Community Coalition

The Community Coalition is designed to foster research collaborations between community partner organizations and SDSU & SDSU IV representatives. The sustainment of a Community Coalition is intended to ensure that a diverse set of voices are included in decision-making related to Center priorities — including current and future research, research-to-practice, and research-to-policy efforts. The Community Coalition is inclusive of representatives from San Diego and Imperial Counties in each of the following sectors: Public Health, Healthcare, Education, Social Services, Community, and Media.


Meet our Community Coalition Members

Herminia Ramirez, MPH

Chief Regional Community Coordinator, County of San Diego Health & Human Services Agency

County: San Diego

Herminia Ramirez is a Chief Regional Community Coordinator supporting the North Coastal Region in the Department of Homeless Solutions and Equitable Communities (HSEC) within the County of San Diego’s Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA). Ms. Ramirez joined HHSA in 2022, bringing over a decade of experience working with Federally Qualified Health Centers and on advancing community-based efforts. She has proudly served the North San Diego County community her entire career and holds a Master’s in Public Health. In her work, Ms. Ramirez has successfully led community engagement efforts, which land on the continuum of direct service delivery, research, health promotion, advocacy, and policy programs. During the height of the pandemic, she led COVID-19 response efforts that included organizing outreach, education, and vaccination efforts for our most vulnerable communities in the North Coastal region of San Diego.

Over the years, Ms. Ramirez developed a career focus to work to serve migrant, farmworker and underserved communities as well as to l lead efforts to train and mobilize Community Health Workers. In her current role as Chief Regional Community Coordinator, she is still supporting these communities and working to support HSEC’s focus to achieve better coordination of existing and new County homeless and equitable community efforts, serving as a central point of collaboration for outside partners to ensure equity among all San Diegans and reduce homelessness in the region.

Ms. Ramirez has served in the following leadership positions: Community Advisory Board Member for Communities Fighting COVID!, Board Member for Community Health Improvement Partners, Co-Chair of the San Diego County Promotores Coalition, and Vice-Chair of the Farmworker CARE Coalition, and Stewardship Committee Member of the San Diego Food Vision 2030’s steering committee.


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Faiza Warsame

Program Coordinator, United Women of East Africa Support Team

County: San Diego

Ms. Warsame has been with UWEAST for 7 years. UWEAST is a non-profit organization that provides services and programs for the East African Community in San Diego. She loves working with the  community and helping them to voice their opinion and make a difference.


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Rosa Diaz, BA

CEO/Founder, Imperial Valley LGBT Resource Center

County: Imperial

Rosa Diaz was raised in Brawley, California. After graduating from high school, Rosa moved to Los Angeles County and received a bachelor’s degree from a four-year college. Rosa worked as a California Youth Correctional Counselor in both Whittier and El Centro and retired 13 years later. Rosa worked for 10 years as a caseworker and social worker for the County of Imperial. Rosa is a certified Domestic Violence Facilitator, HIV counselor and tester, and has been working with the HIV population for 25+ years. Rosa Diaz founded the Imperial Valley LGBT Resource Center in 2015. The mission of the Center is “to create a safe place and empower the LGBT community by connecting them to essential resources.” Its motto is “here to help the community.”


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Lauren Wren, MS, RN, NCSN, PHN

Safety & Wellness Coordinator, Imperial County Office of Education

County: Imperial

Ms. Wren is a Consulting, Credentialed School Nurse who works with the Imperial County Office of Education (ICOE) to promote school health and safety. ICOE actively promotes student and family health through its organizational priorities, which align with Ms. Wren’s professional philosophies and goals. She is passionate about addressing Social Determinants of Health and access to care in schools and actively participates in research and projects to address health disparities. Lauren is aware of the importance of addressing these disparities in the school setting to ensure students are healthy and ready to learn.

Ms. Wren has garnered profound experience in school and employee health, comprehensive health programs, as well as K-12 emergency preparedness and crisis communications. She has received several awards for excellence in non-traditional nursing and leadership. Lauren is a Nationally Certified School Nurse recognized by the NBCSN for excellence and expertise in School Health and holds a Public Health Nurse Certificate. She received a Master’s in Science with a concentration in Nursing Leadership in Healthcare Systems from San Diego State University in 2020.


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Shayna Davenport, MPH

Project Specialist, Teacher Effectiveness and Preparation, San Diego County Office of Education

County: San Diego

Shayna Davenport is a Project Specialist for the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) Teacher Effectiveness and
Preparation (TEP) team. SDCOE provides programs that address pre-service preparation, advanced teacher credentials
and authorizations, and professional learning for educators. Shayna’s goals as an experienced educator of 17 years, are
to continue to provide a safe space for all students and upcoming educators to learn, to ensure that there is equitable
access to earn a degree that matters, and to continue her work within the community to better understand the diverse
backgrounds and demographics that encompass our surrounding areas. Shayna holds a Master’s degree in Public Health
and continuously advocates to create equitable opportunities for learning that foster growth and promise for the next
generation.


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Alejandro Amador, BS

Environmental Programs Manager, Casa Familiar

County: San Diego

Mr. Amador is currently the Environmental Programs Manager at Casa Familiar. As the Environmental Programs Manager, Amador oversees Casa Familiar’s efforts to address social and environmental inequities within San Diego, and the unique and specific needs of the San Ysidro community. Being a life-long resident of the San Diego-Tijuana region and after joining Casa Familiar as a Community Air Monitoring Technician, Amador grew a deep understanding of the dynamic of binational air pollution. Through the key data collected by Casa Familiar’s air monitoring efforts, Amador has led and participated in different air mitigation intervention projects in the community of San Ysidro such as advocacy for accessible transportation system, educational greening workshops, advocating for the creation of a community emission reduction plan, tree planting campaigns in schools, and enhancement of public parks design.

