Bios are organized in alphabetical order by first name.
Abi Karlin-Resnick, MBA has spent her career promoting youth development and is currently Health Connected’s Executive Director. The nonprofit provides 12,000+ youth annually with comprehensive sex education. Prior to Health Connected, she served as the Associate Director of the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy and later as the Director of Marketing and Business Strategy at CuriOdyssey, a children's museum and wildlife center. Her career began in Chicago, managing after-school programs. Abi holds a B.A. in psychology with a minor in education from UCLA and an MBA from Boston University.
Adrian Martinez is a trans Latinx disabled organizer and policy advocate with experience organizing across social justice movements for more than a decade. In their current role as LGBTQ Community Engagement and Policy Advocate with ACLU SoCal, they are working to build a society free of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. They do this work through policy advocacy, policy implementation, coalition building, and community engagement in SoCal and across the state.
Alicia Gutierrez-Romine, PhD is an Assistant Professor of History at La Sierra University. She received her doctorate degree in history from the University of Southern California in 2016, and she is currently working on a manuscript on illegal abortion in California from 1920-1969.
Amelia Torres is a fierce young parent advocate and leader. She has been part of California Latinas for Reproductive Justice's Justice for Young Families (J4YF) Initiative since 2014 and now serves on their Young Parent Leader Advisory Board. Amelia has advocated for various bills directly impacting the health of young parents across California, including the Lactation Accomodation Bill (AB 302), the California Healthy Youth Act (CHYA) and most recently, the Calfornia Young Parents Day Resolution (ACR 201).
Autumn Taylor serves as a Young Leader with the Opportunity Youth Collaborative, an initiative focused on connecting young people in foster care with education, employment, and opportunity. She is a former foster youth who is passionate about lending her voice and sharing her experiences to help inspire others including youth and adults working with youth. She is currently interning at the Alliance for Children’s Rights and is taking a local vocational Emergency Medical Technician course. Her goal is to become a Physician’s Assistant and is always ready to get inspired as well as inspire others.
Barbara Facher MSW, is a social worker at the Alliance for Children's Rights, a non-profit legal agency serving low income children and families. Ms. Facher oversees the Healthy Teen Parent Program at the Alliance to ensure that teen parents living in foster care and their babies have the services and resources they need to thrive. She collaborates with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and other public and non-profit agencies to improve and expand services for this population. Ms. Facher also focuses on access to health and mental health care for children in foster care. Prior to joining the Alliance for Children's Rights in 2001, Ms. Facher worked as a medical social worker. She previously served as the California Director of Human SERVE, a national voter registration and education organization, focused on expanding voter participation among low-income and minority populations. Ms. Facher has a B.A. in History from the University of California, Berkeley, and received a Masters of Social Work from San Francisco State University School of Social Work, with a focus on community organizing.
Cara Silva, MPH is a seasoned public health professional. Cara spent the past sixteen years working with youth and young adults around sexual health and disease prevention. Cara has a Master of Public Health (MPH) in global health from Loma Linda University, a post-baccalaureate Certificate of Humanitarian Assistance, and sixteen years of field epidemiology and program management experience in state and county public health systems. She has further served in leadership roles for community-based nonprofit public health organizations in local, national, and international settings.
Christian Bannister comes to the Southern California Health Summit with experience in health research and youth involvement. Christian received his BA in Psychology from San Francisco State University in 2012. As an advocate for harm reduction policies, Christian has been interested in reducing stigmas associated with HIV transmissions among young gay incarcerated men: a topic that was culminated during his enrollment in the Sexualities Studies MA program at San Francisco State University. Chris has since been working with YTH to reduce health disparities among transgender youth and young adults.
Crystal Cedillo is a Disease Intervention Specialist (DIS) at Essential Access Health, based in Los Angeles. For the last 3 years, she has provided case management for patients who test positive for STDs and worked with clinical partners in South Los Angeles. Prior to joining Essential Access, Crystal was a Program Coordinator with Youth Mentoring Connection and a Community Organizer with the Koreatown Youth + Community Center.
