Veva (Genoveva) Islas was born in Fresno to hardworking farm worker parents. Veva is the first in her family to attend college and graduate with an advanced degree. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Health Science with an emphasis in Community Health from California State University, Fresno and received a Master of Public Health degree in Health Education and Promotion from Loma Linda University.

For many, a graduate degree brings opportunities to expand their careers and earning capacity in large urban cities around the nation. Veva chose to stay in Fresno, where she could use her knowledge, contacts, outreach, education and leadership skills to give back to our community.

She is the founder and Director of Cultiva La Salud, a public health promotion initiative dedicated to creating healthier communities in the San Joaquin Valley. Cultiva fosters policies, systems and environmental improvements that allow for greater access to healthy foods/beverages and increased opportunities for physical activity. Cultiva's efforts also focus on building community leadership so residents can be more effective in advocating for healthy changes in their communities.

Veva’s commitment to our community also includes serving on the board for Community Water Center, the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, the California Institute for Rural Studies, and the California Bicycle Coalition. Locally, she is also a member of the Fresno County Bicycle Coalition, the League of Mexican American Women, the Kennedy Club, the San Joaquin Valley Democratic Club, the National Women’s Political Caucus and Fresno County Women’s Democratic Club.

She was also appointed by Governor Brown to serve on the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley Board, and the Health Benefit Exchange Board for California (Covered CA). In 2017, Veva was selected as a National Culture of Health Leader by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.