Our power comes from our talented, dedicated and persistent staff and board of directors, who bring a diversity of expertise and experience, and from EHC Leaders, who serve on our five Community Action Teams in the communities in which we are most active.

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 (retired)

Margart GodshalkMargaret 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 MedinaEnrique 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., Treasurer
Biomedical Scientist

Dan McKirnanDan 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, Secretary

roberta alexander phd environmental health coalition boardRoberta 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.



Beatriz Barraza
Colaborativo Saber, Retired

Bea BarrazaBea 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.


Terry Bunting
Labor Representative
California Nurses Association-National Nurses United

terry buntingTerry Bunting has been a Labor Representative with the California Nurses Association-National Nurses United for nearly 15 years, working to protect the rights of registered nurses in their roles as patient advocates. CNA-NNU has led the fight for single-payer healthcare, protection of Social Security and many campaigns to protect and enhance our social safety net. CNA-NNU nurses speak out over the many threats to public health of environmental pollution and inadequate access to healthcare.

Born and raised in San Diego, Terry grew up in City Heights and Oak Park neighborhoods, and graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in social science with an emphasis in the environment. Terry has worked in labor advocacy over 20 years and is passionate about fighting for workers’ rights, public health and environmental justice.  


Marry Grillo
Retired, SEIU

Mary GrilloGrillo recently retired from SEIU after 35 years of fighting for economic justice for working people. Ms. Grillo spent 20 years advocating for the rights of local government employees, janitorial workers, and healthcare workers with SEIU in San Diego and Riverside counties. During that time, she was elected as the Executive Director for Local 2028 in San Diego from 1996-2005. In 2006, she went on to work for SEIU International Union supporting regional and local unions' efforts to organize for the rights of workers.

In addition to her work with SEIU, Ms. Grillo co-founded the Center on Policy Initiatives in 1997 and worked with the Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice. Since her retirement, Ms Grillo has been active at the San Diego Museum of Art as a Docent, served as a volunteer for the San Diego Rapid Response team for immigrants seeking asylum in the US and served as a board member of Alliance San Diego. 


Ruth Heifetz, M.D., M.P.H.
Senior Lecturer
UCSD School of Medicine

Ruth HeifetzRuth 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.


Roddy Jerome
Community Member

roddy jeromeOriginally from Hawaii but now a resident of City Heights, Roddy Jerome has a vested interest in what goes on in his community. In 2011, he started to attend EHC community meetings in City Heights to learn about how his neighborhood and the entire region is impacted by dirty energy, lack of good transportation and a variety of other environmental justice issues. In 2013, Roddy attended and testified at state energy hearings, San Diego City Council committees about the City's climate action plan, SANDAG hearings about the Mid-City bike corridor and in Sacramento to lobby state legislators.

The aspect of community advocacy Roddy enjoys most is knocking on doors and informing his friends and neighbors about the common issues that affect all of us, urging them to get involved. Roddy continues his involvement with City Heights and EHC and is a perfect example of social change for justice.


Sonia Ruan
Principal, National School District

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.

Our 2008-2018 Strategic Vision reaffirms our commitment to leadership development as a core strategy. Our popular education SALTA trainings support grassroots leaders in our Community Action Teams (CATs) by building knowledge, skills and solidarity. CAT members frequently increase their activity by becoming EHC Board members, EHC Promotoras, and leaders in their communities.

Promotoras spend additional time assisting EHC’s campaigns.  Their responsibilities vary, but may include office assistance, home visits and assessments for healthy homes, or organizing community members.


El Colectivo Chilpancingo Pro Justicia Ambiental – The Colonia Chilpancingo Collective for Environmental Justice

City Heights CAT

City Heights Community Action Team


Barrio Logan Community Action Team


National City Community Action Team

Alejandra “Allie” Fen

Community Organizer, Barrio Logan

Anibal edit2Allie joined EHC in 2020. She has a B.A. from UC Berkeley and a Master’s in Education from MSU Billings. She started creating social change as a fundraising field manager for Environment California and later coordinated clean energy campaigns for the California Public Interest Research Group. After working in adult education for several years, Allie came to EHC to help people develop skills to engage in their democracy and stand up for themselves, protecting their families and communities from health risks and increasing access to economic opportunity.

In her free time, Allie loves swing dancing, running, cooking, and spending time with her husband and friends.