Amador has also been involved in policy advocacy efforts such as San Diego’s Parks Master Plan and the Climate Action Plan. Through this work, Amador has worked directly with the community to elevate San Ysidro’s voice and collaborated with city staff in projects and policy feedback.


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Trisha Richter

Director Grants and Engagement – KPBS

County: San Diego

Ms. Richter oversees the researching, writing, and submission of grant proposals as well as the overall management and oversight of grants awarded to KPBS, representing more than $1.7 million of the station budget. She also directs KPBS community engagement projects including One Book One San Diego, KPBS Kids, and Community Connections.

Ms. Richter joined KPBS in 1997 as the volunteer coordinator. Since then she has held numerous positions and has managed many public media outreach campaigns. These projects have helped educate citizens, oftentimes on a state level, about social issues ranging from teen relationship violence to how to prepare for earthquakes. She has developed and overseen national outreach campaigns for locally produced films and has implemented local engagement for national programs airing on KPBS. Throughout her time with the station’s engagement & grants department, she has overseen all of the department’s production efforts. Her work on the Responsible Adults Safe Teens statewide project earned her two local Emmy awards as the project’s executive director. Trisha holds a degree in agriculture business management from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.


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Richard Montenegro Brown

Editor, Calexico Chronicle/Imperial Valley Weekly and Holtville Tribune

County: Imperial

Richard Montenegro Brown is the editor of the Calexico Chronicle/Imperial Valley Weekly and Holtville Tribune, a pair of 110-plus-year-old weekly print publications that were often viewed as being on the periphery of local journalism. Not so today. Brown was hired before the pandemic broke out, and when he took over the papers, they were operating on an antiquated model of print first, which is death for a weekly. In the darkest days of the pandemic, when the public wanted local statistics and news from its authorities and others, Brown overhauled the websites, went digital-first and began to operate like a daily newspaper with a weekly print product. In many people’s estimation, the Chronicle and Tribune ARE the local news sources in the Valley. The ability to do that came from a solid foundation practically growing up in the newsroom of the Imperial Valley Press, where Brown started as a news clerk at age 19 and worked for 24 years before leaving for a short stint at the Press-Enterprise in Riverside, where he quickly ascended to Breaking News Editor. In that role, he was part of the team that responded to the San Bernardino mass shootings/terror attacks, coverage that won the paper a national Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi award, one of the highest honors for excellence in the field. At the Chronicle/Tribune, the publications won 12 California Journalism Awards in 2021. On a personal level, Brown is married to Priscilla, who is an ad sales rep and digital web uploader at the papers. Together they have two children: Tyler, 12, and Riley, 18, a freshman at SDSU.


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Denise Andrade, MPA

Deputy Director, Community Health Division, Imperial County Public Health Department

County: Imperial

Denise Andrade obtained a Master’s degree in Public Administration with an Emphasis in Government and Policy from Grand Canyon University and a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Education from the University of California, Davis. She has worked as a public servant for the last 18 years working in local government, sixteen of which have been in Imperial County with experience in Public Health and Social Services, and two with City of Indio. Through her experience in local government, Ms. Andrade has managed diverse programs/efforts, including HIV/AIDS, Immunizations, Emergency Preparedness, Health Promotion, COVID Response, Accountable Communities for Health (ACH), Community Health Assessment/ Improvement Plan (CHA/CHIP), Equity Coalition Representative, Asthma, Pandemic Influenza, Public Health Accreditation (PHAB), EBT Issuance, Senior Center Services, and other Administrative functions such as Accounting, Procurement, and Personnel.

Ms. Andrade was born and raised in Imperial County in a Spanish speaking home with parents with limited education and limited knowledge of the medical system. Although she left her community to pursue her education, she always knew returning to where she was born and raised was a must. Her passion is to mentor those around her to succeed in a community with known limited resources. Similarly, Ms. Andrade continues volunteering her time as a community representative in efforts focused on health, primarily those that support research and efforts that enhance health literacy and health accessibility within Imperial County. As a mother of three children, she is devoted to ensuring that her community continues working on seeking opportunities that enhance the future of Imperial County and create a better path for the Spanish speaking population, the youth and the elderly.

 


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Fernanda Vega, BA

Project Coordinator – Community Organizer, Imperial Valley Equity & Justice Coalition
County: Imperial

Fernanda Vega (she/her/ella) is from Westmorland in Imperial County and is a Community Organizer with the Imperial Valley Equity & Justice Coalition. Fernanda, with a Sociology background, is deeply committed to advocating for public health and environmental & social justice movements. Imperial Valley Equity & Justice Coalition was founded in 2020 during the global COVID-19 pandemic to advocate for community empowerment, social and environmental justice, and public health. Imperial Valley Equity & Justice Coalition aims to uplift the voices of the historically marginalized communities in Imperial Valley. Throughout her time as an organizer, she has engaged and advocated for the frontline communities that are getting ready to house lithium developments. She continues to learn about her communities and new ways to organize all while building trust and relationships. Outside of work, Fernanda likes to rewatch her favorite shows and attempt to catch up to the WWE universe.


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Earl Felisme

Health Navigator, Family Health Centers of San Diego
County: San Diego

Earl M Felisme is currently a Health Navigator for the Laura Rodriguez Research Institute and Case Manager for newly arrived refugees and asylees at Family Health Centers of San Diego. Earl is also Tri Chair of the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative.

 


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