Active RECAB Members

Sharon Chandler

Sharon Chandler is the founder and executive director of Yes2Kollege Education Resources, Inc., a Sacramento nonprofit dedicated to the early preparation of minority families raising college-bound students and family health and wellness. She is the mother of two college graduates, a son who is a deputy district attorney and a daughter who is a human resources training professional with her Master’s degrees in Sociology and in Education.

Chandler is a past executive director of community centers, affordable housing programs, and an entrepreneur. She is also a former social marketing project coordinator of the California Black Health Networks campaign against second-hand smoke and community blogger keeping the Bay Area abreast of minority health news in South Sacramento and through San Francisco Public Radio, KQED. She also has extensive experience as an advocate and writer of numerous newspaper and magazine articles on health, education, and diversity for the Sacramento Observer Newspaper and Media Group. She is the proud author of the book, Say Yes to College: A Practical and Inspirational Guide to Raising College-Bound Kids. She is also a commissioned artist.


Elijah Cherkez

Elijah Cherkez is a student, community member, and researcher. Growing up near Oak Park he has seen the good changes in the community and has experienced their challenges. He loves representing this community and all fellow humans as a member of the Research and Education Community Advisory Board (RECAB). Cherkez graduated from UC Davis with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences with an emphasis in Cellular and Molecular Biology. He is a clinical research professional certified through the Society of Clinical Research Association (SOCRA), and is familiar with the Code of Federal Regulations and human subject protection in research.

Cherkez has worked in clinical research for over 6 years, both in scientific research, laboratory work, as well as clinical trials research in the areas of breast cancer, genetic research (craniosynostosis, Lysosomal storage disease), heart devices, autism, and fragile-X. His passion is to find out about new research that is done at UC Davis and elsewhere in the scientific community and to translate the technical published findings into something which the community can understand and use, toward preventative health, access to new information, and healing. He is also committed to helping researchers with consultation in ethical dilemmas, good clinical practice knowledge, expertise in research design, and regulatory document formulation for maximum protection and beneficence while minimizing the research risks for participants.


Lillian Clements, M.P.H.

Lillian Clements is a project manager for Sacramento Covered's Pathways to Health and Home program, a Medicaid pilot project to improve health outcomes for people experiencing homelessness in Sacramento. Prior to this position, Clements completed her Master's practicum with the California Department of Public Health's Oral Health Program and implemented harm reduction skills as a methadone counselor in Monterey County. She holds three Bachelor's degrees (Women's and Gender Studies, Spanish, and Psychology) from Sonoma State University, a Master of Public Health from University of California Davis, and a sexual health educator training certification from San Francisco Sex Information. Clements has a passion for reproductive justice and health equity and is an advocate for eliminating health disparities based on race, ethnicity, gender identity, immigration status, insurance type and income.


Edward T. Lewis, M.A., M.S.W.

Edward Lewis is an 18-year resident of Edward is a 21-year resident of Sacramento (CA) and the Section 3 Administration for the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency (SHRA).  His former positions included Project Manager for Urban Strategies, Inc. with Choice Neighborhood Implementation - Twin Rivers Public Housing Community, Sacramento (2016 – 2019), an Enforcement Investigator with the Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (2014 – 2016), and Manager with California Health & Wellness Plan from 2013 – 2014. He received his B.A., Psychology and M.A., Interdisciplinary Studies from CSU Chico (Chico State), while employed with Butte County 1992 – 2000.  In 2002, he received a second Master’s degree in social work (MSW) from California State University Sacramento (Sac State), all while working for Yuba County DHHS - CPS.

He later accepted an Adjunct Lecturer position in the Division of Social Work at Sac State, where he completed the Title IV-E fellowship and served in that position 2007 – 2012.  In January 2011, he completed the Boards and Commission Leadership Institute (BCLI) training, and later appointed by Supervisor Phil Serna to three county boards/commissions. 

