TEAM

A note from the Executive Director

Our team is a dedicated partner to those in need, and a promise for something better.
- Alena Wall, MA, CHES, Executive Director

Core Team | Instructors

Alena Wall, MA, CHES

— Executive Director

Alena has served as the Center's Executive Director since 2007. Under her leadership the Center received both the 2013 Jefferson Award from the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors recognizing “Excellence in Community Leadership and Civic Engagement" as well as the 2013 award from the Sonoma County Medical Association for their significant contribution to community health.

Alena is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) with a Bachelor of Science in Health Science from CSU, Chico and a Masters in Holistic Health Education from John F Kennedy University. Alena is currently the Steering Committee Chair of Sonoma Health Action; is a Health Action Council member; a member of the Committee for Healthcare Improvement; and is active through the committee Hearts of Sonoma committed to reducing heart attacks and strokes in Sonoma County.

Ali Samii

— Youth Health Promoter

Committed to helping his community, Ali began as a volunteer of The Center. As the Health Promoter in youth programs Ali leads trainings for elementary school teachers, and is developing a coaching program with Sonoma State students. Ali hopes to improve the health of Sonoma County youth through fun, physical activities. Ali is also an instructor for both our Shapedown and Taking Steps/Tomando Pasos programs. 

Amy Crabb

— Fund Development Officer

Amy joined the Center for Well-Being in 2016, bringing almost 30 years combined marketing, PR and fundraising experience in the nonprofit sector. Originally from the Midwest, she has made Sonoma County home for 8 years.

Ariel Muirhead, RDN

— Worksite Wellness Coordinator

As the Worksite Wellness Coordinator, Ariel leads chronic disease prevention initiatives at worksites. She strives to build community, providing education and resources, to empower others to create their own healthier communities.

Carlos Lopez

— Health Promoter

As a bilingual health promoter,  Carlos engages community, especially Latino communities throughout Sonoma County, with practical ideas and strategies to live healthy. With an academic background in Social Sciences and a Community Health Worker certification, Carlos is a passionate advocate for creating and advancing thriving communities.

Cindy Mogannam, MPH, RD, CSP

— Diabetes Program Coordinator


For the past ten years Cindy has specialized in pediatric nutrition, diabetes education and nutritional management of chronic conditions. Since 2012, Cindy has been teaching health education classes at Kaiser Permanente, including diabetes self-management, cholesterol classes and kidney health.Cindy is a registered dietitian who completed her undergraduate degree in nutrition at UC Davis and earned a  master degree in public health from UCLA.


Cindy Pehlke , RN

— HeartWorks Program Supervisor

As an R.N. with over 25 years’ experience assisting patients to recover from orthopedic, Cardiac and other health problems or surgeries, Cindy is dedicated to helping patients thrive after major cardiac events. For the past eight years, Cindy has overseen high quality programs at HeartWorks, assisting heart patients get back their strength, endurance and especially their confidence. Cindy thrives in her role because she is able to help patients be active once again and do the many different activities and jobs they love.

Jeanette Magana

— Operations Supervisor

As the Operations Supervisor, Jeanette provides direction and oversight of the Center’s daily functions ranging from front office to medical billing. With nearly a decade of experience working for the Center and a passion to help the community improve their health, she works diligently to maintain up to date knowledge of the healthcare industry and billing changes to ensure all patients benefit from the Center.

Jennifer McClendon, MPH

— Manager of Business Development and Strategies

With over a decade managing multi-county community health campaigns, Jennifer joined the Center to dedicate her skills to advance innovative approaches to chronic disease prevention and patient self-management.  Jennifer’s public health background coupled with a passion for cross-sector collaboration is integral to her role leading business development for the Center.

Kathy Hutchinson, MS, RCEP, EP-C

— Exercise Physiologist

Kathy’s professional goal is to educate people so they can make healthy choices.  She works to break down difficult topics in a way that is understandable and usable, whether the subject is aerobics or atrial fibrillation. HeartWorks allows her to do both.

Kimberly Barbosa Soeiro , MPP

— Youth Program Coordinator

Kimberly has worked in the non-profit and public sector since 2008, working on projects and programs that impact families and youth. She is passionate about creating positive outcomes in her community through programs, outreach, and education. Outside of work, Kimberly volunteers with multiple organizations in her community and coaches Brazilian Jiu-Jistu. 

Lydia Margitich

— Program Assistant

As a Santa Rosa native with a BA in Sociology from San Francisco State, Lydia is passionate to serve her local community volunteering with a number of nonprofits in Sonoma County prior to joining the Center. As the Center’s Program Assistant, Lydia assists the operations department with excellent customer service and evaluation support.

Maria Madrigal

— Referral Coordinator

Maria joined the Center in 2012, combining  her knowledge of healthcare as a certified Medical Assistant together with her strong customer service skills to provide outstanding operation support to the Center. As a bilingual Referral Coordinator fluent in English and  Spanish, Maria oversees the referral flow, insurance verifications, and outreach to the community and healthcare partners about the Center’s services.

