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.
Officers and Executive Committee Members
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.
Enrique Medina, Vice President
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.
Dan McKirnan, Ph.D., Board Secretary/Treasurer
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.
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.
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.
Principal, Kimball Elementary School, National City
Sonia Ruan has been transforming National City one classroom at a time. As Principal of Kimball Elementary School, Sonia is an important leader in her neighborhood, currently overseeing a dual-language immersion program for her elementary students.
With more than 15 years of experience as an educator, Sonia connects deeply with EHC’s mission to empower our community members to be leaders for environmental justice. Sonia also has nearly a decade of national park ranger experience, giving her a personalized understanding of environmental justice as a place where climate change and social equity intersect.
Brent Beltrán is a second generation San Diegan who lives with his family in Barrio Logan. He sits as the Vice Chair on the Barrio Logan Community Planning Group, writes a column for San Diego Free Press called Desde la Logan, and is a member of their editorial board. He co-founded the grassroots movement "BASTA! Barrio Against Stadiums!" that fights a potential football stadium and its affects on the barrios in East Village. For more than 20 years, Brent has worked for social justice with groups like M.E.Ch.A., Unión del Barrio, Chicano Park Steering Committee, Centro Cultural de la Raza, Red CalacArts Collective, and many others. He also co-founded the Chicano publishing company Calaca Press and the cultural space Voz Alta.
As a member of EHC's board since late 2015, Brent looks forward to carrying on EHC's social justice work in his neighborhood. His community passions include transportation justice for the handicapped, slowing down the gentrification of San Diego’s historic barrios, and helping create healthy, livable hoods for all.