Board of Directors

PHC Board of Directors

Howard Kahn, MPA

Chair of the Board

Howard Kahn served for over 14 years as CEO of L.A. Care Health Plan, the nation's largest publicly operated health plan, which has more than 2 million enrolled members in Los Angeles County. Additionally, Kahn has more than 25 years of experience in national and international health care. At CIGNA International, he was Senior VP for Latin America and Global Health, and as a VP at Aetna, he was responsible for the company's global health business, nationwide governmental managed care and managed health operations. He was founding president and CEO of the $1 billion California Wellness Foundation and founding CEO of the Health Plan of San Mateo.

Currently Howard is serving as the Interim CEO of the MAVEN PROJECT, and since retiring from LA Care has also been a Senior Advisor to Johns Hopkins Medicine (2019) and was the interim CEO of Union Station Homeless Services, a leading non-profit homeless services agency (2018).  Currently, Howard serves as a board member with Charles Drew University School of Medicine, RAND Health, Good Hope Medical Foundation, and the Insure the Uninsured Project, a nonprofit organization focused on identifying new approaches to expand health care and coverage for California's uninsured.

Howard pursued undergraduate studies at Harvard, received his Bachelor's degree in Development Studies from UC Berkeley and his Master's degree in Public Affairs from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute.

Speaker

Tanya Spirtos, MD

Vice Chair of the Board

Dr. Spirtos is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist practicing in Redwood City, Calif. In addition to serving as Vice Chair of the Board for PHC, she is also President-Elect of the California Medical Association.

Dr. Spirtos earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Chicago and her medical degree at Northwestern University Medical Center. She completed her residency at Los Angeles County Medical Center/ University of Southern California and is a fellow of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Her medium-sized group of physicians recently affiliated with Stanford Healthcare and she continues to practice gynecology only at both Sequoia Hospital and El Camino Hospital. She was a member of the Board of Trustees of Sequoia Hospital Systems from 2003-07 and served on the Community Board of Directors of Sequoia Hospital from 2007-15. She has also been an adjunct clinical faculty of Stanford University Medical School since 1995, with an academic appointment as adjunct clinical assistant professor from 2006-14. Since 2010 she has served at the Arbor Free Clinic with the Stanford medical students and has been recognized for exemplary contributions in teaching. Despite this—and her participation on various health boards—she receives 100 percent of her compensation from patient care.

Speaker

Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, MD, PhD

Secretary-Treasurer

Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, MD, PhD, is a Professor of Clinical Internal Medicine at the School of Medicine, University of California, Davis. He is the Founding Director of the Center for Reducing Health Disparities at UC Davis Health and the Director of the Community Engagement Program of the UCD Clinical Translational Science Center. He is currently a member of the National Advisory Council of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration -Center for Mental Health Services, and board member of the Public Health Institute.  In early 2022, he was appointed to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Physical Fitness and Mental Well-Being and is the Chair of the Best Practices Subcommittee. 

Dr. Aguilar-Gaxiola is a national and international expert on health and mental health comorbidities on diverse populations. He is a past member of the National Advisory Mental Health Council, National Institute of Mental Health. He is the Past Chair of the Board of Directors of Mental Health and Past President of the Board of Directors of NAMI California.  He was a member of the California Future Health Workforce Commission’s Technical Advisory Committee and co-chair of the Behavioral Health Subcommittee and a past member of the California Department of Public Health Office of Health Equity’s Advisory Committee.

Dr. Aguilar-Gaxiola is the author of over 190 scientific publications. He is the recipient of multiple international, national, state, and local awards, including a distinguished member of the Top 10 U.S. Latino Physicians in the May 2016 issue of Latino Leaders Magazine. In October 2021, he was distinguished by the National Hispanic Science Network with the 2021 National Award of Excellence in Research by a Senior Investigator award and by the National Latino Behavioral Health Association with the 2021 Lifetime Award for the Advancement of Latino Behavioral Health.

Speaker

Lupe Alonzo-Diaz

PHC President and CEO

Lupe Alonzo-Diaz serves as the President and CEO of Physicians for a Healthy California (PHC). She is also the Vice President of Continuing Medical Education for the California Medical Association. In her existing role, she provides leadership and direction to the overall mission and vision of the organization. Prior to her role at PHC, she was the Deputy Director of Administration for the Department of State Hospitals where she oversaw the daily operations of five state hospitals with a $1.4 billion budget and over 11,000 employees.

Before this, she served in various leadership roles at the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD), including in acting capacities as the Chief Deputy Director and Deputy Director of Administration. At OSHPD, she also led the state's efforts on health workforce development overseeing various programs and grants increasing access to care in underserved areas as its Deputy Director of Healthcare Workforce Development. Ms. Alonzo-Diaz initially came to state government as a gubernatorial appointee for the Health Professions Education Foundation as its Executive Director.

Prior to public service, she held various leadership positions with the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, Western Center for Law and Poverty, Children's Advocacy Institute and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. Lupe earned a Master's Degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor's degree from the University of California at Berkeley. She lives in Elk Grove with her husband, two boys, her mother, her sons' dog and her mother's bird.

Dustin Corcoran

CEO, California Medical Association

Dustin Corcoran is Chief Executive Officer for the California Medical Association (CMA), a non-profit professional organization of nearly 50,000 physicians dedicated to protecting public health and promoting the science and art of medicine. As CEO, Mr. Corcoran has the responsibility for the overall supervision, direction and control of the business and staff of CMA. 

