Our Team
Mike Gibson, MPA, PCC
Chief Program Officer
Michael Gibson is an Executive and Leadership Coach and Consultant with over twenty-five years of experience in Violence Prevention, Workforce and Leadership Development, Transformative Mentoring, and Juvenile Justice.

As an Oakland native, Mr. Gibson is familiar with the unique experiences of youth and young adults in the Bay Area. He provides technical assistance and training to community-based organizations and foundations focused on improving equitable outcomes for underserved communities.

Mike currently serves as the Executive Program Director for Alameda EMS Corps, a nationally recognized program that prepares young men of color for careers in health and public safety.  Over 265 young men from underserved communities have graduated and diversified the EMS workforce.

Mr. Gibson is a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia and received a master’s degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Public Management and Policy Analysis from the California State University, East Bay.  He also received a Professional Coaching for Life and Work certificate from University of California, Davis, and a Professional Coaching Credential from the International Coach Federation. 

Alex Briscoe
Alex currently serves as the Executive Director of the California Children’s Trust (CCT). Prior to forming the CCT, he served as Chief Executive of the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, one of California’s largest public health systems.

In his twelve years with the agency, he oversaw a budget of over a billion dollars that included one of the nation’s highest volume 911 systems, multiple general acute care hospitals, public health services, and more than $200 million in child and adolescent mental health services and contracts.

Before joining Alameda County, Alex was the director of the Chappell Hayes Health Center at McClymonds High School in West Oakland, a satellite outpatient center of Children’s Hospital and Research Center.  His work there has helped define the nexus of public health and public education.

He has designed and administered mental health and physical health programs and services in child serving systems, including home visiting programs, programs for medically fragile children, and clinical and development programs in child welfare, juvenile justice, and early childhood settings.

Alex has served on the Alameda County First Five Commission, The Alameda Alliance, and The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and The Uninsured, along with other public and private boards and commissions.

He is a mental health practitioner specializing in adolescent services and youth development. He has advised or collaborated with a number of local and national foundations including The Atlantic Philanthropies, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The California Endowment, and most recently with Tipping Point Community.  He has specialized in Medicaid policy and administration, emergency medical services, youth voice and crisis counseling, and safety net design and administration.

Kaia Stern
Director of Justice Initiatives
Kaia Stern is the cofounder and director of the Prison Studies Project, which began at Harvard University in 2008. She is currently the first Practitioner in Residence at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute and Faculty at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. 

From Sing Sing prison to The White House, Kaia’s work is grounded in reimagining justice. She has taught extensively on liberation theology, ethics, punishment, race, eye contact, and transformative justice, and is the author of Voices from American Prisons: Faith, Education, and Healing (Routledge, 2014). Kaia serves as a consultant to educational communities across the nation. She received her master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School and her PhD from Emory University. She is ordained as an interfaith minister and has been learning/teaching in and about U.S. jails and prisons for 30 years.

Kaia is supporting PWA in developing materials to facilitate capacity building training for organizations working with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated youth and forging partnerships with CBOs, employment partners and youth-serving public systems that continue to advance transformative shifts in agency and power toward young people and the communities they come from.

Jeff Metcalfe
Director of Operations
Jeff Metcalfe is a founding member of the Public Works Alliance team. He led PWA's expansion of EMS Corps into New Mexico in 2021 and worked on revenue maximization initiatives that have generated millions in increased annual revenue for safety net and child-serving systems in California and New Mexico.
David Page MS, NRP
Director of EMS Education
David Page is the director of the Prehospital Care Research Forum at UCLA and active field paramedic with Allina Health.  He serves on the National Registry of EMTs Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA) committee, the National Association of EMTs education and international committees, and the National Association of EMS Physicians DEI committee. 

