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.

Sharon is a past Executive Director of community centers, affordable housing programs, and an entrepreneur. Sharon is also a former social marketing project coordinator of the CA 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. Sharon 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 Penguin Publishers 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. Elijah 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.

Edward T. Lewis, M.A., M.S.W.
Mr. Edward Lewis is an 18-year resident of Sacramento (CA) and the associate project manager for Urban Strategies, Inc. and the Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grant in the Twin Rivers (Dos Rios) Community in Sacramento. Prior to this position he was an enforcement investigator with the Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education, 2014–2017, and a Manager with California Health & Wellness, 2013–2014. He received both his B.A. in Psychology and M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from CSU Chico (Chico State), while employed with Butte County, 1992–2000. He later received a second Master’s degree in social work (MSW) from CSU Sacramento (Sac State), 2000–2002, all while working for Yuba County DHHS - CPS.

In 2005, he transitioned to the California Department of Social Services and worked as a consultant in the Kinship Care Policy & Support Unit, 2005–2007. He later accepted an adjunct lecturer position in the Division of Social Work at Sac State and served in that position for five years (2007–2012). 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, and former member of Alta California Regional Center’s Board of Directors (2009–2015).

Mary Nakamura
Mary Nakamura, LCSW, is a Human Services program planner with Sacramento County and works in the Mental Health Cultural Competence unit of the Division of Behavioral Health Services. She graduated from the University of Southern California with her Masters in Social Work degree. Her graduate coursework and internships focused on Community Organization, Planning and Administration. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California at Davis with a Bachelor of Science degree in Cognitive Psychology and a minor in Japanese. As a third-generation Japanese American woman, born and raised in Sacramento, she maintains strong ties with her community. She enjoys the behavioral health work she does in partnership with diverse cultural, racial, ethnic and faith based communities in Sacramento County to achieve behavioral health equity for all.

Nassrine Noureddine
Dr. Noureddine serves as an assistant professor at California State University, Sacramento (CSUS). She has over 22 years of teaching experience in the US and overseas. She also serves as the founder and director of Saha Health Center, a community clinic serving the uninsured and the underserved public. She is the co-founder of the California Interprofessional Education Research Academy and presents nationally and internationally on IPE design, development, and assessment. Her research work focuses on diversity in nursing, cultural competence, interprofessional collaboration in education, simulation in nursing education, and Middle Eastern refugees in the US.

Rachel Rios
Rachel Rios is the executive director of La Familia Counseling Center, Inc. a nonprofit agency in Sacramento. Ms. Rios has over 30 years of diverse experience working with youth and community issues. La Familia has two locations in the community and offers Children’s Behavioral Health services, Employment and Education services, Child Development and Parenting Birth and Beyond Program, a Family Resource Center, Health Enrollment and Navigation services, and youth services, including working with at-risk youth. Prior to coming to La Familia Counseling Center, Ms. Rios had a long career with the State of California in the Division of Juvenile Justice, (formally known as the California Youth Authority), where she served as the Chief Deputy Secretary. Ms. Rios is a graduate of California State University Sacramento with a degree in Criminal Justice. She completed the John F. Kennedy School of Government “Women in Public Policy Program” at Harvard, the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform “Public Sector Leaders Program” at Georgetown University and the Center for Creative Leadership Program in Colorado. She is a current member of the Sacramento County Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Commission and was appointed by Governor Brown to the State Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in 2016.

Carolina Rojas-Gore
Board Member, Mexican Cultural Center of Northern California
Carolina Rojas-Gore is one of the original members of the Research and Education Community Engagement Advisory Board (RECAB) at the UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center. Carolina was born and raised in Mexico City. Since her arrival in Sacramento in 1969, her commitment and willingness to help the community has been clearly demonstrated, as she has embraced and actively served in the following organizations: as anchor and co-producer of Vistas Community Program, as a member of the board of directors of the Sacramento YMCA and the Bishop Gallegos Memorial, and as a two-term president of the Mexican Cultural Center of Northern California. For the last 13 years, she has served as director of community empowerment of Univision Channel 19 in the greater Sacramento, Stockton, Modesto area. While at Univision, Carolina was appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger to the Sacramento County Fair Board of Directors. Prior to joining Univision, she successfully worked in human resources management for several years.

Carolina is also a member of the Parish Council of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. While serving several terms as a board member for the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce she chaired the 23rd Annual Installation Dinner and the Cultural Arts Committee. She also served on Senator Darryl Steinberg’s Hispanic Advisory Committee and on the CARE’s Hispanic Advisory Board. Carolina has received several awards such as the 2007 Outstanding Women Leader, the 2011 Molina Champions Award, the 2013 Leadership in Advocacy Award, and the 2016 Spirit of Latina Award.

Anna Rosenbaum, M.S.W., M.P.H.
Senior Manager, Primary Care Systems,
American Cancer Society

Nancy Zarenda

Ex-officio Members

Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, M.D., Ph.D
Director, CTSC Community Engagement and Research Program Director, Center for Reducing Health Disparities

Alan Lombard
Alan Lombard is a cancer researcher actively engaged in the study of urological cancers at the University of California, Davis. He received his doctorate in molecular and cellular biology from the University of California, Davis in the summer of 2015. His research interests revolve around understanding the mechanisms of resistance to therapy and the discovery of new methods to treat advanced stage tumors. Outside of research, Alan is passionate about outreach. He is actively engaged with the RECAB to both work towards creating a better understanding of science and research in varying facets of society and to increase awareness of how research benefits the community at large. Alan is interested in enhancing community engagement efforts with the research arena to create a better mutual understanding between community members and academic researchers.

Carole Gan
Senior Public Information Officer, Department of Public Affairs and Marketing, UC Davis Health
Carole Gan has bachelor’s degree in Biology, a master’s degree in Technical and Science Communications and more than 20 years’ experience in health-care communications. She has worked in the public affairs and marketing department at UC Davis Health since 1995, where she collaborates with leadership, faculty and staff across campus units, schools and programs to promote advances in science, medicine and health.

Fatima T. Malik, M.P.H.
Community Engagement and Research Specialist, CTSC Community Engagement Program

Jose “Jojo” Melendres, B.S.P.H, M.D., B.SN., R.N., W.C.C., C.C.M
Clinical Nurse Case Manager, UC Davis Medical Center