Anthony E. Wright
ANTHONY E. WRIGHT has served as Executive Director for Health Access, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition since 2002. Health Access has led state and national efforts to win consumer protections, fight budget cuts and invest in our safety-net, encourage prevention, and advance coverage expansions and comprehensive health reform. Wright led California’s coalition effort to help pass the Affordable Care Act and state laws to implement and improve it, and campaigns to successfully pass first-in-the-nation laws to ensure timely access to care, and to stop hospital overcharging of the uninsured.
As a consumer advocate and community organizer, Wright has been widely quoted in state and national media. He has also worked for New Jersey Citizen Action, the Center for Media Education, The Nation magazine, and in Vice President Gore's office in the White House.
Born and raised in the Bronx, Wright graduated from Amherst College magna cum laude in both English and Sociology. He lives in Davis with his wife Jessica, and his son Jefferson.
Mary June G. Flores
Policy & Legislative Advocate
MARY JUNE G. FLORES, Policy & Legislative Advocate, joined Health Access in 2016. She represents health care consumers and supports the legislative advocacy efforts in the Legislature. Mary June most recently worked for Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, where she managed and coordinated the county’s Health Committee policy and administrative oversight hearings, as well as monitored the county’s public, safety-net hospital system. In addition to her local government experience, Mary June worked in state government as a California Assembly Fellow and legislative aide in the State Assembly. She staffed the health, human services, higher education, business and professions, jobs economic development, revenue and tax, Asian Pacific Islander, and Women’s issue areas.
A social justice community organizer by training, Mary June is committed to helping vulnerable and disadvantaged Californians through effective public policy making and community empowerment. She serves on the Goldman School of Public Policy Alumni Association Board. Mary June received her Bachelor degrees in Asian American Studies and Comparative Ethnic Studies, and dual Master of Public Policy and Master of Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley. “Triple bear” – GO BEARS!
Director of Operations & Development
SILVIA FLORES, Director of Operations & Development, joined Health Access in 2014. She has over 16 years of experience in non-profit work and 23 years in fundraising. Prior to joining Health Access she was the Associate Executive Director for the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC) and its Education Institute. Silvia was honored by The Black Chamber of Commerce of Orange County with a Business Community Service award for organizing the first California Community Colleges Veteran’s Summit. A graduate from the University of California, Davis, Silvia received her Bachelor of Arts in English literature with a minor in Native American Studies.
Silvia makes her home in West Sacramento with her husband and their two daughters.
Rachel Linn Gish
Director of Communications
RACHEL LINN GISH, Director of Communications, joined Health Access in 2016. Utilizing her passion for social justice and expertise in strategic communication, she manages the media and advocacy outreach for the coalition. She returned to Sacramento after nearly four years in Washington D.C., where she earned her Masters from the George Washington University School of Media & Public Affairs and worked as part of the communications team for various national non-profit and political organizations including the AFL-CIO and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, where she helped build multiple websites to highlight the data on the status of women in the United States. Prior to living on the east coast, she worked at the State Capitol as Press Secretary for former Assemblymember Mariko Yamada, Press Aide for then-Assemblymember Mark Leno, and Press Intern for former Speaker Fabian Nunez.
She is originally from Roseville, CA and graduated from UC Davis with a dual degree in Communications and Sociology. She is a licensed Zumba instructor and enjoys spending weekends visiting local restaurants and wineries with her husband.
Nancy M. Gomez
NANCY M. GOMEZ, Senior Organizer, joined the Health Access Staff in 2008. Educated in North and South America, she brings a cross-cultural perspective and twenty years of experience in the social/human service field. She has worked for organizations focused on pediatric AIDS, chronic illness, domestic/spousal/child abuse, and affordable housing. Most recently she served as the Director of Social Services for a service enriched affordable housing development organization serving hundreds of at-risk families, youth, children, and seniors.
In 2011 she received La Opinion’s “Mujer Destacada” award for her advocacy in Health Care Reform. Nancy also specializes in Spanish media, having made numerous appearances on national and local news programs including radio, television, and print media.
A pragmatic and creative problem solver, she credits her tenacity and resourcefulness to having served in the U.S. Navy, and counting on the support of a loving and passionately opinionated family. Nancy enjoys graphic design and solving the Sunday Times crossword without assistance.
