Board of Directors
Anuja Mendiratta, M.E.S.
Anuja Mendiratta is a Bay Area-based independent consultant working with foundations, donors, nonprofits, and coalitions on a range of environmental, human rights, and social justice issues. Anuja currently manages the Race Gender Human Rights Fund of the Women’s Foundation of California and is the Senior Strategist of the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative. Prior to launching her consulting practice, Anuja worked at the Women’s Foundation, the Marin Community Foundation, and the San Francisco Foundation. She is a co-founder and steering committee member of the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative and the National Healthy Nail and Beauty Salon Alliance, which seek to advance the health, safety and rights of salon workers at the state and national levels. Anuja currently serves on the board of Women’s Voices for the Earth, is a committee member of Center for Environmental Health’s Justice Fund, and is on funding board of the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment’s Northern California Environmental Grassroots Fund. She holds an undergraduate degree from Antioch College and a Masters in environmental studies from York University. Anuja enjoys hiking, travel, reading, sharing great food, and being outdoors.
New York, NY
Ogonnaya Dotson-Newman is the Director of Environmental Health at WE ACT for Environmental Justice. Ogonnaya joined WE ACT in April 2008 as the organization’s Environmental Health and Community-Based Participatory Research Coordinator.
Prior to joining the WE ACT team, Ogonnaya worked at Loma Linda University’s School of Public Health as a Research Associate and Instructor. While working in this capacity she taught classes and advised students in the Health Geoinformatics program. Her research there focused on environmental health service delivery in New Mexico, collaborating with local Tribal communities on preparedness, pan flu and preparedness training for public health professionals and understanding medical products donations in Ghana.The research in her early career focused on gaining skills to bridge the gap between qualitative and quantitative research to improve public health practice.
As an undergrad at DePaul University, Ms. Dotson Newman pursued a degree in environmental science focusing on the historical implications of place and space on the South Side of Chicago. Her desire to use a variety of research methods to translate science for communities of color and low income has remained at the center of her interest for a number of years. After completing her degree she went on to pursue a Masters in Public Health. As an MPH student she conducted research on environmental health service delivery in Zambia, while teaching courses and developing a curriculum in Environmental Health and Science at Zambia Adventist University.
Shortly after graduating from the University of Colorado with a degree in Environmental Biology, Jennifer took the unlikely path of starting her career in the financial services industry in 1994 at TIAA-CREF, a company that specializes in retirement plans for universities. Jennifer later moved to Missoula, MT and became a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch, where she worked until January 2010. Jennifer is now a partner at Estep, Hope and Weber Capital Mangement, Inc., an independent full service brokerage firm that specializes in socially responsible and community investing.
Jennifer is active in the Missoula community as a volunteer for a variety of women’s and social organizations. She and her husband have two elementary school aged girls. Jennifer enjoys a good book, cooking, camping and hiking.
San Francisco, CA
In 2011, Jessica Welborn completed a doctorate in Perinatal Psychology at the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute, with a focus on the psychological impact of donating breast milk following a perinatal loss. Jessica is the Donor Coordinator at the Mothers Milk Bank in San Jose, CA where she conducted her research. She is writing a toolkit based on her dissertation that provides healthcare providers with information about how to address lactation with bereaved mothers. Jessica also currently serves on the Board of Hunter Industries, a family owned irrigation business that her grandfather started in 1981.
Jessica lives in San Francisco but in her free time, she can often be found exploring and hiking remote parts of Montana with her boyfriend and her dog, Sam. Jessica also enjoys yoga, traveling, and cooking.
Ann Blake is an independent consultant working with governments, occupational health, public health and environmental advocates to find viable alternatives to toxic chemicals in manufacturing and consumer products. Dr. Blake’s work covers toxics reduction strategies from product content screening and environmentally preferable purchasing to drafting local, national and international legislation and chemicals policies. Dr. Blake has a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, and a Ph.D. in molecular genetics and neural development from the University of Oregon.
Dr. Blake grew up in South East Asia, where her parents were university professors in economics and sociology. In her spare time, she and her husband like to cook with ingredients from the local farmers markets in Northern California. Ann is also studying music theory, vocal performance, and jazz improvisation, and composing.
Ami Zota, Sc.D, M.S.
San Francisco, CA
Dr. Ami Zota is a postdoctoral fellow in the Program on Reproductive Health and Environment at the University of California, San Francisco where she uses her expertise in epidemiology, exposure assessment, and environmental justice to research the cumulative impacts of environmental and social factors on women’s reproductive health. She is primarily interested in conducting research that informs environmental public health policy and action.
Her current work focuses on effects of environmental chemicals (such as PBDE flame retardants, PCBs, and PFCs) on thyroid health, cardiovascular effects such as high blood pressure, and birth outcomes in ethnically and economically diverse populations of pregnant women. Ami has published her findings in numerous, peer-reviewed journals. In July 2010, Ami published a study, “self-reported chemicals exposure, beliefs about disease causation, and risk of breast cancer in the Cape Cod Breast Cancer and Environment Study: a case-control study.” This article, which is the first published report on cleaning product use and risk of breast cancer, gained wide media attention and is in the top 10 most-accessed papers of the year for the journal Environmental Health.
Ami completed her masters and doctorate in environmental health at the Harvard School of Public Health. She completed her bachelors of science degree in public health in her home state of North Carolina at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She previously worked at the Silent Spring Institute, a non-profit research institute that conducts policy-oriented research on women’s health and the environment. She is currently an Environmental Health Science Communication Fellow and serves on the scientific advisory committees of the Breast Cancer Fund and the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative.
In her spare time, Ami enjoys dancing, going to concerts and seeking out new music, creating community especially around food, promoting social justice, and exploring San Francisco.
Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D
Ithaca, New York
Sandra Steingraber is a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Ithaca College in New York. Sandra is a noted ecologist, author and internationally recognized specialist on the connection between environmental pollution and its impact on human health. Steingraber’s highly acclaimed book, Living Downstream: An Ecologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment, presents cancer as a human rights issue. It was the first to bring together data on toxic releases with newly released data from the U.S. cancer registries. Her second book, Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood, is both a memoir of her own pregnancy and an investigation of fetal toxicology. In August 2007, Sandra published a report for the Breast Cancer Fund called The Falling Age of Puberty in U.S. Girls: What We Know, What We Need to Know. Sandra is an enthusiastic and highly sought-after public speaker, known for her unique ability to serve as a translator between scientists, activists, researchers and mothers.
Liz Banse is Associate Director of Resource Media in Seattle. She provides media support, training, and outreach for environmental and public health organizations across the West.
Salt Lake City, UT
Terry Tempest-Williams is an author specializing in environmental issues and natural history. She is the former Naturalist-in-Residence at the Utah Museum of Natural History.