Conference Speakers

Wendy Duncan, PhD

Wendy Duncan received both her Bachelor of Science in pharmacy and Ph.D. in pharmaceutics from the University of Toronto. Prior to assuming her current position as Provost and Dean of Pharmacy at California Health Sciences University (CHSU), she served as a faculty member at the University of Toronto, as an associate dean for education and director of the Office of Teaching, Learning and Assessment at Auburn University’s Harrison School of Pharmacy, dean and vice president for academic affairs at St. Louis College of Pharmacy and dean at Drake University.


With this extensive experience in academic leadership, strategic planning and change management, Wendy is passionate about studying and implementing learning strategies that enable people to realize their full potential. Central to her approach are three themes: strengthening non-cognitive abilities, criterion-based assessment, and process improvement through methodologies.



Charles Douglas, PhD, MBA

Charles Douglas, PhD, MBA - Dr. Douglas is Chair of the Social and Economics Department at California Health Sciences University. His training is in Health Economics and Business. He is recipient of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) Rufus Lyman Award and the AACP New Investigator Award. Charles is the founding CEO of a mobile health design and testing company at Texas A&M University. He works on strategies for commercialization of healthcare products & services.

Nico Quiroz, M.D.

Dr. Nico Quiroz is the son of two amazing parents with the last name that means “flower of energy,” husband to an awesome wife, and the father of two outstanding children. Dr. Nico holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, a Medical Degree with an emphasis in General Surgeries, and currently working towards finishing his MBA. He has lived and traveled to many countries. He is a practitioner of Martial Arts and practices the Art of Qi Gong. Through developing his mental toughness with meditation as his foundation, he wants to share how to develop mental toughness and have a more peaceful and balanced life.

Michelle Bradford, PsyD

With over twelve years of experience in the field of higher education field, Dr. Michelle Bradford has proven her commitment to helping individuals achieve maximum potential through her holistic teaching methods. Dr. Bradford's strong work ethic, enthusiasm, and positive attitude provide a foundation for motivation to individuals in and out of the class. 



Dr. Bradford is a Faculty Chair for the Northwest Group, an oniste and online professor, and serves as the national faculty lead for the DeVry University’s:  Honors Program, Connected Classroom and the Canvas elearning system. Dr. Bradford has presented at several national conferences, serves on many national committees and has been recognized as the sole recipient of the 2014 TEACH Honoree- Distinguished Faculty DeVry University. Additionally, Dr. Bradford is a guest lecturer at Alliant International University doctoral program and is a co-founder of BradStar Consulting, LLC.

Monica Criado-Cuevas

Monica Criado -Cuevas, dean of Students and Counseling at Fresno City College state center community college district 20 years. Growing up poor in Southeast Fresno, she worked her way up the academic and co-curricular ladder at Roosevelt H. S. and Fresno State, and in her professional life she has become one of the top administrators for State Center Community College District. BA liberal arts, MA Educational Administration, EDD Organization Leadership A.B.D she is heavenly involved in the community   

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Juan-Carlos Duran, PhD

Juan-Carlos Duran is a digital media scientist with a doctorate in cyberpsychology . He specializes in the study of human behavior in digital environments which include online, mobile, virtual and augmented reality environments. His research interest focuses on digital technology’s ability to influence and persuade human perception and decision making. Dr. Duran has been studying our changing behavioral patterns as newer technology becomes part of our daily lives.  As a scientist and entrepreneur, Dr. Duran's focus is improving digital healthcare communications and patient interaction. He is a founder and strategic advisor to various companies looking to understand their own consumer behavior patterns.

Ellie Honardoost, PsyD

Dr. Ellie Honardoost holds a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry, a master’s in Education, and a doctoral degree in Organization Development. She has devoted the last twenty years to teaching and observing children.  These professional experiences along with raising her son, have taught her invaluable lessons and informed her research and theories about education and the challenges of growing up in the 21st century.  She believes that early engagement is the key to help children develop their passions and skills to become resilient learners and problem solvers. She is committed to continually explore and discover possible solutions as we rethink the way we view education in the Information Era. Her ultimate goal is to help properly guide our children on the path to becoming the next generation of innovators and critical thinkers of our society.

John Leal, M.A., EdD

John Leal was elected to the Board of Trustees in November of 2012 and represents Area 3. His term of office is until 2020. Mr. Leal is a graduate of Roosevelt High School and attended Fresno City College. He holds a bachelor of arts in Spanish (Magna Cum Laude) from California State University, Fresno and holds a lifetime Standard Secondary Teaching Credential. Mr. Leal earned his Administrative Services Credential Clear Professional and a master of arts in education from Fresno Pacific University and has served in K-12 administrative leadership positions including principal of Caruthers High School and assistant principal at his alma mater, Roosevelt High School. Mr. Leal also served as the Boys’ Varsity Soccer Coach for Clovis West High School where he established the soccer program and his team won a valley championship. In addition, Mr. Leal holds three licenses as a soccer referee and referee instructor (university, high school and amateur) and continues to stay active by refereeing soccer matches throughout the valley. Now retired, Mr. Leal enjoys spending time with his family, sailing, golfing and continues to serve his community through numerous boards and committees. He and his wife, Vera, have four children. 

Lizbeth Gasga

Lizbeth Gasga is currently attending CSU Fresno, pursuing a B.A. in Chemistry. She was born and raised in Acapulco, Mexico, and moved to the United States at age of fifteen. She attended Sunnyside High School and graduated as valedictorian. As a first generation and former undocumented student, pursuing higher education has not been an easy task. Yet, she has used those challenges as fuel and motivation to continue her education. She aspires to become a physician and come back to the Central Valley to help decrease the health disparities affecting our communities.


In addition, Lizbeth is currently serving as the V.P of Mentorship in Central California for Mimentor, an organization focused on creating innovative mentorship opportunities for the future leaders of health care. In addition, she has been a mentor to incoming college freshmen through both, the Health Careers Opportunity Program and the Dream Success Center. She is also working a Chemistry tutor at her university’s learning center, where she can help other students pursuing a career in STEM and or healthcare.

Daniel Castro

Daniel Castro is a patent attorney and partner with the law firm of Loza & Loza LLP.  Daniel has lived in Fresno since 2008, but grew up in East Los Angeles, where he graduated from Garfield High School.  While in high school, Daniel was part of the Jaime Escalante Math & Science Program from which the movie "Stand and Deliver" is based.  He received both a Bachelor's Degree and a Master's Degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he majored in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. For law school, Mr. Castro graduated from the University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall), where his studies focused on patent law and various other aspects of intellectual property.

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