“For those of us committed to working for social and economic justice, we must see ourselves as a community of continuous learners.”
Jennifer Lynn-Whaley, Ph.D.
Senior Program Associate
RDA assigns its most qualified and experienced staff and consultants to every effort. RDA staff members collectively represent a multi-disciplinary and broad range of expertise in the fields of behavioral and mental health, juvenile justice, prevention and recovery, early childhood and youth programs, and community planning and development. Staff members have in-depth knowledge of evidence-based practices endorsed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA); National Institutes of Health (NIH); U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and the Institute of Medicine (IOM). We are seasoned in working with diverse at-risk populations, including youth, transitional age youth, seniors, people with disabilities, people with mental illness, and others in need of long term care, those at risk of or experiencing homelessness, domestic violence, and incarceration. Furthermore, RDA’s associates are well versed in evidence-based best practices associated with evaluating public sector programs and services addressing at-risk populations. The RDA team has several bilingual Spanish and English speaking staff, and RDA has the capacity to produce written materials and conduct meetings and focus groups in Spanish and English.
Diana Sanders, MA joined RDA in 2007, bringing with her twenty years' experience in non-profit management, organization development, systems and programmatic design. During her seventeen-year tenure with Delancey Street Foundation, Diana gained extensive insight working with disenfranchised populations. She honed her skills designing and delivering training programs, successfully improving organizational processes, and developing effective communication strategies. Her experiences and passion for social justice and inspiring change through collaboration continue to guide her work. Her recent work with San Mateo County has been instrumental in bringing stakeholders together to restructure jail programming and re-entry services to reduce the cycle of recidivism. As a result of her work with the Metropolitan Transportation Agency, new systems and processes are being implemented to increase transit accessibility to marginalized populations.
Kevin Wu, MPH, brings a background in health care evaluation and community-based public health to RDA. Kevin is passionate about working to achieve social justice for underprivileged populations, particularly in regards to their health outcomes. Kevin has a strong aptitude working with quantitative and qualitative data to understand the stories hidden beneath the surface. In graduate school, Kevin developed a foundation in a community-based participatory research framework, exploring the lay health adviser model for health education in rural African American churches. At the national level, Kevin has primary care redesign experience evaluating the implementation of patient-centered medical homes in the New Orleans safety-net community health center system. Locally, Kevin participated in evaluating the integration of mental health services into primary care centers serving populations living with or at-risk for HIV.
Kevin holds a Master of Public Health degree in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He received Bachelor of Arts degrees in Public Health and Molecular & Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley.
Alison Hamburg comes to RDA with a dedication to addressing social inequities through strengthening the capacity of local organizations to create programs and policies that promote health and wellbeing in marginalized communities. She is committed to a participatory approach to planning and evaluation that involves local residents and builds on community assets. Alison has over seven years of experience in research and consulting and is skilled in conceptualizing and implementing research designs, analyzing quantitative and qualitative data, and writing reports for a range of audiences. Alison enjoys collaborating with clients to gather data to inform strategic decisions, and has provided training and technical assistance to social sector organizations in the areas of program evaluation, report writing, survey design, and qualitative research.
Prior to joining RDA Alison carried out a variety of evaluation and planning projects as a consultant with government and nonprofit agencies across the public health, housing, education, and community development sectors. Before entering the consulting field Alison worked in a direct service organization for persons with HIV/AIDS in San Francisco.
Alison holds dual master’s degrees in public health and public administration from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Wesleyan University.
Ardavan Davaran comes to RDA with a background in criminology and criminal justice policy research, and brings with him a strong understanding of advanced research methods and design, as well as extensive practice using a number of quantitative data analysis techniques. Ardavan is dedicated to working in a capacity that promotes social and economic justice for disadvantaged populations, and as a bay area native himself, he is passionate about collaborating with clients to help inform decision making processes to help better serve disadvantaged populations across the bay area and beyond. As a research associate at RDA, Ardavan contributes to data collection and analysis, research, and evaluation planning for a variety of criminal justice based projects, among others.
