Beatriz (she/her/hers) was born and raised in Madera just an hour south of the Yosemite National Park entrance. Beatriz enjoyed growing up in a diverse, agricultural community despite the scorching hot summers. She attended the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) for her Bachelor’s degree and Fresno State for her Master’s degree. After graduate school, she worked at universities on the Central Coast as a Residential Education Coordinator and Community Director. Beatriz is now part of Equality California's OUT Against Big Tobacco Central Valley program and is based in Madera. Beatriz enjoys reading, crafting, Netflix, and hanging out with her cats.
Marissa lived much of her adult life in the small mountain community of Mariposa California. If you have ever visited Yosemite, chances are you have stopped to refuel or buy snacks there. Marissa moved to Butte County to continue her education at California State University, Chico. Currently, Marissa is the Project Director for LEAD (Leadership In Equity Action and Development), a project of the California Health Collaborative. LEAD's goal is to improve the health and wellbeing of North Valley residents through youth leadership development, tobacco retail policies, and collaboration with local planning departments. Prior to directing LEAD, Marissa worked with the American Lung Association in tobacco control, and on a grant to educate rural health care providers on wildfire safety issues. Her interest in both tobacco work and wildfire safety, stems from the same place, a desire to uplift rural communities. Her unique experience helps span the gap between tobacco control projects and the rural population they hope to serve.
Tashelle Wright is a PhD candidate in Public Health at the University of California, Merced. She is currently a TRDRP Predoctoral Fellow working on her dissertation, which focuses on oral health and tobacco use disparities among underserved populations (e.g., older adults, Blacks, Hmong, Latinx, and immigrants) in California's rural Central Valley. Tashelle is the Media Subcommittee Chair of the Merced County ACCT Coalition (A Community Counteracting Tobacco).
Tashelle was introduced to the world of tobacco control in 2014 when she was working on her Bachelor’s in Public Health and working at the Utah Department of Health. She worked on several projects including a project educating tobacco retailers and a separate collaborative project to establish a sustainable African/African American/Black Health Taskforce.
Since moving to Merced, Tashelle has been interested in and involved with rural health issues including aging and caregiver health, tobacco and alcohol use, oral health disparities, and homelessness in the Central Valley. This interest stemmed from her growing up in a semi-rural environment and wanting to make a difference in the lives of rural communities. As tobacco-related disparities have a great impact on rural communities, her goal as a RISE Advisory Committee member is to continue advocating for tobacco control policies and conducting research that is culturally-relevant and community-based.
Tina is the Executive Director of Blue Zones Project Mendocino County. Community wellbeing has been the mission of her last 19 years of work in Public Health, serving youth, children and families in partnership with community organizations and leaders to improve health conditions for low income and vulnerable populations. Tina holds a Bachelor in Arts, Liberal Studies from Sonoma State University, which she attained in her mid-forties. She has a lived experience with marginalized and under-resourced communities and the impact that policies, systems, and the environment has on personal choice.
Tina is an athlete, a mother, grandmother, wife, sister, aunt, great aunt, mentor, and loves the outdoors, fishing, gardening, cooking, and adventures.
Holly Laird (she/her) is from the San Francisco Bay Area and has lived in the Central Valley and Gold Country Region for over 10 years. Holly currently works (remotely) as a federal contractor on CDC's COVID-19 response as a Health Communications Specialist.
She started her career in public health as an AmeriCorps member serving in a community health center in the Central Valley. Her work focused on asthma prevention and tobacco control in South Merced. This experience motivated her to work in the tobacco control field on the local and state level on policy initiatives to reduce access to harmful products and exposure to secondhand smoke. Although Holly no longer works in the tobacco control field, she is thrilled to serve on RISE's Advisory Committee and continue advocating for rural communities. Holly holds a Masters Degree in Public Health from the University of California, Davis.
Rexanne Greenstreet (she/her) was born and raised near Seattle, Washington. After receiving her Bachelor of Science in Community Health from Western Washington University, Rexanne continued on to a career in youth development and non-profit leadership. In 2018, she traded in rain and trees (which she loves) for surf and sun (which she also loves) and moved to San Diego, CA. When COVID-19 ushered in another round of life change and job loss, Rexanne used the unexpected shift to return to her passion – empowering and effecting change in communities to reduce health disparities. Rexanne joined the American Lung Association in Chico, CA in January of 2021 and quickly found her home as a self-proclaimed “public health policy nerd” in the tobacco control community. Outside of work you will usually find Rexanne near trees, listening to podcasts while baking, or talking incessantly about her dog, “Nug.”
Madison was raised in Redding. She is the Tobacco Program Coordinator for Shasta County Health and Human Services, Public Health-Tobacco Education Program.
She is a mother, wife, sister, and aunt. She loves spending time with her family, the outdoors, traveling, and adventures.
Madison holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and Entrepreneurship. She started her career working with Shasta County’s Resource Management in their Building Department. Here she learned about building codes and zoning ordinances. This experience motivated her to take on a more active role. Madison was promoted within Resource Management to their Environmental Health Department. Here she began learning about household hazardous waste, tire disposal, and recycling. The position opened her eyes to how common household items can be harmful to our health.
One day Madison was learning how cigarette butt waste was the number one littered item in environmental clean-ups. It sent her down a rabbit hole where she continued to research tobacco product waste and the damaging effects tobacco product waste has on our environment. She learned that vape and cigarette waste are classified as hazardous waste and subjected to special disposal requirements. She was dismayed to learn that despite these special disposal requirements, many communities are unequipped to dispose of them as required by the State and thus end up in landfills and as litter.
Little did she know that her time at Resource Management was preparing her for a position in tobacco control. Her time in Resource Management helped lay the perfect foundation for understanding zoning and municipal codes as well as just how prolific tobacco product waste is and the hurdles that are necessary for proper disposal.
She looks forward to continuing tobacco work and creating a safer community for her kids.
I have both lived in and been a newcomer in rural communities most of my life. I have seen various challenges and benefits in the rural way of life as well as with health and safety ordinances. After 8 combined years of managing and/or coordinating programs in substance use prevention and tobacco education, I have learned that there are underlying issues common to all rural communities regarding access, resources, and support. I have also learned that each community also has its own unique set of challenges and that it takes time to fully assess and understand each issue and social norm, and sometimes years to implement solutions in each particular community. I am now excited to work with the RISE team and share some of my lessons and observations toward furthering rural support in tobacco education and policy efforts.
Angelica Garcia (she/her/hers) was raised in the city of Fresno California. She is a Community Engagement Manager with The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). She brings 10 years of experience in program development, advocacy, community organizing, and trauma-informed practices. Angelica is passionate about equity and transforming systems and policies that impact the most marginalized communities. In her free time, Angelica enjoys listening to podcasts, visiting beaches, and spending time with her family.
My name is Alejandro Ruvalcaba but I go by Alex (he/him/his). I was born and raised in Ukiah, CA (Mendocino County). I am the Tobacco Education Program Coordinator for Lake County Tribal Health Consortium. After about seven years working in the California Community College system, I wanted to be closer to family. I joined Lake County Tribal Health Consortium – Tobacco Education Program in October 2021. I received my AA/AS in Business and Sociology from Mendocino College. I hold a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a Master’s in Business Administration both from the University of California, Riverside. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my two pups, family, friends, nature and Netflix.