Abraham Hernandez – Research Associate:
Abraham joined SSG in July 2015. As a Research Associate, he provides support on data collection, facilitation, graphic design and data entry on a variety of past and current projects. Before joining the team, Abraham was part of the Ramona Gardens Youth Fellowship Program, acquiring various leadership skills and publicly advocating for youth development programs in front of City Council and the LAPD. When he began college, he worked for the Los Angeles School District as an Instructional Assistant and realized the importance of collaboration and peace-building across communities of color. He was referred by a community leader to try an internship at SSG and has grown an interest in quantitative data, research, data visualization and how to communicate data findings in a community-friendly manner. Abraham is fluent in Spanish and is pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology at Loyola Marymount University.
Phone: (213) 223-0622
Agustin Ruelas – Research Analyst:
Agustin joined SSG in December 2015. As a Research Analyst, he provides technical assistance and capacity-building guidance on community development, community organizing, and evaluation projects. Before joining the team, Agustin worked with the East LA Community Corporation (ELACC), Community Development Technologies Center (CDTech) and CADRE, gaining over a decade of experience strengthening communities through community organizing, leadership development, progressive education policy and social enterprise business development. At SSG, he applies this expertise through working on the Learning and Evaluation Team for the South Los Angeles site of The California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities initiative. He is also a social entrepreneur and a founder of the Brewjeria Company, a local brewery that donates their popular beer to dozens of local charities for their fundraising efforts. Agustin is a recipient of the Public Allies Los Angeles Fellowship and holds a Bachelor’s degree from California State University, Los Angeles and a Master’s degree in Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University.
Phone: (213) 223-0619
Angela Beltran – Research Analyst:
Angela has been with SSG since March 2011. As a Research Analyst, she brings expertise in participatory action research, facilitation, program evaluation and logic model trainings. A gatekeeper of our commitment to build the capacity of local social justice and educational organizations, she manages projects for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP)’s Community Partnership Outreach Program and the Liberty Hill Foundation. Prior to joining SSG, Angela worked with community-based organizations and government agencies in Los Angeles as a legal advocate and health promoter on environmental health impact research, policy change and community organizing. She is first generation born of Mexican immigrants, fully fluent in Spanish and does extensive work with faith-based organizations in spiritual formation and ministry evaluation in her spare time. Angela did her undergraduate studies in Sociology and Spiritual Director Certification in Mount St. Mary’s College.
Phone: (213) 223-0612
Araceli Castellanos – Research Analyst:
Araceli joined SSG in 2013. As a Research Analyst she specializes in managing community needs assessments, capacity-building projects, and providing technical assistance for local non-profits. Prior to SSG, Araceli managed the Dual Language Project, a longitudinal study in the Media and Language Laboratory at California State University, Los Angeles. She has eight years of experience in research and evaluation and specializes in child development. Her works have been presented at the Society for Research in Child Development and the American Psychological Association. At SSG, Araceli applied this knowledge and experience by guiding community parent groups through making data-decisions to address early childhood development issues for First 5 LA’s Best Start Developmental Evaluation. Her research interests include early education, school readiness and youth development. Araceli is fluent in Spanish, holds a Master’s degree in Child Development and is a CFLE (Certified Family Life Educator) from California State University, Los Angeles.
Phone: (213) 223-0614
Art Garcia – Senior Research Analyst:
Art joined SSG as a graduate student intern in 2011. As a Senior Research Analyst, he specializes in strategic planning for local non-profits, rigorous evaluation of public health programs, immigrant health and health policy analysis. He has 11 years of clinical and community-based research experience on a range of issues from genetic eye conditions to adolescent substance abuse. At SSG, Art continues to pursue his interests in using community-based participatory research, empowerment evaluation and a mixed-methods approach to address health inequalities in low-income and migrant populations. He also works on projects examining system-level factors that influence health outcomes and facilitates logic model trainings. His commitment to elevating the needs of underserved communities come from his upbringing in low-income communities in San Bernardino County. Currently, Art manages the Healthy Rancho Cucamonga Evaluation and Orange County Partnership to Improve Community Health Active Transportation Evaluation. Art is fluent in Spanish and holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Biology and a Bachelor’s of Science in Public Health from California State University, San Bernardino. He received a Master of Public Health from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Phone: (213) 223-0616
Dan Huynh – Research Analyst:
Phone: (213) 223-0621
Erica Juhn – Research Analyst:
Erica joined SSG in 2014. As a Research Analyst, her specialties include program evaluation and organizational capacity-building for programs and social justice projects in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. At SSG, she worked with Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) to evaluate their 5-year National Giving Circle Campaign and is currently providing technical assistance and support for Phase II community grantees of the California Department of Public Health’s California Reducing Disparities Project. Erica has 15 years of experience working with Los Angeles-based nonprofits and previously worked with the Korean immigrant community on language access and as a health educator. Her research interests include health education and health equity, with a focus on older adults. A conversational Korean-speaker, Erica holds dual Master’s degrees, a Master of Public Health in Community Health Sciences and a Master’s degree in Asian American Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Phone: (213) 223-0618
