Meet the California Health Data Ambassadors

We are thrilled to announce and introduce our California Health Data Ambassadors: Connor Alstrom (Fresno), Lilian Coral (Los Angeles), Ash Roughani and Joel Riphagen (Sacramento). The Ambassadors are part of a new statewide project funded by the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF)’s Free the Data initiative to build a bridge to local communities with California’s health data. The pilot project seeks to develop new tools to access, analyze, and communicate health data in California.

Health Data is powerful, for example, when these data sets can be used to create tools like WICit, a web app created late last year by local community members that helps families easily figure out where WIC (a federally-funded health and nutrition program for women, infants, and children) is accepted. Or when Yelp brings in health inspection scores to their restaurant ratings. Or when the New York Times uses health data from the state’s open data portal to create an interactive map of measles-immunization rates for kindergarteners in California.

Over the next five months the Ambassadors will encourage California communities to use the vast amount of health and health care data collected by the State of California’s Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) in new, tangible and relevant ways. Working with community members, they will help create and deploy at least one web app, visualization, or product using state health data that benefits the local community.

During this pilot phase, the Ambassadors will work in three cities: Fresno, Los Angeles and Sacramento. Within each of these cities, they will bring together stakeholders from across sectors: local government, non-profits and community organizations, civic hackers and technology companies to ensure the health data reaches the people that can best implement and put it to good use.

City of Sacramento

Ash Roughani is Head of Product at SAC2050, a fledgling collective impact initiative to develop a shared vision for the future of the Sacramento region and deploy a civic operating system to track progress toward measurable goals. Prior to SAC2050, he was Founder and Product Manager at Public Innovation, a nonprofit incubator focused on building a local civic innovation and social entrepreneurship ecosystem. In this role, he helped launch civic projects such as Code for Sacramento, CivicMeet Sacramento, Sacramento Hashtag Project, and Rooftop Alliance.

Ash is a systems thinker who synthesizes his deep knowledge of public policy and business strategy with technical skills in product management, web development, human centered design, and community building. He was formerly Senior Associate at California Forward and served as an Executive Fellow in the Schwarzenegger Administration. Ash is also production lead at TEDxSacramento, a freelance videographer, and a licensed skydiver. He holds a Master of Public Policy and Administration degree from Sacramento State, a BA in Philosophy from UC Santa Barbara, and completed half of the MBA program at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management.

Joel Riphagen is the owner of Riphagen Consulting, which provides policy analysis, data analysis and visualization, GIS mapping, performance measurement, and financial modeling consulting services to clients needing evidence-based solutions to strategic problems. Joel is a strong believer in the power of data to change the world and loves turning data into information, information into knowledge, and knowledge into wisdom, particularly in the service of improving social equity.

Previously, Joel had a 15-year career in state and local government, including policy and financial analyst positions at the California Legislative Analyst’s Office and the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, as well as a stint at the California Bureau of State Audits. He holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Rice University. He lives with his amazing wife and two fantastic boys in Sacramento.

City of Fresno

Connor Alstrom is an entrepreneurship student at California State University, Fresno and an entrepreneurial advocate in the community. Connor hosted the first ever Startup Weekend in the Fresno community. Startup Weekend drew over 75 students, entrepreneurs, and community leaders in one place for 54 hours for the sole person of launching startups. Connor has also brought over 300 students and community members to a series of workshops lead by experts in their fields all centered around skills necessary in entrepreneurship.

Connor is President of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization at Fresno State which has brought students from the different colleges on campus together with entrepreneurship. The CEO Fresno chapter has won a national Entrepreneurship Diffusion award and Best Club/Organization of the Year for 2013–2014. Connor has won multiple entrepreneurship awards and is also an Eagle Scout. Connor is very interested in technology and uses of big data.

City of Los Angeles

Lilian Coral has over 10 years of experience serving as a strategic and driven Public Policy and Non-profit leader in the area of health and human services policy, service delivery systems and technology. Most recently, as the Director of 2–1–1 California, she served in an executive capacity, leading a network of 26 independent non-profit organizations, serving 31 counties and over 33 million Californians. 2–1–1 programs throughout the U.S.A. and Canada provide the public with information, assessment and linkages to a wide range of community resources, health and human services, and disaster response assistance. During her tenure, Ms. Coral leveraged experience in public policy, public safety-net systems and coalition-building to develop and manage a virtual network of non-profit organizations, and develop systems that enable strategic planning and discussions on how “social/civic technologies” can transform the ways 2–1–1s deliver service and complement community-based safety net systems.

Prior to joining 2–1–1 California & UWCA, Lilian worked as an independent consultant on projects ranging from planning and program development, to research and policy analysis for health and human service agencies, local government, and labor unions; served as Policy Manager for the Los Angeles County Children’s Planning Council, a public-private partnership created to address the needs of children and families in Los Angeles; and was a Policy and Research Associate for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 721, which represents public-sector workers in the Southern California region. Lilian has a master’s degree in public policy from UCLA.

She currently provides organizational and management consulting to nonprofits organization in the Los Angeles region and is also an Innovation Fellow in the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Budget and Innovation working on Open Data, Innovation and Performance Management.