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executive director

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Anne Molgaard is executive director of First 5 Mendocino, a nonprofit group that promotes, supports and improves the health and development of children, prenatal to 5 years of age, in Mendocino County. Funded by the passage of Prop. 10 in 1998, First 5 Mendocino distributes tobacco-tax revenue by awarding grants and funding other initiatives. Molgaard formerly worked with the Peace Corps in Honduras and as an attorney for Catholic Charities. She received her J.D. from Herzing College in San Francisco.

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Andrea Carmen is executive director of the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC), an organization of indigenous people from North, Central and South America and the Pacific working for the sovereignty and self-determination of indigenous people. The IITC's health initiatives include fighting the use of pesticides and organic pollutants, as well as cleaning up the environment of toxins like mercury.

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Dr. America Bracho is the founder, president and CEO of Latino Health Access, a center for health promotion and disease prevention in Santa Ana, Calif. This center was created under her leadership to assist with the multiple health needs of Latinos in Orange County. Latino Health Access encourages empowerment for the Latino community and uses participatory approaches to community health education. The programs train community health workers as leaders of wellness and change. Dr. Bracho worked as a physician in her native Venezuela for several years. She came to the U.S.

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Amanda Hawes is a partner in the class-action litigation firm Alexander, Hawes & Audet. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wellesley College, she was awarded a Juris Doctorate by Harvard Law School in 1968. A pioneer in toxic chemical litigation and the medical effects of toxic chemicals, Ms. Hawes has taught environmental justice and toxic torts at Golden Gate University School of Law, Santa Clara Law School and the University of California's Hastings College of Law, where she was a faculty member from 1975 to 1988.

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Amanda Perez is a lecturer at the UC Davis King Hall School of Law and former executive director of the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, an organization providing legal aid and advocacy for residents of rural California. The foundation works to naturalize residents in remote rural areas of the state as well as advocates for rural rights related to education, safety, environment, housing and health.

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Native Americans experience higher disease rates than other Americans for problems ranging from diabetes and heart ailments to mental illness and suicides, which contribute to their lower life expectancy. Get tips from a veteran journalist for covering these health issues.

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