Board of Trustees Biographies
The Foundation is governed by a thirteen-member Board of Trustees: nine members appointed by the Governor, one member appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly, one member appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules, and two members appointed by the Medical Board of California. The Chair of the California Healthcare Workforce Policy Commission serves as an ex-officio member.
Cynthia J. Cotharn, MD
Playa Vista, CA
Dr. Cynthia Joy Cotharn has been a special projects medical consultant since 2002. She was a medical director at the Watts Health Foundation Inc. Substance Abuse Division from 1996 to 2001 and at the General Motors Luxury Car Division from 1994 to 1995. Cotharn was a research and project assistant and an assistant medical director at the Chicago Park District in 1994. She earned a Doctor of Medicine degree from the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, Chicago Medical School.
Alexander Ding, MD
Alexander Ding, 39, of Belmont, has been appointed to the Health Professions Education Foundation Board of Trustees. Ding has been a managing partner at California Advanced Imaging, and attending physician at San Mateo Medical Center and at Mills Peninsula Medical Center since 2013. Ding served in several positions in the Navy Reserve Medical Corps from 2009 to 2019, including lieutenant and lieutenant commander. He held multiple positions at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School from 2008 to 2013, including chief fellow, fellow physician and resident physician. He was an intern physician at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center from 2007 to 2008. Ding is a member of the American Medical Association and was a member of the Board of Trustees from 2011 to 2013. Ding earned a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine and a Master of Science degree in health and medical sciences from the University of California, Berkeley. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Ding is a Democrat.
Los Angeles, CA
Audrey Dow, 44, of Hacienda Heights, has been appointed to the Health Professions Education Foundation Board of Trustees. Dow has been senior vice president of the Campaign for College Opportunity since 2016, where she held several positions from 2009 to 2016, including vice president of external affairs and operations and community affairs director. She was a consultant for the Annie E. Casey Foundation in 2008 and program and policy director of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality from 2002 to 2007. Dow was special assistant to the secretary at the California Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency from 1999 to 2002 and a client services representative for Contreras-Sweet Communications from 1997 to 1999. She earned a Master of Arts degree in public affairs from Princeton University. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Dow is a Democrat.
William C. Hendry
Los Angeles, CA
William Hendry has been principal at Strategic Development Solutions since 2003. He was vice president and a private client advisor at First Foundation Advisors from 2010 to 2013 and an executive director of external affairs and director of development at the Claremont Graduate University’s Drucker Institute and Peter F. Ducker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management from 2008 to 2010. Hendry was director of development at the California State University, Long Beach College of Business Administration from 2003 to 2008 and an assistant dean of external relations and executive director of development at the University of Southern California, School of Theatre from 1998 to 2002.
Shaheen E. Lakhan, MD
Dr. Shaheen Lakhan is a physician, scientist, educator, advocate, and philanthropist. He is dual board-certified in neurology and pain medicine with clinical training from the Cleveland Clinic and Massachusetts General Hospital, respectively. He has served on the faculty and medical staff of leading institutions (Harvard Medical School, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, City of Hope), as founding neurology department chair and assistant dean of an allopathic medical school he guided to accreditation (California University of Science and Medicine), as chair of an active institutional review board of an academic tertiary care medical center (Arrowhead Regional Medical Center), and as chief of pain management at a multi-hospital academic healthcare system in the center of the opioid epidemic (Virginia Tech – Carilion Clinic). As medical director, Dr. Lakhan is now advancing neuroscience drug discovery, development, and delivery (Sage Therapeutics).
In addition to exemplary clinical service as a neurologist and pain specialist, Dr. Lakhan has an extensive research, education, advocacy, and philanthropy portfolio. He has over 100 peer-reviewed journal publications, books, and book chapters. For founding the Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation, he was bestowed the Harvard Medical School Dean’s Community Service Award. He was also conferred the President’s Call to Service Award for Lifetime Achievement by Pres. George W. Bush and The U.S. Congressional Award Gold Medal by Sen. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Harry Reid. In 2017, he was recognized by his peers and inducted as Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, the Academy’s highest designation.
Nuriel Moghavem, MD, President
Mountain View, CA
Nuriel Moghavem, 30, of Mountain View, has been appointed to the Health Professions Education Foundation Board of Trustees. Moghavem has been a resident physician at the Stanford School of Medicine Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences since 2018. He was a resident physician in internal medicine at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center form 2017 to 2018 and a legislative assistant in the Office of California State Assembly member Richard Gordon form 2015 to 2016. Moghavem earned a Doctor of Medicine degree concentrated in health services and policy research from the Stanford School of Medicine. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Moghavem is a Democrat.
