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Episode 1: Participatory Budgeting

with Kristania De Leon
Co-Executive Director, Participatory Budgeting


Kristania has worked with a range of mission-driven organizations addressing social determinants of health and justice. Her work has focused on public policy, advocacy, community engagement, and capacity building. She currently works with the Participatory Budgeting Project, increasing the adoption, visibility, and impact of Participatory Budgeting across North America. She obtained her BA in International Relations from the University of British Columbia and her MA in Social Innovation from the University of San Diego’s Kroc Institute of Peace and Justice. She is currently based in Oakland, CA.

Visit Participatory Budgeting Project to learn more!

​One of the resources uplifted during this podcast episode was Democracy Beyond Elections, a collaborative, national campaign dedicated to transformative democracy rooted in community led decision making.

Episode 2: Reproductive Health Rights and Justice

with Shantay R. Davies-Balch, MBA, CLE, Doula

President and CEO, Black Wellness & Prosperity Center 


Shantay is President and CEO of BLACK Wellness a Prosperity Center, the first CBO in the County of Fresno established to address the Black Maternal Child Health Crisis. She also serves as the Director for the COVID-19 Equity Project, African American Coalition, housed at one of the nation’s largest Community Action Agencies, Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission.

Her career has been dedicated to improving health outcomes for all women and babies and is a certified lactation educator, doula, and certified newborn care specialist, with an expertise in premature birth, infant and maternal mortality, and breastfeeding. Shantay is a Community researcher and a member of the Black Maternal Infant Health Statewide Advisory Board, to develop the first comprehensive statewide report on the status of Black women and babies in California in 30 years. In 2019, Shantay was recognized for her leadership in Black Maternal Health by then-U.S. Senator, Kamala Harris.


Shantay graduated Summa Cum Laude from Fresno Pacific University with a degree in Healthcare Administration and received her Master’s in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University, Carey Business School, with a specialty in Healthcare Management.


Visit Black Wellness & Prosperity Center to learn more!

Resources that were uplifted in this episode include:​

Episode 3: Building a culture of solidarity in public health

with Mojgan (Mo) Sami, PhD, MA

Assistant Professor of Health Equity, CSU Fullerton  


Mojgan Sami, PhD, MA, holds a doctorate in Urban Planning from the School of Social Ecology at the University of California, Irvine, with an emphasis on Public Health. She also holds a Master’s degree in International Law and Economics from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. She teaches undergraduate courses in health equity and global health. Dr. Sami’s research interests include infrastructure and ecological impacts on health equity and wellbeing.


Dr. Sami is currently the Board Vice President for California Walks, an organization that advocates for people-centered mobility in the state.  She is also an advisor with a special task force on health and environment at the World Health Organization.

Episode 4: The Importance of Promoting Prevention Forward Investments

with Lauren Pennachio

Director of Revenue Strategy and Partnerships with Health Leads

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Lauren Pennachio is the Director of Revenue Strategy and Partnerships at Health
Leads, an organization that runs local and national projects that unearth and address the
roots of racial inequity that impact our health. Leveraging Human Centered Design as a tool to re-design the social safety net to drive towards health equity, Lauren’s work focuses on bringing together the stakeholders necessary to improve community health to make community-anchored decisions and drive community-anchored decisions and drive community-level impact in the state of California. She specifically focuses on developing and supporting increasingly sustainable and just revenue strategies. Her systems level approach can in part be attributed to her degrees in Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience and Biology from The Johns Hopkins University.

Episode 5: Equity and Land Conservation

with Shelana deSilva

Policy and Advocacy Strategist

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Shelana deSilva is a writer, organizer, and policy expert who is dedicated to creating a just and resilient society. She has a strong track record helping national and statewide nonprofits develop partnerships, lead campaigns and initiatives, design federal and state-focused legislative strategies, and secure public funding to achieve their missions. The proud daughter of Sri Lankan immigrants, Shelana has established the first government affairs program for a California-based, 100 year-old land trust, co-founded a new regional coalition focused on social equity and climate resilience, and helped secure tens of millions of dollars to steward California's landscapes, build parks, and support climate adaptation. Shelana holds a BA in Sociology, with a minor in Gender Studies from San Francisco State University, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing from California College of the Arts. Working at the intersection of storytelling, justice, and land stewardship practice, Shelana is actively decolonizing land conservation in California.