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Angelica Estrada
Communications Director

Anibal edit2The daughter of an immigrant and a Southern California native, Angelica Alicia Estrada, is committed to empowering underserved communities to successfully advocate for social and environmental justice. Angelica joined Environmental Health Coalition (EHC) in 2020 as the Communications Director. She has more than half a decade of strategic communications experience, helping local and national organizations expand their reach and impact. She started her career working with nonprofits in Los Angeles county, gaining some experience in the entertainment industry, then transitioned to a public affairs firm out of Orange County. Before joining EHC, Angelica was the Marketing and Communications Manager at Sepsis Alliance, a national nonprofit, where she led targeted multimedia marketing campaigns.

Angelica graduated Cum Laude from California State University Northridge, where she studied Political Science and received the Academic Excellence Award. In her free time, Angelica can be found exploring California’s eclectic communities, hunting down new restaurants, and dreaming of her next adventure with her husband and son.

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Aníbal Méndez
Campaign Director, Border Environmental Justice Campaign

Anibal edit2Aníbal joined EHC in 2008 as the Youth Group Coordinator for our Tijuana Community Action Team. He has a degree in psychology, is a graphic and webpage designer, a musician and composer, and has been a teacher, therapist, radio spokesperson, and video performer.

Aníbal enjoys seeing the community members develop and increase their commitment to each other and to improving the quality of life in their community. His personal interests include music, movies, reading and sports.

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Carolina Martínez
Climate Justice Director

carolina edit2


Carolina works together with residents in low-income communities of color to advocate for climate and land use policies that respect their priorities, improve health, and are consistent with environmental justice principles. For 8 years she worked with National City residents implementing a comprehensive community plan that phased out polluting industries out of a residential neighborhood and created an affordable housing project. Currently, she is advancing the equitable implementation of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan.

Caro is a proud Colombian immigrant who enjoys working at the intersection of liberation, race, culture, gender, civic engagement, environmental issues, health and city planning in the struggle for environmental justice. Carolina has M.A.s in Urban Planning and Latin American Studies and spends her free time learning to play Son Jarocho and dance Puerto Rican Bomba.

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Clay Myers-Bowman
Fund Development Manager


Clay Myers-Bowman joined Environmental Health Coalition as Fund Development Manager in August, 2019. He is an award-winning leader who has spearheaded dozens of projects (from New York to California, from Minnesota to Colorado, and from Kansas to Sweden and Norway) over the past 30 years.

He’s worked for, consulted with, and served on the boards of arts and cultural groups, human service agencies, educational institutions, disaster relief agencies, and an event management company. This experience, coupled with strong philanthropic values and ethics, has enabled him to help nonprofit organizations advance their mission and carry out successful fundraising campaigns and events.

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Danny Serrano
Campaign Director, Toxic-Free Neighborhoods

Danny SerranoDanny joined the EHC in 2020 as the Toxic-Free Neighborhoods Campaign Director. Danny is a bilingual land use/environmental specialist born in Mexico and raised in southern California with over 12 years of experience in long range planning, environmental impact analysis, and housing development.

Danny attended the University of Granada (Spain), received his Bachelors in Latin American & Iberian Studies from UC Santa Barbara, and has a Masters in City Planning from SDSU.

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Diane Takvorian
Executive Director

Diane takvorianDiane is one of the founders of EHC and has been its Executive Director since 1982. She holds a Masters degree in Social Work with an emphasis on public policy and community organizing. As a major force behind the environmental justice movement, Diane has served on international, national, state, and regional advisory boards. In 2009, President Obama appointed her to the Joint Public Advisory Committee for the NAFTA Commission for Environmental Cooperation. In July 2008 Diane received the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award for her "creative and inspirational leadership benefiting the people of California."

Diane and her husband Bob enjoy adventure travel, working on the native plant landscaping in their yard, and Diane's cooking specialty is vegetarian soups.

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Dominique Navarro
Fund Development & Sustainability Director

Dominique edit3Dominique joined EHC's development team in 2016 after working with various partners including the Center on Policy Initiatives and The San Diego Foundation Center for Civic Engagement in functions including grant writing, event planning, and community outreach. She has always been passionate about social and environmental justice and has worked on environmental education efforts in the U.S., Costa Rica and Mozambique.

She has a M.A. in International Environmental Policy and a B.A. in Environmental Systems with a minor in Ethnic Studies. She loves to travel, dance, try new food, and spend time with her three rescue dogs.

