Environmental Health Coalition is governed by a board of directors comprised of community members, environmental health experts and representatives from allied organizations. Various campaign advisory boards nominate new members, and the current board members elect them.
Margaret Godshalk, President
Educator, National School District
Margaret is a life-long resident of National City and has been a school teacher at Kimball Elementary for more than 20 years. She first became involved with EHC in the late 1980’s when she field-tested our Household Toxics curriculum with her fourth grade students. Over the years the intersection of her interests with EHC’s work continued to grow - from eliminating the toxic pollution in her community to protecting the Paradise Creek Watershed to developing new community leaders. Margaret became a Board Member in 1996 and was elected President in 2010. Margaret is a member of EHC’s Old Town-National City Toxic-Free Neighborhoods Community Action Team. She and her husband Ted are the founders of the Paradise Creek Educational Park.
Working with the Environmental Health Coalition enriches her life. Margaret enjoys camping, biking and kayaking with the "Creek Kids" on bird-watching excursions.
Clarice Gaylord, Vice President
Former Director of EPA Office of Environmental Justice, Retired
Clarice joined the EHC Board of Directors in 1993 and was elected Vice President in 2010. Clarice was the first Director of the EPA Office of Environmental Justice. She relocated to San Diego as a Senior Policy Analyst for the EPA. Clarice was instrumental in establishing the EPA Environmental Justice Barrio Logan Demonstration Project and became a strong supporter of EHC’s work to separate polluting industries from residential communities. Clarice is dedicated to diversity and the empowerment of minorities in the environmental field. She served on Urban Corps of San Diego’s Board of Directors from 1991 until 2011.
She loves working with EHC because of its commitment and dedication to the community and the concern for great quality of life for all.
Dan McKirnan, Ph.D., Board Secretary/Treasurer & Clean Bay Campaign Chair
Dan is a Consultant in Preclinical Research and Development and a former research faculty member at the UCSD School of Medicine. His research has focused on cardiovascular disease. Dan’s love of the natural world and his commitment to environmental protection led to his strong connection with EHC. Dan was a founding member of the Clean Bay Campaign in 1985 and he has continued to serve as a member of the Community Action Team for the Campaign focused on the cleanup, restoration and protection of San Diego Bay. Dan serves as a member of the Finance Team and the Fund Development Committee.
He continues to be inspired by the work of EHC’s staff, community volunteers and Promotoras who fight for healthy communities and environmental and social justice. Dan enjoys health and fitness activities and is a member of the San Diego Flyfishers.
Roberta Alexander, PhD
Roberta Alexander served as a faculty member in the San Diego Community College District for over 35 years. She served as Department Chair for English as a Second Language in Continuing Education at Centre City Adult School, and Department Chair of English at San Diego City College. At City College, she taught in the Chicano Studies, English, and Black Studies Departments. Roberta served as the coordinator of the Labor Studies Program, which under her leadership initiated Occupational Safety and Health classes. She oversaw the San Diego City College Accreditation report and served as President of the Academic Senate.
She is excited to be a member of the Board of Directors of EHC because of the strong community involvement in the programs.
Colaborativo Saber, Retired
Bea joined the EHC Board of Directors in 1987 and served as President from 1990 until 2010. She is currently Chair of EHC’s Fund Development Committee. Bea has a background in maternal, child, and community health, and was instrumental in developing the “Promotora” model for peer-to-peer community health promotion. In 1996, she helped adapt this model for EHC’s first SALTA leadership training program. Bea has served on many advisory committees, including the tri-national Expert Advisory Board on Children’s Health and the Environment for the Commission on Environmental Cooperation and the Children’s Health Protection Committee of the U.S. EPA.
Following her retirement from Colaborativo Saber, Bea became a docent at the San Diego Museum of Art where she has the opportunity to share her love of art, particularly Mexican and Latin American art.
Director of Economic Development, MAAC Project
Karim has extensive experience developing and implementing programs that provide critical education, training, and support to disadvantaged populations. His current projects include a federally-funded green jobs training program, a construction job training program for youth, and an initiative designed to support targeted San Diego communities in pursuing careers in healthcare. Karim is committed to collaborative, evidence-based strategies. He is motivated by EHC’s potential to be an innovative, forward-thinking change agent for our community’s most pressing social challenges.
Karim has a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Denver and completed his undergraduate studies in Psychology at the University of Denver and the University of Paris-X, France.
