers and beaches. He was a Governor's appointee and Acting Chair of the State Committee that oversees California's vehicle smog check program. He is a member of the State Bar of California Environmental Law Section Executive Committee for the 2010-2013 term.
The Consumer Attorneys of California have recognized Kracov as a “Street Fighter” finalist for his success lawyering difficult public interest cases. He has particular experience in environmental public interest litigation at the United States-Mexico border region.
He has served on the board of directors of non-profits Communities for a Better Environment, Los Angeles Grand Performances, the Progressive Jewish Alliance and the Salvadoran American Leadership Education Fund.
In 2001, Kracov was one of 60 Americans selected as a German Marshall Fund leadership fellow.
Ryan Atencio, Senior Hazardous Substances Scientist
Ryan is a Senior Hazardous Substances Scientist with Cal/EPA’s Department of Toxic Substances Control. His responsibilities include Environmental Justice Enforcement initiative, administrative enforcements, project management at contaminated sites, and Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act and SPCC implementation.
Ryan has presented at international conferences on border environmental issues, and environmental justice enforcement strategies. He holds degrees in Environmental Engineering and Geography.
Abraham P. Marquez, Researcher
Mr. Marquez is an environmental scientist at the National Latino Research Center at California State University San Marcos. He oversees research related to environmental justice including a ground-breaking study; “Water Quality and Environmental Health in Imperial County” designed to assess environmental health and water quality in the rural agricultural zones of the county.
After completing his studies at Hawaii Pacific University in Environmental Studies, Mr. Marquez worked as Environmental Scientist for Dames and Moore Group, Q&S Engineering Inc., and Leighton Group, Inc. He has extensive experience conducting environmental impact assessments, field audits, environmental investigations, soil/water sampling, and environmental hazard surveys.
Mr. Marquez has been involved in the Environmental Justice Taskforce in Imperial County and Coachella and is interested in research and education that will improve the health and environment of disadvantaged communities.
Miguel Figueroa, Executive Director of the CNRC
Miguel Figueroa, Executive Director of the CNRC, is an Imperial Valley native born in El Centro, California, is a recipient of administration and financial management degree from California State University Long Beach. As of 2006, Miguel has been responsible of the project management, administrative, strategic planning, financial and community education responsibilities at the CNRC. Support and funding from various State and Federal agencies for water quality improvement for the New River have also been secured in his tenure.
The Calexico New River Committee (CNRC) was established in 1999 by a group of concerned citizens with the vision to eliminate the negative health and environmental impacts of the most polluted river in North America, the New River. The CNRC obtained its private 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation status in 2001. The CNRC has one paid staff member and 11 volunteer board members with strong commitment, diversity, strong community relations, proven leadership and strong follow through capabilities. The CNRC members have proven to be responsible over the years and represent various segments of the population in areas such as education, health organizations, non-profit organization management and public administration at city and county level. Ninety percent of the board of directors is of Latino heritage and 9 of the 11 directors are Imperial Valley residents.
Patricia Ochoa, Environment and Health Coordinator
Patricia Ochoa is the Environment and Health Coordinator for Physicians for Social Responsibility- Los Angeles (PSR-LA). PSR-LA is a policy, advocacy and educational organization in Los Angeles working to protect health from environmental contaminants including toxic chemicals, air pollution and the proliferation of nuclear power and weapons.
At PSR-LA, Patty Ochoa is responsible for developing our healthy land use project that is integrating health impact assessments into local and regional land use processes. Our goal is to develop land use policies that achieve the multiple goal of increasing resiliency in communities by promoting policies that reduce health and environmental inequalities.
Patty is implementing PSR-LA's integrated pest management demonstration project that is reducing the use and misuse of pesticide in urban communities. This project will also help develop innovative partnerships that will links efforts to reduce energy consumption such as retrofitting and weatherization efforts to IPM repairs that prevent pest infestations.
Her previous work experience includes working in an environmental justice organization developing best management practices and policies for auto-dismantling facilities, leading to stronger permitting requirements at the local level.