Currently he is an active member of the UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center’s Research, Education and Community Advisory Board (RECAB) and the Chico State Alumni Association Board of Directors (2016 – 2018), and a former member of Alta California Regional Center’s Board of Directors from 2009–2015.  He is a Veteran of the US Army --- Airborne Infantry and honorably served 1983 -1989.


Nassrine Noureddine, Ed.D., M.S.N., M.A.

Dr. Noureddine serves as an associate professor at California State University Sacramento (CSUS). She has over 25 years of teaching experience in the US and overseas. Her passion for educational and health equity guides her work. She received the CSUS College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) Outstanding Teaching Award, for 2020, the CSUS Women of Influence Award for 2018, the DEGREES Project Leader in Student Success Excellence Awards of 2015, 2017, and 2018. She is the founder and director of SAHA Health Center, a free clinic serving the uninsured, these efforts earned her the Outstanding Community Service award in 2015. She is the co-founder of California Interprofessional Education Research Academy (CA-IPERA), and the co-founder/co-director of the CHHS IPE Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. She currently chairs the CSUS Center for Teaching and Learning Advisory Board, her scholarship focuses on innovative pedagogies including simulation, IPE, TBL, cultural humility, Grit, closing the equity gap and refugee health.


Debra Oto-Kent, M.P.H.

Debra Oto-Kent is founder and executive director of the Health Education Council (HEC), a nonprofit organization committed to cultivating health and well-being in under-served communities by leveraging the power of collaboration. For three decades, HEC has created innovative programs promoting community well-being and reducing health disparities. HEC received a 2016 Department of Public Health Innovation Award and was named a Nonprofit of the Year for engaging residents to reduce health disparities.

Ms. Oto-Kent has served on a variety of boards of local and statewide health and research organizations, with current board of director service on the West Sacramento Housing Development Corporation, Cien Amigos, and the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center and UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities Research and Education Community Advisory Boards. She is an American Leadership Forum fellow and has been recognized by the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce (2020) and by Senator Richard Pan. She is a recipient of many honors and awards including the Al Geiger Memorial Award for Community Service, the Exceptional Women of Color (EWOC) Excellence Award (2019), and Unsung Hero Award.

Ms. Oto-Kent has a Health Science B.S. degree from San Diego State University, and Masters in Public Health from UCLA’s School of Public Health. Her two primary areas of expertise – cross-sector coalition building and reducing health disparities in diverse low-income communities.


Carolina Rojas-Gore

Carolina Rojas-Gore is the owner of Gore Public Relations, specializing in promotions, Spanish translations, Voice Overs and event planning. She served as Director of Community Empowerment of Univision Channel 19 for thirteen years.  Prior to joining Univision in 2004, Carolina successfully worked in the area of Human Resources for several years and was certified in Human Resources Management by U.C. Davis Extension.

In addition to her expertise in media and fundraising, she is passionate about education and promoting the traditions and culture of Mexico. Toward that end, she has served on the Board of Directors and is two-term President of the Mexican Cultural Center of Northern California.  She is still a very active member and continues to provide leadership for the organization.

Carolina has clearly demonstrated her commitment and willingness to serve the Sacramento community. Throughout the years she has embraced and been actively engaged in several organizations.  These include: Anchor and Co-Producer of Vistas Community Program; Board of Directors of the Sacramento YMCA; Board of Directors of Bishop Gallegos Memorial; and, Member of the Parish Council of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.  Carolina also served several terms on the Board of the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.  During her tenure, she chaired the 23rd Annual Installation Dinner as well as the Cultural Arts Committee.

While working at Univision, Carolina was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the Sacramento County Fair Board of Directors. She also served on California Senator Darryl Steinberg’s Hispanic Advisory Committee and the Center for Aids Research Education and Services (CARES) Hispanic Advisory Board. She is also one of the original members of the Community Engagement Committee of UC Davis’ Center for Reducing Health Disparities.

