Elva has experience in policy advocacy, strategic planning, civic engagement and communications for non-profit organizations, government agencies and foundations in the areas of public policy, urban parks, public health, land use and the built environment. She has a long history of involvement in community-driven policy initiatives in both the public health and environmental arenas. She has served as director of the Center for Health and Parks at the Trust for Public Land; grant liaison officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's SmokeLess States national initiative; deputy director of the RWJF Policy Advocacy on Tobacco and Health initiative; and senior associate director at Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights (ANR). She has been active in numerous local and statewide efforts to enhance access to parks and open space. Elva was appointed to the California State Parks and Recreation Commission in 2011 by Governor Jerry Brown.