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Fresno

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Ms. Zoua Vang is First 5 Fresno County's advocacy/PR coordinator. She joined First 5 Fresno County in January 2005. Ms. Vang handles First 5 Fresno's internal and external communications and helps to craft as well as promote the agency's advocacy platforms. She holds bachelor's degrees in broadcast journalism and history. Before joining First 5 Fresno, Ms. Vang spent more than five years producing award-winning stories as a reporter and anchor at KSEE-TV (the NBC affiliate in Fresno). Prior to KSEE-TV, she worked as a reporter-trainee at KSTP-TV (the ABC affiliate in Minneapolis, Minn.).

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Teresa DeAnda is a Central Valley air quality advocate whose work on pesticide hazards grew out of her personal experiences in Earlimart, an agricultural town located south of Fresno and north of Bakersfield along Freeway 99. The Earlimart native is the mother of seven children, ages 7 through 27, and the grandmother of five. She became aware of the redundant use of pesticides during the 1990s when airborne pesticides drifted into her neighborhood. Her complaints to authorities went nowhere, she said.

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Steven Debuskey is executive director of the Fresno Native American Health Center (FNAHC), a nonprofit community-based organization serving the health care needs of urban Native Americans and Alaska Natives in Fresno.

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Rufino Dominguez is director of Frente Indigena Oaxaqueno Binacional (FIOB), or the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations, a community-based, nonprofit coalition of indigenous organizations, communities and individuals in Oaxaca, Baja California and California in the United States. The coalition's members include several pockets of Oaxacans in Fresno and Madera counties. Founded in 1991 in Los Angeles, the organization supports indigenous communities with development and educational programs.

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Born in Laos, Mr. Maxwell L. Moua has been a shaman for 36 years -- since he was 21 years old. Like many shamans, Mr. Moua recognized his own spiritual calling after an illness that prompted him to isolate himself from his family and others. In addition to shamanism, Mr. Moua does magic healing and time reading. In addition to shamanism, the other defining factor in Mr. Moua's life was the guerilla warfare that swept up so many Hmong of his generation in Laos. Mr.

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Marilyn Mochel is clinical director of Healthy House of Merced, Calif. Healthy House, a community non-profit, provides services and training programs aimed at solving problems related to language and cultural difficulties in a health care and social services setting. Ms. Mochel co-founded a multicultural health care coalition that eventually evolved into Health House. That coalition was called MATCH, an acronym for Multidisciplinary Approach to Cross-cultural Health. A registered nurse, Ms.

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The Relational Culture Institute (RCI), also known as Unstrung Bow Spiritual Retreat and Compassionate Mission Ministries, is dedicated to developing grassroots leaders and voluntary associations in underserved communities in the San Joaquin Valley. RCI helps these leaders and associations link with regional networks and strategic partnerships in order to increase the overall quality of life for families and neighborhoods throughout the region.

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Dr. John R. Balmes is a pulmonary physician, professor of medicine at University of California, San Francisco, and chief of the division of occupational and environmental medicine at San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH). His research is principally in occupational and environmental respiratory disease. Dr. Balmes studies the effects of exposures to air pollution in his human exposure laboratory at San Francisco General Hospital and the chronic effects of such exposures in epidemiological studies with collaborators at both UCSF and UC Berkeley.

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Jim Connell is executive director of Poverello House, a private, nonprofit, nondenominational organization serving the hungry, the homeless and the destitute in Fresno. Poverello House serves three meals a day, 365 days a year, to anyone in need. It also offers free medical and dental care through the Holy Cross Clinic, provides showers and laundry services, serves as a day shelter and safe haven for people on the streets, houses a 28-bed residential alcohol and drug rehabilitation program and a five-bed transitional home, and offers temporary overnight shelter.

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