First 5 Alameda County Commission
A nine member volunteer commission oversees the work of First 5 Alameda County, which supports the health, development and well-being of our youngest children through their first five years. Commissioners are selected and appointed by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors based upon their expertise in early care and education, health care, social services and children with special needs. The full commission meets seven times a year.
View the Calendar of Commission Meetings below or download the Year-long Calendar of Commission meetings here. All meetings are open to the public.
Past meeting information and documentation is available by meeting date at
First 5 Calendar Home.
Commissioner Pamela Simms-Mackey, M.D.
Commission Chair, Pamela Simms-Mackey grew up, lives and works in Oakland as the Associate Director of Medical Education and as a Pediatrician at Children's Hospital & Research Center at Oakland. As the Associate Director of Medical Education, Dr. Simms-Mackey is responsible for the Pediatric Residency Training Program which trains almost 80 future Pediatricians each year, as well as providing direct clinical care to many children in Alameda County. She is also an active member of Children’s Hospital medical staff, serving on the Graduate Medical Education Committee, Pediatric Residency Selection Committee, the CIR/Joint Committee and the former director of the Multi-cultural Curriculum Program. She and her husband have two sons and are active in their school and extracurricular activities.
Commissioner Helen Mendel CMD - Vice Chair
Commissioner Helen Mendel lives and works in Pleasanton and is President of All Pro Promotions Company, a marketing, management,media and special events firm. As the past Chairman of the Board of the American Cancer Society, California, she was instrumental in the passage of Proposition 10, the tobacco tax initiative that funds First 5. Currently.
Helen also serves on the Executive Committee of the Bay Area Sports Organizing Committee (BASOC) the group that spearheaded the San Francisco 2012 Olympic Bid effort. She is an Honorary Life member of the American Cancer Society, California Division Board of Directors. She serves on the Advisory Committee of the East Bay Agency for Children (EBAC) and the Genard Aids Foundation.
Commissioner Alex Briscoe
Commissioner Alex Briscoe is one of the Bay Area’s leading experts in the design and delivery of adolescent health and youth development services. His recent work has focused on the intersection of public health and public education through the creation of school-based adolescent health and youth development centers in partnership with Alameda County, The City of Oakland, Oakland Unified School District and Children’s Hospital and Research Center at Oakland.
Alex now serves as the Agency Director for Alameda County Health Care Services Agency where he leads the design and development of health services County wide. Current projects include clinical service design in foster care and juvenile justice settings, as well as the integration of behavioral health practices in primary and specialty care settings. Alex continues to consult with a number of national foundations on program design, program evaluation, and technical assistance.
Alex’s clinical work has focused on adolescents and the effects of trauma on healthy development. His work has been featured on National Public Radio, The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Sacramento Bee. Alex has recently been awarded the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA) School Based Administrator of the Year Award.
Alex’s past work includes leadership in school reform and the charter school development, including work with YouthBuild USA, The Corporation for National and Community Service, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and The Annie E. Casey Foundation. Alex has also worked in the foundation community as a Program Officer for the Greater Philadelphia First Foundation and the Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition. Alex specializes in revenue producing social justice programming, youth voice, and crisis counseling. Alex is happily married, the proud father of six year year old Asha Meira Briscoe, and two year old Zev Orion Briscoe. Alex is an avid surfer and a decaying basketball player.
Commissioner Wilma Chan
Commissioner Wilma Chan has been a strong advocate for children and families for over 35 years. Commissioner Chan served as the first woman Majority Leader of the California State Assembly. She represented Oakland, Alameda and Piedmont in the State Assembly from 2000-2006. She authored many groundbreaking bills including making California the first state to ban toxic flame retardants and implement a no-lead standard in drinking water pipes and fixtures. Ms. Chan authored historic legislation to end the practice of hospitals overcharging uninsured and underinsured patients and to cover California’s 800,000 uninsured children. She won approval of $100 million to expand State Preschool and fought successfully to maintain the state’s Master Plan for college student access. It was her bill that in 2010 blew the whistle on Anthem Blue Cross when they tried to implement a 33% rate increase in California. The national attention to this issue helped propel national healthcare reform to victory.
Prior to her election to the Assembly, Ms. Chan was elected twice as the first Asian American to serve on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors after completing a term on the Oakland Board of Education. As a Supervisor, Ms. Chan wrote the strategic plan to keep the County Medical Center open and formed the Alameda County First 5 Commission. She implemented a citizenship program with the passage of welfare reform and formed the Alameda and San Leandro Youth collaboratives.
Ms. Chan holds a BA in history from Wellesley College and an MA in education policy and administration from Stanford University. She has two grown children and one grandchild.