LARRY HANSEN, Finance Manager, joined Health Access in 2017. His varied background includes non-profit service as Director of Finance for California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and Manager of Grants and Contracts for Public Health Institute, California Community College System service as Director of Fiscal Services for the Solano District and Chief Accountant for the Contra Costa District, and University of California service as Department Manager on the Davis campus. Larry received his MBA from UC Davis with concentrations in Accounting and Public Sector Management.
Central Valley Community Organizer
MELISSA HURTADO, Central Valley Community Organizer, joined Health Access in 2017. She advocates for health consumers from the San Joaquin County to Kern County.
Melissa received her BA in Government and Minor in Philosophy from California State University, Sacramento. Over the past 10 years she has been a champion for good paying jobs, protecting and expanding workers’ rights, and greater access to healthcare through various organizations. Prior to joining Health Access, Melissa worked with the Fresno Teachers Association.
Melissa was born and raised in Sanger – the heart of our Central Valley. In 2016, Melissa was elected to the Sanger City Council as the youngest and only female member of the council. In her spare time, she enjoys travelling, spending time with family, and learning about different cultures.
Tam M. Ma
Legal & Policy Director
TAM M. MA, Legal & Policy Director, joined Health Access in 2015. She represents health care consumers in the Legislature and before administrative and regulatory entities. Tam's work is rooted in her deep commitment to ensuring that all communities have access to opportunity. Tam started her career as a California Senate Fellow and was previously senior staff to Senators Mark Leno and Sheila Kuehl, where she advised the Senators on policy and state budget issues relating to health and human services, consumer protection, housing, judiciary, and women's issues. Tam was honored by the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence and the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault for her work to strengthen protections for survivors of these crimes. Tam advocated for the rights of low-income tenants when she was a trial attorney with Legal Services of Northern California's Sargent Shriver Civil Counsel Act Project.
Tam sits on the board of the Women's Foundation of California and has served as a trainer and mentor for the foundation's award-winning Women's Policy Institute since its inception in 2003. She also serves on the board of the Asian/Pacific Bar Association of Sacramento and is Past President of My Sister's House, a domestic violence shelter serving women throughout the Central Valley. Tam received her B.A. and J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley and has served as a lecturer at the law school.
Northern CA Community Organizer
YASMIN PELED, Northern CA Community Organizer, joined Health Access in 2016. Yasmin received her BS in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). While studying at UCSC, Yasmin got her start in health care advocacy running a mobile health care clinic for the homeless and underserved in Santa Cruz County. Prior to joining Health Access, Yasmin worked with Families USA in Washington, D.C., with a focus on health equity issues.
Born and raised in the Bay Area, Yasmin has always had a strong commitment to social justice. In her spare time, Yasmin enjoys hiking around the Bay Area, testing out new recipes, and spending time with friends and family.
Mandy Taylor, MSW
CA LGBT Health & Human Services Network Outreach & Advocacy Coordinator
MANDY TAYLOR, CA LGBT Health and Human Services Network Outreach and Advocacy Coordinator, joined Health Access in 2017. Prior to joining the team, Ms. Taylor provided case management services at Transitional Living and Community Services, helped develop WEAVE’s Anti-Trafficking Program for minors, supported foster youth with clinical therapy at The Children’s Receiving Home, and was the first Director of Programs at The Sacramento LGBT Community Center. With ten years of experience providing mental health and community services, Mandy looks forward to using her expertise to advocate for LGBTQ mental health policy.
Ms. Taylor uses social justice and strengths based approaches to empower community involvement. She believes supporting the mental health of the LGBTQ community includes approaching issues through a lens of intersectionality. Mandy eagerly collaborates with stakeholders in marginalized LGBTQ communities to develop culturally supportive interventions, training, and policy. She believes that queer people of color, the trans community, the economically disadvantaged, and folks living with disabilities deserve comprehensive care that addresses all aspects of their experience.
Mandy has a Master of Social Work from California State University, Sacramento, where she is currently and an adjunct instructor.
Jose Torres Casillas
Administrative & Legislative Assistant
JOSE TORRES CASILLAS, Administrative & Legislative Assistant, joined Health Access in 2017. Jose works with Health Access to tackle on the administrative duties of the office and works with the legislative team. Prior to joining Health Access, he worked in the office of Engrossing and Enrolling with the Secretary of the State Senate where he gained the knowledge of the legislative process firsthand. He also previously worked with the California Democratic Party in their Sacramento Headquarters.
