Board of Directors
Glenn Backes – Chair
Glenn Backes, MSW, MPH, has worked for or lobbied for the nonprofit sector since 1987. Among other gigs, Glenn worked as an HIV prevention educator, street outreach worker and counselor for homeless youth, program officer at Soros Foundation, and consultant to UNAIDS and UNICEF. He directed the California Capital Office of Drug Policy Alliance from 2001 to 2006, and since then has built a lobbying and policy research practice dedicated to representing progressive non-profits in the California State Legislature, including Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Drug Policy Alliance, California Hepatitis Alliance, and ACLU.
Annie Chou Vice-Chair
Annie Chou is the Chief of Staff in the California State Legislature. A scientist by education, Annie graduated from Denison University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and minors in Geology and Music. She honed her craft in organizing within the progressive labor movement of San Francisco and ran many successful campaigns in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Orange County. Annie is passionate about a smart progressive policy that creates real social change. Annie loves bikes, baking, and her black cat named KitKat.
Lora has volunteered with DOPE Project in Oakland as well as the Homeless Youth Alliance. She works actively with parents that have lost a child to overdose. Prior to joining the board Lora helped to coordinate events with HRS for International Overdose Awareness Day.
Anthony Lew – Treasurer
Anthony Lew, JD, MPH, is an attorney and legislative advocate in the office of Attorney General Xavier Becerra, handling issues involving consumer protection, privacy rights, white-collar crime, and regulation of nonprofits. Before joining the Justice Department in 2018, he served as counsel for the Assembly Judiciary Committee in the CA State Legislature for nearly 10 years, where he worked to further progressive policy on issues of access to justice, civil and personal rights, and landlord/tenant law. Before earning his JD from UC Hastings School of Law, Anthony enjoyed a career in epidemiology. While studying at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, he wrote his thesis on the effectiveness of needle exchange programs and volunteered as an outreach worker for the Berkeley needle exchange program (NEED). He later worked as a research analyst for the HIV Epidemiology program of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. Anthony is part of a coalition of tenants’ rights advocates currently organizing to enact rent control and just cause eviction laws in Sacramento. In his free time, he is a musician who plays bass guitar in the Sacramento punk band Sick Burn.
Ava Asher, MD, is a family physician at the Sacramento Native American Health Center with a special interest in outpatient treatment of substance use disorder and integration of treatment of marginalized populations into primary care. She graduated from UC Davis Family and Community Medicine in 2015 and has dedicated herself to working outside of the major medical systems of the region, which also included the clinic formerly known as CARES (the Center for AIDS Research, Education and Services), and volunteering throughout her time in Sacramento at UCD Student-Run Clinics. Prior to pursuing medical training at New York Medical College, she worked at the National Institutes of Health as a research assistant studying HIV/AIDS pathophysiology and vaccine targets. In her free time, she plays ultimate frisbee, reads, and takes pictures of her cats in various positions of repose.