Staff, Board Members, and Interns

Staff

       Tessa Benson,  Healthline Manager

Tessa trained with ACCESS in 2017 and quickly joined the Healhtline team as an intern, and she recently joined staff as the Healthline Manager. Through ACCESS, Tessa has deepened her commitment to reproductive justice and developed her political and values alignment within the movement. In addition to being a Healthline Intern, Tessa has also provided practical support to callers, was a guest speaker at college campuses with other interns, and currently represents ACCESS in a cohort of funds established through the National Network of Abortion Funds. She has worked many jobs in service, with youth, and in the housing and immigrant right’s movement, but really found her home at ACCESS. 

 

Tessa grew up with her grandparents and has always been a caregiver, and is thrilled to be able to contribute to her community in a more sustainable way. She’s currently in training to become a certified Sex Educator and hopes to eventually provide culturally competent and truly comprehensive sex education. If she’s not out hiking, swimming, or enjoying the sunshine, she can be found inside painting or reading horror novels.  
 
       Gabriela Castillo,  Healthline 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.
 
Rachel Coe,  Movement Building Director
Rachel joined ACCESS as a Healthline Fellow in 2015 and became the Public Policy and Trainings Director in 2016. After leaving school at 16, Rachel worked in bookstores (RIP Crown and Borders), cafes, video stores (RIP Blockbuster), and in Special Education. She did her undergraduate studies at Diablo Valley College before transferring to UC Berkeley. Rachel got her Masters of Social Work at the University of Michigan, with a major in Community Organizing and a minor in Social Policy and Evaluation. Before coming to ACCESS, she worked with American Indian Health and Family Services in Detroit, Michigan, working in both their Healthy Start and Wellbriety programs and with Homeless Action Network of Detroit, the Continuum of Care for cities in the area. She was an HIV Test Counselor focusing in street outreach and has experience with harm reduction, houslessness, and community/family wellness. 

Rooted in the Bay Area, Rachel grew up in Oakland with a complicated and love-filled family; she has been a caregiver since before she can remember. She enjoys reading, laughing with her family, and adventuring with her partner. Rachel currently lives with her partner and cat, and provides emotional and physical care for her parents.

Justine Jennings,  Finance & Operations Manager
Justine came to ACCESS in 2016 as a Healthline Intern after earning her B.A. at UC Berkeley studying the intersection of law and women's health. Her work history consists of various management roles such as running a Betsey Johnson store, veterinary supervisor, and training consultant. It is with this experience that she comes to us with both a strong professional as well as theoretical background. She is almost as passionate about systems operations as she is about intersectional feminism.
 
Her nonprofit experience includes involvement with HoPe (an LA-based nonprofit), CFAM (California Families for Access to Midwives), Bay Area Community Services, and coordinating ACCESS' office relocation in 2017. She was raised by an Argentine, a Midwesterner, and a Southerner, and holds these elements within her identity in tandem to the fact that she is both adopted and Latinx. She is passionate about explorations of individual and collective identity, yoga, books, sisterhood, trauma-informed care, and animals. 
 

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.

 

Jenna Gaarde

Jenna is originally from California's Central Valley and has lived in the Bay Area for ost of her adult life. Jenna went from having received abstinence-only education in Clovis to jumping head-first into sexuality education, public health and reproductive justice when she moved to the Bay. After her MPH program she joined Bay Area Doula Project, which led her to ACCESS. She currently works for San Francisco Department of Public Health as a health planner in Maternal, Child & Adolescent Health, and spends much of her time on racial equity efforts in the health department. Jenna loves spending time outside, crafting, and watching reality TV.

 

Cynthia Gutierrez

Cynthia Gutierrez is a first generation Nicaraguan Salvadorian feminist. She is a Research Analyst with Advancing New Standards for Reproductive Health (ANSIRH). Cynthia is passionate about working in the fields of access to reproductive justice, birth work, with the intersection of sexual violence trauma. Prior to working at ANSIRH, Mrs. Gutierrez has a decade of social justice community organizing experience. Cynthia holds a BA in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is pursuing her Master's in Public Health at the University of San Francisco. 


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 (Chair)

Sarah Layton is the Finance Director at PL+US: Paid Leave for the United States. Previously the Director of Finance & Operations at If/When/How, she loves building scalable systems and providing a strong administrative background to justice-oriented work. Born and raised in the East Bay, Sarah enjoys spending her free time exploring the area's many parks, preferably with her rescue dog. She has been a practical support volunteer with ACCESS since 2012.

 

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.


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.

 


Interns

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