The unifying theme of Ardavan’s research has centered on identifying the ways in which social institutions, and the organizations that comprise them, reproduce and exacerbate race, class, and gender-based inequalities within the United States. Ardavan recently completed work on a federally funded NIH/NIAAA grant that explored the effectiveness of 0.08% BAC legislation as a tool to reduce drunk driving fatality rates across states, and also explored how 0.08% BAC law change affects DUI enforcement patterns, with attention to whether an unintended consequence of lower BAC limits is to disparately target female offending patterns for arrest. Most recently, Ardavan shifted his focus to examine how police organizational arrangements and practices systematically produce uneven drug law enforcement across space and by race among a nationally representative sample of municipal police agencies in the year 2000.
Ardavan graduated from Washington State University in 2011 with a Master’s Degree in sociology. He will earn his doctoral degree in sociology from Washington State University in 2015.
Debbie Mayer, MPP, comes to RDA with a passion to support criminal justice reform through research and evaluation. She strongly believes that an effective and equitable criminal justice system must be informed by the experiences of individuals and communities most impacted by the criminal justice system and she hopes her work will amplify these voices. She has over four years of experience conducting qualitative and quantitative research for social policy research institutions and community-based organizations, focusing on a variety of issues including jail and prison reentry, juvenile probation fees, the underground commercial sex economy, and the DOJ-funded justice reinvestment initiative. Her earlier professional experiences include direct service work in a New York City supportive housing residence and supporting a randomized controlled trial evaluating microfinance liability structures in Peru.
At Resource Development Associates, Debbie currently works on a variety of criminal justice projects to evaluate and improve probation, specialty courts, and violence prevention efforts. She provides technical assistance to the San Francisco Street Violence Intervention Program to strengthen their data collection practices and is analyzing Los Angeles Probation Department’s organizational structure, policies, and programs to make recommendations for reform.
Debbie holds a Master of Public Policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the George Washington University in Washington, DC.
John Cervetto is a Research Associate at RDA with over seven years’ professional experience working in healthcare and clinical settings that serve at risk and underserved populations. With a Master’s in Social Work from UC Berkeley, Mr. Cervetto has focused his career on systems change and innovation in public and nonprofit health and human services. At RDA, Mr. Cervetto supports a diverse portfolio of planning, evaluation, and systems change projects. Mr. Cervetto brings to RDA skills in qualitative research, interviewing and group facilitation, financial analysis and planning, systems mapping, and data visualization. Currently, he is working on a statewide evaluation of MHSA community planning processing in California counties, strategic planning for MHSA services in Kings County and Yolo County, facilitation of the revision process of the Sacramento County’s CPS Department’s policy and procedure manual, and mapping Alameda County’s mental health system for the AB1421 planning process.
Other successful projects include San Mateo AB109 realignment planning, Santa Clara County LGBTQ Health Assessment, CFPIC/CalSWEC Coordinated Care Pathways for Aging and Older Adults, Yolo Health and Human Service Consolidation Assessment and Oakland Measure Y SARANet database development. Before joining RDA, Mr. Cervetto interned at Lifelong Medical Care in Berkeley, Ca where he lead an initiative develop an integrated care model for indigent and severely mental ill patients. Mr. Cervetto also worked at the Alameda County Office of AIDS Administration providing research and support on evaluations of contractors receiving HRSA funding for HIV/AIDS services. Before getting his MSW, Mr. Cervetto worked as both an administrator and direct service provider at residential treatment facilities for emotionally disturbed children and youth. This experience provided Mr. Cervetto with firsthand experience of the complexities of California’s mental health, CPS, and foster care system. Mr. Cervetto is also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer serving in the Kyrgyz Republic from 2007-2009 as a health promotion consultant to rural healthcare workers.
