BEHINDTHESTEAHM  is a conversation that seeks to bridge the gap between expert and public opinion through understanding, trust and collaboration.

Our inaugural interactive webinar was focused on demystifying our misconceptions about the world around  STEAHM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Humanities, and Mathematics) by interacting with panelist who's expertise ranges from climate science, to medicine, to activism and more. Over 100 people virtually gathered to answer questions like, "What is the science behind Climate Change?", "Where can I locate non-bias factual information from " or "How can we use Science & Policy to help our communities?". In this 4-Day webinar series the audience and panelist had the opportunity to engage with each other, ask questions about the fields around them, create solutions for their community, and increase collaboration.



Inaugural  Webinar: July 13 - July 16 2020

"Experience and Communicate the Science Around You"

7/13/2020 "You and Your Environment" Environmental Justice and Human Health 5:00pm (PST)

Moderator: Venezia Ramirez


This interactive webinar focused on Environmental Justice issues which is a response to human health and racial disparities in Los Angeles County in relation to COVID-19. This webinar focused on first breaking down what Environmental Justice is, examining environmental problems around your neighbor, and then finally constructing how we can address these environmental problems in your community.

7/14/2020 "Misconceptions" Science, Policy, Medicine 5:00pm (PST)

Moderator: De’Marcus Robinson

This interactive webinar focused on common misconceptions in science, policy and medicine along with perceived misconceptions of the public from experts as it relates to science, policy and medicine.

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7/15/2020 "We are the Solution" Community Engagement with Science & Policy 5:00pm (PST)

Moderator: Tiara Wicks

This interactive webinar focuses on breaking down the barriers that prevent understanding and communication between the community members, scientists and policy makers to facilitate solutions that benefit each other. 

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7/16/2020 "Conversation about Green Spaces in Los Angeles" 5:00 pm (PST)

Moderator: DJ Yousavich

This interactive webinar focused on a conversation about what green space means to the residents of Los Angeles and how to get the public involved and engaged in the process of restoration

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"As a woman of color in the science field (not a scientist) I can't tell you how refreshing it is to see your panelists and the array of colors, backgrounds, fields and experiences. Thank you. I'm excited to attend more of your events. Great content, I gained a lot of good information and I really like the format."

"I feel like I've learned so much already - especially from this session regarding ways to actually get involved in this work. I'm really looking forward to learning about parks/green spaces tomorrow but I wouldn't change any of the sessions so far! Thanks"

"I really enjoyed the policy conversations so maybe more of that in the future!"

"The question about restoration and gentrification is extremely important, I greatly appreciate the team including it! The discussion went into the role of the local and state government into development. I think it would be interesting to learn more about how to disrupt the current development process."


"You are your Environment" Environmental Justice and Human Health 7/13/2020

Aura Vasquez - Community Organizer, Former LAWDP Commissioner

Bio coming soon!

David Gonzalez PH.D - Atmospheric Chemist, UCLA

Dr. David Gonzalez is an atmospheric chemist who is interested in understanding the health impacts of air pollution. Dr. Gonzalez received his PhD in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences from UCLA where his research focused on the atmospheric chemistry and health impacts of air pollution. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Environmental Cardiology & Vascular Biology lab at the UCLA School of Medicine. His current research investigates how air pollution causes oxidative stress and inflammation in the lungs and cardiovascular system. 

Dr. Richard Gragg - Professor, Florida A&M University School of Environment

Bio coming soon!

 Cindy Donis - EYCEJ Community Organizer, CA7

Bio coming soon!

Dr. Jessica E. Sims - Regional Medical Director

Dr. Sims is board certified in Emergency Medicine. She also has a Master of Public Health degree from the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA.


She is a Los Angeles native and UC Berkeley graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry. She graduated from UCLA/Charles R. Drew University with a degree in medicine. She has 20 years of experience in Emergency Medicine and completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at LAC-USC.  

