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Bob joined Youth and Family Assistance as Executive Director in 2002 and successfully guided the agency's recent merger with Family and Community Enrichment Services, Inc. Prior to that, Bob served as CEO of Shanti, a San Francisco non-profit agency that serves people with terminal diseases. During his five-year tenure at Shanti, Bob expanded the agency's scope and tripled its budget to $5.2 million. Originally from Chicago, Bob is a graduate of Loyola University and has earned master's degrees from the University of Illinois and St. Mary of the Lake Seminary.

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Dr. Robert K. Ross is president and CEO of The California Endowment, a $3.7 billion, private grant-making foundation established in 1996 to address the health needs of Californians. Prior to his appointment in September 2000, Ross served as director of San Diego County's Health and Human Services Agency. Ross has an extensive background as a clinician and public health administrator.

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Richard E. Chaisson, M.D., is Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and International Health and Director of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Tuberculosis Research. From 1988-1998 he was Director of the Johns Hopkins AIDS Service, and co-founded the Johns Hopkins HIV Clinic cohort, an observational study that has been the source of more than 130 scientific publications on the outcomes of HIV disease and its treatment.

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Richard Thomason is the program officer for health care and coverage at the Blue Shield of California Foundation. He was principal consultant for Assembly Majority Leader Dario Frommer. Frommer led the fight to improve access to health care and higher education in California. He introduced key legislation addressing California's ailing health care system, including bills to expand health care coverage to working Californians, rein in runaway health care costs and increase Californians' access to affordable, lifesaving prescription drugs.

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Rene Durazzo is vice president of health care communications for The Sheridan Group. Previously, he was vice president of global programs for the Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation, an affiliate of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. As Pangaea's program director, Durazzo was responsible for overall program development, implementation, evaluation and partnership development. Durazzo began working on HIV in 1987 when he joined the San Francisco AIDS Foundation (SFAF).

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Diet can be a serious risk factor for a number of diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease and some cancers, but the exact effect of different components of food may depend on your individual genetic makeup. For example, a single letter change in DNA in people living in Scandinavia 10,000 years ago allows most Caucasian adults today to drink milk without getting sick due to lactose intolerance.

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Merrill Goozner has been director of the Integrity in Science Project at the Center for Science in the Public Interest since December 2003. The Project investigates and publicizes conflicts of interest in industry-sponsored science and maintains a database that journalists can consult to identify possible conflicts. Mr. Goozner taught journalism at New York University immediately before joining the Center. Before that.

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Kimberly Belshé was appointed secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in November 2003. Belshé is a member of the governor's cabinet and serves as his chief advisor on health, social services and rehabilitative policies. Belshé manages an agency of almost 33,000 employees, with a total state budget of about $70 billion. The agency oversees 11 state departments and one board that are responsible for providing Californians with health, developmental, mental, rehabilitative, social and other critical services.

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John Gressman is president and CEO of the San Francisco Community Clinic Consortium, a nonprofit organization representing about 10 health clinics that serve underserved neighborhoods in San Francisco. The clinics target people who are at the greatest risk for poor health outcomes because of lack of insurance, low income or homelessness. The consortium allows the clinics to pool their collective resources "both financial and experiential" and to address their needs and interests at local, state and national levels.

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Hector De La Torre was elected in 2004 to represent the 50th Assembly District, which includes the Southeast Los Angeles County cities of Bell, Bellflower, Bell Gardens, Commerce, Cudahy, Downey, Lynwood, South Gate, and the unincorporated communities of Florence-Graham and Walnut Park. Recently appointed Rules Committee Chair, he is part of Speaker Fabian Nunez's leadership team. The Assembly Rules Committee is responsible for assigning bills to the appropriate policy committees and sets and implements the policies that govern the Assembly.

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