Martín Rivarola

— Community Engagement Manager

As the Community Engagement Manager, Martín combines his community organizing skills with his passion to empower Sonoma County residents to create healthier homes, neighborhoods and cities. Martin is a native of Buenos Aires, Argentina and a Cal Poly-SLO graduate.  

Michelle Escobar-McGarry

— Tobacco Programs/Smoke Free Babies Coordinator

Michelle has been with the Center for over a decade as a Certified Cessation Specialist. She is the Smoke-Free Babies Program Coordinator and Tobacco Programs Manager. She also is a Master Trainer for Healthier Living --Chronic Disease Management Program. Michelle is the current Chair of the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Sonoma County and has been instrumental in educating elected officials on Smoke-Free Policy Issues.

Nora Bulloch, RD, MA, MPH

— Health Ed Program Manager II, Lead Dietitian

Nora teaches Weight Control at the Center. She preaches practical, holistic lifestyle changes as part of a balanced diet - making sure that participants understand the benefit of a good night's sleep or the impact of stress on the body.

A Santa Rosa native, Nora spends her free time on the trails or wandering farmer's markets for great local produce.

Susan Garcia

— Health Promoter

As a community health worker, Susan joined the Center initially as an intern  to share her passion for health and wellness with the community. Susan is working towards her bachelor’s degree in Women’s Studies and provides direct nutrition education in English and Spanish for the Center throughout Sonoma County.  

Ali Samii

— Youth Health Promoter

Committed to helping his community, Ali began as a volunteer of The Center. As the Health Promoter in youth programs Ali leads trainings for elementary school teachers, and is developing a coaching program with Sonoma State students. Ali hopes to improve the health of Sonoma County youth through fun, physical activities. Ali is also an instructor for both our Shapedown and Taking Steps/Tomando Pasos programs. 

Ariel Muirhead, RDN

— Worksite Wellness Coordinator

As the Worksite Wellness Coordinator, Ariel leads chronic disease prevention initiatives at worksites. She strives to build community, providing education and resources, to empower others to create their own healthier communities.

Cindy Mogannam, MPH, RD, CSP

— Diabetes Program Coordinator


For the past ten years Cindy has specialized in pediatric nutrition, diabetes education and nutritional management of chronic conditions. Since 2012, Cindy has been teaching health education classes at Kaiser Permanente, including diabetes self-management, cholesterol classes and kidney health.Cindy is a registered dietitian who completed her undergraduate degree in nutrition at UC Davis and earned a  master degree in public health from UCLA.


Cindy Pehlke , RN

— HeartWorks Program Supervisor

As an R.N. with over 25 years’ experience assisting patients to recover from orthopedic, Cardiac and other health problems or surgeries, Cindy is dedicated to helping patients thrive after major cardiac events. For the past eight years, Cindy has overseen high quality programs at HeartWorks, assisting heart patients get back their strength, endurance and especially their confidence. Cindy thrives in her role because she is able to help patients be active once again and do the many different activities and jobs they love.

Kathy Hutchinson, MS, RCEP, EP-C

— Exercise Physiologist

Kathy’s professional goal is to educate people so they can make healthy choices.  She works to break down difficult topics in a way that is understandable and usable, whether the subject is aerobics or atrial fibrillation. HeartWorks allows her to do both.

Michelle Escobar-McGarry

— Tobacco Programs/Smoke Free Babies Coordinator

Michelle has been with the Center for over a decade as a Certified Cessation Specialist. She is the Smoke-Free Babies Program Coordinator and Tobacco Programs Manager. She also is a Master Trainer for Healthier Living --Chronic Disease Management Program. Michelle is the current Chair of the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Sonoma County and has been instrumental in educating elected officials on Smoke-Free Policy Issues.

Nora Bulloch, RD, MA, MPH

— Health Ed Program Manager II, Lead Dietitian

Nora teaches Weight Control at the Center. She preaches practical, holistic lifestyle changes as part of a balanced diet - making sure that participants understand the benefit of a good night's sleep or the impact of stress on the body.

A Santa Rosa native, Nora spends her free time on the trails or wandering farmer's markets for great local produce.

Amanda PehIke

After dedicating 25 years of service to her community in Emergency Services as a Police Officer and Firefighter/Paramedic; Amanda came to work for Heartworks to continue her passion of helping others. She works with Heartworks patients in the Phase II Monitored Program helping them recover from traumatic cardiac incidents and getting them back to enjoying their lives.

Andy Skrypka, MA, RD, CDE

Andy is a Registered Dietitian specializing in diabetes and renal with a Master’s Degree in Nutrition. She has worked as a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) over twenty-five years teaching classes and over ten years in the medical practice office of Primary Care Associates. Her approach is practical and dynamic. She has lived with type 1 diabetes since 1972.

Chris Bekins, MS, RD

Chris Bekins is a Registered Dietitian with a Masters Degree in Nutrition. She has more than 30 years of experience in the nutrition field including consultation and instruction in local, regional, and statewide programs including hospitals, clinics, colleges, and corporate wellness as well as public health county and state organization. 