Resources that were uplifted in this episode include:​

Episode 6: Community, COVID, and Power Sharing 

with Lisa Tealer

Executive Director, Bay Area Community Health Advisory Council


Lisa Tealer serves as the Executive Director of the Bay Area Community Health Advisory Council, a community health based organization focused on eliminating health disparities in diverse communities across generations in San Mateo County. BACHAC has an inclusive approach to this work by partnering with several organizations through health education, connection to resources and advocacy. Prior to this role, Lisa spent 30+ years in the biotech industry in technical and management roles supporting clinical trials, manufacturing processes and in human resources roles specifically managing a wide range of diversity, inclusion and equity initiatives. She continues to consult in the diversity, inclusion and equity space as a Senior Associate with J. Mattox & Associates a consulting firm that offers customized services and expertise to partner with organizations in creating inclusive, equitable and diverse workplaces. She has facilitated sessions on diversity, inclusion, racial equity and allyship for several non-profit, healthcare and government organizations. Lisa has an undergraduate degree in Biology from Mills College in Oakland, California and a Diversity Management certificate from the Bauer College of Business, University of Houston.

Visit Bay Area Community Health Advisory Council and J. Mattox & Associates to learn more.

Resources that were uplifted in this episode include:​

Episode 7: Building a Workforce with Community Health Workers

with Donna Hilliard

Executive Director, Code Tenderloin


Donna Hilliard currently serves as the Executive Director at Code Tenderloin, a workforce development program focused on obtaining career opportunities for the marginalized and vulnerable populations of the San Francisco Bay Area, and creating work and education opportunities for people with untraditional backgrounds. Her organization helps individuals struggling with homelessness and returning from incarceration to remove barriers to employment and careers. Through her leadership, she was able to grow and build a team of  3 to 72 employees. She grew the operational budget from 100k to 4 million. After stepping up to be the Covid-19 hub for resources in the Tenderloin area Code Tenderloin was awarded Non-Profit of the year. 

Donna also serves as Executive Director of Tenderloin Walking Tours, Tenderloin Walking Tours takes you on a journey of discovery, revealing the true nature of a much-maligned, often avoided, and almost always overlooked neighborhood. The 50 blocks of the Tenderloin district are the beating heart of a city populated by immigrants and iconoclasts, artists and activists, sinners, and saints. In 2 years she has built a workforce training program to support tourism. This training program is vital to helping bring back tourism to the Tenderloin mid-market area.

Episode 8: Domestic Violence, Guns, and United States vs. Rahimi

With Dr. Michael Rodriguez, MD, MPH

and Jennifer White, JD


Michael A. Rodriguez, MD, MPH, is the Director of the California Alliance of Academics and Communities for Public Health Equity, Special Advisor for the California Academic Health Department Project, and Professor Emeritus at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He was the Professor of Community Health Sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and founding Chair of the UCLA Global Health Minor. He has led multidisciplinary collaborative initiatives to promote health equity, including as founding Director of the Health Equity Network of the Americas, an international network with representatives from 26 countries, founding Director of the UCLA Blum Center on Poverty and Health in Latin America, and founding Director of the AltaMed Institute for Health Equity. 


Jennifer L. White, JD, is the Program Director for Curriculum Development & Program Design at FUTURES. She manages the Institute for Leadership in Education Development (I-LED) and the Supporting Organizational Sustainability to Address Violence Against Women Institute (SOS). In addition, she provides technical assistance and training on instructional design and facilitation skills for various projects within FUTURES and for outside organizations. Jennifer has been an educator in the field of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking since 2002. Prior to joining FUTURES, she worked with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the Washington, D.C. office of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Visit California Alliance of Academics and Communities for Public Health Equity and FUTURES Without Violence​ to learn more.

