Ellen Widess has been engaged in public policy from various perspectives throughout her career—regulatory, academic, philanthropic, and advocacy. As Senior Program Officer of the Rosenberg Foundation, Ellen led efforts in philanthropy to strengthen policy advocacy and capacity building of nonprofits advocating for low wage workers, women workers, immigrants’ rights and immigration reform.
Her regulatory work includes directing California’s OSHA program and the Texas Pesticide Program, where she initiated innovative and effective programs to protect the health and safety of workers. As an academic at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Texas Law School, Ellen inspired students who have been leaders in occupational and environmental health and policy advocacy. In the policy arena, Ellen contributed to improving access to and quality of health for children and leading efforts in California to prevent childhood lead poisoning. She founded and directed Lead Safe California, a non-profit dedicated to building consensus among disparate public and private stakeholders about solutions to prevent childhood and occupational lead poisoning.
Ellen has served on numerous national and state commissions including the National Academy of Science/Institute of Medicine’s Task Force on Child Labor in the US. She has written extensively on public policy and health. Currently, she serves on the boards of Equal Rights Advocates and Farmworker Justice and the Advisory Council of the Thelton Henderson Center for Social Justice at UC Berkeley Law School.
Ellen received her JD from Boalt Law School, UCB, and BA in history from UC Berkeley.