The L.A. Trust Staff

Part of what makes The L.A. Trust a successful organization is the capable and skilled staff that manage various aspects of this challenging effort.

Maryjane Puffer, BSN, MPA
Executive Director

maryjane@thelatrust.org

Maryjane Puffer is the Executive Director of The L.A.Trust for Children’s Health. Her role at The L.A. Trust represents the nexus of all she has been committed to throughout her career as a pediatric nurse, a community health program director and lead developer of health programs. Ms. Puffer helps to facilitate the development of LA Unified School District’s Wellness Networks and is on the cutting edge in creating community prevention strategies for health programming in schools. Ms. Puffer is a 35-year healthcare veteran. She has developed and managed successful international and domestic health programs.

Ms. Puffer currently serves on the LA County Community Prevention and Population Health Task Force, the DentaQuest Regional Oral Health Leadership Team, the Board of Clifford Beers Housing and the California Preconception Health Care Council.  Ms. Puffer was recognized as the 2014 Healthcare Advocate of the Year by the Los Angeles Business Journal, received TeenNow’s Vera Casey award for outstanding advocacy and support for pregnant and parenting teens, and was awarded the Harold Slavkin Oral Health Educator of the Year from the National Institute of Dental And Craniofacial Research. Additionally, in November of 2015, for her visionary innovation in creating The L.A. Trust’s Tooth Fairy Convention, Maryjane was awarded the Milton and Ruth Romer Award by the Southern California Public Health Association.

Ms. Puffer holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration.

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Maryjane Puffer

Executive Director

Kelly Bui
Program & Research Associate

kelly@thelatrust.org

Kelly Bui is an emerging public health professional committed to school and adolescent health. She has experience in public health research and has worked on college campuses promoting student mental health and policy and advocacy. She has been in the school health field for over five years and has taken the lead in coordinating various programs, events, and conferences. She is excited to work with The. L.A. Trust for Children’s Health as she looks forward to dedicating her time supporting the Wellness Centers and advancing the work of the network to provide preventative and early intervention services.

 

 

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Kelly Bui

Program & Research Associate

Ruth Mercado
Executive Assistant

ruth@thelatrust.org

Ruth was born and educated in England, and came to the U.S. in 1988.  She has worked in New York and Los Angeles under the moniker of Chaos Warrior and is pleased to bring these skills with her to The L.A. Trust. Her prior employment was with PWGA Pension and Health Plans, and with American Apparel.

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Ruth Mercado

Executive Assistant

Rosario Rico, MPH
Senior Program & Research Manager

rosario@thelatrust.org

Rosario has been working in the school-based health center field for the past 15 years. She started her career at the age of 16 workings as a peer counselor for Asian Pacific Health Care Venture.  Passionate about adolescent health and her community, Rosario has dedicated her personal life and academic career to closing the health disparities gap, especially in her native hometown of South Los Angeles.  Most recently Rosario was working with UMMA Community Clinic, developing one the strongest student engagement programs in the LAUSD Network of Wellness Centers. She  also facilitated other health education programs for the organization like prenatal classes and other school-based programs. Rosario looks forward to transforming the health of young adults and creating new youth career pathways in the health field.

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Rosario Rico

Senior Program & Research Manager

Esther Yepez
Health Educator
esther@thelatrust.org

Esther Yepez is the Health Educator who works with students from LAUSD and teaches them the importance of healthy eating habits and physical activity.

For over 16 years, she’s worked with children of all ages and has learned that early education is the key to prevention. She believes that the more we teach our young kids about practicing healthy habits, the better choices they will make. As the health educator and a former dental assistant, her role at The L.A. Trust includes going into classrooms and talking about the effects of sugar on one’s oral health.

Esther holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics and a Minor in Hospitality Foodservice and Hotel Management from the California State University of Long Beach.