Erica Shehane – Director of Research & Evaluation:
Erica joined SSG in February of 2014. As the Director of SSG Research and Evaluation Team, she provides leadership and guidance on many of SSG R&E’s projects including: Technical Assistance Provider for the Asian & Pacific Islander populations as part of The California Department of Public Health, Office of Health Equity’s, California Reducing Disparities Project; learning and evaluation for the South Los Angeles site of The California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities initiative; and the Outreach Partnership Program for the National Institute of Mental Health. Erica has over 15 years of experience working in non-profit, community health and mental health organizations on national and international evaluation projects. Prior to joining SSG, she managed the evaluation of drug treatment centers in Guatemala and El Salvador with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Global AIDS Program (CDC-GAP). She was also the project director of a 5-year, multi-site National Institute of Health’s (NIH) study related to decision-making and ethics in medicine at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Community Health Outcomes and Interventions Research Center. Erica is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), and has held positions lecturing at the University of Southern California’s School of Social Work and UCLA Luskin’s Department of Social Welfare. Erica has dual Master’s degrees in Social Work and Public Health from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Phone: (213) 553-9350
Jason M. Gutierrez – Research Associate:
Jason joined SSG in 2013. As a Research Associate, he provides general technical assistance and evaluation support and manages data systems. Jason began his career at the UCLA Center for the Study of Urban Poverty, honing his research skills on topics affecting underserved communities, specifically the low-income labor economy, wage theft and workplace violations. Working at Rand Corporation’s Survey Research Groups, he expanded his research scope to health, family dynamics, and adolescent substance use. At SSG, he applies his experience on a variety of different evaluation and community-capacity building projects and is currently working on the Liberty Hill Foundation’s Commissions Training Program evaluation. Jason also provides administrative infrastructure and communications support for the Research & Evaluation Team. He is interested in how to include multi-media and storytelling into community-based participatory research and has research interests in cognition and leadership development, systems theory and organizational development. Jason is a fluent Spanish speaker and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Phone: (213) 223-0617
Jesse Damon – Research Analyst:
Jesse joined SSG in 2014. As a Research Analyst, he manages a wide range of evaluations, and provides capacity-building expertise for organizations and community groups. Jesse has also implemented several different technical assistance projects for local community-based organizations, including the Koreatown Youth and Community Center (KYCC). Currently, he is a technical assistance provider on the California Department of Public Health, Office of Health Equity’s, California Reducing Disparities Project, which seeks to elevate community-defined practices in mental health programming from underrepresented and diverse communities across the state. Prior to SSG, Jesse worked as an administrator at the University of Texas at Austin, and was a field director for ‘Diabetes Care in American Samoa’ a National Institute of Health (NIH)-funded research project based in Tafuna, American Samoa. His public health interests are focused on structural inequalities, the impact of discrimination on health, and health equity, particularly with Pacific Islanders. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a Master of Public Health from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Phone: (213) 223-0615
Rebecca Ratzkin - Assistant Director of Research & Evaluation:
Rebecca Ratzkin joined SSG R&E in April 2017. As Assistant Director, she provides guidance to the overall SSG team around strategy and team development, and helps to manage a range of projects, such as the California Reducing Disparities Project (CRDP) addressing mental health in the API communities. Rebecca comes to SSG with over ten years experience as a researcher, planner and evaluator in the nonprofit sector, helping organizations, foundations and government agencies better understand their constituencies and audiences, and build capacity around research and evaluation. Her interest and skills focus on bridging theory and practice, as well as empowering others to conduct and utilize research independent of “experts.” In her previous work as Senior Consultant at WolfBrown, she directed the Arts Research Collaborative (ARC) for the Hewlett Foundation Performing Arts Program from 2012 to 2015, providing technical and training assistance to over 44 Bay Area arts organizations, and has co-authored a number of reports on topics ranging from donor motivations and audience engagement, to cultural participation and intrinsic impact of the arts. Rebecca is also the Research Team Leader at Createquity, an arts research think tank, where she helps guide team members in reviewing and writing about research. Rebecca graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Oberlin College with major in art history, and has a master’s in urban planning from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, where she studied economic clusters of arts organizations in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Phone: (213) 223-0623
Tracy Moronatty – Research Associate:
Tracy joined SSG in 2015. As a Research Associate, she supports data entry, data collection efforts and trainings. Prior to joining SSG, Tracy was a dedicated community volunteer and participant of First 5 LA’s place-based initiative, Best Start, in her hometown of El Monte. She participated in the initiative’s Community Based Action Research (CBAR) program, which SSG was implementing. Her growing interest in research led her to approach SSG staff to ask how she could learn more. She joined our team as an intern and has assisted in projects such as the Migrant Education Needs Assessment for LA County. Following her interest in community-based participatory research and with great encouragement from our team, she is currently pursuing her Bachelor's degree at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.
Phone: (213) 223-0623