Turning great ideas into healthier communities

Focus Area

Healthy Communities

When it comes to health, place matters. Many local environments—especially in low-income communities—provide limited access to healthy foods and few opportunities for physical activity. These environments may be marred by poor air quality or by street violence. These community environments, often shaped by long-standing social inequities, must be transformed to support healthy lives in order to achieve long-lasting improvements in population health.

A leader in the movement to build healthier communities, PHI focuses on community empowerment and community-based solutions. PHI partners with community coalitions, health departments, schools and other stakeholders to advance policy and environmental change strategies that can improve health outcomes.

Supported by a diverse group of funders, PHI offers technical expertise on a broad range of environmental health issues.

Download PHI's Work in Healthy Communities: Examples of Impact

Programs

Advancing the State of the Art in Community Benefit

ACCESS Health Worldwide

ACCESS (Advancing Company Community Engagement for Sustainable Societies) Health Worldwide, an innovative project of PHI, facilitates partnerships among companies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and local governments to build healthy and sustainable communities. ACCESS Health Worldwide focuses on partnerships that increase access to health resources, especially for women, in ways that can be sustained. Since 2008, the project has worked in Indonesia with funding from the Ford Foundation to help companies and NGOs build the trust, knowledge and skills needed for successful partnerships.

Learn about ACCESS Health Worldwide projects

Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative

The Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative (BARHII) is a nationally recognized leader in transforming public health practice to advance health equity to create healthier communities. It is a collaborative of public health directors, officers, senior managers and staff from the 11 San Francisco Bay Area health departments and the California Department of Public Health.

At BARHII, lessons learned are shared and strategies and resources developed; committees focus on data, community engagement, built environment, social determinants of health, structural racism and building health departments’ capacity.

Learn about Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative projects

Berkeley Media Studies Group

Berkeley Media Studies Group works with community groups, journalists and public health professionals to use the power of the media to advance healthy public policy. To do this, BMSG conducts research to understand how news, entertainment and advertising portray health and social issues. Through media advocacy training and consultation, BMSG helps advocates harness lessons from that research and develop the skills they need to become stronger voices in policy debate and illuminate the need for improving the places where all people live, learn, work and play.

Learn about Berkeley Media Studies Group projects

CA4Health

CA4Health is a 5-year Community Transformation Grant from the CDC focused on reducing the burden of chronic disease in rural communities throughout California. A collaboration between PHI and the California Department of Public Health, CA4Health provides local county partners with tools, training and guidance to make their communities healthier.  CA4Health’s 4 strategic directions are reducing consumption of sugary beverages, increasing availability of smoke-free housing, creating safe routes to schools, and providing people with chronic disease with skills and resources to manage their illness.

Learn about CA4Health projects

California Adolescent Health Collaborative

The California Adolescent Health Collaborative (CAHC) is a public-private statewide coalition with the goal of increasing understanding and support for adolescent health and wellness in California. As a coalition of representatives from public and private agencies, CAHC is committed to a comprehensive, assets-based, multidisciplinary approach to improving the health and well-being of California youth.

Learn about California Adolescent Health Collaborative projects

California Center for Research on Women and Families

The California Center for Research on Women and Families (CCRWF), established in November 2000, is the sponsor of the California Working Families Policy Summit and also publishes policy primers to educate policymakers, program providers, and the general public about policy issues affecting women and families in California. CCRWF also directed the CalWORKs/Child Welfare Partnership Project, Linkages.

Learn about California Center for Research on Women and Families projects

California Convergence Coordinating Office

The California Convergence is a regionally organized, statewide network that unites community leaders and partners to collectively build equitable, safe and healthy communities where everyone participates and prospers.  Convergence is governed and guided by a statewide, community-led steering committee, with administrative, communication, policy and evaluation-related support from PHI’s California Convergence Coordinating Office and statewide partners.

Learn about California Convergence Coordinating Office projects

California Environmental Health Tracking Program

The California Environmental Health Tracking Program emphasizes the development of spatial analysis and visualization methods that enable state-of-the-art systems for predicting geographically related exposures to environmental hazards and relating those exposures to health indicators.

