A Californian native, Manuel Alvarado was born and raised in Sanger, California. He earned a B.A. from California State University, Fresno. He helped open the Good Company Players Music Hall and performed in dozens of productions there. After twenty years in the hospitality and advertising industries [including the California Dancing Raisins campaign] he returned to his roots in the Central Valley.
Manuel is currently the Community Relations Manager for the Sierra Health Foundation’s Center for Health Program Management in the San Joaquin Valley. He also serves as President of the GLEE Foundation of California that serves the LGBT community access to higher educational opportunities.
He most recently served as Director of Leadership Programs for UC Merced/Great Valley Center where he managed the core programs for a diverse regional nonprofit organization. Responsibilities include research, communications, budget and personnel management, outreach strategy development, program design – development and recruitment, publication coordination, and fundraising.
Previously he was Director of Tourism for the City of Reedley where he oversaw the Historic Reedley Opera House. He works closely with the production company that performs professional theatre while on their Board of Directors. He also served as Vice President of the Central Valley Visitors Association. Manuel has organized and is a Past-President of a nonprofit organization, the Kings River Arts Council with a gallery showcasing the work of local artists in Reedley.
Affiliation: University Friends Circle, Merced Symphony Association; Merced Performing Arts Coalition, League of Women Voters.
ReCESS is important because working together we improve the livability of our communities!
Ann is a native of the valley and a graduate of U.C. Santa Barbara who moved to Merced in 1978 with husband Lee and their two children.
She retired from Merced Community College after 9 years as the first Director – Office of Relations with Schools (Articulation Officer, Career and Transfer Center Director, Matriculation Coordinator, and K-16 Outreach). She has been a grant writer and consultant for a variety of state and local entities to develop projects that improve service delivery systems for special populations, interagency collaboration, development of a Hmong ethnomusicology project, and field coordination for a central valley writers-in-conversation humanities programming series.
Her current community involvement includes President, University Friends Circle, Interim Chair, Merced Performing Arts Coalition (MPAC), Vice President, Merced Symphony Association, and active member, League of Women Voters.
ReCCES is critically important to improving the future of our community since it ensures that the research performed at UC Merced is not only relevant, but that it addresses the true needs and concerns of our residents. It is very exciting to be a participant in an organization which is truly working to make a positive difference in the health and well-being of our community.
Nancy Young-Bergman is an independent management consultant who has over 30 years of experience in health care administration. She is an organizational development specialist who focuses on team-building and systems improvement. In several major hospitals, including MD Anderson Cancer Center and Cedars-Sinai Hospital, she developed multidisciplinary teams that worked together to identify and resolve complex systems and process issues that crossed departmental boundaries. As a management consultant at Johns Hopkins Hospital, she was responsible for streamlining the utilization management department, resulting in major cost savings for this major organization. Most recently, Nancy has been involved in the creation of innovative programs to address issues that adversely impact our communities. For example, in 2009, she started up the current Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Merced County organization to improve the lives of over 750 abused and neglected foster youth throughout the County. In 2012, she and her husband formed Make Someone Happy, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization which operates Produce on the Go, a 23 foot semi-truck and trailer that delivers fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables to residents who reside in the food deserts of Merced County. In 2014 and 2015, Nancy assisted the Merced County Human Services Agency in developing the first Volunteer Program for the Merced County Human Services Agency which is now addressing the needs of isolated and homebound seniors throughout Merced County. Nancy holds a Masters’ in Public Administration from the University of Kansas and a Ph.D. in Community Health Sciences from the University of Texas.
Affiliation: Director, Merced County Department of Public Health
Community engagement is the key to meaningful public health research.
Ms. Grassi is the Director of the Merced County Department of Public Health. She has worked in the field of public health.for 25 years, all of that time in the San Joaquin Valley of California. Ms. Grassi has developed and administered programs in health care delivery, chronic disease prevention, maternal, child and adolescent health, emergency preparedness, and emergency medical services.
Ms. Grassi has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Masters of Public Health degree from the University of California, Berkeley.
Affiliation: Merced County Office of Education
When I first was introduced to the concept of ReCCES I knew this was an opportunity for community members and agencies to work with the students at UC Merced. Several years later, it is still the best program in Merced and the region.
Dennis has worked as the Operations Supervisor for the Family Resource Council for 18 years. In this capacity, Dennis has worked throughout Merced County supporting local non-profit organizations. He is the President of the local nonprofit CORE (Community Organization Resources for Everyone) Connection. Dennis and his wife Toni have been married for 26 years and have one daughter, Arlette, who is 8 years old. Dennis is a member of the original steering committee that founded the Community Foundation of Merced County.
Affiliation: GISP, GIS Coordinator, City of Merced
ReCCES offers the opportunity to bring together the community and UC Merced students, not only to learn more about each other but to use the collaboration to address and find solutions for community concerns and regional issues.
Began her GIS career in 1998 in Madera County and accepted the job as GIS Coordinator for the City of Merced in 2003. She manages GIS in and across all departments. Her professional associations include being a member of CentralCal URISA, currently serving as Secretary and serving on the board of the California Geographic Information Association (CGIA), past chair of the California GIS conference (CalGIS), and recently participated on the committee rewriting the charter for the California GIS Council. She is a member of the San Joaquin Regional GIS Council and hosts a city-wide GIS User Group that includes other agencies that share geographic data. She has hosted four GeoSummits at UC Merced and several GIS Day events at the city as well as the annual map gallery in recognition of National Geography Week.
Affiliation: Interim Assistant Superintendent Curriculum & Instruction,Merced County Office of Education
The importance of using well thought out research and the collection of data to inform public policy can not be overstated. The partnership between ReCCES and the community at large helps to address critical community issues.
John Magneson has worked in education for the last 20 years in Merced county schools at the K-12, college and university levels. His educational training is in English, technology, administration and libraries. His focus has been on language acquisition and the use of technology to enhance learning. As a former river guide on the Grand Canyon, he enjoys the out of doors and opportunities to discover the flow in nature.
Affiliation: Building Healthy Communities/United Way Merced
I am deeply committed to support activities that facilitate social and political change in my community. I am excited about the opportunity to be part of the ReCEES Advisory Board. I hope to assist in deepening the collaboration and partnerships between UC Merced community-engaged scholars, who are addressing complex issues locally and around the world, and community members and others outside of the academy. I want to fully support and be part of the connection between university and community partners to generate and apply knowledge to improve my community in tangible ways. I am eager to be part of a community where researchers and community members learn, understand and respect each other as they work together to transform Merced County into a better place.
Tatiana Vizcaíno-Stewart was born and raised in México City until the age of eighteen, when she moved to the U.S. with her family. She received a B.A. Degree in International Relations and a Comparative Literature Minor (English/Spanish) from UC Davis (1993) and a M.A. in English/TESOL from CSU Stanislaus (2005). She has over 15 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector with grant-funded projects, particularly by The California Endowment (TCE). She is the former Director of Training for Healthy House Within a MATCH Coalition, a California community-based organization focused on building understanding across cultures. In that capacity, she led a nationally recognized program to test and train healthcare interpreters.