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Department ofPublic Health

2018 Cohort

Pair students and leaders in public health and ask them to solve tough ethical questions. What do you get? Better answers for all of us. 

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Dolores Alvarado is the Chief Executive Officer of Community Health Partnership, a consortium organization composed of nonprofit community health centers in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. Ms. Alvarado is an experienced healthcare executive, whose diverse career in health spans over 40 years, including working in a community health center, family planning clinic, county hospital, and university-affiliated adolescent clinic. Most recently, she served as Executive Manager in the Santa Clara County Public Health Department.

A recognized health-services leader throughout the Bay Area and the state, Ms. Alvarado advocates on behalf of low-income and medically underserved communities. In the course of her career, she has become known for her ability to bring stakeholders of diverse communities and perspectives to address the root causes of health issues, such as poverty and lack of education. She strongly believes in the power of multi-disciplinary health teams in program planning and delivery, and in this context looks forward to helping operate key components of Health Reform such as the patient-centered medical home. Additionally, she brings her vast experience in population-based public health program planning and systems-change to enhance the work of Community Health Partnership in community health, policy development, and advocacy.

Ms. Alvarado received a Master’s in Public Health in Maternal and Child Health and a Master’s in Social Work with an emphasis in Community Health from the University of California, Berkeley and a California Teaching Credential from the University of San Francisco. Originally from Mexico, Ms. Alvarado has lived in the Bay Area for over 50 years and now lives in Morgan Hill. She enjoys spending time with her husband, two adult children, and granddaughter.

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Reymundo Espinoza is Chief Executive Officer of the Gardner Family Health Network, Inc. (GFHN) and Gardner Family Care Corporation (GFCC), which are organized as a parent/subsidiary. Together, they provide comprehensive healthcare services to 50,000 low- and moderate-income individuals each year in Santa Clara County. GFHN maintains five outpatient health centers and a Healthcare to the Homeless Program, while GFCC provides mental health and substance abuse services, as well as health education, nutrition, and food supplement services as part of the Women, Infants’ and Children’s (WIC) program.

Mr. Espinoza is Co-Founder of the California Primary Care Association, where he now serves as a member of the Board. He is also Board Chair and Co-Founder of the Community Health Partnership of Santa Clara County and an Executive Committee Member of the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation of Santa Clara County. He received a Master’s in Public Health from UC Berkeley and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Stanford University.

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Akemi Flynn is Executive Director of PACT: People Acting in Community Together, a multi-faith, multi-racial organization leading grassroots community organizing for racial and economic justice.  PACT works for systemic change locally and at the regional, state and federal levels, as a member of the PICO California and National Networks. Currently PACT is organizing on issues related to immigration, housing, policing / criminal justice system, and education.

PACT‘s mission is to empower everyday people to create a more healthy and just society by winning extraordinary victories for the community - not by speaking for them, but by teaching people how to speak up and take action in the public arena through grassroots organizing.  We are working to create a community, state and country where #WeAllBelong!

Akemi has over 25 years experience working in non-profits primarily in Santa Clara County but also in New England and Southeast Asia.  Her work has focused on child and youth development, refugee and immigrant families, and multicultural community building.  She earned a Master in Social Work (MSW) from SJSU and B.A. from Wesleyan University in CT.


Camille Llanes-Fontanilla is the Executive Director of SOMOS Mayfair, a non-profit organization in Mayfair, a working-poor and immigrant neighborhood in East San Jose. She has extensive executive management training from Harvard Business School, CompassPoint, and the On the Verge. Ms. Llanes-Fontanilla has over 12 years of non-profit management experience with expertise in resource development, communications, strategic planning, and program development.  As Executive Director of SOMOS Mayfair, Ms. Llanes-Fontanilla is committed to working alongside community members to collectively address our most pressing social justice issues. She has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from San Jose State University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications, with a minor in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Gregory Kepferle is Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, a $41 million nonprofit social service and social change organization rooted in Gospel values, which builds a just and compassionate community by serving and advocating with people of all cultures and beliefs. He has worked in the Catholic Charities network for over twenty-eight years. Starting his career as Director of the Social Justice Resource Center of Catholic Charities of the East Bay, Mr. Kepferle became Director of Parish Social Ministry and Assistant Director. Prior to his work in San Jose he was Executive Director of Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Mr. Kepferle is Vice-chair of the Board of Trustees of Catholic Charities USA and past president of Catholic Charities of California. In 2007 he organized Step Up Silicon Valley: The Campaign to Cut Poverty in Santa Clara County as a community-based network to disrupt the cycle of poverty. From this he incubated the Franklin-McKinley Children’s Initiative, a neighborhood-based anti-poverty strategy, and 1000 Out of Poverty, an outcomes-based collaborative pilot. He is a member of the American Leadership Forum – Silicon Valley and a member of Rotary International.

