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The HELP Fund

At HELP, we have supported 65 students in the last 3 years, and have expanded to 3 locations by partnering with community agencies and consulates in Sacramento, Fresno and San Jose.


Advisory Board

Get to know more about each of our Advisory Board Members below!

Nina Agabian

Stefano Bertozzi

Sylvia Guendelman 

Ralph Hexter

Roy Kaplan

Lisa Korbatov

Marlon Maus

Jaime Sepulveda

Laura Tapia 

Ellen Widess

Hands Together

Nina Agabian, PhD

Nina Agabian is Professor Emeritus UCSF Schools of Medicine and Dentistry.  She served as Director of Research for Global Health Sciences and the Director of the Program in Molecular Parasitology of UCSF and UC Berkeley School of Public Health.  Her research has focused on identification and characterization of emerging pathogens, their mechanisms of disease and impact on Public Health.

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Stefano M. Bertozzi, PhD

Stefano M. Bertozzi is Dean Emeritus and Professor of Health Policy and Management at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Previously, he directed the HIV and tuberculosis programs at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He was the last director of the WHO Global Programme on AIDS and has also held positions with UNAIDS, the World Bank and the government of the DRC. He has advised NGOs and ministries of health and social welfare in Asia, Africa and Latin America and  is a member of the National Academy of Medicine.


Sylvia Guendelman, PhD

Sylvia Guendelman is a Professor Emeritus at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. She is the former Chair of the Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Program and Founder of the Wallace Center for  Research in Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health at UC Berkeley. Sylvia has an established track record in teaching and conducting research on the subjects of Migration and Health, including the health of the Latino population in the US, California and Mexico.


Ralph Hexter, PhD

Ralph Hexter served for 10 years as the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor of UC Davis. Prior to that he was the fifth president of Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. He is a Distinguished Professor of Classics & Comparative Literature at UC Davis, and has previously taught at the University of Colorado at Boulder and at Yale University. Ralph was also the Executive Dean of Letters and Science and Dean of Arts and Humanities at UC Berkeley, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Conference for Community and Justice among many other organizations.


Roy Kaplan, M.D

Roy Kaplan has practiced Internal Medicine and Endocrinology and done clinical research for 30 years. For the last 8 years before retirement Roy was the full time Executive Medical Director for Quality and Patient Safety for John Muir Health in Walnut Creek, California. His dedication to improving health has been a life-long vocation. As a retired medical practitioner, Roy now participates in a variety of projects, including his present role as Chairman of Social Action at his synagogue in Davis, California.


Lisa Korbatov, AB

Lisa Korbatov has been Governing Board Member of the Beverly Hills School Board for over 10 years and was twice elected as the President of the Board. Lisa has been a Board Member of the Downtown Property Owners Association in Los Angeles, as well as a Board Member for the Israel Grants Fund and a Trustee of the Jewish Community Foundation. Lisa has been honored with the “Legacy of Hope” award by Chai Lifeline, for supporting and nurturing children afflicted with life-threatening illnesses as well as the “Distinguished Citizen Award” by the Executive Board of the Boy Scouts for her commitment to the educational advancement of the young community.

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Marlon Maus, M.D, DrPH

Marlon Maus is Adjunct Professor at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. He is an oculoplastic surgeon native of Mexico City. Marlon has been involved in medical and public health education for many decades having served as director of the DrPH program at UC Berkeley and before that as residency director at Wills Eye Hospital. His research is in the areas of blindness prevention in migrant populations, on aging and on the blind environment.


Jaime Sepulveda, PhD

Jaime Sepulveda, is a Distinguished Professor of Global Health and the Executive Director of UCSF Institute for Global Health Sciences. He is a member of the Chancellor’s Executive Cabinet, and leads a team of over 300 faculty and staff engaged in translating UCSF’s scientific leadership into programs that positively impact health and reduce inequities globally. Jaime oversees several education and training programs, including the Masters of Science in Global Health Sciences degree program, the first such program in the nation, and the PhD program in Global Health.

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Laura Tapia, PhD

Laura Tapia, is a committed scholar that for over 20 years has contributed to the field of migration and health from a binational perspective. Thanks to her leadership thousands of Community Health Workers (CHWs, also known as Promotores de Salud) have been trained to serve the immigrant community on public health issues. She has been part of the Secretariat of Health of Mexico where she has created innovative training approaches from a humanistic perspective.


Ellen Widess, JD

Ellen Widess was the senior program officer for the Rosenberg Foundation for 10 years, a consultant for the Centers for Disease Control on updated child labor standards, the Executive Director of Lead Safe California and the director of health policy at the Children’s Advocacy Institute. Ellen served as Chief of Cal/OSHA during the administration of California Governor Jerry Brown. She has worked as a consultant in the field of occupational safety and health and has led efforts in philanthropy advocating for low wage workers, women workers, immigrants’ rights and immigration reform.


Meet the HELP Founders

Get to know more about our Founders.

Xochitl Castañeda

Marc Schenker


Xochitl Castañeda, MA

Xochitl Castañeda is the Founding Director of Health Initiative of the Americas at UC Berkeley. Since 2008, she has served as a professor on Migration and Health at various UC campuses. Her fundraising efforts are significant with over 100 grants earned. In 2019, she received the Othli Award, one of the most prestigious distinctions presented by the Mexican Government. Xochitl serves on the Board of Directors of the California Wellness Foundation; California Immigrant Policy Center, and the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California. Xochitl’s vision and commitment has led to the creation of Binational Health Week, one of the largest mobilization efforts in the Americas to improve the well being of Latino immigrants serving thousands of low-income families.

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Marc Schenker, MD, MPH

Marc Schenker is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Public Health Sciences and
Medicine at the UC Davis School of Medicine. He has over 35 years of experience in medicine and public health research, teaching and public service. Dr. Schenker is the founding director of the Davis Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, the Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety, and the Migration and Health Research Center. His specialty is occupational and environmental disease, with a focus on respiratory and reproductive health. Dr. Schenker also conducts epidemiologic research and public policy advocacy on the health of global migrant populations with a particular focus on farmworkers and occupational disease. He has published over 200 scientific manuscripts and six textbooks and has received numerous awards for his work.


Get to know more about our

Executive Manager: Yara Pisani


Yara Pisani studied her Undergraduate degree in Architecture and Interior Design at ESAG Penninghen in Paris and then obtained her Masters in Business Communications at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. Her focus today is on ecological, humanistic, and social problems.

Yara Pisani, MBA


Meet our Fiscal Partners

The HELP Fund receives administrative support from three 501C (3) entities.

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Community Health Partnership

CHP's mission is to advocate for affordable and accessible health services for our diverse and multicultural communities regardless of socioeconomic, ethnic, religious, or cultural background, and to support our member organizations in achieving these goals.

United We Lead Foundation 

UWLF Scholarship Fund was established with the mission of providing financial assistance to underserved, low-income, first-generation students who are in pursuit of higher education.

Mexican Cultural Center of Northern California

MCCNC's mission is to enrich the Sacramento and Northern California communities through education, entertainment and outreach activities that preserve Mexican heritage by fostering the cultural, artistic and historical legacy of Mexico.

LOGO Design

HELP Logo was designed by

Green Comma Media.


This website was designed by

Yara Pisani.


Thank you to IME Becas, 100 Amigos, MCCNC, UWLF, CHP, Consulate General of Mexico in San Jose and in Sacramento, and the Consulate of Mexico in Fresno for your partnership.

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