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Eric Wilson
Human Resources and Administration Director

PIC For Website vJun2019Eric joined EHC with over 20 years of administrative and operational experience within the for-profit and not-for-profit arenas. He has notable experience in the management of Human Resources, Information Technology and Finance. He uses his skills and experiences to ensure the back office business processes of an organization are efficient, effective and compliant.

Eric has worked with several notable non-profits such as the San Diego Organizing Project (SDOP), United Way of Greater Los Angeles and the Phoenix House and several multi-million dollar for-profit companies. However, Eric’s heart is with social and environmental justice work.

When not administrating, Eric enjoys traveling, trying new restaurants and eateries, reading and spending time at the beach.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (619) 474-0220 ext. 123; Mobile: (619) 961-8102

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Franco García
Organizing Director

Franco GarciaFranco joined EHC in 2010. He has a B.A in Political Science from the University of California at San Diego. He directed the Community Building Department at the Coalition of Neighborhood Councils in San Diego and worked with the United Domestic Workers of America and SEIU 2028.

Franco likes working for environmental justice to secure a safe and healthy environment for the community. He enjoys spending time with his wife and two sons.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (619) 474-0220 ext. 164; Mobile: (619) 794-5694

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Julie Corrales
Barrio Logan Policy Advocate

Julie Bio 100x150

Julie grew up in City Heights and now lives in Barrio Logan, both environmental justice communities. She and her family have experienced firsthand the harmful effects of institutionalized racism, including discriminatory land use, lack of protection for domestic workers, over-policing of communities of color and the prison industrial prison complex. In 2016, Julie began volunteering with grassroots organization People Over Profits San Diego to effect criminal justice reform. She joined EHC in 2018 to focus her efforts on fighting environmental racism in her beloved community by advocating for cleaner air, affordable housing, and safe streets.

Julie enjoys spending time with her three children, writing poetry, and performing spoken word at various venues in San Diego. She continues to volunteer on the Leadership Council of People Over Profits.

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Karla Weber
Administrative Assistant

karla Karla joined EHC in December 2016 with 11 years of experience in Administration and Finance. Born in Chula Vista and raised in Tijuana, she commuted across the U.S./Mexico border on a daily basis to attend school and work. Karla enjoys spending her spare time with her two daughters. She currently serves as the Staff Representative to the Board of Directors.


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Kyle Heiskala
Climate Justice Policy Advocate

kyle heiskala Kyle joined EHC in 2021 bringing years of experience as a political and media strategist with a passion for making San Diego a better place to live, work and play for all. He began his career working as a community representative and policy advisor at the San Diego City Council before launching into several international environmental justice campaigns abroad. His background also includes local non-profit management and community activism around social justice, affordable housing, equitable transportation and climate action.

Kyle grew up in the South Bay in Chula Vista and has a B.A. in Environmental Systems with a focus on Environmental Policy from UC San Diego. When Kyle isn’t working, he can be found tending a garden or planning his next bike ride with his partner.


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Laura Benavidez
City Heights Organizer

Laura Benavidez Laura grew up in a diverse community in Southeastern San Diego, which sparked her love for learning and organizing. Her involvement in community organizing began at an early age and has led to her work with non-profits for the past 15 years. In 2016, Assembly Speaker Emeritus, Toni Atkins, recognized her as an “Emerging Female Leader”. Laura’s leadership focuses on empowering others to find their own voice, especially among underrepresented communities, women of color, and youth.

Laura holds Bachelors in Legal Studies and a combined Latin American and Latino Studies/ Sociology, in addition to her three Associates in Chicano Studies, Communication Studies, and Sociology for Transfer. She hopes to use the intersections of her education to assist the communities she serves through resource sharing, leadership development, and mentorship.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (619) 474-0220 ext.115; Mobile: (649) 340-8682

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Leticia Ayala
Campaign Director, Healthy Kids & Leadership Development

Leticia edit2Leticia received a B.A. in Business Administration in 1994, became a certified Lead Hazard Control Specialist in 2000, and was Home Energy Rating System certified in 2010. She joined EHC as Office Manager in 1995, became Membership Associate in 1997, Coordinator of EHC's pilot lead poisoning prevention project in 1998, and Campaign Director in 2002. In high school, Leticia was the Youth Representative for the Los Angeles Mayor's Committee on Children, Youth and Families. She is a member of the San Diego Citizen Advisory Committee for Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention, the Southern California Healthy Homes Collaborative, Smoke-Free Housing Taskforce and the California Healthy Housing Coalition. Leticia is a 2010 graduate of the Rockwood Leadership Institute.