Learn about California Environmental Health Tracking Program projects

California Occupational Health Surveillance and Evaluation Program (OHSEP)

OHSEP, a program of the Occupational Health Branch of the California Department of Public Health, tracks work-related injuries and diseases, studies workplace exposures and health effects, and makes prevention recommendations to employers and employees. OHSEP information is used to improve workplace Injury and Illness Prevention Programs and help identify and treat early work-related injuries and disease. OHSEP focuses on work-related asthma, fatal occupational incidents, pesticide poisoning and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Learn about California Occupational Health Surveillance and Evaluation Program (OHSEP) projects

California Project LEAN

California Project LEAN (Leaders Encouraging Activity and Nutrition) is a joint program of the California Department of Public Health and PHI. It works to advance nutrition and physical activity policy in schools and communities to prevent obesity and associated chronic diseases. Efforts center on youth and parent empowerment approaches, policy and environmental change strategies, and community-based solutions that improve nutrition and physical activity environments primarily in low-resource, high-need communities.

Learn about California Project LEAN projects

CAN-Act

CAN-Act (the California Association of Nutrition & Activity Programs) supports healthy eating and active living in California by providing leadership, provider and community empowerment, and vigorous advocating in support of effective state and federally funded nutrition education and promotion programs. CAN-Act members are organizations funded by the Network for a Healthy California and others who share our vision that all communities should have easy access to affordable, health-promoting food and physical activity opportunities. CAN-Act programming includes advocacy, training, ongoing technical assistance, planning process facilitation, and convening stakeholders to influence change.

Learn about CAN-Act projects

Center for Civic Partnerships

The Center for Civic Partnerships (CCP) provides leadership and management support to build healthier communities and more effective nonprofit organizations. CCP provides training, technical assistance, and tools, and is the home of the California Healthy Cities and Communities Network which promotes positive physical, social and economic community environments that support the well-being of community members.

Learn about Center for Civic Partnerships projects

Center for Climate Change and Health

The Center for Climate Change and Health contributes to building healthy and climate-resilient communities that have the right tools to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The Center engages local leaders, community-based organizations, public health and health care workers, scientists, policymakers and civil society in mainstreaming the protection of health across a wide range of policies and sectors. It promotes strategies that effectively address the impacts of climate change on health, while at the same time generating co-benefits from adaptation and mitigation for health and across other sectors.

Learn about Center for Climate Change and Health projects

Center for Collaborative Planning

The Center for Collaborative Planning (CCP) advances health and social justice through community building and grassroots leadership development. CCP offers training and technical assistance on core community change processes, including collaboration, community engagement, asset-based community development, participatory strategic planning, popular education and group facilitation.

Learn about Center for Collaborative Planning projects

Center for Health Leadership and Practice

Today’s public health challenges are complex and rapidly evolving, and call for an innovative approach to leadership development. The mission of the Center for Health Leadership and Practice (CHLP) is to advance health by increasing leaders' capacity to transcend boundaries, work collaboratively and transform their communities. Through the use of blended learning modalities, CHLP leads programs for teams, coalitions, initiatives and professional networks to advance leadership skills and reduce health inequities.

 

Learn about Center for Health Leadership and Practice projects

Center on Disability

The Center on Disability at the Public Health Institute is dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities with a focus on disability policy, civil rights, disability law, employment, health issues, independent living, and assistive technology. The Center on Disability is composed of disability-related projects with expertise in research, technical assistance, training and information dissemination.

Learn about Center on Disability projects

Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program

The Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program (CCROPP) is a model program utilizing a policy and environmental change approach to help community members gain access to healthy food, beverages and safe spaces to be physically active. Central to CCROPP's work is a leadership training program (Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Leadership Program), in which local residents gain the critical skills and tools to take on leadership roles and help to create healthier communities.

Learn about Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program projects

Cleaner Cookstoves: Building Global Capacity & Improving Public Health

Exposure to smoke from cooking fires and traditional stoves results in nearly 2 million premature deaths each year, predominantly among women and children. The adoption of cleaner stoves and fuels will not only save lives but also reduce rapid erosion of natural resources. This grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention focuses on improving clean cookstove design and building demand for this new technology. The program supports field work in Kenya, Guatemala and India, and contributes to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves in Washington, D.C.. The award is administered through PHI's Center for Public Health and Climate Change, which is working to address the health impacts of climate change.