Lark Baum-Kailasam brings over a decade of experience across a broad range of public and private sector agencies serving the needs of children, families, and adults in the fields of child welfare, adult mental health, homelessness, HIV/AIDS and substance abuse. This breadth of experience has enabled a thorough understanding of the needs of organizations and clients from a variety of contexts and with diverse circumstances. She has worked locally with Anka Behavioral Health, EMQ Children & Family Services (now EMQ FamiliesFirst), Koinonia Family Services, the East Bay Children’s Law Offices and Contra Costa County Children & Family Services, but has also gathered experience in other states and abroad. Lark spent over two years as a social worker in in England, where she learned about the fresh and innovative ways the British have employed to address child and family welfare issues.
At RDA, Lark serves as a child welfare subject matter expert, contributing her wealth of first-hand knowledge and experience with foster care, adoptions, family maintenance, family reunification, and the child welfare legal system from several different professional perspectives. Lark also provides support to criminal justice, behavioral health, housing, and service integration projects.
Lark received her dual-degrees in social work and Human and Community Development at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which provided a robust educational foundation for both direct services and clinical research work, with a strong emphasis on understanding data analysis and research-based interventions alongside the clinical skills training traditionally taught in Social Work masters programs.
Linda A. Hua is a practitioner of organizational psychology who combines proven theory and practice experience to enhance the development of individuals, teams, and organizations. At RDA, Dr. Hua has worked extensively on program evaluations, organizational needs assessments, and strategic planning using an evidence-based approach to provide recommendations for program maintenance, improvement, and decision making.
Prior to joining RDA, Dr. Hua was an operations specialist at a start-up marketing and design firm. In her tenure there, Dr. Hua created standard operating procedures for daily project management activities. Doing so greatly reduced the ambiguity of the fast-paced workplace and increased the efficiency in client and vendor interactions. Dr. Hua has seen her contributions help the company grow from an annual revenue of $300,000 to $9 million, becoming one ofInc. Magazine’s 100 fastest-growing businesses and one ofCounselor’s best places to work.
Dr. Hua earned a PhD in organizational psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University in San Francisco. She has a bachelor’s of science in experimental-neuroscience psychology and a master’s of arts in organizational psychology.
Ms. Garmisa is dedicated to addressing social and economic inequality in her local community, bringing experience in organizing, facilitating trainings, liaising between diverse stakeholder communities, and advocating for tenant, migrant, employee, and LGBTQ rights. At RDA she supports several evaluation, strategic planning, technical assistance, research, and business development projects. Ms. Garmisa is a primary and secondary research analyst with both qualitative and quantitative strengths, and specializes in housing policy, operational analysis, and stakeholder engagement activities. She also has six years of professional experience in IT strategy, planning, and integration.
Ms. Garmisa earned a joint Master of Business Administration and Master of Public Policy degree, with a focus in non-profit management from Mills College, in Oakland, California. She graduated from Stanford University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Studies.
In the summer of 2014 Ms. Garmisa was a Senior Fellow with the New Sector Alliance, where she supported the organization’s Social Impact Leadership Curriculum and mentored emerging leaders in social sector organizations. In 2013 she was an Education Pioneers Fellow at Education for Change Public Schools in Oakland, California, where she worked alongside the CEO to deliver a set of performance management best practices and protocols and implementation recommendations to improve educational outcomes for low-income students in Oakland’s Fruitvale District. Before entering graduate school, Ms. Garmisa directed technology teams at the California College of the Arts, where she launched and managed facilities for digital art, architecture, and design curricula. She also served for six years as the Board Treasurer of San Francisco Pride at Work, an AFL-CIO affiliate fostering mutual support between the LGBTQ and Labor movements.
David McCahon, Ph.D. has a background in public policy and criminal justice and has extensive experience. His personal research has focused on identifying critical barriers formerly incarcerated individuals face during the reintegration process. David’s passion for assisting ex-offenders better reintegrate back into society, stems from years of research he conducted in Riverside County, CA with recently released ex-felony offenders. David’s research has been published in international criminal justice journals and has revealed that misinformation regarding felon voting rights and stigma associated with the felon label, diminishes civic-engagement in former criminal offenders. Prior to joining RDA, David worked alongside the Riverside County Probation Department leading evaluations of prison realignment (AB 109) rehabilitative programs, including a mixed-methods research project that examined the effectiveness of the Riverside County Day Reporting Center at reducing recidivism. Prior to arriving at RDA, David served honorably in both the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Naval Reserve working in the fields of emergency response and military intelligence.