Resources that were uplifted in this episode include:

Episode 9: Racism is a Public Health Crisis

With Oussama Mokeddem

Director of State Policy at Public Health Advocates


Oussama Mokeddem serves as the Director of State Policy at Public Health Advocates, one of California’s leading public health advocacy organizations, which works with communities to establish policies, systems and norms that promote health and racial justice. Oussama holds a Bachelor of Art in Political Science and African American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. His research interests focus on the social implications of race on institutions and policy that revolves around the United States educational system. As a VèVè A. Clark Institute for African American Studies scholar, Oussama presented preliminary research findings at the 2017 University of California, Berkeley St. Clair Drake Research Symposium, a conference aimed at engaging in interdisciplinary conversations on topics of blackness and Black life. Previously, he served as the Policy and Advocacy Manager for the Sacramento Valley / Central California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, where he worked with local and statewide legislators, as well as community partners, to develop and advocate for community-centered policy pertaining to civil rights, criminal justice, public health, and immigration. Oussama has also served in various community leadership positions, such as the Northern California Regional Coordinator for MSA West, through which he served Muslim student populations across the state of California by advocating on their behalf to ensure that their diverse academic and socioeconomic needs are met. In his free time, Oussama loves to travel, chasing and surfing the gnarliest waves or enjoy a specialty coffee with people – meeting and connecting with people, as well as sharing your interests/special moments with loved ones is the foundation for a healthy and genuine society.

Check out our special youth series in collaboration with 

Special Youth Series - Episode 1: Introducing the Empowering Black Youth Program

with Antwan Matthews

Director of Youth Programs at Code Tenderloin


Antwan Matthews is a nationally recognized public health researcher and advocate, specializing in sexual and reproductive health. He is passionate about advocating for and increasing awareness of public health issues amongst the Black community. 

In 2017 he was awarded the Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship and spoke in front of former American President Bill Clinton at the National AIDS Memorial Grove for the World AIDS Day Event. He is also a SHARP Scholar, Youth Champion Fellow, and has presented his research at the AIDS 2020/COVID-19 Conference. Matthews is currently a LINCS Navigator at San Francisco Department of Public Health. He has also worked as an HIV Navigator and Phlebotomist for GLIDE’s Harm Reduction division.

Special Youth Series - Episode 2: University of San Francisco Intern Experience

with the Empowering Black Youth Program


Moderator:  Antwan Matthews, Director of Youth Programs at Code Tenderloin

  • Mr. Matthews's expertise intersects science, community development, public health, and policy reform, working directly with Black-led organizations to help develop community programs to enhance organizations' social infrastructure to provide effective solutions. Mr. Matthews also presents his work on a national and international level to demonstrate how Black leadership is needed to create solutions that address social determinants directly.


  • Will - USF Student, Business Analytics Major

  • Kamryn - USF Student, Media Studies Major

  • Onyé - USF Student, Politics Major, Double Minor African Studies & Legal Studies

  • Chidera - USF Student, Electrical Engineering

  • Justin - USF Student, Business Analytics Major, Minor African American Studies

Special Youth Series - Episode 3: Impacts of the Empowering Black Youth Program


Moderator:  Justin Boyle - USF Student

  • Justin is currently a second-year student at the University of San Francisco, majoring in Business Analytics with a minor in African American Studies and Communications. He is from St. Louis, Missouri, and is ambitious to find work experience in the business and healthcare field. Justin also hosts his own podcast called Troof to Power. 

Youth Speakers:

  • Elijah, 15 (Freshman)

  • Mar, 17 (Junior)

  • Sicily, 18 (Senior)

Moderator:  Justin Boyle - USF Student

  • Justin is currently a second-year student at the University of San Francisco, majoring in Business Analytics with a minor in African American Studies and Communications. He is from St. Louis, Missouri, and is ambitious to find work experience in the business and healthcare field. Justin also hosts his own podcast called Troof to Power. 

Youth Speakers:

  • Isis Breston 22, San Francisco, Behavioral Technician

  • Quincy Casey 21, Atlanta, Business Marketing Major


Special Youth Series - Episode 4: Sexual & Reproductive Health with the Empowering Black Youth Program


Moderator:  Justin Boyle - USF Student

  • Justin is currently a second-year student at the University of San Francisco, majoring in Business Analytics with a minor in African American Studies and Communications. He is from St. Louis, Missouri, and is ambitious to find work experience in the business and healthcare field. Justin also hosts his own podcast called Troof to Power. 

Youth Speakers:

  • Isis, 22, Behavior Technician, Intern with Code Tenderloin part of Empowering Black Youth Program

  • Deja, 17, Senior in High School, Intern with Code Tenderloin part of Empowering Black Youth Program

  • Shamarrie, 17 junior in high school.

Special Youth Series - Episode 5: Mental Health with
the Empowering Black Youth Program

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