The California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network, the statewide coalition working to advance LGBTQ health equity, announced on July 29, 2022, that Transgender Health Equity Manager Dannie Ceseña will lead the organization as the next Network Director when Amanda McAllister-Wallner steps down at the end of July 2022. The organization began its search for a new Network Director in early March 2022 and is excited to share that its former Director, Amanda McAllister-Waller, will continue to provide strategic guidance and leadership within the organization as Deputy Director of Health Access.
The Network has been led by four directors during that time: Daniel Gould, Kate Burch, Amanda McAllister-Wallner, and now Dannie Ceseña. Amanda has served as Network Director since 2016. Over the last six years under Amanda’s leadership, the Network has grown to a team of six, and has launched multiple projects, including #Out4MentalHealth, We Breathe, Out About ACEs, and LGBTQ+ COVID Safety. During this time, the Network has firmly established itself as the statewide leader on issues related to LGBTQ health – with state funding to coordinate efforts to reduce LGBTQ mental health and tobacco-related disparities. Amanda has also pushed numerous advocacy efforts, including the creation of the Gender Health Equity Unit at CDPH, collection of sexual orientation and gender identity data during the COVID-19 pandemic, and prioritizing funding for LGBTQ communities impacted by the War on Drugs.
“It’s impossible to overstate my excitement to welcome Dannie as the next Director of the California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network! I feel fortunate to have had a front-row seat to Dannie’s work and leadership over the past four years and have no doubt that he will take the Network to exciting new heights in the coming years,” said Health Access Deputy Director. McAllister-Wallner added, “Serving as the Network Director for the past six years has truly been a dream come true. It’s been an honor to have the opportunity to work on behalf of my community, achieve some amazing wins, and work alongside some of the most incredible LGBTQ community leaders in existence.”
Dannie Ceseña (he/they) is the first Indigenous, Two Spirit with Mexica roots to lead as Director of the Network. He has over 15 years of experience working with non-profits in program development and advocacy. He has extensive knowledge in creating Transgender and Gender Nonconforming (TGNC) healthcare collaborations by utilizing upstream interventions and addressing the root cause of the lack of access to TGNC-affirming health care. Dannie’s knowledge and leadership have assisted in the creation of two TGNC community health care clinics, and a monthly TGNC legal clinic in Orange County, CA.
Dannie has become a trusted leader in LGBTQ health among partners in the California Tobacco Control Program. He is responsible for building We Breathe: Supporting Tobacco-Free LGBTQ Communities from the ground-up, and has established the program as a leader statewide, nationally, and even internationally. He has provided leadership and guidance for LGBTQ organizations that are new to working with the Department of Public Health, helping them navigate the complicated bureaucracy and ensuring LGBTQ project staff always have a place to turn with their questions and concerns.
“With the enthusiastic support from both the staff and the steering committee, I am excited to promote Dannie as the fourth director of the California LGBTQ HHS Network, continuing his work to amplify the voices of LGBTQ-serving organizations and advance health equity.” Said Anthony Wright, Executive Director of Health Access, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition, which hosts the Network. “Amanda McAllister-Wallner took the CA LGBTQ HHS Network to another level, expanding the staff sixfold, creating new programs on mental health, tobacco control and health equity, and winning new policies on SOGI data collection and more. With his significant experience before and during his time with Health Access working on public health, trans inclusion, and program development, we are excited to see Dannie take the CA LGBTQ Network to be a greater resource and leader to support the community.”
As the Network Director, Dannie will work with advocates throughout the state to ensure the implementation of legislation and policies that will benefit LGBTQ+ health and wellness. Additionally, he will provide management and direction to Network programs and staff and support the expansion and overall capacity of the Network by adding a new Network Organizer and Trans Health Equity Manager.
“Amanda has done a tremendous job in taking a small program that is housed at Health Access and turning it into a Statewide powerhouse and organization that has name recognition and respect among many state departments,” stated Network Director Dannie Cesena. “Even though I am following in the footsteps of a legend, I look forward to working closely with our Steering Committee and deepening our work in State advocacy and policy for equitable and accessible LGBTQ health care.”
Click here to learn more about Dannie’s history with California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network and other achievements over his decade plus long career in LGBTQ advocacy.
The California LGBTQ Health & Human Services Network is an LGBTQ-specific program of Health Access, bringing together more than 60 non-profit providers, community centers, and researchers to advocate collectively for state-level policies and resources that will advance LGBTQ health. Founded in 2007, the Network provides coordinated leadership about LGBTQ health policy in a proactive, responsive manner that promotes health and well-being as part of the movement for LGBTQ equality and ensures that there is a distinct LGBTQ voice in health policy decision-making venues.
In 2012, the program helped launch the California Reducing Disparities Project LGBTQ Phase I Report First, Do No Harm in collaboration with Cal Voices. In addition, the Network was in charge of outreach efforts that reached over 1.2 million LGBTQ Californians at more than 600 events with information about Covered California and the Affordable Care Act.
Since 2017, #Out4MentalHealth has provided training, education, outreach, and advocacy throughout the state to address LGBTQ mental health needs. Additionally, in 2018, the Network was selected by the California Tobacco Control Program to lead the first statewide coordinating center to reduce LGBTQ tobacco-related disparities. The Network developed the We Breathe project from the ground-up, gaining statewide recognition. The Network has contributed several other joint projects in the last 3 years, including partnering with Equality California Institute on the California Complete Count initiative and partnering with Cal Voices on Out About ACEs through DHCS.