Staff

Martha Dina Argüello

Executive Director marguello@psr-la.org

For the past 32 years, Martha has served in the non-profit sector as an advocate, community organizer, and coalition builder. She joined PSR-LA in 1998 to launch the environmental health programs, and became Executive Director in November 2007. She is committed to making the credible voice of physicians a powerful instrument for transforming California and our planet into a more peaceful and healthy place.

Martha grew up in the Pico-Union area of Los Angeles. At the young age of 14, she made a lifelong commitment to effect social change after seeing her friend killed by a school security guard. While working as a health educator in the 1990s, Martha had an epiphany — she realized that although early detection can prevent death from breast cancer, it does not prevent breast cancer, which has been increasingly linked to the exposure of environmental toxicants. Since that realization, Martha has dedicated her career to the environmental justice movement, and has lectured nationwide on the use of precautionary principle policies.

As a coalition builder, Martha has emphasized the need for local grassroots advocacy working in partnership with statewide policy actions. She is an active board member of numerous organizations, including Californians for Pesticide Reform, the California Environmental Rights Alliance, and Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy. She also co-founded the Los Angeles County Asthma Coalition and the Coalition for Environmental Health and Justice, and was appointed to Cal/EPA’s Environmental Justice Committee and the California Air Resources Board’s Global Warming Environmental Justice Advisory Committee.

 

Denise Duffield

Associate Director dduffield@psr-la.org

Denise Duffield joined PSR-LA in 2004. She serves as PSR-LA’s administrator and directs its nuclear threats program, which advocates for health protective policies related to nuclear weapons, nuclear energy, and radiation regulations. Denise developed PSR-LA’s Peace and Security Ambassador program and coordinates public awareness events, physician and health professional training, legislative advocacy, and media placement related to nuclear issues. She works to develop joint strategies and initiatives with allied national and state nuclear watchdog, peace, environmental, public health, and justice organizations.

Denise also works on environmental health and justice issues, particularity on addressing the needs of local communities who are impacted by toxic contamination and the failure of regulatory agencies to protect them. Denise leads PSR-LA’s efforts to ensure a proper cleanup of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, a former nuclear and rocket testing facility that is highly polluted with radiological and chemical contamination. She also participates in the Peoples Senate, a statewide collaborative that combines grassroots organizing in highly impacted communities with strategic policy advocacy.

Denise holds a BA in psychology from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in theater arts from California State University Los Angeles.

 

Maro Kakoussian

Air & Climate Justice Associate mkakoussian@psr-la.org

Maro Kakoussian is the Air & Climate Justice Associate at Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles. In this role, she supports STAND-L.A.’s coalition building and campaign efforts. She was activated as an undergrad when she began volunteering for the Proposition 37 ballot measure which would’ve required the labeling of genetically engineered food. Since then, she’s served as the primary outreach coordinator for the statewide Proposition 67 campaign – the Plastic Bag Ban Referendum, and as primary outreach coordinator for Senate Bill 424 – the Environmental Literacy and Science Education Act.

Maro served on the Green Campus Action Plan Committee at UC Riverside and as Co-President of UCR’s Chapter of the Life You Can Save. She is a member of the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity and currently serves as the VP of Legislation and Issues for the Democrats of Pasadena Foothills. Maro studied Spanish at Universidad Internacional in Cuernavaca, Mexico, and speaks fluent Armenian. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of California, Riverside.

 

Eric Romann

STAND-LA Coalition Coordinator eromann@psr-la.org

Eric Romann joined PSR-LA in 2017 as the Coordinator for STAND-LA (Standing Together Against Neighborhood Drilling), an LA-based coalition of which PSR-LA is co-founder and co-chair. He helps manage all aspects of STAND’s work, from policy advocacy with the City of Los Angeles to research, analysis, coalition-building and grassroots organizing.

He brings to PSR-LA and STAND a deep commitment to and nearly 20 years of experience in movements and organizations working for racial, economic, environmental, gender and immigrant justice. For seven years, he helped lead grassroots campaigns and form coalitions addressing public transportation policy at the intersection of civil rights, public health, climate and environmental justice with the LA-based Labor/Community Strategy Center and Bus Riders Union. He has also organized parents and educators with United Teachers Los Angeles, LA’s largest teachers’ union. He has a history of working on international campaigns for human rights and corporate accountability.

Eric is a graduate of the Strategy Center’s National School for Strategic Organizing and holds a bachelor’s degree from Amherst College. Eric is bilingual in English and Spanish. He is a member of an urban sustainability-focused non-profit housing cooperative in LA’s Koreatown neighborhood, where he lives with his partner and son.

