Center Staff Portrait
The NCLR/CSULB Center for Latino Community Health, Evaluation, and Leadership Training was established
in 2005 to support and create diverse community health initiatives that increase access to culturally and linguistically
relevant health education, prevention, screening, and treatment. Initial funding for the Center came through
an earmark supported by the Congressional Hispanic Health Task Force spearheaded by former Congresswoman and
U.S. Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis. Our mission is to improve, promote, and advocate for the health and well-being
of diverse Latino/Hispanic communities. While we have grown considerably since our official founding, our work
continues to improve health, educational, and social equity among the Latino communities with whom we work and
serve. Grants funded through myriad governmental agencies and gifts from private donors support our efforts in
the areas of HIV/AIDS prevention, obesity prevention, youth empowerment, nutrition education, perinatal and maternal
child health, and Latino educational success. Our programs capacitate communities by training undergraduate and
graduate students to work closely with leading multi-disciplinary academics to positively create culturally relevant
strategies that improve the health access of Latinos in the United States. We also work actively with the National
Council of La Raza (NCLR) – the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United
States – to rigorously evaluate its community health outreach programs; these include collaborative efforts with
local community-based organizations and promotores de salud (community health workers). We strive to
ensure that each of our programs has a sustainable and tangible outcome in the community and that our work promotes
positive change in Latino health status and access.

We strive to improve the health, educational, and social equity among the Latino communities with whom we work and serve.

We improve, promote, and advocate for the health, culture, and well-being of diverse Latino/Hispanic communities.

  1. We are driven to action by our community-centered mission.
  2. We embody an attitude of community service.
  3. We operate with integrity and inclusiveness.
  4. We foster leadership and empowerment.
  5. We value our grass-roots underpinnings.
  6. We are accountable to the communities we serve.
  7. We uphold the community-driven missions of NCLR and CSULB.
  8. We acknowledge, appreciate, and celebrate the cultures, resiliency, insights, and contributions of Latino/Hispanic
    families and communities.

Please support our work. Any and all contributions are appreciated and welcome.

Please Support Us

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Center for Latino Community Timeline

  • Zoila EscobarAltaMed Health Services
  • David Hayes-BautistaUniversity of California Los Angeles
  • Felipe CastroUniversity of Texas at El Paso
  • Hector BalcazaarUT School of Public Health at Houston
  • Jorge DaboubUnivision
  • Kurt OrganistaUniversity of Berkeley School of Social Welfare
  • Richard ZaldivarThe Wall Las Memorias Project
  • Sara Elena Loaiza Latino Consultants
  • Vickie MaysUCLA School of Public Health
  • Ana CarricchiLong Beach Department of Health and Humans Services
  • Cynthia GomezSan Francisco State University Health Equity Institute
  • Jennifer Ng’anduRWJF
  • Dr. David RiversMedical University of South Carolina
  • Henry PachechoNational Hispanic Council on Aging
  • Britt Rios-Ellis – CSU, Monterey Bay
  • Mara Bird, Ph.D
  • Mara Bird, Ph.D
  • Center Director
  • Melawhy Garcia-Vega, MPH
  • Melawhy Garcia, Ph.D.
  • Faculty Research Associate / Assistant Professor
  • Dr. Selena Nguyen-Rodriguez, Ph.D
  • Selena Nguyen-Rodriguez, Ph.D
  • Faculty Research Associate / Associate Professor
  • Gil Pena
  • Diana Aguirre, MPH, CHES
  • Project Coordinator
  • Natalia Gatdula, MPH
  • Natalia Gatdula, MPH
  • Research Associate/ Program Manager
  • Mayra Rascón, MPH
  • Mayra Rascón, MPH
  • Doctoral Fellow
  • Gil Pena
  • Joaquin Morales
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Dr. Britt Rios-Ellis, Ph.D
  • Dr. Britt Rios-Ellis, Ph.D
  • Founding Director
  • Gil Pena
  • Maryan Santa Cruz
  • Project Assistant


  • Dr. Gail Frank, Family and Consumer Science Department
  • Dr. Gino Galvez, Co-Investigator
  • Dr. Javier Lopez-Zetina, Health Science Department
  • Dr. Guido Urizar, Psychology Department
  • Dr. Eric Marinez, Biochemistry and Chemistry Department