Carolina’s talent and work have been recognized by the community and her peers. She was awarded the coveted 2015-2016 Northern California Area Emmy® Award for Outstanding Achievement as Executive Producer of her Community/Public Service PSA. She received the 2007 Outstanding Woman Leader from the National Association of Women Business Owners. In 2011 she received the Molina Champions Award, and in 2013 the Leadership in Advocacy Award. She was recognized with The Spirit of Latina Award from the Latino Journal and Café de California in 2016. Finally, she was recognized by the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in 2019 and identified as an ”Estrella” for truly being a “star” in the community.

Her outstanding work and tireless efforts for the community have been memorialized by Resolutions from both the California State Senate and the California Assembly.


Anna Rosenbaum, M.S.W., M.P.H.

Anna Rosenbaum is an experienced public health and social work program administrator, applied researcher, and health educator focused on eliminating health disparities and promoting access to high quality, equitable health care services. Anna’s areas of expertise include comprehensive cancer control (prevention, early detection, and screening), supportive oncology (psychosocial health services), community engagement and health needs assessment, and cultural competency, diversity & inclusion in health care settings.

Anna is currently Project Manager of the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology Program and Women’s Cancer Care Program (WCCP) within Supportive Oncology & Survivorship Services at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. She has also held leadership positions at the American Cancer Society and the State of California’s Comprehensive Cancer Control Program. Anna has a Masters in Public Health (MPH) in Community-Based Public Health Practice and a Masters in Social Work (MSW) in Community-Centered Integrative Practice from the University of Washington, Seattle.

Anna is proud to be part of a learning organization promoting person-centered care, supporting the work of providers, staff, and volunteers who make a difference in people’s lives every day.


Nancy Zarenda

Nancy Zarenda is an accomplished educator, Spanish language specialist, policy adviser, and community leader. Her experience spans public schools and colleges, police academies, government, and the private sector. She is a nationally certified medical interpreter, certified court interpreter, adjunct instructor at Lake Tahoe Community College, and editor of Latino Journal. Nancy is co-founder and vice president of Hispanics in Energy (501c3), where science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) initiatives are a priority. STEM professionals, researchers, and educators are essential to every aspect of health care.

Nancy is honored to be a charter member of this board and was former chair of UC Davis Health System Community Advisory Board. Community and professional service roles include board of directors of Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, charter member of Senator Darrell Steinberg’s Hispanic Advisory Committee, co-chair of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Northern California Hispanic Families Coalition, and board of directors of National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators.

Nancy was a two-term governor appointee to the CA Commission on Teacher Credentialing and received Special Congressional Recognition as Outstanding Hispanic American Educator. She is a published writer and volunteers in juvenile justice facilities in the region.


Ex-officio Members

Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, M.D., Ph.D.

Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola is the director of the CTSC Community Engagement Program. He also directs the Center for Reducing Health Disparities and is a professor of clinical internal medicine. He serves as Co-director of the Latino Aging Research Resource Center and the Community Outreach and Engagement Core of the UC Davis Environmental Health Science Center. He is an internationally renowned expert on mental health in ethnic populations and is the recipient of multiple national awards for his work. He is principal investigator of the Mexican American Prevalence and Services survey, the largest mental health study conducted in the U.S. on Mexican Americans, and is the coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean in the World Health Organization (WHO) Mental Health survey. In this capacity, he coordinates the work of the National Mental Health Institute surveys in Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, Peru, Costa Rica and Portugal. Aguilar-Gaxiola is co-chair of the CTSA Collaboration/Engagement Domain Task Force Lead Team. He is an author of the “Principles of Community Engagement” book and member of the External Advisory Boards of 7 CTSAs.


Jose “Jojo” Melendres, M.D., B.S.N., RN

Jojo Melendres is a full-time nurse case manager with the UC Davis Health Emergency Medicine Department. He leads the Case Management Practice Council, while still avidly engaged with RECAB activities and Science Café events. He is also a UC Davis Health Wellness Ambassador. 


Mary Nakamura, LCSW

Mary Nakamura is a Human Services Program Planner with Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services. She works in the Mental Health Cultural Competence Unit of the Division of Behavioral Health Services.