Dannie Cesena has worked with non-profits for over 10 years in program development and advocacy. Dannie is a WPATH Member and his goal is to educate the medical community on the health care disparities faced by the transgender community. He has grown and strengthened the Trans*itions Health and Wellness Program by developing affirming programs for trans youth and adults in schools, medical settings, and the workforce. He is a frequent guest speaker on trans rights and the law.
Elena Hoeppner, MPH is Program Manager of Keeping it Real Together, a federally funded collaboration between the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the University of Southern California. In this role, Hoeppner manages a team of school liaisons and partners in the implementation of 3 evidence-based programs across 2 school districts that reached over 14,000 students and parents in 2016-17. Since graduating with her Master’s of Public Health in 2011 from the City University of New York School of Public Health, Hoeppner has worked in non-profit, academic, and public health department settings addressing health disparities and evaluating health promotion programs.
Eva Fernández MPH is the Manager of Training and Education at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles. She received an MPH in Maternal and Child Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and is chiefly interested in improving sexual and reproductive health outcomes for girls and women. Before graduate school, she served as a Bilingual Reproductive Health Educator with Planned Parenthood Mar Monte in Northern California, where she worked with pregnant and parenting teen girls.
Jackie Lara is the School-Based Youth Education Supervisor at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles where her primary focus is programming and facilitating comprehensive, medically-accurate sex education classes for Middle and High School students. In addition, Jackie trains volunteers to teach Planned Parenthood’s 7-session curriculum to young people all over Los Angeles County. Prior to her work in Sexuality Education, Jackie served as a Survivor Advocate for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Response Teams in the San Gabriel Valley. Her work seeks to challenge gender roles, ensure access to safe and legal abortion care, and advocate for communities of color.
Jeffrey M Gould, MDiv, Training and School Services Director, has been working in the field of community health and education for the past twenty-five years, with a focus on sexual health education. Mr Gould has developed curricula, implemented sexual health education in the classroom, designed trainings, facilitated teacher trainings and, over the last eight years, has been supporting school districts with the adoption and implementation of adolescent health policies and programs. Mr Gould currently coordinates Cardea’s school-based health services on both a state and national level, which includes the Working to Institutionalize Sexuality Education (WISE) Initiative, Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) Networks and FoundationsTraining.org. Mr Gould also works to expand Cardea’s capacity to offer affordable trainings to support a range of nationally recognized curricula.
Jessica Guccione teaches at Venado Middle School in Irvine. She received her bachelor’s in Health Science from Boston University and her master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has spent her time in the classroom seeking ways to combine her interests in science education and public health. Jessica currently teaches 7th grade science with an overarching theme of health and connects NGSS performance expectations to public health topics and careers. Jessica is a Science Ambassador Fellow with the CDC and Prevention and works to develop public health curriculum.
Jim Rhyne, MPH is a public health communications consultant who returned to LA in 2016 after living five years in South Africa where he earned his MPH. Since then, he has been providing strategic communications support for the WeCanStopSTDsLA movement in the 2nd Supervisorial District of LA County. He is also currently providing technical assistance for a USAID-funded campaign to promote socially marketed sexual and reproductive health and malaria products and services in Uganda. Working closely with the local partner in Kampala, he wrote the strategic plan is now assisting with implementation.
Karina Gonzalez leads the Planned Parenthood Los Angeles Peer Advocate Program where she trains students throughout several LA high schools to be providers of and resources for sexual and reproductive health information both during and after school. These students help their classmates make informed choices about relationships, teen pregnancy, and STD prevention. Before joining the Planned Parenthood Los Angeles team Karina worked as a Program Coordinator on the Healthy School Meals Advocacy project, where she implemented community engagement strategies to support healthy food policies and educate community members about healthy eating and resources. Karina is dedicated to providing education, knowledge, and advocacy skills for individuals to make informed decisions for themselves.