Jose was raised in San Bernardino before moving to northern California for school. Jose received his BA in Sociology and a minor Chicano/a Studies from the University of California, Davis. While at UC Davis, Jose focused on how to best apply his social justice background and work with his community.
In his spare time, Jose enjoys working out and training for various obstacle races, eating different foods, and watching movies.
Policy & Legislative Advocate
Myriam M. Valdez is a Policy and Legislative Advocate with Health Access, where she advocates for issues related to Medi-Cal, oral health, and state budget proposals. Myriam was formerly a Legislative Aide for State Senator Holly J. Mitchell, staffing Health, Education, Labor, Housing, and Immigrant issues. She graduated from CSU Bakersfield with honors, is a Ronald E. McNair Scholar, and a former California Senate Fellow. Myriam became involved with public policy as an intern for U.S. Congressman Jim Costa and during her time the University of Bristol in England, where she studied Western Political Systems. Prior to her time in the California State Legislature, Myriam worked as a Program Manager for Chevron, managing their Students Training for Achievement, Reward & Success (STARS) Program, which aims to help “high potential, low opportunity” students succeed in collegiate and professional work. Myriam is particularly interested in helping vulnerable youth and has helped organize the annual mentorship program for the Women’s Policy Summit, organized by the California Center for Research on Women & Families, is a “Familia” mentor for the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project (CLYLP), and a mentor for the Puente Project. The most important role models for Myriam have been her mother and father, who were farmworkers in the Central Valley town of Arvin, California and taught her the values of hard work, perseverance, and helping others.
Amanda M. Wallner
CA LGBT Health & Human Services Network Director
AMANDA M. WALLNER, CA LGBT Health & Human Services Network Director, joined Health Access in 2016. Amanda has been fighting for LGBTQ equality since attempting to start a GSA at her Catholic high school. Her passion for LGBTQ community organizing only grew in 2008, when she was a student organizer against Proposition 8. Amanda worked as Health Policy Fellow at the Los Angeles LGBT Center while finishing a Master of Public Policy at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. After she graduated, Amanda worked as the organization’s Policy and Operations Manager, coordinating research, advocacy on coalition work on a variety of policy issues affecting the LGBTQ community, including immigration, women’s health, youth homelessness, and regulating the "troubled teen industry." Prior to graduate school, Amanda worked for Sierra Club California as a legislative aide and organizer. Amanda also worked on a number of campaigns ranging from county supervisor to Congress, and volunteered on marriage equality ballot initiatives in Maine and North Carolina.
Amanda has a bachelor of arts in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she headed the nationally recognized Campus Democrats organization and served as chair of the California Young Democrats’ LGBTQ Caucus.
Southern CA Community Organizer
AMY A WIWUGA, Southern CA Community Organizer, joined Health Access in 2017. Her Arizona State University communications studies provide the perfect background for her to work on advancing state and federal legislative policy to ensure all Californians have access to quality affordable healthcare.
Amy began her organizing career with President Obama's Organizing for Action (OFA). As the Southern California Deputy Field Director for OFA Amy supported legislation on key issues of President Obama's administration's agenda. Most notably, Amy worked to manage California's education and enrollment efforts for the Affordable Care Act. After OFA Amy served as a Global Health Organizer at RESULTS, where she generated grassroots support around legislative solutions to global poverty.
Amy speaks at colleges and universities, and has served on collegiate advisory boards relating to topics including, civic engagement, political issues and advocacy. As a volunteer Amy dedicates time to the YMCA, First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica, Organizing for Action, The Townhall Project and Pantsuit Nation.
Capell & Assoc - Beth Capell
BETH CAPELL, principal with Capell & Assoc., provides policy analysis, legislative advocacy, and other strategic input to Health Access and to other consumer, labor and public interest organizations on health care issues.
Ms. Capell has headed Capell & Assoc. and represented Health Access since 1996. During those years, Health Access fought for and won the HMO Patient Bill of Rights as well as expansions of health coverage, including the successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act in California. She has worked on a number of ballot measures related to health care. Ms. Capell has worked in and around the State Capitol since 1977, working on legislative staff, in the executive branch, and in campaign consulting. Since 1984, she has been a legislative advocate working on health care issues.
Ms. Capell has a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley and has also served as a Visiting Scholar, research associate and teaching assistant at that campus.