A native of Mexico, David came to the US in 1983 and began volunteering in the Maryland fire-rescue system just outside Washington DC. He has worked clinically in Boston, Fort Worth, Denver and Minneapolis/Saint Paul, serving now continuously as a field EMS provider for over 39 years, instructing for 34 of these. David holds a Master’s degree in Experiential Education from Minnesota State University focusing his academic research on development of student competency during field, clinical and simulation experiences, and inequities of prehospital care and education based on race, ethnicity and gender.

As an EMS instructor and program director, David’s first opportunity to operationalize his passion for diversifying the EMS workforce started in 1992 when he created and instructed the grant funded Frontline Women EMT program in Washington County, Minnesota. After working for decades to diversity the EMS workforce in Minnesota, he was recognized in 2012 as one of the “EMS 10 Innovators” for his role in creating and instructing the Saint Paul Fire Department’s EMS academy and Freedom House BLS unit, a project focused on helping low-income inner-city youth succeed.

Dave is well known as an award-winning national and international educator, speaker and author. His work includes authorship in EMT and Paramedic textbooks, peer-reviewed research publications, online learning video instruction, predictive competency assessments, and flipped classroom EMS curriculum. He is a regular speaker at National EMS conferences, having delivered more than 500 presentations in the past 30 years. David was awarded the “Power of One” award (2008) the National Association of EMS Educators “Legends that walk among us” award (2009), the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities "Educator of the Year" award (2011), the National Association of EMTs president’s award (2017), and the prestigious Pinnacle National Leadership Award (2016).

In addition to his work in the United States, David serves as the current and founding chair of the International Paramedic Registry assessment and credentialing board. Current projects include work in 21 countries including Morocco, Australia, Philippines, Ecuador, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Costa Rica and others. He was awarded the 2019 Scott B. Frame Service Award for his work teaching prehospital care in developing nations.

Cynthia Alvarado-Martinez
Program Coordinator
Cynthia Alvarado-Martinez has extensive experience working across various clinical research projects and specializes in project and data management. 

Previously, she worked at the University of California, Berkeley and the UC Davis MIND Institute where she developed professional experience in implementation science, community-partnered research, and data management/analysis.

At UC Berkeley, she managed an intervention-focused study that aimed to improve cognitive behavioral therapy for people with depression and, at the UC Davis MIND Institute, she managed a multi-site study that partnered with school districts and mental health agencies throughout California to train providers in evidence-based practices for children with autism. Overall, Cynthia is passionate about advocating for mental health care access and partnering with communities to develop community-informed interventions. Cynthia holds a B.S. in Human Development as well as in Statistics from the University of California, Davis.

Dr. Macheo Payne
Director of JSIY Systems Change
Dr. Macheo Payne is a social work professor at CSUEB and former executive director of Youth UpRising and Community & Youth Outreach. Macheo worked with the California Children’s Trust in 2019 to build community & youth engagement in the Trust.

Most recently, Macheo developed a credible messenger program to reduce violence in Oakland schools. Dr. Payne has led the Oakland Freedom Schools over the span of 20 years, operating in schools and juvenile hall.

As an expert on school discipline, Macheo has worked with schools and school districts across the country.

Shani Boykin
Director of Mental Health and Wellness
Shani Boykin is a Mental Wellness Consultant and Life Coach professional with over 15 years of experience.  In her multifaceted career, she has provided services to children, teens, couples, families, individuals, corporations, and teams to equip them with the necessary tools to fulfill their journey to healing.

Connection, commitment & consistency is key in her approach to help her understand the many complexities clients experience which include but are not limited to race, culture, socioeconomic status, access, as well as sameness and differences that aid in the development of a person.

Shani is a Bay Area native and had the privilege of experiencing a full circle moment when she returned to her high school alma mater to serve as a classroom therapist working with underserved and underrepresented students and families of color.  She also leads initiatives with Bay Area organizations such as Alameda EMS Corps as their Mental Health / Life Coach for the women’s division, and facilitated seminars for Centerforce. These trainings raise mental health awareness, provide resources, tools and language to leverage while working in high stress and traumatic environments.  Her guidance in these spaces have proven to be beneficial when engaging in hard conversations that result in clients displaying astute situational awareness where lives are at stake.  Additionally, she partnered with the University of California at Berkeley to establish introductory mental health courses to first generation college students of color to prepare them for their educational journey.