In addition to David’s research and former military service, David has also worked as an Adjunct Instructor at universities throughout Southern California, teaching courses in Constitutional Law and the Criminal Justice System as well as California Politics and Public Policy. David has presented his research to broad audiences including academics, think tanks, and criminal justice professionals. David has a M.A. in political science from the University of California, Riverside and completed his Ph.D. in political science in June of 2015.
Alexandra Ulrey is a public health researcher and health promotion specialist dedicated to improving socioeconomic disparities on the community level through strengths based collaboration with clients. Her work is fueled by her passion for strategic evidence-based initiatives combined with stakeholder engagement to realize health equity. Through her breadth of experience in capacity building, health promotion, and community development projects, she has had the privilege of working with many diverse stakeholders ranging from medical professionals; educators; indigenous communities in Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador; migrant farmworker communities in the U.S.; researchers across disciplines; and underserved youth populations. At RDA, Alexandra brings her critical curiosity, mixed-methods experience, and graphic design skills to support project design, planning, implementation, and evaluation. Prior to joining RDA, she worked as an environmental health and sanitation youth educator in La, Paz Bolivia and served as a qualitative researcher for a variety of medical anthropology, translational research, and community based participatory research projects..
Alexandra hold a Master of Public Health degree in Sociomedical Sciences and specialization in research methods from Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health. In addition, Alexandra is extensively trained in Stanford School of Medicine’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, Compassion Cultivation protocol for medical professionals. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Spanish at the University of North Carolina, Asheville.
Amy Cole was trained as an interdisciplinary researcher at Washington State University, with an emphasis on empowerment research. Her work integrates theory, methodology, and practice from diverse disciplinary perspectives to promote rigorous and responsive evaluation. She is passionate about the importance of systems integration and facilitating interdisciplinary collaborations to advance knowledge and support vulnerable groups. At RDA, Amy uses her mixed methods and interdisciplinary experiences to assist in evaluation and planning, as well as data collection and analysis on a variety of projects.
Prior to working at RDA, Amy held faculty positions at Washington State University in both the College of Education and the College of Agricultural, Natural, and Human Resource Sciences, where she taught a range of courses including Family Policy, Adolescent Development, Adult Development, and Sport in American Society. She is passionate about the potential for physical activity to support and empower vulnerable groups, such as victims of violence and adolescent girls.
Amy is a Bay Area native who earned a Ph.D. from the Individual Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program at Washington State University in 2015 and also has a Master’s Degree in Sport Management from WSU.
Christopher is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) who brings a diverse set of skills and abilities to his position at RDA. Christopher has more than five years of experience working with community-based organizations that work to eliminate health concerns that disproportionately impact low-income communities of color. Prior to RDA, Christopher worked in policy advocacy as an E- Cigarette Control Advocacy Manager for Breathe California Golden Gate Public Health Partnership. During his time at Breathe CA, Christopher managed a grant-funded project from the SF Department of Public Health that worked to develop regulation that would prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products in San Francisco. This effort serves the purpose of protecting youth and low-income communities of color from accessing tobacco products.
At RDA, Christopher supports several evaluation, strategic planning, and technical assistance projects. Currently, along with his colleagues, Christopher is working to develop Yolo County’s MHSA Three-Year Program and Expenditure Plan for 2017-2020. Additionally, Christopher is also involved with data analysis projects, providing much of the quantitative analysis for the LA County Public Defender’s Office CARE Program evaluation.
Christopher is passionate about food justice issues and education reform. He is dedicated in applying his passions and the skills he’s gained from his prior experiences into his role as a Research Assistant.
Christopher holds a Master’s degree in Public Health with an emphasis on Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor and a BA in American Studies from UC Berkeley.
