Turning great ideas into healthier communities

Issue Areas

School-based Efforts

The Public Health Institute champions community-based health solutions, working with partners to advance policy and environmental change strategies. Schools, often centers of their community, provide a unique opportunity to bring together multi-sector stakeholders and community members to launch local initiatives for health. Schools also play a critical role in kids' health by feeding students, providing opportunities for physical activity, and contributing to a lifetime of healthy habits. 

PHI experts are leading the way in implementing emerging trends in school-based efforts, and can help you find the right approach to fit with your community's needs and resources. We have experience with launching and evaluating school-based health centers, school-wide policies to bring healthy, local food into the cafeteria, shared use agreements, safe routes to school programs, and school-based sex education and healthy relationship coursesalong with many other successful school-based health initiatives that are currently taking hold across the country. 

Our expertise includes:

  • Program development and implementation: Drawing from our wealth of best practices and learned knowledge, PHI experts can create tailored school-based solutions that will work for your community and result in measurable health improvements.
  • Training and consultation: PHI offers trainings to local school districts and community coalitions interested in advancing school-based health. Our experts are also available for ongoing consultation to work with you to bring your school-based efforts to fruition. 
  • Evaluation: PHI staff can help track your efforts, lift up success, and provide guidance on ways to build on or replicate what works.


Resources and Tools

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Norman Constantine

Norm Constantine, PhD, is a research psychologist and methodologist who directs PHI’s Center for Research on Adolescent Health and Developmen...

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Paul English

Paul English, PhD, MPH, is state environmental epidemiologist and branch scientific advisor for the Environmental Health Investigations Branch at t...

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Marta Induni

Marta Induni, PhD, is the research program director of the Survey Research Group (SRG) at PHI. With more than 20 years of survey research experienc...

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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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Tomás A. Magaña

Tomás A. Magaña, M.D., M.A., F.A.A.P. founded and directs the FACES for the Future Coalition, and leads national dissemination of the...

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California Adolescent Health Collaborative

The California Adolescent Health Collaborative (CAHC) is a public-private statewide coalition with the goal of increasing understanding and support...

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California Project LEAN

California Project LEAN (Leaders Encouraging Activity and Nutrition) is a program of the Public Health Institute. It works to advance nutrition and...

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Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program

The Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program (CCROPP) began in 2005 as a model program utilizing a policy and environmental change ap...

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Dialogue4Health (D4H), a project of PHI, is a community that conceives, builds and shares strategies to improve the public's health. D4H p...

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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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Here's How We're Making a Difference

PHI's CA4Health Spreads Safe Routes to School

CA4Health, PHI’s statewide Community Transformation Grant covering rural and small California counties, worked with 100 schools to implement Safe Routes to School (SRTS). The program is locally driven and built around activities such as critical infrastructure repairs, parent-organized “walking school buses,” regular “walk to school” days and events, safety education, school zone traffic enforcement, and more. As a result, nearly 5,000 more California kids were able to walk and bike to school safely. 

Project LEAN Survey Spurs Legislation to Ban Junk Food in Schools

A survey from PHI's California Project LEAN stunned the public when it disclosed that 95% of high schools that responded were selling fast food from restaurants like McDonald's and Domino's Pizza as a la carte items.

The "2000 California High School Fast Food Survey" and the media campaign that accompanied it drew widespread news coverage and galvanized the movement to improve school nutrition. Most important, it contributed to the passage of legislation that today bans the sale of junk food and soda in California schools.   


Tracking Pesticide Use Near Schools

Spurred by a 2014 report by PHI’s California Environmental Health Tracking Program (now called Tracking California)—which found huge racial disparities between the pesticide exposure of Hispanic and white children at schools—in 2016 California introduced new regulations on the use of agricultural pesticides applied near to schools and day-care facilities.

The CEHTP report found that Hispanic children were 46% more likely than white children to attend schools with any pesticides of concern applied nearby, and they were 91% more likely than white children to attend schools in areas with the highest use of pesticides.

In response, California introduced new regulations on the use of agricultural pesticides applied near schools and day-care facilities. The new regulations prohibit many pesticide applications close to public K-12 schools and child day-care facilities during school hours. Additionally, public K-12 schools and child day-care facilities will now be informed when certain pesticide applications are made within a quarter mile of these schools and facilities.