Shani is the founder of Healthy Mentals Consulting & Coaching where she continues to work with clients who struggle to build and achieve their life and relationship goals.

Committed to her life’s work (healing and relationship building), she graduated from Holy Names University nestled in the hills of Oakland California receiving her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Master’s in Counseling Psychology while obtaining a certificate in traumatology.  In the spirit of being a life-long learner she consistently attends numerous continuing education classes, courses, trainings and seminars to remain current in the ever-evolving field of mental health.   At Public Works Alliance, Shani oversees the wrap around support model for EMS Corps.

Kenneth Lee
Director of EMT Instruction
Kenneth Lee is a Paramedic Firefighter in Los Angeles County. His service to the community also includes head of the Recruit Prep Program for the Stentorians, an association of African Americans within L.A. County’s fire service.

He and other members of the organization are on a mission to encourage young people of color to pursue careers in the fire department and other emergency medical service departments in L.A. County.  At Public Works Alliance, he oversees EMT Training Curriculum for EMS Corps.

 a ee Rhea Boyd
ocer Principal, Birth Justice and Perinatal Equity 
Rhea is a pediatrician, public health advocate, and scholar. She writes and teaches on the relationship between structural racism, inequity and health.
She works clinically, teaches nationally, and have a scholarly focus on the child and public health impacts of structural inequality.

She partners with community-based and non-profit organizations, public health departments, and academic centers to understand and address forms of social inequality that contribute to poor and inequitable health outcomes.

She's a Senior Advisor on Equity and Justice for The California Children’s Trust, an initiative to advance mental health access for children and youth across California.

She co-leads Public Works' Alliance Perinatal Equity work, with a focus on honoring and elevating the ancestral wisdom and healing practices of doulas of color in California.

She graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Africana Studies and Health from the University of Notre Dame.

She earned a M.D. at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and completed my pediatric residency at University of California, San Francisco.

In 2017, she graduated from the Commonwealth Fund Mongan Minority Health Policy Fellowship at Harvard University’s School of Public Health, earning an M.P.H.

Kingsley ‘Fifi’ Baiden
Senior Project Manager
Kingsley – known to most as Fifi – immigrated to the US when he was 14.  He played soccer in secondary school and college before playing professionally in the MLS.

When injury ended his professional soccer career, he earned a Masters degree in Social Entrepreneurship & Change from Pepperdine University to complement his Bachelors degree in Sociology degree from UCSB.

Eager to give back, he went on to create a foundation dedicated to providing opportunities for orphaned children in Ghana.  He also authored a book entitled, The Hope You Can Have, with the goal of empowering the youth and currently coaches youth soccer.

Before joining Public Works Alliance, Fifi worked as a project manager and analyst at a US tech company.   His goal in life is to inspire, educate and fight for a more equitable and just society for all. 

Andrea Jacobo
Andrea Jacobo is a community wellness and design strategist. With 10 years of community health experience, Andrea has implemented various evidence-based nutrition and physical activity programs across the lifespan, co-led community of practices focused on health equity, and facilitated strategic planning processes for policy, systems and environmental change.

She believes that community-centered, people-centered approaches are key to addressing health inequities. She has facilitated efforts to create national health equity legislation to build capacity to address racial health inequities experienced by communities of color. Andrea has a passion for community health, culture & arts, and uses design thinking as a tool for community and organizational capacity building.  Andrea has a Doctorate of Public Health degree at UC Berkeley. She has a Masters of Public Health from The University of Memphis and Bachelors of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Miami.

Azmera Hammouri-Davis
Director of Organization Strategy
Azmera Hammouri-Davis is a MICAH ministry fellow, relationship coach and creative leadership consultant with over twelve years of experience in higher education, residential learning communities, leadership development, mentorship and youth advocacy.