Misconception "Science, Policy and Medicine" 7/14/2020

Dr. Arahdna Tripati- Professor, Geoscientist & Climate Scientist, UCLA

Director of Center for Diversity in Science  

Bio Coming soon

Dr. Alex Hall- Climate Scientist, UCLA

Center for Climate Scientist 

Dr. Hall's research is focused on reducing climate change uncertainty at both regional and global scales. At the global scale, his goal is to reduce uncertainty surrounding processes determining the climate system’s response to increases in greenhouse gases. At the regional scale, he has been active in the development of downscaling techniques to reduce uncertainty about processes that are crucial to regional climate change, but are unrepresented in global climate models. He is a recipient of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Future Horizons in Climate Science: Turco Lectureship (2019), the AGU Atmospheric Sciences Ascent Award (2016), and the NSF CAREER award (2002–2007).  Dr. Hall was a Contributing Author to the 2007 United Nations IPCC 4th scientific assessment of climate change Working, and Lead Author of the IPCC 5th Assessment Report.  At UCLA, he is the faculty director of the UCLA Center for Climate Science

Dr. Atul Nakhasi - Physician & Policy Advisor, LA County Department of Health Services

Atul originally hails from Iowa, born and raised amongst cows and cornfields. During this time, he led the movement to triple the youth vote helping catalyzing Obama’s historic victory during the 2008 Iowa Caucuses. His leadership was recognized by the Wall Street Journal, Good Morning America, ABC World News, NPR, and BBC. Afterward, Atul attended Johns Hopkins School of Medicine for his medical degree and Harvard Kennedy School of Government for his policy degree. During this time, he served as the national chair for the Medical Student Section of the American Medical Association and represented nearly 50,000 US medical students. He now lives in Los Angeles and serves as a primary care physician for the underserved communities of Watts/Compton at a government-run public clinic. He also advises the Office of Government Affairs and Policy for the LA County Department of Health Services, the nation's second largest public health system.


Handle: @Nakhasi_MD 

on twitter/IG/Facebook/tiktok/LinkedIn

Dr. Christiana Soushtari- Resident Physician, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital.


Dr. Shoushtari is in her final year as internal medicine resident at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, a large community hospital outside Chicago. Upon graduating from Washington University in St. Louis, Dr. Shoushtari obtained a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Michigan School of Public Health.  She then worked as a health legislative correspondent in the Office of the U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, as well as special assistant to the HRSA Administrator in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Nevertheless, her childhood dream to help others as a physician drove her back to school where she first obtained her Masters in Science in Physiology at Georgetown University School of Medicine and then her Medical Degree at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago. Dr. Shoushtari has continued to pursue her passions in advocacy and policy as a physician. Some experiences include board of trustee member of the Chicago Medical Society and Illinois State Medical Society; Delegate to the American Medical Association House of Delegates; member of the Council of Resident/Fellow Members for the American College of Physicians, and a member of the inter-departmental Resident Advisory Committee at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital.


"We are the solution" Community engagement with science and policy 7/15/2020

Felicia Davis - Director of HBCU Green Fund Sustainibility Director, Clark Atlanta University

Bio coming soon!

Stephen Dunwoody Public Affairs Consultant/Advisor 

Steve works with campaigns, nonprofits and small businesses to engage elected officials and public policy stakeholders at the Federal, State and Local level. He previously worked with the Center for Diverse Leadership at UCLA. Prior to this, he worked for Vet Voice Foundation, leading advocacy on conservation, healthcare and housing issues. He served as a member of the Obama Administration at the Departments of Defense, Energy and the White House. Steve is also a Veteran of the Air National Guard. 

Michael Simpson- Senior Environmental Engineering

Michael Simpson’s experience includes over 25 Public Works Engineering Projects comprising: roadway geometric design; geotechnical investigation; port development; treatment plant design and construction; emergency operations; change management; liaison to appointed and elected officials; and pretreatment and source control administration.

Mr. Simpson is currently the Division Manager for the Industrial Waste Management Division (IWMD) and has ushered in a new culture for the Division of 140 staff members primarily engaged in regulations of industrial discharge to the sewer system.  In this position, he has been a “change agent” for the agency, and by his work, he has received many local and national awards.  One highlight of his new philosophy in the Division is the creation of “L.A. Industry”.  L.A. Industry is a partnership collaborative effort for not only restoring the Los Angeles manufacturing business base, but also to work to develop new manufacturing opportunities for local and regional partners.  The L.A. Industry team provides business assistance to businesses, especially in EJ communities that are heavily impacted by COVID-19 and Racial Justice.

Mr. Simpson currently serves as Past President of the Los Angeles Council of Engineers and Scientists, and is an active member of the National Society of Professional Engineers, California Water Environment Association, the American Public Works Association’s Center of Sustainability, National Society of Black Engineers Professional Chapter, and a Board member for the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR).  As an NPPR Board member, Michael has led a national group of experts in creating a guide for industry professionals to learn the principles of green chemistry and how to apply the principles in promoting cleaner processes and products.

