Our Directors

California OneCare Board of Directors

Joan Abrahamson (Los Angeles, CA): Joan is President of the Jefferson Institute, a public policy institute that brings creative thinking to practical problems. The Institute identifies innovative approaches to current policy problems and works to implement these solutions.

Prior to her work with the Jefferson Institute, Joan was Assistant Chief of Staff to Vice President George Bush and as Special Assistant and Associate Counsel to Vice Presidents Walter Mondale and George Bush.  Prior to this, she worked for the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva and for UNESCO’s Division of Human Rights and Peace in Paris.  She planned and implemented the Vienna International Congress on the Teaching of Human Rights and the International Symposium on the Political Participation of Women.

Joan is President of the Jonas Salk Foundation and the Founding Chair of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. She served on the Commission of Fine Arts in Washington, D.C. and has been a consultant to many organizations, including the Harvard University Center for Urban Affairs, the Rockefeller Commission on the Arts and Education in America, the National Endowment for the Arts, the United Nations University, the Executive Office of the President and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. She serves on the boards of National Geographic Society, California Institute for the Arts, and the American Architectural Foundation, among others.

Joan earned a B.A. from Yale University, M.A. from Stanford University, a doctorate in Learning Environments from Harvard University and a J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. She also served as a law clerk for the Supreme Court of California and, in June 1985, she was named a MacArthur Prize Fellow.

Jeanne Ertle – Vice Chair (Chico, CA): Jeanne has been an advocate for social & economic justice since the early eighties, when she was Director of the Catholic Diocese of San Diego Office for Justice and Peace, advising the bishop of public policy issues related to social and economic justice and representing the diocese through position papers, testimony at public hearings, and in community coalitions.

Starting in 1989, she co-chaired a coalition of 50 religious, labor and community organizations in San Diego to create a Housing Trust Fund for lower income families which distributed over $7 million its first year and continues to support the development of affordable housing. In 1990 she was honored as a Community Peacemaker by the Community Mediation Center of San Diego and was a recipient of the San Diego Housing Commission’s Shelter Award as Housing Advocate of the Year.

In 1991 Jeanne began a series of focus group meetings comparing several health care system models, including single payer. The results of those meetings led to her joining the Leadership Board of San Diego Neighbor to Neighbor, her involvement in early planning to launch a state proposition to establish a single payer health care system in California, and becoming an organizer in the Proposition 186 campaign.

As the Grassroots Organizer of the California OneCare Campaign, Jeanne is developing materials and ideas for use by local activists.

Eve Gittelson (New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA): Eve Gittelson graduated from Barnard College (Columbia University), where she majored in Economics. She is a highly-regarded blogger, known as nyceve. Her essays appear regularly on the Daily Kos recommended list. She writes most often about health policy and access to health care.

Eve spends much of her time learning about the healthcare crisis first-hand at a hospital in Manhattan, working with an oncologist and his patients to help them obtain hard-won insurance company approvals for treatments and medications.

Walter Heath (Morro Bay, CA): Walter is a retired biochemist and educator. He worked as part of an interdisciplinary team of scientists to develop biocatalysts that are used to formulate pharmaceutical intermediate compounds at large scale.  For his work in the process development of three enzymes which substitute for hazardous catalysts in a large-scale process, Walter shared a Presidential Green Chemistry Award.

Walter has been actively involved with the effort to obtain a single-payer health care insurance system in California since 2005.  He first awakened to the potential of grassroots activism at age 14 when his high-school teacher assigned Saul Alinsky’s  Rules for Radicals for class reading.  Many years later, seeking to be a more effective advocate for single-payer in his community, he trained with Marshall Ganz to learn techniques for empowering individuals to organize for social justice in their communities.

Walter served as a regional field organizer for the Obama campaign beginning in August, 2007.  The initiation of several new community leaders, who have since organized successful local projects, was a gratifying outcome of his Obama campaign experience

Ana Mascareñas: Ana is committed to advancing the precautionary principle as the basis for public health and environmental policy. She is the Policy and Communications Director at Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, where she works to inform the medical community and policymakers about toxic threats, promote safer practices and strengthen local community organizations to engage in meaningful public health and environmental advocacy. She is a steering committee member of Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy (CHANGE), a coalition of environmental health, policy, labor, environmental justice, and interfaith organizations working to create a better system regulating toxic chemicals and promoting safer alternatives in California.

Ana serves on the Board of Directors for the East Los Angeles Residents Association, where she has organized for improved local governance in her 126,000-strong unincorporated community. She is also a board member of Bienvenidos, a community-based social service organization that provides a safety net for children and families through medical care, mental health, youth services, violence prevention and intervention, and family preservation programs.

Ana earned a B.A. in Human Biology and a B.A, in Sociology at Brown University and served constituents in the DC and Los Angeles offices of Congressman Xavier Becerra (CA-31) for two years. She was a 2009 Fellow of the Los Angelos chapter of New Leaders Council (NLC), a political training program for young progressives, and a 2010 Fellow of the Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) Leadership Institute.