From the comunidades of Salvador Bahia, Brazil to the halls of the United Nations, Azmera’s work is committed to healing and transformation amidst life’s transitions.

She strives to help underserved folks redefine what’s possible in love and leadership to advance spiritual growth, racial justice, and liberation.

Azmera collaborates with local, national and international educational partners to build understanding around cultural and spiritual care practices for Black and Brown youth and adults to cultivate and sustain healthy relationships.

Previously, Azmera served as Community Partnership Lead at Harvard Radcliffe Institute, where she directed the design and implementation of Storytelling & Justice programs for currently and formerly incarcerated youth and adults. She also hosted vital conversations on harm and healing within family-systems.

Author of several essays on gender, identity and race including “Capoeira as Creative Resistance” published by Insight News, “Hip Hop’s Hidden Figures” in Ms.Magazine, and “Building Sanctuary in Higher Education Chaplaincy” in the Journal of Interreligious Studies, her writing has been translated into eight different languages.

Azmera received her masters degree from Harvard Divinity School, a dual bachelors degree in Visual & Performing Arts and Social Sciences Psychology from the University of Southern California, and a Fulbright Creative and Performing Arts Fellowship.

Palaz Shah
Strategy consultant
Palak Shah is a consultant who guides leaders and organizations to realize their visions. With over a decade of expertise in PK-12 education, youth behavioral health, child welfare, and public systems, Palak offers strategic planning, quantitative analysis, project management, community engagement, financial modeling, and report writing.

Highlights of Palak’s recent projects include project managing a cross-agency pilot supporting students in shelters in New York City, building capacity around youth behavioral health strategies and Medicaid in Georgia,establishing the governance structure for a collective impact organization in Oakland, and aiding Berkeley Public Schools in crafting a back-to-school pandemic response plan.

In the philanthropic and private sectors, she has provided strategic counsel to startups, spearheaded Salesforce implementations, and supported foundations with grantmaking analysis. Palak holds a BA in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Board of Directors
Our Board of Directors is comprised of thought leaders in social and environmental justice including:
Dr. Vilna Bashi
Board Member
Dr. Vilna Bashi is the Osborn Professor of Sociology at Northwestern University, and a Faculty Fellow at Northwestern's Buffett Institute of Global Affairs.

Prior to joining Northwestern, Dr. Bashi served as a Professor and Chair in the Department of Black Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

She was the 2020 recipient of the Cox-Johnson-Frasier award bestowed by the American Sociological Association for scholarship in service to social justice. Dr. Bashi is the author of The Ethnic Project: Transforming Racial Fiction into Ethni Factions, included in the Zora Canon, a list of 100 of the greatest books ever written by African American women. She is also the author of Survival of the Knitted: Immigrant Social Networks in a Stratified World, which outlines a new model of immigrant networks and shows how transnational networks shaped black migrants’ socioeconomic adaptation in New York, London, Canada, and the Caribbean. She is the editor of Race in Transnational and Transracial Adoption, which engages scholars from both sides of the Atlantic to examine the role that race plays in the adoption process, and co-editor of Dynamics of Inequalities in Global Perspective, which examines how patterns of inequality associated with global capital have been reconfigured in different contexts and have historically produced varied results. Her works in progress include a National Science Foundation-funded study on race and adoption in the U.S. and Europe, and a new book on racial thought.

Dr. Bashi now serves as Chair of the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racism, Afrophobia, and Colorism (CERAC) as well as a Board member and UN Representative for the Drammeh Institute, an NGO committed to archiving and producing film footage to educate the world on issues of central importance to the African Diaspora.

Dr. Kofi Taha
Board Secretary
Kofi is the Director of Curriculum & Facilitation at Equity Meets Design (EMD), a think & do tank that builds the capacity of individuals within institutions to design policies and practices for equity and justice.