Leticia enjoys working for justice and is passionate about protecting children rights. She enjoys nature, traveling, photography, camping, feng shui, and dancing Rueda de Casino with her husband Pablo.

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Lilia Escalante
Finance Director

Lilia Escalante

Lilia joined EHC in 2000 with an AA degree in accounting and business management, and is completing a degree in international business. She is bilingual and is a certified translator/interpreter. In addition to her fiscal responsibilities, Lilia translates EHC publications and provides oral interpretation for events.

Lilia and her three children live next to Chollas Creek, the focus of EHC's urban watershed protection efforts. She and her family volunteer for watershed cleanup events.

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Maria Magdalena Cerda Baez
Border Environmental Justice Policy Advocate

Magdalena edit2Magdalena joined EHC in 2000. She was technical coordinator for the Mexican government agency INEA (Instituto Nacional de Educación para los Adultos), where she worked with adult literacy programs in the border region. She served as president of a community group in Colonia Guadalupe Victoria in Tijuana that secured land rights and infrastructure from the Mexican Government. In 2009, she received the Grass Roots Organizer award from the United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries.

Magdalena likes EHC's environmental and social justice efforts to create a world where many worlds can co-exist. Her family and friends are her joy, strength, and inspiration; dancing is her therapy. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, dancing, gardening, traditional Mexican cooking, sewing, and arts and crafts.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (619) 474-0220 ext. 117; Mobile: (619) 307-1695

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Maria Moodie
Fund Development Associate

Maria MoodieMaria Moodie has 15+ years of non-profit experience, specializing in communications, events, and fund development for high-impact non-profit organizations. Most recently, she worked to open Cristo Rey San Diego High School. A Detroit native, she has worked in Chicago, San Francisco, and Mexico City, and is glad to make San Diego her home. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from John Carroll University and earned her Master of Library and Information Science at Wayne State University.

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Monica De la Cruz
Climate Justice Policy Advocate

Monserrat edit2Since Monica de la Cruz joined EHC in February 2019, she has grown from an internship in fundraising, to part-time SOMAH Coordinator, to her current role as Climate Justice Policy Advocate. Monica's professional experience ranges from digital advertising and voter outreach for progressive political campaigns to volunteer recruitment and community engagement for youth and education nonprofits. Monica grew up in inland north county San Diego and earned her B.A. in Literature and Cultural Studies at UC San Diego.

Outside of her work at EHC, Monica advocates for more affordable housing, sustainable growth, and safe, high quality active transportation options as a volunteer board member of her community planning group. Monica loves all things San Diego and enjoys spending her free time exploring neighborhoods by bike and learning about San Diego's history.

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Monserrat Hernández
Community Organizer, National City

Monserrat edit2Monserrat learned about the opportunity to participate with EHC at her children's school and then served on EHC's Barrio Logan Community Action Team for five years. During that time, she was involved in the effort to change truck routes in the community. Monserrat began working at EHC in 2007.

Monserrat likes meeting people in the community, working with them to improve the quality of life for families and learn about social and environmental justice.

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Nancy Cruz
Director, Organizing

Nancy CruzNancy was born and raised in a working-class immigrant household in San Diego. Witnessing countless injustices and lack of equity drove her to organize with her community, starting in her early teen years. In 2021, she comes to EHC as the Organizing Director with over a decade of community and labor organizing experience. She has had the honor of building power with youth, immigrants, janitors, fast food workers, postdocs and academic researchers. Nancy is involved in many community efforts and currently serves as an Advisory Board Member of CPI's program Students for Economic Justice and as Board Member of Project YANO.

Nancy is passionate about building a better future and enjoys dancing, taking nature walks and spending quality time with family and friends.

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Rebecca Miranda
Executive Assistant

Rebecca MirandaRebecca joined the EHC team in 2020. Originally from California’s Central Valley, Rebecca is committed to fostering healthy community building and facilitating the advancement, social capital, and representation of marginalized communities at both the local and global levels. Before working at EHC, she held roles at the Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans, and as a co-chair for the San Diego Refugee Forum’s World Refugee Day Committee. Rebecca holds a master’s degree in International Relations from the Institut Barcelona D’Estudis Internacionals, where she focused her thesis research on social movement theory and transnational advocacy networks.

In her free time, Rebecca enjoys traveling, playing beach volleyball, visiting the San Diego Zoo, and spending time with her family and friends.

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