COEH Builds Bridges: Interdisciplinary & Ethical Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Speaker Bios
Melissa Afterman MS-HFE, CPE
Ergonomist, Instructor
Learn Ergo; UC Ergonomics Research & Graduate Training Program
Melissa Afterman is a Board Certified Professional Ergonomist and the principal consultant at Learn Ergo. She also works with the team at the UC Ergonomics Research Lab and is an instructor in the COEH Online Ergonomics Training Program. For 20 years she has consulted with organizations to develop ergo programs, deliver training, and provide human-factors assessments for individuals, groups, tasks and equipment. She now continues to provide the same level of service, virtually from her own home office, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Melissa studied Ag Engineering at Cal Poly SLO and Human Factors Ergonomics Engineering at San Jose State and is an active member of both the Bay Area and Sacramento Ergo Roundtables, and the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.
Jim Araby
Director of Strategic Campaigns
UFCW Local 5
James Araby is the Director of Strategic Campaigns for UFCW local 5, a 30,000-member union based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Mr. Araby works across Northern California to build political power for UFCW members, who work in the grocery, retail, retail drug, cannabis, and agricultural industries. In addition to the political work, Mr. Araby leads UFCW 5’s organizing department. In 2019 UFCW 5 was able to organize 500 new members into the union. Mr. Araby serves on the advisory board at the UC-Berkeley Labor Center, is an appointee on California’s Interagency Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship (IACA) and is a former board chair for CORO Northern California. Before joining UFCW 5, Mr. Araby was the Executive Director of UFCW Western States Council, where he helped lead coalitions in California to pass first in the nation laws on: paid-sick days, banning plastic bags, worker retention in the grocery industry and regulating medical cannabis. Mr. Araby was born and raised in Boston, MA and attended school in Hawaii where he met his wife Trina Araby. Mr. Araby and Trina have two children and live in Briones, CA.
Matt Bell
Secretary Treasurer
UFCW 324
Matt Bell is the Secretary Treasurer of United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) local 324. He has been with UFCW for 21 years serving as an organizer and Union representative. As Secretary Treasurer, he is involved in negotiations of union contracts and the direct advocacy of Grocery and Retail drug members in Orange County and South LA County.
Helen Chu MD
Associate Professor
University of Washington
Dr. Helen Chu is an Associate Professor and Infectious Disease Physician-Scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Chu’s research is focused on preventive interventions against influenza, RSV, SARS-CoV-2 and other emerging respiratory viruses. Dr. Chu conducts clinical-translational research on large-scale community-based studies of respiratory viruses, with a focus on vaccines, antivirals, and diagnostics. She is also interested in defining clinical and immune correlates of protection against respiratory viruses and describing mechanisms of maternal-fetal immunity against respiratory viruses.
Sadie Costello PhD, MPH
Director; Assistant Researcher and Lecturer
Targeted Research Training Program; University of California, Berkeley
Sadie Costello, PhD, is an occupational epidemiologist in the Environmental Health Science department at the School of Public Health, UC Berkeley. Dr. Costello earned her PhD from UCLA in 2008, came to UC Berkeley for her postdoctoral research, and stayed on as a researcher and faculty member. Her academic focus has been to conduct exposure-response analyses and identify biases in large, occupational cohort studies. She is particularly interested in applying methods to allow for causal interpretation of results that can readily inform policy. She will be presenting results from this study on behalf of a larger, interdisciplinary research team and will be joined by leaders from United Food and Commercial Workers Union.
Julie Dang PhD, MPH
Executive Director, Office of Community Outreach and Engagement
UCD Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California Davis
Dr. Julie Dang is a cancer health disparities behavioral scientist with 11 years of experience engaging diverse and underserved communities in cancer control and prevention. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of California, Davis and also serves as the Executive Director of the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Office of Community Outreach and Engagement (COE). She initiates, conducts, and oversees a range of COE programs and research studies focused on a broad range of cancers and cancer-related risk factors for all of the racial/ethnic populations of the UCDCCC catchment area. This includes programs and studies that have focused on increasing human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine uptake among adolescents, increasing Asian American participation in biospecimen donation for cancer research, enhancing minority recruitment into cancer clinical trials, increasing hepatitis B testing and linkage to care for Asian American communities and improving colorectal cancer screening and mammography rates among the underserved.
