I am currently an Associate Professor in the School of Community and Global Health at Claremont Graduate University where I also serve as Director of the PhD program in Health Promotion Sciences. I earned my MPH from the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA and my PhD in Epidemiology from the Department of Preventive Medicine at USC’s Keck School of Medicine. I subsequently completed a three-year post-doctoral fellowship at UCLA in environmental neuroepidemiology as well as a one-year internship in communicable disease control and prevention at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. I hold certifications in Public Health (CPH), SAS, Geographical Information Science (GIS), and college teaching. My research focuses on environmental, occupational, lifestyle and genetic risk and protective factors for cardiovascular and neurological diseases, specifically Parkinson’s disease as well as cognitive impairment and dementia.
In 2009, I co-founded the Milagro Allegro Community Garden, a vibrant and thriving community space that integrates urban farming, art and education in the Highland Park neighborhood of Northeast Los Angeles. In 2010, inspired by Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, with colleagues I developed LA Sprouts, a nutrition/cooking and gardening intervention aimed at reducing the risk of childhood obesity in predominantly Latino elementary school aged children. During 2012-17, I led the evaluation of the Little Green Fingers project, which constructed eight community gardens across Los Angeles County.
I am a native Angeleno inspired by the work of Wangari Maathai who founded the Green Belt movement in Kenya, and Alice Waters who created the Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley, CA.