Turning great ideas into healthier communities

Issue Areas

Chronic Disease

Chronic, non-communicable diseases—such as heart disease, cancer, asthma, obesity, and diabetesare responsible for close to 75 percent of all U.S. health care costs and an estimated $6 trillion in lost global productivity annually. Worldwide, they disproportionately affect low-income and marginalized populations.

PHI is committed to advancing equitable approaches to stemming the chronic disease epidemic both in the U.S. and abroad. We provide expertise in disease surveillance, capacity building, research, evaluation, policy advocacy and leadership development. From researching who is most at risk for chronic disease and why in order to inform better prevention strategies, to testing new technologies to improve chronic disease management, to promoting healthy behaviors through sophisticated media and educational campaigns, we advance research-based solutions to improving community health. We also specialize in advocating for policies, at the local to international levels, that increase access to healthy foods, curb tobacco use and promote physical activity; forging multi-sectoral partnerships with health care, business, education and government to broaden chronic disease prevention efforts; and strengthening local leaders and organizations to become effective change agents in the movement to build healthier communities. 

Our expertise includes:

  • Chronic disease surveillance and tracking: From collecting complete, timely and scientific quality data on cancer patients, to tracking incidents of asthma, obesity trends, and heart disease, PHI experts are available to research rates and incidents of chronic disease. 
  • Policy development, advocacy, and implementation: Our experts can help you advance community-based policies to promote nutrition, physical activity, active transportation, affordable housing, violence prevention, and other best practices in chronic disease prevention. PHI staff brings expertise in youth and parent empowerment approaches, policy and environmental change strategies including school-based efforts, and community-based solutions that improve environments primarily in low-resource, high-need communities.
  • Ensuring equitable health improvements: Stemming chronic disease starts with the development of successful public health strategies which recognize the complex interplay of social factors that drive inequitable health outcomes. Learn how to address the social determinants of health with PHI's support, and build a health equity approach into the core of your efforts.
  • Coalition and network building: PHI specializes in building local, statewide, national, and global networks that unite community leaders and partners to collectively reduce the rates of chronic disease and build equitable, safe, and healthy communities.


Resources and Tools

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Julia Caplan

Julia Caplan, MPP, MPH, is Program Director for the Health in All Policies Task Force, which is a collaborative project between the Public Health I...

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Tracy Delaney

Tracy Delaney, Ph.D. is founding director of the Public Health Alliance of Southern California, a regional coalition of eight local health departme...

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Genoveva Islas

Genoveva Islas, MPH, directs Cultiva La Salud, which works to address poor nutrition and physical inactivity in the San Joaquin Valley by creating ...

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Carmen Nevarez

Carmen Nevarez, MD, MPH, is PHI's vice president for external relations, preventive medicine advisor and director of the Center for Health...

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Susan Paulukonis

Susan Paulukonis is a rare disease epidemiologist, focused on public health surveillance of severe non-reportable diseases and their impact on the ...

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Lynn Silver

Lynn Silver is a senior advisor at PHI. She works to enhance and strengthen PHI's portfolio of programs in chronic diseases, regulation of mari...

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Berkeley Media Studies Group

Berkeley Media Studies Group (BMSG) works with community groups, journalists and public health professionals to use the power of the media to advan...

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CA4Health is a community of practice consisting of people and organizations working to advance chronic disease prevention and health equity in Cali...

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California Alliance for Prevention Funding

The California Alliance for Prevention Funding is a statewide coalition working to create a sustainable funding stream for prevention and health eq...

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California Health Interview Survey

The California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), the nation's largest state health survey, is a collaboration of PHI, the California Department o...

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CAN-Act (the California Association of Nutrition & Activity Programs) supports healthy eating and active living in California by providing lead...

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Center for International Tobacco Control

In Asia, the two largest consumers of tobacco are China and Indonesia, together representing 412 million smokers. The Center for International Toba...

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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 c...

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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 en...

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Global Health Leaders

Global Health Leaders runs the five-year Medtronic Foundation Associates Program – a Fellowship of the Public Health Institute (PHI) funded b...

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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, a...

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Health Spectrum Program

Using a multi-dimensional emphasis that encompasses geographical, age, gender, socio-economic status, and race and ethnicity categories, the Health...

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Population Health Innovation Lab (PHIL)

PHI’s Population Health Innovation Lab (PHIL) brings new options for innovation to public health. In the same way that Silicon Valley creates...

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Public Health Alliance of Southern California

The Public Health Alliance of Southern California (Alliance) is a coalition of local health departments in Southern California. Collectively our me...

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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...

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Survey Research Group

The Survey Research Group (SRG) conducts population based health-related surveys, using one of the country's most technologically advanced call...

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Tracking California

Tracking California (formerly the California Environmental Health Tracking Program) compiles, analyzes, and shares data to identify and understand ...

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Here's How We're Making a Difference

Improving Access to Care for 6,000-7,000 Californians with SCD

Prior to 2019, there were few providers and resources for the thousands of Californians suffering from sickle cell disease (SCD). PHI’s California Sickle Cell Data Collection program presented their findings on challenges faced by those with SCD at a Sacramento hearing, in May. Shortly after, the Assembly Bill 1105 was passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Newsom to support more clinics/knowledgeable care providers in the state, workforce development for this disease, and surveillance capacity. As of December 2018, California’s legislature has committed $15 million toward the enhancement of adult sickle cell disease care.

Increasing Access to Chronic Disease Self-Management Programs

Working in small and rural California communities, CA4Health trained lay leaders to deliver evidence-based chronic disease self-management, education and support. Over three years, CA4Health increased the number of community members with access to these services by 263,272.

CA4Health also created this video to further expand the understanding and need for community health workers.



Mobilizing Global Leaders to Act on Chronic Disease

Photo credit: Tim Wagner / HEACPHI convened the first-ever international conference to focus exclusively on preventing, diagnosing and treating chronic disease among the world’s children, spurring commitments from leading organizations such as UNICEF.