He also is a Visiting Faculty member at Olin College of Engineering where he co-teaches Affordable Design & Entrepreneurship, a senior capstone course focused on community-engaged learning.

Prior to EMD, he was the Associate Director of MIT D-Lab where he developed and tested community-driven innovation practices; co-facilitated village-level technology design workshops in Uganda and Haiti; advised enterprises commercializing social impact products in Ghana and Tanzania; provided support to makerspaces in Brazil, Colombia, and India; and helped lead the International Development Innovation Network, a global community of 1000+ innovators, entrepreneurs, ecosystem builders, researchers, and educators.

Standing on the sacrifices of many, he studied political economy at Columbia University, urban planning at MIT, and education leadership at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

John O. Niles
Board Treasurer
John-O Niles is an international expert in climate change and the global carbon cycle.

He led several successful global conservative initiatives, including the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standard; the first Advanced Terrestrial Carbon Accounting Certificate at the University of California San Diego; the Tropical Forest Group; and the Carbon Institute.  Over the past 20 years, has published climate change textbooks and peer-reviewed articles on climate change, forestry, climate finance and climate policy.  John-O has taught at universities in the United States, Indonesia, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  In 2017, he received the 2017 Mulago Award for The Carbon Institute, and he’s been called one of the planet’s “most promising people to deliver bigger, better, and faster conservation and climate solutions”.

John-O now helps lead efforts at Salesforce on natural climate solutions.

Laurel Phillips
Board Member
Laurel is a licensed midwife in California, the owner of Santa Barbara Midwifery and the founder of the non-profit Santa Barbara Birth Center.

For the past 25 years she has been supporting women to make informed choices in birth. Laurel is passionate about maternal health, bodily autonomy, and individualized health care with the judicious and wise use of resources and interventions.

She has worked as a licensed midwife and as owner and director of a thriving midwifery practice that has cared for thousands of families giving birth outside the hospital. Their impact lies in interrupting the systemic trauma that often happens in routine obstetrics and replacing that with love, patience and respect, resulting in their excellent statistics, including very low cesarean rates. The SB Birth Center is the only institutional option for a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) in Santa Barbara County. Since opening in 2011 SBBC has given out over $100,000 in subsidy to help increase access to the birth center.

Through being a healthcare provider “outlier" Laurel has learned the importance of working closely with existing healthcare systems to influence the status quo and make change through trusting relationships with providers on the inside; how to be politic, how to build bridges. She has also learned that sometimes the most effective pressure on intransigent institutions comes from the consumer and media. She is thrilled to be part of PWA and the powerful work they are doing to make change.

Terry Locke
Board Member
Terry has held leadership positions at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the State of New Mexico. 

His contributions have resulted in fundamental, measurable and permanent improvements in systems, workplaces and communities.

At the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), he served as an traffic controller, air traffic facility manager, national manager of the FAA’s quality control program as the Deputy Director of the Agency’s Eastern Service Area where he was responsible for the world’s highest traffic volume facilities.  During his tenure there, he won the Manager of the Year award, the Air Traffic Organization’s Award for Excellence in Leadership, and the Department of the Army’s Commander’s Award - this award is the fourth highest level of recognition that can be bestowed upon a civilian.

At ICAO (an Agency of the United Nations), he was a diplomat responsible for developing aviation policy to globally harmonize rules for airports and aircraft operating within the sovereign territories of the 193 United Nation member states.  During his appointment as Deputy Cabinet Secretary for the State of New Mexico, Terry was responsible for the operational and administrative aspects of the state’s Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD).  There, he provided leadership of transformational change initiatives in the lives of New Mexico’s children and families.

The Public Works Alliance relies on contractors who provide specialized expertise in social justice, Medicaid finance consulting, communications and design, and administrative support.

Optimas Services is a key partner on Medicaid finance initiatives.
Public Works Alliance
801 Cold Spring Rd
Santa Barbara, CA 93108
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Public Works Alliance
801 Cold Spring Rd
Santa Barbara, CA 93108