Kelly Gluckman is in her final year at UCLA, studying in the World Arts and Cultures program. She living with HIV and has told her story for the CDC, MTV, and Planned Parenthood, written for online publications, spoken at colleges and high schools, volunteered for AIDS service organizations, advocated on Capitol Hill in meetings with members of Congress, and is an ambassador for the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. Kelly is a mentor in the high school Sex Squad program as well as a board member of the UCLA Sexperts, and this is her fourth year working with the UCLA Sex Squad.
Kiana Dobson, MPH works as Coachman Moore & Associates’ Project Coordinator for WeCanStopSTDsLA, a movement to reduce the high levels of STDs in South Los Angeles. Prior to joining the WeCanStopSTDsLA team, she obtained her Master of Public Health degree at Boston University School of Public Health. She has had multiple roles addressing wellbeing and health, including as a sexual assault crisis counselor for the Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center and as a sex education presenter for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles. In her current position she engages various stakeholders around the issue of STDs.
Kristin Meyer, PhD is Director of Youth Prevention Programs at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s Division of HIV and STD Programs. She has conducted research on the reproductive and sexual health behavior of young adults and adolescents both domestically and abroad. She is the co-Director and co-Principal Investigator of Keeping It Real Together, a federally funded program that has reached thousands of students and hundreds of parents across Los Angeles County since 2015.
Laura Vargas has worked in the fields of sexuality education and adult education for over 25 years in Mexico and Los Angeles. She is currently in charge of training health promoters, as well as creating and implementing curriculum on sexual and reproductive health topics at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles (PPLA). Laura also coordinates the Parent/Child Communication Program and the LGBT Education Program for Latino families at PPLA.
Linda Salgin, MPH received her MPH with an emphasis in Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences from San Diego State University. During this time, she was awarded with the Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Award for her work in program evaluation. She also was published in the Journal of School Health for her contribution to a research project focused on comprehensive sexual health in charter schools. Currently, Ms. Salgin oversees multiple grant funded programs at San Ysidro Health focusing on HIV and chronic disease prevention as well as adolescent sexual health.
Lorena Garcia Zermeño is the Program Coordinator for California Latinas for Reproductive Justice where she spearheads their long-term initiative, Justice for Young Families (J4YF). She graduated from UC Santa Cruz in Anthropology and Feminist Studies with a concentration of Law, Politics, and Social change. She believes that an intersectional lens is vital to creating sustainable social change. Her own experience growing up as a Latina immigrant fuel her passion for Reproductive Justice.
Lori Fallace, M.S. has been teaching sex education (and throwing Parent Preview Night parties) in Irvine for over 25 years. She's learned to reframe the dialog in order to gain parental support for school-based sex education. Lori currently provides district leadership for the implementation of NGSS and health curriculum. A science geek at heart, Lori’s passion is environmental health. She's the recipient of the Outstanding Supporter of Prevention Award and was IUSDs 2012 Middle School Teacher of the Year. Lori holds a Master’s in Biology from CSULB and a teaching credential from UCI.
Luanne Rohrbach, PhD is a Professor of Clinical Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California (USC) Keck School of Medicine. For the past 30 years, her research has focused on evaluating interventions to prevent health-compromising behaviors among youth, including risky sexual behaviors, substance use, and violence. Currently, she is co-Principal Investigator of Keeping it Real Together, a federally-funded teen pregnancy and STI prevention project. She is the Director of the Master of Public Health program at USC.
