Staff, Board Members, and Interns

Staff

Samara Azam-Yu, Executive Director

Samara started with ACCESS as a Practical Support Volunteer in 2007, was the Development Manager from 2008-2010, and returned as the Executive Director in 2012.  Samara completed her undergraduate degree in International Relations and History at UC Davis where she tremendously appreciated her Ethnic Studies classes. She is currently an MBA candidate at Mills College with an emphasis on Nonprofit Management and Socially Responsible Business.

Prior to coming to ACCESS, Samara worked in the California State Assembly, with Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, with the California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom, with Aspire Public Schools, and in the personal finance sector.  She lives in Oakland with her partner, five-year-old, and baby.

Gabriela Castillo,  Program Director
 
Gabriela Castillo initially joined ACCESS in 2008 as a healthline intern, became a Practical Support Volunteer in 2010, joined the staff as Program Manager in 2011, took on a leadership role of Board Member in 2013, and has now returned to her former role as Program Manager in 2016.  Gaby has roots in the San Fernando Valley in the greater Los Angeles area and moved to the Bay area in 2005 to attend UC Berkeley where she obtained her degree in Interdisciplinary Studies Field.  She has experience in supporting people in domestic violence situations, juvenile justice, art, sex education, reproductive justice, parent organizing, community organizing, and political education and actions throughout the Bay Area.  Gaby is passionate about self-care, community healing, and vicarious medicine and seeks constant re-connection with her indigenous roots through traditional medicine for wellness and healing for the communities and particularly the women she crosses paths with.  Gaby currently lives in Oakland, Califas.

Board of Directors

Sangita Devaskar

 

Sangita Devaskar is a project manager at UCSF's Innovating Education in Reproductive Health. She was integral in the design and implementation of course evaluation materials for Abortion: Quality Care and Public Health Implications, the first online academic course about abortion. The six-week course aimed to fill the gap often excluded from public health curricula. She currently manages the organization's Managing Early Pregnancy Loss initiative, an educational module to support a patient-centered approach to miscarriage management. Sangita's previous experiences include health education for the Women's Community Clinic and research for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Sangita received her MPH from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, with an emphasis in population and family health and her BA in Sociology from UC Berkeley. In her free time you can find her exploring the beautiful Bay Area, biking across the city, and frequenting farmer's markets for her next culinary adventure.


Cathy Dinas

 

"When I use my strength in the service of my vision it makes no difference whether or not I am afraid." Audre Lorde. Cathy like many in the SF Bay Area is a transplant.  She was born in raised in Connecticut. She completed her undergraduate in English and Women Studies at the University of Connecticut and most recently her MBA in finance at Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business at Mills College. When she isn't reading, doodling, eating a donut or tweeting she's helping women entrepreneurs and small businesses design a digital web presence.  She's excited to join ACCESS board and work with men and women who don't just see reproductive justice and rights a "women's issue."


Poonam Dreyfus-Pai

 

Poonam Dreyfus-Pai is the Fellowship Manager at CoreAlign, and will develop the vision and direction for the Fellowship programs while also supporting the Fellows in carrying out their projects. A long-time reproductive health, rights, and justice advocate, Poonam is also a full-spectrum doula, and co-directed the Bay Area Doula Project from 2012-2014. Poonam graduated from Barnard College in 2008, and worked in New York City as a researcher at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and a member of The Doula Project (NY) Leadership Circle. She moved to the Bay Area in 2011 to attend graduate school at UC Berkeley, where she earned both an MPH and an MSW. Poonam is an alumni fellow of CoreAlign's Generative Fellowship, through which she coordinates the Full-Spectrum Reproductive Support Network, a national network that allows full-spectrum groups to collaborate, build community, and support people through all pregnancy outcomes. In addition to serving on the Board for ACCESS Women's Health Justice, she is on the Board of Directors for Backline.  Poonam currently lives in Oakland, CA, with her husband Michael and her cat Starbuck. When not working, she likes running, feeding her loved ones elaborate meals, re-watching Grey's Anatomy and Friday Night Lights, and attempting to photograph every minute of Starbuck's life.


Myra Durán

 

Myra Durán is the Policy Manager for California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, a statewide organization committed to honoring the experiences of Latinas to uphold our dignity, our bodies, sexuality, and families. Myra graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Women’s Studies with a concentration in Women of Color Feminism and a minor in Labor and Workplace Studies. Myra also served on the Young Women’s Leadership Council for the Pro-Choice Public Education Project (PEP) to ensure that the interests and voices of young women, transgender & gender non-conforming young people were included. She is a strong advocate for passionate politics where love is at the center of the work and believes in the power people can co-cultivate in order to achieve full liberation from oppressive systems. On her spare time, she enjoys hanging with her familia back in her hood of Pomona, reading, and organizing in the Los Angeles community with her transnational women of color and anti-imperialist sisters of AF3IRM.

 

Alicia Harris        

 

After finishing undergraduate study at Vassar College in 2008, Alicia Harris boxed up her winter apparel and returned to her home state of California. Since then, she has worked with a number of organizations focusing on women's health, reproductive justice and sexual education. She is currently finishing the Master of Public Health program at UC Berkeley, where she is studying the impact of interlocking systems of oppression on wellbeing. When she isn't busy studying, Alicia enjoys adventures on public transit systems, a good crossword puzzle, and spending time with her beloved rabbit, Parsnip.