Mr. Corcoran has advocated tirelessly for California physicians and the patients that they serve since 1998. He started at CMA as the membership coordinator for the association's political action committee. Within a year, Mr. Corcoran moved to CMA's Center for Government Relations where he worked under the guidance of the legendary Steve Thompson as a staff lobbyist. When Mr. Thompson passed away in 2004, Dustin succeeded him as Vice President of Government Relations where he managed CMA’s legislative program. In 2009, Mr. Corcoran was promoted to Senior Vice President, where he oversaw the day-to-day operations of CMA, as well as the Center for Government Relations and ultimately became CEO in February of 2010.

Mr. Corcoran also serves as President of the Physicians Advocacy Institute and on the Board of Directors for the Stanford Medicine WellMD Center; Neuropathy Action Foundation; Physicians Foundation; Institute for Medical Quality; Physicians for a Healthy California; PSO Services, LLC; California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy; and Street Soccer USA: Sacramento.

Mr. Corcoran earned a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business. He lives in Sacramento with his wife, Glenda Corcoran, and their children.

Speaker

Lase (Toluwalase) Ajayi, MD, FAAP

Dr. Tolúwalàṣé (Laṣé) Ajayi, MD FAAP, is a fellowship-trained palliative care physician and pediatrician. She currently the Director of Clinical Research and Diversity Initiatives at Scripps Research Translational Institute as well as an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at UC San Diego and Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego where she works as a community hospitalist and pediatric palliative medicine physician; she also serves  the medical director of adult palliative medicine at Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego.

Dr. Ajayi is a member of the Pediatric Operations Task Force and on the Digital Health Technologies committee of the All of Us Research Program with the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Ajayi’s research focuses on opportunities at the intersection of novel digital medicine technologies and unmet needs in maternal fetal health as well as pain and palliative medicine. She hopes to increase participation of pregnant women and their newborn in clinical research and further investigate how mobile health can provide real time, patient reported outcomes that can be rapidly integrated into individualized clinical plans to improve health related quality of life. With these efforts, she hopes to diversify the standard of care provided to pregnant women and augment how we manage the symptoms prevalent in serious illness, with the goal of decreasing distress and associated hospital and emergency room utilization.

Manesy Liberty Ceja-Cevallos

Manesy Liberty Ceja-Cevallos

Ceja-Cevallos bio coming soon.

Karen Hansberger, M.D.

Karen Hansberger, M.D.

Dr. Hansberg bio coming soon.

Speaker

Jodi Hicks

A long-time health care advocate, Jodi Hicks is the President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California (PPAC). PPAC is the statewide public policy office for Planned Parenthood in California, representing and supporting California’s seven separately incorporated Planned Parenthood affiliates in their provision of high-quality, expert sexual and reproductive health care across more than 100 health center locations. Hicks led legislative strategies to get security funding for health centers that offer abortion services.


A longtime health care advocate and lobbyist, Hicks has worked with numerous health careorganizations, using her decades of experience to advise clients on government relations and policy. Hicks served as Acting CEO and President starting June 2019 and swiftly championed the role starting September 2019. She has previously served as a lobbyist for PPAC and sat on the board of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte.


Prior to joining PPAC, Jodi was the co-chair of Mercury LLC, an international public strategy firm, where she advocated on behalf of health care, energy, and social justice issues. Jodi was previously a partner in the lobby firm DiMare, Brown, Hicks & Kessler, LLC and has also served as the Vice President of Government Relations at the California Medical Association.


Since 2012, Jodi has been recognized in “Capitol Weekly’s Top 100” legislative advocates in California. She has been continually recognized for her work in the public health sector, including her successful advocacy on landmark legislative victories such as tobacco control legislation, increased California Medicaid provider rates, and the school children immunization requirement..

Speaker

Pooja Mittal, D.O.

Dr. Mittal is Chief Health Equity Officer at HealthNet, a Medicaid managed care organization. She is a family physician and uses this lens to design strategic initiatives to improve care for the most vulnerable. She is a member of the leadership team that works to further equitable care through a population health model for all HealthNet members. She has an expertise in digital health through her work in the HealthNet Digital Platforms Workgroup devising a defined digital strategy to support quality and member engagement. Dr. Mittal also works at the National Clinicians Consultation Center at UCSF, a national HIV/AIDS warmline, where she is recognized as a national expert on Perinatal HIV care. She is an Adjunct Associate Professor at University of California, San Francisco and Stanford University School of Medicine. In addition to her clinical work, she has published in the areas of well-child care, group visits, preconception care, health equity and perinatal HIV. She practices primary care at an FQHC in San Mateo County.

Speaker

Sunita Mutha, M.D.

Dr. Mutha directs Healthforce Center and is professor of medicine and primary care physician at the University of California, San Francisco. She leads Healthforce’s efforts to generate knowledge about the health care workforce and influence policy with rigorous analysis and actionable, unbiased information, and to implement programs that build leadership capacity to improve health care. She brings two decades of experience working to make health care more responsive and equitable. She has expertise in cultural competence trainings with an emphasis on the intersection between quality improvement and health disparities. She has served on national committees guiding the development of hospital standards for culturally competent patient-centered care. Her leadership experiences her current role on the board of directors of Insure the Uninsured Project (ITUP)

Speaker

Kyle Smith, M.D.

Dr. Smith is a board certified full-spectrum family medicine physician at Sutter Health in Roseville. Dr. Smith is also an adjunct faculty member for the Sutter Family Medicine Residency Program in Sacramento. He is proud to be a physician to underserved populations as one of few Medi-Cal providers in his system regionally. Dr. Smith provides comprehensive pediatric, obstetric and adult medicine with a special interest in addition recovery, mental health and women’s health. He received his undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University, his medical degree from UC Irvine and is a graduate of UC Irvine’s Program in Medical Education for the Latino Community. He also received his master’s in business administration from the Paul Merage School of Business with an emphasis in health care administration. Dr. Smith has a passion for caring for diverse and underserved populations with a special aim to optimize health care delivery systems, increase health care access and improve health outcomes.