Center for Healthier Communities

Team

Mary Beth Moran, PT, M.Ed., M.S., Director, Center for Healthier Communities

Mary Beth joined Rady Children’s Hospital in 2007 to manage the injury prevention programs in the Center for Healthier Communities. In August 2018, she became the center’s director. A physical therapist for 25 years, Mary Beth holds a bachelor’s of science degree in biology from Regis University, a Bachelor of Science in physical therapy from New York University, a master’s degree in education from George Washington University and a Master of Science degree in evaluative clinical sciences from Dartmouth College. She enjoys working with families from many cultures and has provided medical services and consultation internationally in South Africa, Vietnam, New Zealand and England.

Lorrie Lynn, M.A., CPST, Injury Prevention Manager, Center for Healthier Communities

Lorrie moved from Chicago to San Diego to join the team and guide injury prevention through projects like Safe Routes to School and Car Seat check-up events. She also is the coordinator for Safe Kids San Diego. Under the Safe Kids banner she supports many coalitions and task forces to address leading unintentional injury death for children from birth to early-adolescents. Safe Kids San Diego supports coalitions focused on safe sleep for infants, drowning prevention, falling prevention and transportation safety. Lorrie brings together dedicated advocates, data experts, program people and Hospital staff to develop projects and events to provide education and raise awareness around the leading causes of unintentional death and hospitalizations. Prior to joining the Rady Children’s Hsopital team, she worked for the National Safety Council, bringing experiences from coalition development to federal and state grant management. She brings a national perspective to the unintentional injury at work, on the roads and in homes. Laurie holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Penn State University and a master’s degree in sociology from Loyola University in Chicago. She is also a certified child passenger safety technician, with both school bus transportation and transportation of children with special needs certification.

Wendy Mejia, Coordinator Safe Routes to School – National City

Wendy joined Safe Routes to School (SRTS) as a Project Specialist intern in September 2016. Soon after she was promoted to Project Specialist II and worked with the Intergenerational program for SRTS in Linda Vista. Now, she is the coordinator for the SRTS program in National City. She received her undergraduate degree from San Diego State University in Kinesiology with and emphasis in fitness specialist and a minor in child and family development. Currently, she is working towards applying for her Master’s in Public health with an emphasis in Behavioral Sciences at San Diego State University. Previously, Wendy worked in the service learning field serving students from City Heights, a low income community in prepping them apply to college. Wendy enjoys being a resource to her community as to others as well. The SRTS team is an integral component to the community in National City. With the help of the National City Police Department and the National School District, they are able to provide safety awareness and promote active transportation to and from school.

Lakeysha Sowunmi, Coordinator Safe Routes to School – El Cajon

Lakeysha joined the Safe Routes to School team in April 2016. Her primary focus is to coordinate all SRTS activities in the City of El Cajon, a culturally diverse community. Lakeysha joins the program with 10 years of experience working with the UC San Diego Center for Community Health, providing outreach and education to low-income families on healthy nutrition and beverage choices, and promoting  physical activity. Lakeysha also started her own nonprofit organization, Perfitkidz, in 2007 to engage families in healthy eating and physical activity. She has received many awards and honors, including being named the California “Champion Mom” for initiating changes in schools that reduced consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. Along with being featured in the Legacy of Health statewide media campaign, she has been a speaker at the Clinton Foundation’s Health Matters conference and a keynote speaker at the California Department of Public Health Summit. In her free time, Lakeysha enjoys running, swimming and writing. Lakeysha received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Ashford University.

Sharon Fischer, Project Specialist I, Transportation Safety Program

Sharon has been with Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego and the Center for Healthier Communities for 14 years, working for several years with the Safety Store in various capacities. In July 2010, she transitioned to Project Specialist I for the Transportation Safety Program. Sharon has completed her NHTSA Child Passenger Safety Technician Training and Special Needs Enrichment Training. Sharon is the friendly voice on the phone, helping to schedule and direct families to our events, as well as assisting them with the most appropriate purchase from our Safety Store. She holds an associate degree in fashion design and retail and uses these skills to provide exceptional customer service and the best-value products on the market. Sharon provides one-on-one safety education and public presentations, including the Safe Beginnings and Safe Start workshops.

Shirley Koch, Project Specialist I, Transportation Safety Program

Shirley Varela joined Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego in 2008 after completing the NHSTA child passenger safety technician certification. She has helped countless families with the child passenger safety needs and expanded her knowledge by completing the special needs enrichment training in 2010. She then became certified as a child passenger safety technician instructor in 2012. Shirley joined the Safety Store as a health educator in July 2010 and is now educating parents on all aspects of injury prevention and providing multiple services for children with special needs. Shirley provides one-on-one safety education and public presentations, including the monthly Safe Beginnings workshops. Shirley is bilingual (Spanish-speaking) and enjoys working with families from all over the world.