Jacqueline Rangel has been Evaluation and Impact Manager for AltaMed Health Services since 2018, where she has served in several positions, including as Clinical Outcomes Analyst from 2017 to 2018 and Supervisor for Health Education and Wellness from 2016 to 2017. Rangel was an Evaluation Project Management Fellow for Kaiser Permanente Southern California Community Benefit from 2014 to 2016. She was Health Community Manager for GOOD Worldwide Inc. from 2013 to 2014 and Assistant Program Manager at California State University, Fullerton for Childhood Obesity, Physical Activity and Prader-Willi Syndrome Studies from 2011 to 2012. She was a Nutrition Educator for Network for a Healthy California in 2011 and a Wellness Assistant for the Exercise Science and Wellness Center at Mt. San Antonio College from 2003 to 2008. She is a member of the American Public Health Association and the American Evaluation Association. Rangel earned a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Southern California.
San Diego, CA
Vernita Todd has been a leader in the nonprofit sector for more than 20 years and joined San Ysidro Health as its Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer. Her responsibilities include the development and execution of strategy related to organizational planning, mergers and acquisitions, business development and marketing. She is in charge of developing, communicating and implementing strategic initiatives for San Ysidro Health including the organization’s strategic plan.
Vernita has spent the last 14 years promoting access for underserved families through the community health center movement. Prior to joining San Ysidro Health, Vernita was the Chief Experience Officer (CXO) for Health Center Partners of Southern California where she represented policy and regulatory concerns of 17 primary care organizations to state and federal elected officials – ensuring that SoCal health centers had a voice at the table in emerging policy and regulatory discussions. Vernita began her health center career as the CEO of Heart City Health Center in northern Indiana in 2005.
San Francisco, CA
Brenda Wright was Senior Vice President for Corporate Philanthropy and Community Relations Leader for Wells Fargo from 2012 to 2020. She was Senior Vice President and Community Development Manager for the San Francisco Bay at Wells Fargo from 2001 to 2012 and Senior Vice President and Division Manager for Premier Banking for Wells Fargo from 1996 to 1999.
Assembly Speaker Appointments#
Senate Rules Committee Appointments#
Medical Board Appointment#
Dev GnanaDev, MD
Dr. Dev GnanaDev is a trauma, vascular and general surgeon who has been practicing for more than 35 years. He is Associate Medical Director at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (ARMC), a large, acute-care, not-for-profit hospital in Colton, and Chairman of the Department of Surgery, a position he has held since 1989. Dr. GnanaDev was ARMC’s Medical Director from 2000-2012, when he helped to expand the Medical Center’s patient services and physician training programs.
Dr. GnanaDev has held numerous positions of leadership in health care. He was appointed by Gov. Brown to the Medical Board of California in 2012 and now serves as Medical Board president; he also serves as the president of the California Medical Association (CMA) form 2008-2009. In addition to his extensive work as a surgeon and physician leader, Dr. GnanaDev is vitally involved in medical education. He is founding President and Chief Executive Officer of California University of Science and Medicine (CalMed), which received preliminary accreditation in February and will welcome its first class of medical students in July of this year. Dr. GnanaDev is also a clinical professor of surgery at Western University of Heath Science and associate professor of surgery at Loma Linda University Medical Center.
Dr. GnanaDev has received various honors and recognition for his outstanding work in medicine. His honors include: the John P. McGovern Compleat Physician Award form the Harris County Medical Society/Houston Academy of Medicine; American Medical Association Foundation’s Pride in the Profession Award; the Physician Recognition Award from the Medical Board of California; Outstanding Physician Award form San Bernardino County Medical Society; and Lifetime Achievement Award form Burn Institute of Inland Empire.
Randy W. Hawkins, MD
Los Angeles, CA
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. appointed Dr. Randy W. Hawkins, of Los Angeles, California, to the Medical Board in 2015. He has been in private practice since 1985. His medical practice is composed of primary care, pulmonary and critical care medicine, and hospice care. He is board certified in internal medicine and pulmonary and critical care medicine. He is clinical assistant professor of medicine at the Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science. Dr. Hawkins represents the Medical Board on the Health Professions Education Foundation. He is a member of a Food and Drug Administration Advisory Committee. He earned a Doctor of Medicine degree from Hahnemann Medical College in 1979 and completed his pulmonary and critical care fellowship at the University of California at San Diego in 1985.
Jasmeet Bains, MD