We're All Connected

Dr. Ruben Baler

Health Science Administrator
Office of Science Policy and Communications, NIDA

Dr. Ruben Baler received his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Biology from the University of Miami in 1993. He carried out his postdoctoral training at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development where he specialized in Molecular Chronology. He then moved to the National Institute of Metal Health, where he conducted basic research on the molecular basis of circadian gene expression in vertebrates. In October 2004 he joined the Science Policy Branch in the Office of Science Policy and Communications at the National Institute on Drug Abuse as  a Health Scientist. 

His early publications have focused on the temporal regulations of gene expression in the brain’s clock. Since joining NIDA, he has written and lectured about the Neurology of Drug Abuse and Addiction. Dr. Baler has gathered critical insight from the diverse disciplines, which he combines to advance NIDA’s scientific mission. These include cellular and molecular biology, genetics, immunology, bioinformatics, neuroscience and neurotics. 

Al Zalinka FAICP, CMSM

Assistant City Manager for the City of Riverside

Al Zelinka is an Assistant City Manager (and former Community Development Director) for the City of RIverside, California. Prior to joining the Riverside Team, Al was Planning Manager and Community Development Director for the City of Fullerton as well as Vice President with RBF Consulting and served as Principal of RBF Consultings’ URBAN DESIGN STUDIO. For the past twenty years, Mr. Zelinka’s practice has upheld his original  planning and urban design career objective: to “make a difference” in communities and the profession. He has practiced planning and delivered presentations or training in more than 28 states (Plus the District of Columbia), directed 100 projects and played an active role in another 50 (more than 35 which have received awards), and has consistently been involved in the profession and public service throughout his career. 

He is the co-author of two APA publications, SafeScape and Placemaking on a Budget, Al is currently the immediate Past President of the California Planning Roundtable, a 30-year organization dedicated to advancing the practice and processions of planning and providing leadership for a better California. Al graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Public Planning from Northern Arizona University in 1989 and a Master of Regional Planning from Cornell University in 1991.

Veronica A. Kelley, LCSW

Assistant Director, San Bernardino County,
Department of Behavioral Health

Veronica A. Kelley, LCSW is the Assistant Director for the San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health . She also oversees the county’s Alcohol and Drug Services program. Veronica is a member of the Governing Board for the California Association of Behavioral Health Directors Association (CBHDS) serving as the Co-Chair for the Substance Abuse Prevention & Treatment Plus (SAPT +) Committee. She is a Professor at Mount St. Mary’s College teaching in the undergraduate Social Work/Sociology/Gerontology and Film Department as well as an Adjunct Faculty in the Masters of Social Work Program at Loma Linda University Department of Social Work and Social Ecology. She earned her MSW from the University of Southern California and her BS in Psychology and Child Development from Mount Saint Mary’s College in Los Angeles.

Cassandra Greisen

Center Program Coordinator,
The Center for Alcohol Marketing and Youth

Cassandra Greisen works at the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth and the Johns Hopkins Bloomerg School of Public Health where she manages community outreach for the Center. She is actively engaged in projects related to alcohol marketing in traditional and new media and alcohol outlet dentistry. Prior to her position at CAMY, Cassandra was with Project Extra Mile, a Nebraska-based nonprofit working to prevent under age drinking and youth access to alcohol. 

She worked closely on the campaigns to reclassify alcopops in Nebraska and to change local zoning code to address alcohol outlet density in Omaha, NE. Ms. Greisen received her BS and MPA, with a concentration in public policy, from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. 

Elizabeth Baca

Senior Health Advisor,
Governor's Office of Planning and Research

Dr. Elizabeth Baca is passionate about innovations to foster total health and well-being. She currently serves as the Senior Health Advisor in the Governor’s office of Planning and Research (OPR). She is engaged in innovation in the public sector to foster health through multiple projects including healthy planning, big data, and public-private partnerships. Additionally, she serves as OPR’s lead for the Governor’s Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine.  Through her role in OPR, she is an advisor for the USGBC Building Health Initiatives and FS6, a new Food System Accelerator. Previously, she served on the General Pediatric Faculty at Stanford Medical School and directed to Community Pediatric and Child Advocacy Rotation. Dr. Baca was the lead faculty mentor on several projects to increase access to healthy foods, reduce environmental triggers of asthma, increase physical activity opportunities, and improve the built environment. 

Dr. Baca studied health policy at Universidad Simon Bolivar in Venezuela. She completed her Masters in Public Administration at Harvard Kennedy School of Government and her Doctorate of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Baca completed her pediatric residency in the Pediatric Leadership for the Underserved (PLUS) Program at the University of California, San Francisco. 

Andre Bossieux

San Bernardino County,
Department of Behavioral Health
Transitional Age Youth Center

Andre Bossieux was born and raised in Pasadena, California. He attended the University of La Verne and received his Bachelor’s of Arts Degrees in Television & Radio Communications. While attending ULV, Andre was involved around campus and joined the basketball team all four years of his undergraduate studies which led him to receive the “All Conference” award, granting him the prestigious honor of being inducted into the University of La Verne’s Althetic Hall of Fame in November 2014. After his undergraduate studies, Andre continued his path towards higher education when he decided to pursue his Master in Health Care Administration. During Bossieux’s seven years working with San Bernardino County’s TAY program (Transitional Age Youth) where over 3,579 youth were served throughout the county and they continue their service to youth that are experiencing significant mental health challenges and homelessness. The TAY program has been recognized nationally and continues to be a major link in providing critical services to underserved youth in our communities. 

Selvaughn Keagan

The Stay Legacy

Selvaughn Keagan is an intelligent, hardworking, multi-talented 20 year old high school graduate. Growing up Selvaughn had a challenging life, being homeless and having no family support to accomplish any of his goals. His life changed on his 18th birthday, when he started at the Stay, which is a crisis facility center that helps aged youth that has experienced a psychiatric crisis transition back to their community. He was warmly welcomed by staff members, as well as roommates who shared similar stories. The Stay gives opportunity and hope for youth, like it did for Selvaughn and his peers. It allowed him to continue participating in basketball, travel for tournaments, attend weekly practices and assisted with transportation to his job.  It gave him the confidence to believe that he can be successful and not give up on his dreams. The Recovery Counselors at the Stay encouraged him to strive for larger goals and continue growing professionally. During his counseling he found motivation and was inspired to break through bad habits and find improvements in his life within 3 short months. Selvaghn was able to learn how to understand his behavior from his past trauma and discover his true identity of who he wanted to be. Now, Selvaughn is on the right path to a better and brighter future. With the help of the Stay, Selvaughn leaves behind his legacy and now has the support and guidance that was much needed throughout his youth. He now has the incredible opportunity to share his story and let teens know that no matter the struggle you go through, there are resources and people out there to help you.