Raised in New Mexico, Ana comes from three generations of a California farm worker family.

Sylvia Moore: Sylvia is the Blog Editor for California OneCare. She spent several years as a newspaper reporter in central California and is currently a Los Angeles-area blogger, writer and activist. Sylvia has volunteered on behalf of healthcare and media reform and is a member of and recording secretary for the Culver City Democratic Club. She is also a member of and blogger for LA Media Reform (http://lamediareform.wordpress.com <http://lamediareform.wordpress.com ), a local group of volunteers dedicated to helping people become citizen mediamakers and critical consumers of corporate mass media.

Michael A. Rodríguez, MD –  Treasurer (Los Angeles, CA): Michael is Professor and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Family Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Director of the Network for Multicultural Health & Healthcare Research and Associate Director of the UCLA Primary Care Research Fellowship.

His research activities focus on ethnic/racial health care disparities including violence prevention, and patient-provider communication of sensitive issues. He is a leading researcher and policy expert in the areas of intimate partner violence, quality of healthcare for multiethnic populations across the age spectrum and workforce diversity.

Michael has published widely and lectured internationally on the topics of intimate partner violence, medical education, and cross-cultural medicine. He has consulted for the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the Pan American Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Institute of Medicine. He is also a Board Member for the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California and an Advisor for the Latino Medical Student Association. He mentors and teaches UCLA faculty and trainees in a wide range of schools while volunteering at a community health center serving uninsured patients in Los Angeles.

Michael completed his undergraduate training at the University of California, Berkeley; received his medical degree from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; completed his residency from the UC San Francisco’s Family Medicine Residency Program; received his Master of Public Health degree at the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health; and was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at Stanford University.

Alberto Saavedra (Sherman Oaks, CA): Al is a computer industry executive and entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience.  He is currently Vice President of Sales with Quiterian, an international business intelligence consulting firm which provides services in numerous languages.

He is the co-founder of a number of online support websites: Automated Training Systems which provides hands-on training for computer professionals; Fax Star which assists companies in streamlining their communications and more efficiently delivering documents to their customers; and Debates.com, an online community which allows users to debate people from around the world.

Al also served as VP of Sales and Marketing with Universal Software, which provides onsite, offsite, and offshore internet technology outsourcing solutions and Vision Solutions where he was Director of International Channels.

He is a progressive political blogger at several important community blogger sites including Daily Kos, My Left Wing and Calitics. As a single payer activist, Al organized the Single Payer Happy Hour Healthcare Demonstrations in 2009 and 2010 in Los Angeles.

He is a native of Uruguay and a graduate of the US Air Force Academy and Colorado State University.

George Savage – Recording Secretary (Pacific Palisades, CA): With degrees in advertising and marketing from Michigan State University, George began as an automotive advertising copywriter with Leo Burnett and held several corporate marketing posts before starting his own ad agency in 1982.

Over some twenty years, his advertising agencies helped guide many new enterprises to success in retail, consumer electronics, software, and numerous internet launches, including brands like Starbucks, Noah’s Bagels, Alpine, Infinity Speakers, Knowledge Adventure, Rubbermaid Office Products, E-Toys, Wedding Channel and Futurestep.com. He was most recently co-founder of Los Angeles-based Advertising Agency, Kalis & Savage World Wide Partners. In 1997, Kalis & Savage was named “LA’s Internet Hot Shop” as it launched some nine new internet brands in 12 months, nationally and internationally.

George co-chaired the historic 365-day/365-city educational campaign for single payer legislation in 2006 and 2007. This campaign culminated in “The Great LA Health Care Rally” in August 2007, at City Hall in Los Angeles, to that point California’s largest public rally for single payer reform.

Since 2009 George has been Co-Chair of the California OneCare Campaign Committee for SB 810, working daily with leadership on strategic planning, advertising, PR and web site and communications. His focus has been primarily on messaging, development of the coalition theme and graphic materials for the campaigns.

Don Schroeder – Chair (North Hollywood, CA): Don has been a writer, producer, and director for more than thirty years, winning dozens of  awards around the world including a national Emmy for writing and directing the one-hour PBS documentary, “No Greater Love,” about the miracle of organ donation. He also wrote, produced and directed “California OneCare: Full Care, For All, For Less,” a video that explains why our healthcare system is in crisis and how we can solve it with comprehensive health coverage for all and still save money. The video can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEi0OveTtO8

Don holds a PhD in Communication from the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California, an MFA in Cinema Production from USC’s School of Cinema-Television, and an MS degree in TV/Radio from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communication.  He is co-founder of the San Fernando Valley chapter of Health Care for All–California, and has been Co-Chair of the California OneCare Campaign. Don is currently an adjunct instructor at Loyola Marymount University and at Chaffey College.