Mr. Kepferle has a Master’s degree in Divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, a Master’s degree in Philosophy from Loyola University Chicago, and a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Saint Louis University. He holds certificates from the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business and Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders.

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Jennifer Loving is Chief Executive Officer of Destination: Home. She has spent her career spearheading efforts to better serve the needs of homeless individuals and families in Silicon Valley. Working in a variety of shelter, street and housing programs, she has developed and collaborated on numerous innovative models including the County’s first Housing First program for homeless families and the Housing 1000 Campaign, which brought more than 1,000 chronically homeless men and women home. A leader in systems change, she’s overseen the development and implementation of the 2015 Community Plan to End Homelessness and the production of Home Not Found, the most comprehensive cost of homelessness study completed in the United States. In 2016 she facilitated the release of The Silicon Valley Triage Tool, an open source predictive forecasting tool for Supportive Housing. Ms. Loving is a Senior Fellow with American Leadership Forum and is on the board of Silicon Valley @ Home. In 2016, she was appointed to the Board of Commissioners for the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Clara and appointed by the California State Senate to serve as a member of the State of California Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council.

Ms. Loving holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management.

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René G. Santiago is Deputy County Executive for Santa Clara County and Director for the Santa Clara Valley Health and Hospital System. His primary responsibilities are to protect and promote the health of the population of all residents in the County, managing the nearly $3 billion budget of the State’s second largest public healthcare system, and leading the transformation of the public healthcare safety net system.  The Santa Clara Valley Health and Hospital System employs over 7,800 professional, technical and support staff serving close to 2 million residents in the County of Santa Clara.  It is the largest public agency in local county government, providing a full and comprehensive range of direct services and programs for over 300,000 adults and children through six major departments: Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, Valley Health Plan, the Behavioral Health Services Department, and the Department of Public Health, Custody Health and Behavioral Health, and the Emergency Medical Services.  Additionally, Mr. Santiago is currently Chair of the California Association of Public Health and Hospital Systems, an association representing all federally-recognized 21 public hospitals across California, including the University of California and Los Angeles County, directly advocating for national health reform and support for universal coverage.  

Prior to his experience in Santa Clara County, Mr. Santiago worked for nearly ten years as General Manager at the County of San Diego for the Health and Human Services Agency.  During the 1990’s, he began his full-time public service at the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services in charge of the five-year, $1.2 billion federal 1115 Waiver.  He also served as a Commissioner to the County’s Regional Planning Commission and the City’s Affordable Housing Commission in Los Angeles.

He attended and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a joint Masters’ in Public Health and Urban Planning in 1987, and he did his post-graduate doctoral work at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Public Health.

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Jolene Smith is the Chief Executive Officer of FIRST 5 Santa Clara County.

Since the passage of Proposition 10 in 1998, Jolene has been instrumental in establishing FIRST 5 as an organization that supports the healthy development of children prenatal through age five and enriches the lives of their families and communities throughout Santa Clara County. As the leader of the Early Childhood Development Collaborative in 1999, Jolene was responsible for developing the original county Strategic Plan that led to the creation of FIRST 5. In 2000, she served as the Director of Program Development, and worked her way up to Deputy Director, and eventually became the Executive Director in January 2005.

During her tenure as Chief Executive Officer, FIRST 5 has been recognized for its leadership on ensuring that the healthy development of our youngest children is viewed as a high priority in the county. Through her efforts, she has worked to engage and unite the community through strategic partnerships and collaborations to tackle challenging issues such as children’s health insurance, early literacy, high-quality early education, screening and assessment for developmental delays, model court programs, and a cross-disciplinary, cross-sector community of learning. Under her leadership, FIRST 5 has worked closely with policymakers and elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels to create the necessary change in our laws and in our politics to improve the lives of the people in the community.

Jolene’s 30 years of public service are based around her strong commitment and dedication to help people in need. As a high school youth counselor, a national trainer, and a Program Manager with the Santa Clara County Health and Hospital System and the Social Services Agency, Jolene has used her expertise in strategic planning, program development, and training and consultation, to ensure that children, youth, and their families receive vital social services.

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Valeriote Goldman Symposium: Public Health & Social Justice