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Esther Yepez

Health Educator

Jeanne Aguinaldo
Student Engagement Director

jeanne@thelatrust.org

Jeanne Aguinaldo is the Student Engagement Program Director at The L.A. Trust. Her primary focus is to help build the capacity of Adult Allies and Student Advisory Boards to carry out student engagement programs and develop youth leaders. Jeanne strongly believes that young people have the power and voice to make changes in their community and can outreach to their peers about important health issues and access to services. With over 18 years of experience working in adolescent health, youth development, and school-based health, Jeanne is passionate about serving communities in need and partnering with student health advocates.  In her previous life, she worked at Asian Pacific Health Care Venture as the Youth Services Manager where she developed and managed the youth center, youth clinic, adolescent outreach and education programs, and also helped to establish the John Marshall Health Center and Belmont Wellness Center.  Jeanne is a part-timer with The L.A. Trust, so when she’s not wearing her Program Director hat, she wears her other hats as a proud mommy to her 2 children, a lover of good cuisine, a chauffeur to her kids, and a seeker of adventure.

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Jeanne Aguinaldo

Student Engagement Director

Deborah Ebrahemi, MSW
Senior Program Manager

deborah@thelatrust.org

Deborah Ebrahemi is the Senior Program Manager who works with LAUSD students and their families to create a culture of healthy eating and active living across school campuses and throughout the community through programs, policy, systems, and environmental changes.

Deborah believes that schools are imperative in leading students down a path of informed choices and a foundation of lifelong health leading to positive outcomes both physically and academically.

Prior to her position as the Senior Program Manager for The L.A. Trust, she interned with LAUSD administration, at schools as a school social worker, and worked in several law firms that focused on child welfare.

Deborah holds a Masters degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of California Los Angeles.

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Deborah Ebrahemi

Senior Program Manager

Nina Nguyen, MPH, CHES
Project Coordinator

nina@thelatrust.org 

Nina Nguyen is the Project Coordinator at The L.A. Trust for Children’s Health. She has been working on implementation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) Teen Leader Project, as well as the Harbor Community Benefits Foundation Asthma Mitigation Project. She has a background in Ethnic Studies from California State University, Fullerton and a Masters of Public Health from Loma Linda University. Recently, she became a Certified Health Education Specialist to further her knowledge and skills in program development and evaluation. Whether her work involves organizing nail salon workers on environmental health, or developing a youth nutrition education program in a food desert, Nina strives to improve the health of immigrant families and children.

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Nina Nguyen

Project Coordinator

Hani Tajsar, MPH
Oral Health Program Manager

Hani@TheLATrust.org

With 8 years of experience in community organizing, Hani brings to The L.A. Trust a strong commitment to social justice and health advocacy. Prior to this position, he worked for the Young Ethnographers Program where he collected community health data from residents in five neighborhoods of Central Los Angeles. Hani holds a Master of Public Health in Urban Public Health from Charles R. Drew University and a B.A. in Middle East Studies from UC Santa Barbara. A Los Angeles native and former LAUSD student, Hani hopes to leverage his skills and resources in order to serve the underserved.

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Hani Tajsar

Oral Health Program Manager

Christian Beauvoir
Student Engagement Associate

Christian@thelatrust.org

Christian Beauvoir is the Student Engagement Program Associate at The L.A. Trust. He works with young people to develop their advocacy skills and advance the movement of school-based health care.

He believes that young people, when provided the opportunity, are the most effective advocates for their peers and their community.

Christian has worked to empower students and provide strategies for effective public speaking skills that will grab the attention of school board members and legislators. He has presented alongside youth leaders at the National School-Based Health Alliance Conference to promote the successful involvement of young people in advocacy.

Also, Christian is a New Profit Millennial Impact Fellow and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies with a focus in Urban Education from StanfordUniversity.

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Christian Beauvoir

Student Engagement Associate

Karla Fletcher, MA
Communications and Marketing Manager

Karla@thelatrust.org

Karla, our Communications and Marketing Manager, has nearly a decade of experience in the field. With a BA in Communications and African American Studies from Western Illinois University, coupled with a MA in Public Relations from Webster University, Karla has developed and executed communications plans for both the private and public sector. Coming to The L.A Trust in 2017, Karla is focused on developing congruent communications platforms and presentations that undergird the mission of The Trust – improving health care services through access, advocacy and programming.

 

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Karla Fletcher

Communications and Marketing Manager

Lillian Orta
Health Educator

lillian@thelatrust.org

Lillian Orta is a Health Educator who works with LAUSD students by providing nutrition education, promoting physical activity, and
showcasing healthy cooking demonstrations. She believes healthy behavior choices begin in schools with nutrition education and community involvement.