Jamie Dorsey, MSPH, is dedicated to reducing health disparities and increasing health equity through expanding and improving access to health and human services among vulnerable populations, both domestically and abroad. Reflective of her background in basic science and public health research, Jamie approaches public health problems from multiple perspectives, considering determinants at the molecular level through social and environmental factors. Jamie brings advanced analytic skills in quantitative methods and a deep understanding of rigorous research design to RDA, and strives to bring sound methodology in all her endeavors. She has worked on various research projects in Nepal, including identifying the multilevel determinants of child undernutrition, and exploring the reach of natal care programs and their effectiveness in educating women on important health and nutrition topics and promoting behavior change. Domestically, she has contributed to formative research to inform the development of a farm incubator in Baltimore City to create more jobs, expand urban agriculture, and improve access to fresh, locally grown foods. Outside of work, she is an education volunteer with the Center for Urban Education and Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA) in San Francisco, engaging the public to bring awareness to and deepen understanding of sustainable food systems.
Jamie earned both a Master of Science in Public Health degree in Human Nutrition and a certificate in The Food System, Environment, and Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Washington and Lee University.
Lupe comes to RDA with a B.A in Public Health and a minor in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley. Committed to alleviating health inequities and improving the quality of life for vulnerable populations, she strives to address the social determinants of health with a systems-level approach. Her dedication to prevention practice and policy change derives from her personal and professional experiences.
Prior to joining RDA, Lupe interned as a Health Leads Advocate in Washington, D.C., where she assisted with health services and resource navigation for low-income patients with significant need of adequate food, housing, and wellness.
Lupe is passionate about social justice because health goes beyond disease management and medication. From volunteering at the American Red Cross as a Latino Community Preparedness intern to facilitating health education classes in a community health clinic, she has observed the intersections of socioeconomic status and health outcomes. She is particularly interested in how collaborative work at the local, state, and national level can improve health equity for vulnerable communities.
Sureyma Gonzalez graduated with a B.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley with a focus on the intersectionality of gender and race. At RDA she supports project teams by interacting with focus groups, assisting with data collection, and research. Sureyma has a strong passion for developing community empowerment and fighting against social injustices. She has explored gender and race inequalities both in research and internships. Sureyma participated at Northwestern University’s Summer Research Program (SROP) in which she worked with the head of the Performance Studies Department. She conducted her own auto-ethnographic research on the intersections of women of color, sexuality and dance at Columbia College Chicago’s Afro-Latinidad Festival.
Sureyma later interned for the Public Defenders Service in Washington D.C. (PDSDC) as an intern investigator. As an active community member, Sureyma comes into RDA with the ability to communicate with people from different backgrounds and bring them together for a common cause. She helped develop a program and partnership with R.E.A.L.M. Middle School and Omega Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. in which monthly workshops on mentorship, womanhood and leadership are held for the young women in the school. This partnership continues to this day. Sureyma has a love for learning and community building. She is an Oakland native and is grateful to be in a space where she is both able to learn and work with organizations that seek the betterment of their communities.
Mr. Ennis is an experienced consultant with national, international, government and not-for-profit agencies. He is also a software and database developer, data architect, and integration specialist who bring over 20 years of experience working with management information systems. He manages the Afterschool Web application (ASW) developed by RDA and used by three school districts in California for state reporting of after school attendance program grants and attendance. ASW is a Microsoft certified Azure cloud-based application.
He is also provides the management, design and systems integration expertise for the SARANET system. Scanning, Analysis, Response, Assessment (SARA)
is a successful model for Community Oriented Policing. The SARANET application provides a framework that helps in supporting solutions to problems and issues related to community policing and is operational in the Oakland Police Department.
Mr. Ennis has conducted data analysis and developed information systems utilizing a variety of software including MS Access, SQL Server, and Excel. He brings a depth of information technology experience to RDA in support of its mission promote social justice through measureable improvements in best practice methodologies. Mr. Ennis holds a Masters degree in Computer Science, with an emphasis on Robotics & Systems Integration, from Coventry University, England.