She served as the Legislator in Residence at UC Berkeley during the 2006-07 academic years and taught political science on campus for two years. In addition, served for four years on the California Medical Assistance Commission where she worked to assure timely access to hospital care for MediCal recipients statewide. She has worked on healthcare reform projects in Alameda County, including an expansion of health services at the Peralta Community Colleges. She most recently served as Vice President for Policy at Children Now, a national children’s advocacy organization located in Oakland.
Commissioner Ricky Choi
Commissioner Ricky Y. Choi, MD, MPH, FAAP is the Department Head of Pediatrics at Asian Health Services Community Health Center based in Oakland, CA. He is a passionate advocate for improving health care quality and access for low income and immigrant families for which he has been published and been interviewed in both ethnic and mainstream media including the Korea Times, New America Media, World Journal, KoreAm Magazine, KQED, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He has authored textbook chapters on access to health care for Asian Americans and for Korean Americans and is a City Brights blogger for the San Francisco Chronicle. He is an active member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) as a Fellow and a Board member of AAP Northern California Chapter. As the AAP Governmental Affairs Representative for Northern California he advocates for state legislation and regulations that improve the health of children. Dr. Choi has appointments to advisory councils of the California Health and Human Services Agency in the areas of multicultural health, care for children with special health care needs, and pediatric health care quality. He is also a clinical instructor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Choi has degrees from The University of Chicago, Medical University of South Carolina, and Harvard University. He completed his internship and residency at the University of California, San Francisco Pediatric Leadership for the Underserved (PLUS) Program.
Commissioner Lori Cox
Commissioner Lori Cox is a dynamic, highly effective leader, Ms. Lori Cox has more than twenty years of notable success working on behalf of communities, individuals, families and their children. Her career spans the non-profit and government sectors from direct service to policy. Recently selected to head-up the Alameda County Social Services Agency -- overseeing critical safety-net programs such as Child Welfare, Adult Protection, CalFresh (formerly food stamps), Medi-Cal eligibility, and cash aid -- Ms. Cox is among a new generation of system leaders. Her career demonstrates an unwavering commitment to forging working relationships that hold residents as active partners in creating healthy, thriving communities. Ms. Cox is also distinguished by her ascension to leadership through a rare combination of vision and operational skills. In her sixteen years with Alameda County, Lori has led the design and implementation of a number of highly successful programs. In addition to being a systems leader, Ms. Cox is the proud mother of three sons.
Commissioner Renee Sutton Herzfeld
Commissioner Renee Sutton Herzfeld is the Executive Director of Community Child Care Council (4C’s) of Alameda County. As 4C’s Executive Director she is the chief officer over management and implementation of agency operations and programs which include the following: The Resource and Referral agency for southern Alameda County, an award winning national Child Health and Nutrition program, Child Care Payment programs which provide financial support to assist low income parents in accessing child care, Bright Future Early Learning Center in Oakland; and, 4C’s Annual Children’s Faire where the whole community comes together in the spirit of an old proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child”
Renee has held adjunct faculty positions and taught Early Childhood Education courses at Chabot, Ohlone, and Merritt Colleges. She has served on the Alameda County Local Planning Council, and was State President for the California Child Development Administrators Association. Having served the community for the past 25 years she has gained considerable expertise in working with child development professionals at various levels. She is currently a member of the management team for the Hayward Promise Neighborhood.
Renee is passionately dedicated to achieving excellence within the organization she serves, as well as local, state and national efforts that ensure that children have environments and resources they need to be healthy and strong. She and her husband are delighted to be the parents of two daughters, Hannah and Liane.
Commissioner Deborah Roderick Stark
Commissioner Deborah Roderick Stark is a nationally recognized expert in child and family policy and programs. Working with public and private agencies, she has developed programs that provide young children and their families comprehensive, coordinated services and support. As a Special Assistant in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services during the Clinton Administration, she designed and implemented Congress' 1993 Family Preservation and Support initiative and the 1994 Early Head Start program. Prior to this, she was a policy analyst for the bi-partisan National Commission on Children. Her principle publications include: Advocates in Action published in 2002 and 2005 that suggests ways in which parents and child care providers can effectively speak out to advance policy and practice in early childhood; the Collaboration Basics series published in 1999 that outlines a coordination strategy for families, child welfare and mental health systems; and the education and child welfare chapters in Beyond Rhetoric: A New American Agenda for Children and Families published in 1991.
Deborah was born and raised in San Lorenzo. She graduated from Arroyo High School in 1985, received a Bachelors of Arts degree with a major in political science from Wellesley College in 1989, and a Masters in Social Work degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1992. Deborah served on the Alameda County Child Care Planning Council from 1999-2001, and was a member of the recent Alameda County Early Care and Education for All Planning Committee. Deborah is the mother of three young children.