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executive director

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Hellan R. Dowden is founder and CEO of HR Dowden & Associates, a consulting group that represents clients with interests in health, education, social services, children, work force investment and training, technology and the public sect. She also co-manages Teachers for Healthy Kids, a collaboration of the California Teachers Association and the California Association of Health Plans, funded by The California Endowment to enroll kids in health care through schools. She represents county-organized health systems in Yolo, Napa, Solano, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties.

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Gordan Chin is executive director of the Chinatown Community Development Center, an organization seeking to build community and enhance the quality of life for San Francisco residents. Based in the Chinatown neighborhood, Chinatown CDC also serves other San Francisco neighborhoods, including North Beach and the Tenderloin. Chinatown CDC serves as a community development organization with many roles, including neighborhood advocates, organizers, planners, and developers and managers of affordable housing.

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Geri Brooks is the founder and executive director of Sunburst Projects, an outreach program that supports families living with HIV and AIDS. Aimed to fill the gap in HIV/AIDS services, the program's services support the family as a unit by building on family strengths and helping to teach parents how to nurture and support their children. Services include case management, mental health support services, respite childcare and Camp Sunburst, a summer camp program for children and their families.

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Frank J. Mecca is executive director of the County Welfare Directors Association of California, or CWDA, a nonprofit association representing the human service directors from each of California's 58 counties. The association seeks to promote a human services system that encourages self-sufficiency of families and communities, and protects vulnerable children and adults from abuse and neglect.

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Estela Casas is executive director of Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, a nonprofit organization that promotes social change and justice by providing high-quality legal services to the low-income community. For over 35 years, the law practice has helped thousands of Kern County's poorest and most vulnerable residents with an array of legal issues, predominantly involving housing, family and children services, senior services, and maintaining economic stability.

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Ellen Wu is executive director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, an Oakland-based organization working to improve access to health care and eliminate health disparities by advocating for public policies and resources to address the health needs of communities of color. Wu has worked with culturally diverse, low-income and uninsured people for over 10 years.

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Deane Calhoun is the founder and former executive director of Youth Alive, a nonprofit public health agency founded in 1991 and dedicated to preventing youth violence and generating youth leadership in California communities. Youth Alive has offices in Oakland and Los Angeles and runs two programs: Caught in the Crossfire, an intervention program for youth hospitalized as a result of violent injuries, and Teens on Target, a peer leadership and violence prevention program that trains young people from neighborhoods with high rates of violence to provide peer education to middle school students.

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Dr. Davida Coady is founder, medical director and former executive director of Options Recovery Services, a program for substance abuse treatment that came out of the Berkeley court system. Options Recovery Services provides free comprehensive addiction treatment to court-ordered clients (covered by Proposition 36 since 2001) and outpatient clients who are also homeless, indigent and dually diagnosed.

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David Phillips is executive director for the Earth Island Institute (EII), a nonprofit organization providing support and administrative leadership to projects related to conservation, preservation and restoration of the global environment. EII's project network includes more than 30 projects worldwide. The program has also launched more than 50 environmental projects, including Rainforest Action Network, International Rivers Network and Urban Habitat.

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David Chatfield is executive director of Californians for Pesticide Reform, a grassroots coalition working to reform statewide pesticide policies and practices. CPR works closely with the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA), which is part of an international coalition fighting for pesticide reform. Chatfield provides strategic direction for CPR, engages in campaign work and leads fundraising efforts. Prior to joining CPR in 1997, Chatfield was the California director of Clean Water Action.

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