David Dexter brings over 10 years of experience in journalism and nonprofit marketing and communications. He has extensive experience in health advocacy and during his time at the California Pan-Ethnic Health network, David worked to help maximize the benefit of the Affordable Care Act on California’s communities of color and limited-English proficient population. He also is familiar with the “health in all policies” framework of addressing the social and environmental determinants that influence health disparities in marginalized communities. Prior to his work in health advocacy, David worked for Chicago’s Safer Foundation, a leading provider of employment services for people reentering society after involvement with the criminal justice system. David began his career as a sportswriter for The Progress-Index, a small daily newspaper in Petersburg, Virginia, where he was recognized by the Virginia Press Association for achievements in feature writing, spot news reporting, and headline writing. An accomplished storyteller, David has always been committed to helping marginalized communities have their voices heard.
David received a Bachelor of Arts in History at the University of Virginia, with a stress on poverty and civil rights in the American South.
Alexandra Jacobs is RDA’s Business Development Associate. Ms. Jacobs is highly motivated by her passion for improving socioeconomic disparities and pursuing social justice. Her background in law, education, and community service provides a unique blend of insight into the interrelated systems of national, state, and local government; as well as the ways in which community-based organizations and other local stakeholders can best support, collaborate with, and challenge those systems.
Ms. Jacobs has contributed her professional writing skills and analytical mind to RDA efforts across a wide range of topics, including criminal justice reform and realignment, jail-based and transitional programs and services, system-wide change initiatives in juvenile justice and foster care, youth violence prevention initiatives, mental health services and innovations, and public health communication and governance strategies. She has provided ongoing grant research and grant writing for RDA clients including Friends Outside, a non-profit providing jail-based and reentry services for criminal justice populations across the State of California; Santa Clara County’s Social Services Agency; and Santa Clara Valley Health and Hospital Systems, among others. She has also contributed to numerous successful proposals which have enabled RDA to broaden our scope and better pursue our mission and vision.
Prior to joining RDA, Ms. Jacobs served as the submissions editor for the Hastings College of the Law Race and Poverty Law Journal, supported law professors in research and publication on topics including court language access barriers and the impact of the economic downturn on the criminal justice system, drafted a memo on court language access best practices for limited English proficiency stakeholders for the New Orleans Public Defenders Office, and guest lectured on Constitutional Law at an Oakland high school. Ms. Jacobs also worked as a legal intern for Oakland-based non-profit Justice Now, where she advocated for prisoner’s rights and criminal justice system reform; promoted inmate information access on topics such as legal rights, jail-based and transitional resources, and health and safety; and helped to plan and design alternative strategies for transitional living programs for recently released women. In addition to her work at RDA, Ms. Jacobs serves her community working for Burning Man and other local music and arts events, striving to promote a more widespread awareness of civil rights and civic engagement.
Mark Haberman brings a broad range of skills and abilities to his work at RDA. As an Executive Assistant, his main responsibility is to provide assistance to the CEO. However, Mark is a team player who takes on many roles in an as needed capacity. His flexibility, along with his dedication to his work, makes him the straw that stirs the RDA drink. Mark brings his pleasant “can do” attitude to all his work, and enjoys opportunities to solve complex problems with
After Mark graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics, he worked in sales and marketing for the Merrimack Group, Human Resources consulting for HR Solutions, and was a field manager for the successful Re-Elect Joan Buchanan campaign of 2010.
Blake Stewart comes to RDA with a variety of administrative skills and a background in both education and mental health. He has several years of experience working and managing grant-funded youth programs in the central valley, and is passionate about bringing adequate youth services to communities in need. As an advocate for social justice, Blake has also worked closely with various non-profit agencies throughout California. He has coordinated a number of community volunteer groups supporting homeless and LGBT communities, and has served as a behavioral therapist for at risk youth in Alameda County.
As an Administrative Assistant at RDA, Blake enjoys providing support to the administration team while working closely with staff. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies in 2011 and is currently a graduate student working on his Master’s in Public Administration at California State University, East Bay.