Cindy PehIke , RN

As an R.N. with over 25 years’ experience assisting patients to recover from orthopedic, Cardiac and other health problems or surgeries, Cindy is dedicated to helping patients thrive after major cardiac events. For the past eight years, Cindy has overseen high quality programs at HeartWorks, assisting heart patients get back their strength, endurance and especially their confidence. Cindy thrives in her role because she is able to help patients be active once again and do the many different activities and jobs they love.

Diane Zepaltas, MS, RDN

Diane joined the Center to continue her passion for helping youth and families and adults achieve a healthier lifestyle.  As an outdoor enthusiast, she cycles, hikes and runs to keep fit and serve as a role model for others.  Being a “healthy” foodie allows Diane to share her easy and nutritious recipes in the classroom showing that healthy can taste good too!

Joan Gates, RD, MPH, MS

Joan Gates is a Registered Dietitian with over 25 years experience in nutrition education. She holds Masters degrees in both Nutrition Science and Public Health Nutrition. Joan has taught sports nutrition at U.C. Berkeley, counseled patients in a cardiology practice and worked in heart disease prevention research at Stanford. She has developed and taught many classes in the areas of cardiac nutrition, diabetes, sports nutrition and weight control.

Joyce Giammattei , Dr.PH, RD, CDE, CHES, ACSM

Joyce is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, and a Health and Fitness Specialist from the American College of Sports Medicine. She received her bachelor's degree in Nutrition from UC Davis, and both her Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Public Health from Loma Linda University. She has been a practicing dietitian since 1996 and a certified diabetes educator since 2000. Diabetes education is her passion. Joyce believes that diabetes care and goals must be individualized and also feels that each person manages his or her diabetes as best they can with the tools they have. Her goal as an educator is to give people tools so they can manage their health concerns effectively and live long and healthy lives.

Kathie Myers, RN

Kathie Myers has been a Registered Nurse for almost 30 years. She has worked in the areas of rehabilitation in spinal cord injury, care of the geriatric population and health education. She has worked in both the U.S. and Mexico for many years in all of these areas of specialty. She currently teaches Diabetes y Su Salud for the Center for Well-Being.

Laura Stever, RD

As a culinary school graduate and a Registered Dietician, Laura brings 12 years experience working with families in community nutrition and public health. She enjoys helping children and parents work together to create healthy habits, including developing routines  as a family like preparing home cooked meals full of fruits and vegetables.   

Mary Ellen Wells , PT

Mary Ellen is a Physical Therapist and movement educator with over 20 years of experience. She is a graduate of Tamalpa Institute's movement-based Expressive Arts Program and has studied Authentic Movement, Feldenkrais, and Continuum. Mary Ellen has advanced training in Craniosacral Therapy. Her interest in the body/mind connection as well as her personal experience with fibromyalgia inspires her classes and private practice.

Mary McDonell, MSN, RD, CDE

Mary McDonnell is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator and has her Masters Degree in Nursing. She has worked as a Dietitian for a risk factor management company and over the past 15 years she has worked with both pediatric and adult diabetes programs, as well as a diabetes and pregnancy program. What I like about diabetes education is the opportunity to work closely with the patient and/or family to both educate, as well as help in the implementation of the knowledge to manage and live well with diabetes.

Nieves Douglass , RN

Nieves is the Center's La Diabetes y Su Salud Instructor, and a bilingual Cardiac Clinical Nurse Educator at Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa. A graduate of Santa Clara University, Nieves has over twelve years experience in the acute care setting working with patients who have diabetes and heart disease.

Parmatma Ann Marie

Parmatma began her teaching career in 1998. Her interests have been drawn more to the therapeutic based practices and science of anatomy in yoga. In 2008, she completed formal training as a yoga therapist and continues to study and learn to refine her skills and enhance her repertoire to help others help and heal themselves.

Susan Gayle Holte

Suzanne Beach , MA

Suzanne brings thirty years of experience in cardiac rehab, testing and fitness to HeartWorks.  With a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology, she began a career in cardiac rehab at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital in 1986.  In the ten years she has worked at HeartWorks, Suzanne has continued working with many patients she has known since her first days at Memorial Hospital.  Her exercise programs are safe, effective and enjoyable. She strives to make exercise and HeartWorks a fun, lifetime habit for all her participants.

Board of Directors

Chris Denny
The Engine is Red
Toni Griffin , JD
O'Brien, Watters & Davis LLP
Gary Hochman
The HR Matrix
Surani Kwan, NP
Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation
Robert Tavelli
Tavelli Co. Inc.
Tom Zembal , MD
Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation
Monica Ferguson, MD
Annadel Medical Group
Courtney Galbraith
Kaiser Permanente
Jane Stone
Financial Consultant
Duane Esguerra
Board President
Envestnet Yodlee
Jo Sandersfeld, MSW
President-elect
St. Joseph Health
Reed Walker, MD
Board Secretary
Retired Family Practice Physician
John Fitzpatrick, MBA
Board Treasurer
Agilent Technologies
Kathy Hardin, RN
Past President
Community Volunteer

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