Richard E. Fairfax BS, MA
National Safety Council (NSC), ORCHSE
Richard Fairfax, (CIH retired 2017) joined the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in January of 1978 and retired in 2013 from OSHA. At OSHA he was a practicing field industrial hygienist, the Deputy Director and Director for Enforcement programs. In 2008, he was the Acting Director of Construction and in 2010, Mr. Fairfax was designated as the Deputy Assistant Secretary, Overseeing all field, enforcement, and training operations for OSHA. From 1993 through 2010, Mr. Fairfax wrote an industrial hygiene column entitled “OSHA Compliance Issues” for the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene and he still serves on the Editorial Review Board. Currently Mr. Fairfax works part time for NSC-ORCHSE.
Monica Gandhi MD, MPH
Professor of Medicine
University of California, San Francisco
Monica Gandhi MD, MPH is an Infectious Diseases doctor, Professor of Medicine and Associate Chief in the Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases, and Global Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She is also the Director of the UCSF Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) and the Medical Director of the HIV Clinic ("Ward 86") at San Francisco General Hospital. Her research focuses on HIV and women and adherence measurement in HIV treatment and prevention and most recently, on how to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
Megan Grant MS, RN, NP
Study Coordinator
University of California, San Francisco
Megan is an Adult and Occupational & Environmental Health Nurse Practitioner. She completed her training in the School of Nursing at UCSF in 2020. She currently works as an NP in Hematology/Oncology and as a co-founder of the UCSF Street Nursing team, which provides nursing care to unhoused clients in San Francisco and Oakland. When she is not nursing, she tries to spend time in or near open water.
Liz Hamel
Vice President and Director
Public Opinion and Survey Research, Kaiser Family Foundation
Liz Hamel is Vice President and Director of Public Opinion and Survey Research at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, where she directs KFF’s polling work including the monthly Health Tracking Poll and ongoing survey partnerships with news media organizations such as The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and CNN. Her public opinion research experience spans a wide range of health-related topics, including people’s experiences in the health care system; views of the ACA, Medicare, Medicaid, and private health insurance; attitudes and experiences related to prescription drugs; and the role of health care in elections. Hamel is an active member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and its Pacific chapter (PAPOR), and has served on the Executive Council of both organizations. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University.
Robert Harrison MD, MPH
Clinical Professor of Medicine; Public Health Medical Officer
University of California San Francisco; California Department of Public Health
Dr. Robert Harrison is a clinical professor of medicine at UCSF. He founded and has directed UCSF Occupational Health Services for more than 15 years, and now is a senior attending physician. He has diagnosed and treated over 10,000 patients with work- and environmental-induced diseases and injuries. He also directs the worker tracking investigation program for the California Department of Public Health. He has served on the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) Standards Board, and authored numerous publications in the area of occupational medicine.
Khalid Kaldi
CA Lead Organizer
One Fair Wage
Khalid Kaldi is the California lead organizer at One Fair Wage. He lives in Oakland, CA, is building power through organizing, and is at work on a master’s in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley.
0Barbara Materna PhD, CIH
Chief, Occupational Health Branch
California Dept. of Public Health
Barbara Materna, Ph.D., CIH is the Chief of the Occupational Health Branch, in the California Department of Public Health, a position she has held for the last 18 years. Dr. Materna is a Certified Industrial Hygienist whose career in occupational health has primarily been in state and local government public health programs. Some of the worker health topics she has studied include perchloroethylene in dry cleaning, exposures to wildland firefighters, occupational lead poisoning, lung disease in flavor manufacturing workers, aerosol transmissible diseases, respiratory protection for healthcare workers, and Valley fever. She has a Ph.D. in Environmental Health Sciences from the University of California at Berkeley.
Arlene Nunez BS, MA
Firefighter; Former Infectious Disease Scientist
San Francisco Fire Department

Prior to becoming a firefighter, Arlene Nunez was a research scientist for about 20 years. Her field of expertise and Masters degree is in Molecular Microbiology. She is able to detect human, animal and plant pathogens from their DNA/RNA, and to culture pathogens to show they are alive and infectious. Arlene has worked at UCSF on HIV/AIDS research, the CDC on Bio Warfare detection and WMD surveillance, and multiple local Biotechnology Companies in their R&D Divisions as a Sr. Scientist. She has also worked closely with the FBI, EPA Special Agents and the Military while working for the CDC and Biotechs to design and develop robust and reliable detection systems/devices for deadly human pathogens/diseases.