Mariotta Gary-Smith, MPH, CSE is a 2nd generation Oregon (Portland) native & a 3rd generation social justice activist/agitator. Her educational career includes degrees from Agnes Scott College (BA, 1995); and the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University (MPH, 2008), as well as being an alum of the 2008-2009 Inaugural Class of the Center of Excellence for Sexual Health (CESH) Scholars Fellowship Program at Morehouse School of Medicine. In 2009, Mariotta co-founded the Women of Color Sexual Health Network (WOCSHN – ‘wok-shyn’); an online-based, collective organization for female-identifying/women sexuality professionals of color. She’s an AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educator, Counselors & Therapists) Certified Sexuality Educator, served as the 2016-2017 AASECT Annual Conference Co-Chair; and is a past Associate Editor for the American Journal of Sexuality Education (AJSE). Mariotta remains committed to creating safe spaces for culturally relevant and intentionally focused education about sex, sexuality, sexual health, reproductive & social justice for communities of color.
Melissa Strype has worked with Planned Parenthood Los Angeles for over 7 years and is the Associate Director of Youth Education and Social Media Youth Education. She works with a fantastic team to oversee PPLA’s innovative classroom education program that focuses on gender, rights, and relationships, as well as PPLA’s Peer Advocate program which trains high school students to be advocates for sexual health information at their schools. She also supports PPLA’s teacher training program which works with teachers who provide sexual health education to their students. Melissa also creates sexual health video content that’s used to educate students and help them build their skills to advocate for their rights in relationships. Melissa graduated from Skidmore College in 2010 where she received her B.A. in Gender Studies and Spanish.
Ruth Dawson is a staff attorney with the LGBTQ, Gender & Reproductive Justice Project of the ACLU of Southern California, where she conducts legal, policy, and community engagement work. Her work focuses on expanding access to the broad range of reproductive and sexual health care services, eliminating religious restrictions on health care provision, protecting access to confidential health care, upholding the health and dignity of incarcerated women, and promoting the rights of pregnant and parenting workers. Ruth graduated in 2012 with a JD and MPH from Emory University.
Susie Baldwin, MD, MPH is a preventive medicine physician who serves as Chief of Medical Community Engagement at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, where she has worked since 2006. Previously, she served as Associate Medical Director and Sexually Transmitted Disease Controller in the Division of HIV and STD Programs. She is also the Co-Founder and President of the organization HEAL Trafficking, which advances the public health response to human trafficking (HT). Since 2005, Dr. Baldwin has supported survivors of HT through clinical care, research, training, and advocacy. In partnership with the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking and two community clinics, she provided specialized care for HT survivors in Los Angeles from 2005 - 2012. She was a member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Technical Working Group to develop the SOAR curriculum for health professionals.
Tony Viramontes Born and raised in Orange County, Tony joined the LGBT Center OC in 2009. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California Santa Cruz. While in Santa Cruz, he became an activist using theater as a platform to educate his community. Immediately after finishing his BA Tony was accepted into UCSC’s Theater Arts Graduate Certificate Program which he completed in 2006. El habla Espanol.
Valerie Coachman-Moore, MPH has over three decades of professional experience in organizational and community development. She has a long history of successful interventions that have mobilized individuals and groups to implement sustainable solutions for a variety of complex organizational, neighborhood, and community matters. CMA is currently leading WeCanStopSTDsLA, a community strategic planning process to control the high rates and numbers of STDs in the 2nd Supervisorial District and South Los Angeles County. Valerie has a BA from Pomona College and a MPH from UNC Chapel Hill.
Valerie Esquivel serves as the temporary Program Associate for the LA Reproductive Health Equity Project for Foster Youth with the National Center for Youth Law. For nearly a decade, she has worked with and on behalf of transition-age-foster youth in Los Angeles County. From Tutor Coordinator to Program Manager, she has advocated for youth, developed and implemented programs, and helped build bridges between siloed systems to better connect youth to education, employment, and opportunity. Valerie holds a B.A. in Sociology from California State University, Fullerton and a M.A. in Social Entrepreneurship from Pepperdine University.
Veronica Camacho has been working with Vision y Compromiso for the past 5 years, coordinating several projects related to Health and Advocacy. One of them has been to ensure the implementation of the Families Talking Together curriculum by trained Promotoras in LAUSD and CUSD schools. Veronica's passion is to work with Promotoras and the community in a very intentional way.