Learn about Cleaner Cookstoves: Building Global Capacity & Improving Public Health projects

Community Food and Justice Coalition

The Community Food and Justice Coalition (CFJC) is a national coalition committed to the basic human right to healthy food while advancing social, agricultural and environmental justice. CFJC collaborates with California communities, organizations and efforts to create a socially just as well as  ecologically and economically sustainable food supply. CFJC also works collaboratively at the national level to affect food policy. 

Learn about Community Food and Justice Coalition projects

FACES for the Future Coalition

The FACES for the Future Coalition delivers the highly successful FACES program model to communities seeking to prepare high school students for entry into the health professions by developing their own pipeline programs.  FACES incorporates best practices in adolescent medicine, innovative pedagogy,and community engagement.  Taken together, the model addresses the diverse needs of young people interested in healthcare careers, and prepares students to meet the challenges of impending health workforce shortages and worsening health disparities. 

Learn about FACES for the Future Coalition projects

Health in All Policies

The Health in All Policies Task Force is a collaborative project between the Public Health Institute, the California Department of Public Health, and the California Strategic Growth Council. Health in All Policies is a collaborative approach to improving population health by incorporating health considerations into decision-making across sectors and policy areas. HiAP is an innovative response to increasingly siloed government structures, rising healthcare costs, growing inequities, and growing awareness of the impact of the social determinants of health.

Learn about Health in All Policies projects

Network for a Healthy California

PHI partners with the California Department of Public Health to implement the Network for a Healthy California (Network), the largest and most diverse nutrition and physical activity initiative in the country. Since 1997, PHI has been an integral part in creating innovative Network partnerships that empower low-income Californians to increase fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity and food security with the goal of preventing obesity and other related chronic diseases.   

Learn about Network for a Healthy California projects

Pacific ADA Center

The Pacific ADA Center works to build a partnership between the disability and business communities and to promote full and unrestricted participation in society for persons with disabilities through education and technical assistance.

Learn about Pacific ADA Center projects

Public Health Alliance of Southern California

The Public Health Alliance of Southern California is a collaboration of leaders from Southern California local health departments, which are statutorily responsible for the health of over half of California’s population. The Alliance addresses regional chronic disease prevention through upstream multi-sector policy and systems and environmental change. Current priority initiatives include multidisciplinary collaborations advancing transportation; food environments; and healthy community data indicators. The regional approach provides a mobilized, collective public health voice to actively promote the health of all Southern Californian communities.

Learn about Public Health Alliance of Southern California projects

Public Health Trust

The Public Health Trust (PHT) works with private attorneys, government agencies and public health organizations interested in using litigation settlement funds to improve public health. PHT manages settlement funds with a focus on transparency and accountability. PHT grantees address a wide range of public health issues from marketing of food, tobacco products, exposure to toxic substances, medication access, and air and water quality.

Learn about Public Health Trust projects

Regional Asthma Management and Prevention Program

The Regional Asthma Management and Prevention (RAMP) program is a collaborative that promotes strategies for reducing asthma through a broad and comprehensive approach that includes clinical management and environmental protection. RAMP brings together diverse partners such as public health and community-based organizations, schools, medical providers, and environmental health and justice groups to join forces in reducing the burden of asthma with a focus on communities inequitably affected by the disease.

Learn about Regional Asthma Management and Prevention Program projects

Roots of Change

Roots of Change (ROC) is a think tank-and-do tank working to ensure emergence of a sustainable food system in California. ROC provides road maps to food movement power and policy victories. ROC has a clear change strategy, an extensive statewide network of change agents and a track record of spawning and leading projects that are transformative because they unify actors to push for progress using multiple intervention points simultaneously. ROC is focused primarily on California because it is a bellwether that can positively influence the nation. 

Learn about Roots of Change projects

Additional PHI Projects