David Rempel MD, MPH
Professor Emeritus, Department of Medicine
University of California, San Francisco
Dr. David Rempel is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Bioengineering at UC Berkeley and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Medicine at UC San Francisco. Dr Rempel founded the UC Ergonomics Program in 1991. He has been teaching, conducting research, and consulting in the field of human factors engineering and ergonomics for over 30 years. He continues his research and mentoring of graduate students part-time through the UC Ergonomics Laboratory. He is active in professional societies including the ACGIH, HFES, ACOEM, WOEMA, ICOH, and IEA.
Margaret Robbins MPH
Occupational & Environmental Health Specialist
Margaret Robbins has 3 decades of experience as an occupational safety and health professional, working for unions, NGOs, a labor education program and as a writer. She has primarily worked in the US, but also in the United Kingdom and South Africa. A common thread of this work has been to help workers advocate and negotiate for better protections at work, to understand their rights and how to use them, and to understand the fundamentals of safety and health to enable them to advocate for more effective safety programs.
Christian Sandrock MD, MPH, FCCP
Director of Critical Care, Professor of Medicine
University of California Davis
Dr. Sandrock has clinical interests in respiratory infections, community-acquired and viral pneumonia, and ICU-acquired infections. His research interests include emerging infectious diseases at the animal and human interface, particularly respiratory infections such as avian influenza, SARS, and other diseases acquired by humans.
0Jacqueline Sivén PhD, MA, MPH, CPH
Research Behavioral Scientist
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Jacqueline Sivén, PhD, MPH, CPH is a Research Behavioral Scientist at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Sivén is a trained medical anthropologist and public health researcher, experienced in qualitative research and mixed methods. Dr. Sivén’s current work centers on health equity among vulnerable worker populations.
Nichole Starr MD, MPH
General Surgery Resident, Lifebox Senior Fellow, NIH Fogarty International Scholar
University of California, San Francisco
Dr. Nichole Starr is a general surgery resident at UC, San Francisco, the senior fellow at Lifebox Foundation, and a NIH Fogarty Scholar. Her areas of interest are in academic global surgery, surgical quality improvement and infection prevention, and strengthening trauma care systems in resource limited environments, as well as trauma induced coagulopathy and platelet function in injured patients. Dr. Starr served in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia from 2007 - 2009, and has worked in Ethiopia, Brazil and Liberia on health services research and improving care for HIV/AIDS, TB, and surgical quality improvement.
Laura Stock MPH
Labor Occupational Health Program
Laura Stock is the director of the Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP). She directs and administers LOHP’s programs providing training, research support, materials development and technical assistance for workers, employers, health professionals, and the general public. She also provide direction to staff on translating research findings to practice and to public policy (R2P2P). In her over thirty years at LOHP, she has developed various training programs and educational materials on occupational safety and health issues and have provided technical assistance and consultation to workers, unions, joint labor/management committees, employers, policymakers and others on how to set up comprehensive and effective health and safety programs. Ms. Stock is currently principle investigator on a number of statewide worker education initiatives including WOSHTEP (Worker Occupational Safety and Health Training and Education Program), and is a member of the Cal/OSHA Standards Board, charged with developing occupational safety regulations for the state of CA as well as the NIOSH/ NORA Committees on Healthy Work Design.
Michael Wilson PhD, MPH
Senior Industrial Hygienist
Research and Standards, Cal/OSHA
Mike Wilson, Ph.D, MPH, is working on the state’s pandemic response as a senior industrial hygienist in the research and standards unit at Cal/OSHA. He previously served as national director for occupational and environmental health with the BlueGreen Alliance; as chief scientist with the California Dept of Industrial Relations; and as director of the Labor Occupational Health Program at UC Berkeley. He is a former firefighter/paramedic and past president of International Association of Firefighters Local 1270. He studied under Professor S. Katharine Hammond in earning his MPH and PhD in industrial hygiene/EHS at UCB.