AHF News: Meet our resident leaders
Including resident voices in the i2 evaluation process
Our Innovation Initiative (i2) Challenge Grant funding program is a 12-month process that seeks to identify and build innovative ideas that improve health outcomes, access and quality for under-resourced residents in our region.
As part of our ongoing journey toward more inclusiveness in our work from those that represent the populations that we are ultimately trying to impact, this year’s i2 evaluation committee includes five Resident Leaders. These individuals were selected from an application and interview process. They live in San Diego County and have experienced significant barriers to accessing high quality healthcare services. The Resident Leaders are working side by side with our staff and program committee in evaluating and deciding which organization will be awarded the challenge grant of up to $1 million.
Meet our Resident Leaders
Brian “Barry” Pollard: Since 2013, Barry has served as the Founder and Executive Director of the Urban Collaborative Project (UCP), a neighborhood organization focused on reducing the social and health disparities for residents in Southeastern San Diego and other urban communities in San Diego. He oversees this resident driven organization through using the Self-Healing Community Model of focusing on addressing community trauma and resilience centered on health, art, beautification and education.
A native San Diegan, Barry attended the University of Louisiana in Lafayette on a football scholarship where he received a BSBA, and then began a 30-year career in Organizational Development and Human Resources in hospitals and manufacturing industries. In addition to his role in managing the UCP, Barry is currently or has served and represented his community in a variety of leadership roles with many organizations, including Central Region Leadership Team; Encanto Planning Group; NAACP; Citizens Advisory Board on Police Practices; ICOC (San Diego Unified School District), and SANDAG.
Janice Luna Reynoso: First born child to Mexican Immigrant parents and raised in National City and Southeast San Diego, Janice Luna Reynoso grew up learning to make a difference and helping others from her mother. Raised on occupied Kumeyaay Territory, Janice continues to be influenced by her family’s farm worker heritage; her connection to Baja California; stories of marching off of the field with Cesar Chavez; the learnings of indigenous peoples, and pioneers in the civil rights and Chicano movement. Gang violence was prevalent in her youth and Janice lost friends and family to violence, drug addiction, or incarceration. This inspired the desire for social justice and learning more about systems. Janice is one out of six children, a community leader involved in projects such as founding Mundo Gardens, with a focus on social justice, community gardening, health equity, arte y cultura. She also manages Refugio Music Studio in National City. She carries the vision of holistic health for all as a Resident Leadership Academy facilitator, and with her work with refugee and immigrant youth from various San Diego barrios. She has facilitated On the RISE, a youth leadership program and is herself an alumni of RISE San Diego Urban Leadership Program. She is a single mother to three daughters, Jacqueline Zenona, Semilla, and JenMichel, who are also active artivists in the community.
Mohammed Tuama: “As newcomers to the United States, we spend our first few years busy adjusting to the new life, and we tend to ignore our health and wellness,” says Mohammed. He believes that most newcomers live in an unhealthy environment and tend to see wellness as a luxury. Mohammed works mostly with Middle Eastern refugees in San Diego. He is always looking for ways to introduce health and wellness. He served at the Resident Leadership Academy. He has also responded to our community needs during COVID-19 early days by using social media.
Nghi Dang: Nghi is a Project Coordinator at UC San Diego’s Center for Community Health. Her work focuses on improving and advocating for health equity within the food system. She is also pursuing her Master’s at UC San Diego’s School of Public Health in the concentration of Technology and Precision Health. She is excited to be on the Alliance Healthcare Foundation Innovation Initiative (i2) Resident Leader Review Panel and hopes to make a positive difference in the community.
Samantha Brito: Samantha has a passion for working with nonprofits. Most recently she served as an in-field assistant for Just in Time for Foster Youth in Vista, providing her with the opportunity to get to know the participants. Additionally, Samantha worked as a preschool instructor for The McGraw Family in San Marcos, where she designed and implemented weekly preschool curriculum, including innovative and educational home-learning activities that improved children’s overall comprehension, and maintained a child-friendly environment for indoor and outdoor activities to encourage independent creativity. Other organizations for which she has worked include Leah’s Pantry (San Francisco-remote), and Make a Wish Foundation. She earned a B.A. in Communications & Sociology from San Diego State University.
About Innovation Initiative (i2) $1 Million Challenge Grant
The i2 Challenge Grant represents a 12-month demonstration and workshop cycle that allows eligible i2 applicants to hone their business plan and grant proposal with the aid of experts provided by Alliance and our Innovation Partner, Nex Cubed. The 12-months also allows our Program and Evaluation Committees time to get to know the applicants and develop a deeper understanding of their innovation solution. Read more.