Mr. Simpson has been a catalyst in hiring young people; and especially African Americans.  For the past six years, Mr. Simpson has hired 20 Student Engineers for the LASAN Summer Work Program, helping them gain exposure to environmental engineering and other environmental para-professional activities.  Mr. Simpson is concerned with diversity in the engineering series and works tirelessly to increase the number of African Americans in entry-level engineering positions.  Mr. Simpson, along with other local Black Engineers, has hosted technical science and engineering fairs for elementary and middle school students. The students participate in scientific endeavors led by professional engineers. For college-aged students, Mr. Simpson created internship opportunities within his IWMD Division and has provided numerous presentations to local and regional collegiate student groups to motivate and educate young people to be the best they can possibly be and to pursue their dreams. 

Shannon Lawrence - Business Executive,

Shannon was born and raised in Gardena and was recently named one of Alabama State University’s “50 Under 50” award winners.


Shannon has had a very distinguished professional career. From his work in the Mayor’s Office in Los Angeles, the Service Employees International Union, to the US Census Bureau -and to all of his other positions, Shannon has been instrumental in leading organizations through successful campaigns,

and has played a key role in driving policy that has helped and uplifted communities. Shannon has also served on the Los Angeles Division Board of the American Heart Association, and during his time on the Board he was very instrumental in helping us with campaigns around Physical Activity, Nutrition, Tobacco Control, Access to Health Care, and Heart Disease and Stroke.

Karina Ramirez-Diversity Outreach Manager

Karina Ramirez started volunteering with CCL in 2017 and is now serving as a Diversity Outreach Manager, focusing her energy on helping CCL find more bilingual volunteers and helping translate CCL’s Spanish-language website, Karina is also the leader of the Spanish-language Action Team.

Prior to her work with CCL, Karina spent a decade reporting news for diverse audiences in Dallas, Texas, including time covering local news, business and immigration topics. Karina holds a master’s degree in Journalism from the University of North Texas and a bachelor’s degree in International Studies from American University. When she is not working or volunteering, she is using Facetime to connect with her daughter who is attending her second year of college at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Karina lives in West Palm Beach, Florida.

A conversation about Green Spaces in Los Angeles 7/16/2020

Mithsy  Hernandez - Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator 

A Los Angeles native, Mithsy grew up with the hustle and bustle of the city. Despite the traffic and urban pollution, she often found herself biking to the beach or making her way to the nearest hiking trails. Her love for the great outdoors developed into a passion for environmental conservation and preservation. Her desire to pursue a career in the environmental field led Mithsy to graduate from the University of San Diego with a BA in Environmental Studies and minor in Sociology. During this time, she participated in research studies surveying local coastal ecology and geology, and interned with the City of San Diego Environmental Services Department. Her interest in environmental justice and public health encouraged her to work with her local communities toward creating an equitable and healthy environment.

Scott Culberton - Former  Director of Friends with Ballona

Bio coming soon!

Jay Vargas - Staff Scientist with Enivronmental Consulting/ South LA

Bio coming soon!

DAVID MCNEILL -Baldwin Hills Conservancy 

David McNeill is the Executive Officer of the Baldwin Hills Conservancy which operates under the Natural Resources Agency for the State of California.   He oversees the long-term acquisition and planned development of approximately two-square miles of industrial open space into much needed parkland for urban Southwest Los Angeles County.  With over 20 years of real estate, public outreach, and administration experience, Mr. McNeill has helped re-imagine the outdoor landscape in underserved communities.  Since 2001, he has led a wide range of land acquisition, planning and design efforts culminating in the creation of community-based pocket parks, citizen science, habitat restoration and multi-benefit water quality projects, regional recreation facilities, as well as miles of trails providing access to parkland for the most diverse and densely populated neighborhoods in the State.  As a founding member of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, and a supporter of local non-profits, he has been a driving force behind implementing urban environmental initiatives such as the City of L.A.’s landmark Walking to the Park Report and L.A. Audubon Society’s Baldwin Hills Greenhouse Internship Program. Through his work, Mr. McNeill strives to bridge community, public and private partnerships to help sustain new park projects and inspire the next generation of open space stewards.  David is a graduate of Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science in Speech Communication and a minor in Human Services.  He has served as a member of the City of Los Angeles Recycled Water Advisory Group, L.A. County Appointee to the Community Advisory Panel for the Baldwin Hills Community Standards District Overlay Zone, Board of Directors for the California Invasive Plant Council, Walk n’ Rollers and the Fulcrum Initiative.

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"Conversation about Green Spaces in Los Angeles"