 

Jazmine Johnson

Land Use and Health Program Associate jjohnson@psr-la.org

Jazmine Johnson joined PSR-LA in March 2017 as a Land Use and Health Program Associate, where she serves as the 500 Feet Project Coordinator. In this role, she coordinates workshops involving health professionals, field experts, and community members and conducts research surrounding issues of industrial land use and health in the South and Southeast Los Angeles communities. She comes to PSR-LA from Chicago, where she worked for the City of Chicago and organized in the Southside community. In this capacity, she was instrumental in engaging with residents and community based organizations to gauge community needs and their civic engagement. She has also implemented research projects in the Dominican Republic on health, nutrition, and environmental issues and was involved in social justice campaigns and efforts through organizations on campus. Her expertise is in community engagement and organizing, health research, and public policy.

Jazmine holds a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences with a Specialization in Neuroscience from the University of Chicago and aspires to be a physician.

 

Michael Rincon

Policy Researcher mrincon@psr-la.org

Michael Rincon joined PSR-LA in June 2018 as a Policy Researcher. His work involves deep document analysis, regulation compliance, regulatory failure, and policy analysis, thus giving him the ability to understand and provide key information for policy recommendations and reform. Michael is currently involved with the cleanup campaigns at the Santa Susana Field Lab to ensure full and thorough cleanup at these sites, as well as a new campaign with California Pesticide Reform.

Michael holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies with a special focus on Environmental Law and Policy, as well as a Minor in Sustainability Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Before coming onboard with PSR-LA, Michael previously worked for Committee to Bridge the Gap, an Environmental and Nuclear Policy non-profit, doing document analysis for cleanup documents for the Santa Susana Field Lab, Exide Technologies, and Hunter’s Point. While in college, Michael also worked for the City of Santa Cruz as an Assistant Energy Projects Coordinator doing Energy Efficiency and Climate Policy work. Michael is bilingual in both English in Spanish.

Michael is a die-hard Los Angeles Dodgers and Kings fan.

 

Donte Woods

Field Organizer dwoods@psr-la.org

Donte L. Woods joined the Watts Clean Air & Energy Committee in August 2018. He currently is the Field Organizer for PSR-LA where he started working in May of 2018. His principle work is as S.T.A.N.D.-LA’s Field Organizer where his duties are to guide the grassroots efforts of S.T.A.N.D.-LA’s Campaign for a 2500ft. Setback Ordinance. Previously, Donte has worked on a myriad of Social Justice issues like Education Reform-eliminating the two tier educational system one being a pipeline to prison or vocational careers and the other a pipeline to higher education. Donte has also worked as a Union Rep for the Homecare Workers Union travelling up and down the state ensuring that workers are not excluded from entering a collective bargaining agreement with nursing home employers.

Shortly after the riots in 1992 riots, Donte became a resident of Watts. He has been committed to improving the quality of life for people who live in historically disenfranchised communities. The LA Dept. of Mental Health has a program that is geared to address the lack of access to mental and medical health services. Donte served as a Peer Advocate of which his duties were to facilitate enrolled clients’ treatment plans and serve as a health navigator.

Donte studied at Tuskegee University and Los Angeles Southwest Community College where he earned an A.A. degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in 2002.

 

 

Paula Torrado

Air and Toxic Policy Analyst ptorrado@psr-la.org

Paula is our Air and Toxic Policy analyst. She is a graduate student from the University of Houston with an Earth and Atmospheric Sciences degree and has five years of experience with environmental justice work, project management, environmental education, and research. Her passion is to continue her work to bring education, resources, and building capacity around environmental justice, climate change, and air pollution to communities at risk due to their proximity to hazardous facilities. She has worked as an Air Quality Community Outreach Coordinator at Air Alliance Houston (AAH), where she managed projects focused on improving air quality and public health in the Houston-Galveston area by building air quality educational curriculums, leading community air quality monitoring, and creating opportunities for ground-truthing among Houston’s frontline communities. She led different campaigning movements that addressed environmental issues and she was key in the advocacy work of the “Anti-Idling Ordinance” and “Kids Clean Air Zones Campaign.”

Additionally, she is experienced in coalition building and community coordination through her experience with the Texas Campaign for the Environment and the Healthy Ports Community Coalition. At PSR-LA, she is looking to use her commitment to environmental justice and environmental equity as a tool to bring positive change and lead to cleaner and healthier communities. As an Air and Toxic Policy analyst she will be coordinating the Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy (CHANGE) Steering Committee, Californians for Pesticide Reform and emerging coalitions addressing issues of toxics and a just transition to a non-toxic economy. Additionally, she will be committed to implement the Community Air Protection Grant granted by the California Air Resources Board through the implementation of bill AB 617. Through this grant and with community organizations partners, she will engage in building community residents’ capacity to understand and identify sources of air pollution in South Central Los Angeles while collecting air quality data and conducting ground-truthing that will inform strategies to implement or community reduction emissions plans. Furthermore, her combined environmental science experience and passion towards environmental justice is a great asset in accomplishing PSR-LA’s mission and the goals of our air, climate justice, and toxics programs.