After working with students of all ages for the past six years, Lillian knows how to connect with students to motivate them to strive for their best selves through health promotion and interactive nutrition education lessons. She believes student health leads to academic success and that schools are the perfect setting to create an atmosphere of healthy lifestyles.

Lillian is currently working on the Champions for Change grant which aims to significantly increase physical activity in students who will be taking the Fitnessgram test. She also supports various partners who share the same goal -to help our students grow into thriving young adults.

Lillian holds a BS in Food & Nutrition from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

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Lillian Orta

Health Educator

Sang Leng Trieu, DrPH
Program Director

sang@thelatrust.org

Sang is the Program Director at The Los Angeles Trust for Children’s Health where she assumes a leadership role in developing plans for the implementation of the organization’s strategic goals.  She oversees programmatic research and evaluation and is responsible for the coordination of Wellness Network convenings that promote quality improvement and sharing of best practices.   Her 19 years of public health experience and involvement in more than a decade of school-based health programs demonstrates her commitment to improving student health and wellness.  Sang holds an undergraduate degree in Environmental Analysis and design and two graduate degrees in public health.  As a marathon runner, she has raced in all 50 states and is currently working on running in all seven continents.  She is a loyal fan of the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Hello Kitty, and her nieces and nephews.

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Sang Leng Trieu

Program Director

Vanessa Briseno
Director of Development

vanessa@thelatrust.org

As a skilled philanthropic professional with more than 17 years of experience, Vanessa Briseno possesses in-depth knowledge and cultural understanding of foundation and non-profit environments alike.  As the Program Officer directly in charge of carrying out the philanthropic visions of a trustee at a large, national foundation, Ms. Briseno was responsible for monitoring trends in the field, developing strategic relationships across sectors, negotiating partnerships, managing Trustee-directed projects, and evaluating the effectiveness and impact of philanthropic strategies. Ms. Briseno brings with her a strong commitment to achieving great results as well as broad experience in fund development and management, community building, and identifying and implementing strategic opportunities to maximize organizational strengths.

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Vanessa Briseno

Director of Development

Krystle Gupilan
Communications and Marketing Associate

Krystle@thelatrust.org

Krystle graduated from California Sate University, Los Angeles with a degree in public health and experience with working in school settings as a volunteer. She came to The L.A. Trust during Summer 2014 as an intern from a CDC funded undergraduate program and worked on developing the first version of the Student Engagement Toolkit.  Krystle has also taken the role of coordinating the Youth 2 Youth Conference where she brings students together for a a day of learning and networking.  As a Communications Assistant, Krystle works to support and merge the use of social media to promote the Wellness Centers across the LAUSD.

 

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Krystle Gupilan

Communications and Marketing Associate

Robert Renteria
Research Associate

robert@thelatrust.org

Robert Renteria is a research associate with The L.A. Trust for Children’s Health. He currently works as a coordinator for several grants that focus on topics such as substance use and reproductive health. He previously worked as the Student Engagement Advisor for a CDC – DASH grant (Division of Adolescent and School Health) through the Los Angeles Unified School District. For over 20 years, Robert was an active volunteer and worked in HIV prevention, testing, and education. He’s also worked as a men’s group facilitator, a community organizer, counselor, research assistant, and program coordinator for several HIV community-based organizations and medical organizations in Los Angeles and throughout California. Robert has a special interest in helping end substance use and reproductive health stigma, especially with youth. He believes that a shame-free community is vital for reaching a healthy end to epidemics. In his free time, Robert enjoys traveling, horticulture, live music, and discovering restaurants and cultural hotspots throughout southern California.

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Robert Renteria

Research Associate

Frances Walsh
Oral Health Program Manager

Frances@thelatrust.org

Frances comes to The L.A. Trust with previous experience as the Community Outreach Manager for Big Smiles, and has worked managing the oral health program in LAUSD and surrounding communities.  She served as an intern with The L.A. Trust over the summer of 2015, and recently spearheaded the work for our broad, public awareness event, the Tooth Fairy Convention. Frances will be supporting District Nursing in the oral health screening programs and managing the expansion to new sites. Frances also has international Peace Corps experience and a Bachelors in Communication.

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Frances Walsh

Oral Health Program Manager
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