David Di Donato
David joined the EHC Board of Directors in 2009 to represent the Clean Bay Campaign. A long-time South Bay activist and environmentalist, David has been active in many of the Campaign’s efforts, including the drafting of the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan and the decommissioning of the South Bay Power Plant. David is Co-Chair of the Otay Valley Regional Park Subcommittee on Community Outreach and Youth Involvement and a member of the Port of San Diego’s Wildlife Advisory Committee.
David enjoys being active in the community, spending time with his family hiking, biking, and watching his son play soccer.
Ruth Heifetz, M.D., M.P.H.
UCSD School of Medicine
Ruth M. Heifetz is a founding member of Environmental Health Coalition. She is a physician and humanitarian. Ruth was inducted into the San Diego County’s Hall of Fame of the Women’s History Museum in 2005 as a trailblazer for occupational health and environmental justice. For more than 30 years, she has fought for the health of families exposed to toxic materials in their communities and workplaces. Preventing harm has always been her priority, from promoting pesticide reduction policies to fighting for the cleanup of San Diego Bay to educating women about the impacts of toxic chemicals. Ruth serves on EHC’s Fund Development Committee.
Ruth finds the dedication and wisdom of EHC staff and community leaders inspiring. Ruth enjoys working to make people’s homes, workplaces and neighborhoods safer and healthier places for all.
Ashworth, Blanchet, Christensen and Kalemkiarian
Sharon joined the Board of Directors in 1999. She is an expert in family law and a long-time child advocate at the national, state, and local levels. She currently practices family law at Ashworth, Blanchet, Christensen and Kalemkiarian. She served as a Skadden-Arps fellow at the Legal Aid Society of San Diego, as Supervising Attorney of the Child Advocacy Clinic at the USD School of Law, as the Director of the Child Advocacy Campaign, Project Heartbeat, and has been a professor of family law at the USD School of Law. She served for nine years on the California Judicial Council Advisory Committee on Family and Juvenile Law. Sharon is on the Board of Directors of Kids’ Turn San Diego, and has been the President of that Board for ten years. She is a member of EHC’s Fund Development Committee.
Sharon loves the community of like-minded people at EHC, and fighting for justice with her friends!
Alliance Consulting International
Enrique joined the EHC Board of Directors in 2009. As an environmental and occupational health and safety professional with more than 20 years of international experience, he served as the technical advisor to EHC’s Tijuana Community Action Team, the Colectivo Chilpancingo Pro Justicia Ambiental, for the cleanup of the Metales y Derivados toxic site. He is a California Air Resources Board accredited Lead Verifier for Greenhouse Gas Emission reports. Enrique is a member of the Border Environmental Justice Campaign’s Community Action Team.
Enrique been a strong supporter of EHC's mission for a long time and has worked with some of the staff on and off on over the years. However, since joining the Board of Directors, he has had the opportunity to observe the organization from within more closely. He looks forward to every board meeting for the chance to listen to thoughtful positions on issues that affect our lives and to see these ideas turn into successful actions with tangible benefits for our communities.
A long-time resident of National City, José was an early member of the Old Town National City Community Action Team. He is a graduate of EHC’s core leadership training program, SALTA, and of numerous mini-SALTA trainings focused on community planning, green energy, and lead poisoning. He is a frequent spokesperson for the community and was nominated by the Community Action Team to represent them on the EHC Board in 2009. José was the Chair of the Old Town Neighborhood Council in National City from Jan 2008 to Dec 2011. He is involved in other social justice movements such as justice for women, unionized workers, LGBT causes, and immigrants' rights.
José likes how EHC reaches out and asks people in the community what they want and need to make their neighborhoods better, and then works hand in hand with the trust and consent of the community.
A long-time resident of Barrio Logan, María was an early member of the Barrio Logan Toxic Free Neighborhoods Community Action Team. She is a graduate of EHC’s core SALTA leadership training program and of numerous mini-SALTA trainings on issues such as community planning, green energy, and lead poisoning. María is a frequent spokesperson for the community and was nominated by the Community Action Team to represent them on the EHC Board in 2009. Maria is a member of the Barrio Logan Community Plan Update Stakeholders Committee. She is also very active in her children’s school.
Patricia Saenz is a City Heights resident who joined the board in 2012. She is a graduate of EHC’s SALTA core leadership training program and of mini-SALTA trainings on community planning, green energy, and lead poisoning.
Patricia enjoys raising awareness about lead poisoning as well as helping residents advocate for a healthier community.