Samantha Harris

 

A Bay Area native, Samantha Harris has always felt passionate about reproductive rights. While earning her Bachelor of Arts in Gender and Women's Studies from UC Berkeley, Samantha devoted much of her time to interning for ACCESS Women's Health Justice as a Healthline operator. Beyond expanding her knowledge of the barriers faced by women seeking reproductive health services, Samantha's time with ACCESS opened up opportunities as a reproductive justice advocate with the California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom, as well as lead her to her current position as Program Assistant for the Law Students for Reproductive Justice national office. In her spare time, Samantha enjoys reading, doing yoga, and drinking entirely too much coffee.

 


Phillip Kim

 

Phillip C. Kim has been fundraising and organizing to fight barriers to abortion for over 10 years. He has co-produced the sold-out concert series, Roe on the Rocks, to raise over $40,000 for Planned Parenthood of NYC. He helped grow the Planned Parenthood of NYC Volunteer Clinic Escort Program from 20 volunteers at one clinic to over 115 volunteers at three clinics with his infamous baby polar bear and kitten laden PowerPoint Presentations. He joined the New York Abortion Access Fund in 2011 and helped organize bowl-a-thon benefits which raised over $250,000 to directly fund abortions. He recently moved to Oakland with his pitbull, rabbit, and motorcycle and is looking forward to continuing the fight as a board member of ACCESS Women's Health Justice.

 

Sarah Layton

 

Sarah Layton is the Manager of Operations & Development at Law Students for Reproductive Justice (LSRJ). An East Bay native, Sarah returned to California after completing a post-graduate fellowship in Cairo - an experience that happened to overlap with the beginning of the Egyptian Revolution.  Witnessing men, women, and children taking the streets by the millions and standing up against oppression ignited a latent passion for social justice, and she has been working in the world of reproductive rights and justice ever since. Previously at the California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom, Sarah is passionate about lifting up the voices of our state's many communities. She is equally passionate about knitting, board games, and a good happy hour with friends.


Carla Lopez        

 

Carla is a program assistant at the National Center for Lesbian Rights where she assists with the legal helpline and works closely with the immigration project, conducting case research on country conditions, current immigration laws, and local and national resources, and preparing documents for asylum and deferred action applications. She earned her B.A. in Psychology and Chicana/o Studies from UC Davis in 2011 and currently lives in Oakland, CA. In addition to serving on the ACCESS Women’s Health Justice Board, she is also a member of the East Bay Immigrant Youth Coalition.


Ireri Lora

 

Ireri Lora is a youth Organizer at Youth Together, a non-profit organization dedicated to address the root causes of educational inequities by developing multiracial youth leaders to promote positive social change. Born in Mexico City, Ireri migrated to the United States with her family when she was eight years old. She was raised in Oakland, CA and attended UCSD where she majored in Political Science and Ethnic Studies. She began working with ACCESS as a heathline intern and continues to work as an advocate for the undocumented community with the East Bay Immigrant Youth Coalition.


Guadalupe Rodriguez  

      

Guadalupe (Lupe) Rodríguez is the Director of Public Affairs at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte. Previously, Lupe was the Interim Executive Director and Program and Policy Director at ACCESS Women’s Health Justice. Lupe served on the board of directors of the California Family Health Council, and now serves as a commissioner on the Santa Clara County Commission on the Status of Women. She sits on the boards of ACCESS Women’s Health Justice and California Latinas for Reproductive Justice. Lupe is an adviser for the Women's Health & Rights Program at the Center for American Progress. She has a BA in neurobiology from Harvard.


Layidua Salazar

Layidua Salazar migrated from Mexico City with her family at age five, and grew up in Oakland. She is a first generation college graduate, and received her B.A. in History & Woman's Studies from San Francisco State University. She has a background in Educational Justice, and serves on the Leadership Circle for FemSexComm. She has been Favianna Rodriguez's Studio Manager for the last year and a half. Layidua is currently focusing the educational piece of Faivanna's Pussy Power project, which primary goals are to empower women to ask for what they want, need and love.


Dipti Singh

 

Dipti Singh is a reproductive justice staff attorney at the National Health Law Program. Previously, she was at the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), where she served as a legal fellow in the U.S. Legal Program. At CRR, Ms. Singh was a member of litigation teams that defended women’s rights to information about and access to comprehensive reproductive health care services. Her legal experience includes working as an associate at Williams & Connolly LLP and clerking for the Honorable Christina A. Snyder of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Ms. Singh received her J.D. from University of California Berkeley School of Law, Order of the Coif, and a B.A., summa cum laude, in political science and psychology from the University of California, Irvine. Ms. Singh is conversational in Hindi.


Varvara (Barby) Zeldovich

 

Varvara (Barby) Zeldovich has long been committed to honoring and empowering women around their sexuality and reproductive lives, and has pursed these goals through art, advocacy and activism, basic science, and direct healthcare work. She completed her PhD in placental biology and the infectious causes of preterm labor, and spent several years volunteering in direct service as a health educator at the Women’s Community Clinic and Lyon-Martin Health Services. Barby is currently pursuing her MD at the UCSF School of Medicine in hopes of becoming a full-spectrum reproductive healthcare clinician. Additionally, she is a member of the Bay Area Doula Project and of the feminist screen-printing collective ArtBison. She first joined ACCESS as an activist and practical support volunteer in 2010 and is thrilled to join the board of this inspiring and dynamic organization.

 


Interns

ACCESS is supported by the committed work of 3-5 incredible interns throughout the year.