Press Release

The Public Health Institute Receives Three Million Dollar REACH Grant

Today the Public Health Institute was awarded $2,938,025 over three years to launch Cultiva LaSalud, as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) initiative.

For Media Inquires Contact:

Brandie Campbell

Cell: 510.285.5548

Cultiva LaSalud Aims to Improve Health and Reduce Health Disparities

Today the Public Health Institute was awarded $2,938,025 over three years to launch Cultiva LaSalud, as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) initiative.

Cultiva LaSalud will work in Fresno, Kern and Stanislaus counties in six largely Latino neighborhoods and communities including Southeast Fresno, Orange Cove, Southeast Bakersfield, Arvin, Ceres and Turlock.  Cultiva LaSalud, Spanish for “cultivate health,” will increase access to healthy food and beverage options as well as opportunities for physical activity among area Latinos. The project will work in partnership with the Delores Huerta Foundation and the Ceres Partnership for Healthy Children.

Health and social inequities are vast in the Valley:

  • The targeted counties lead the state averages in heart disease and diabetes
  • More San Joaquin Valley children are obese compared to the California average, with even higher rates among Latinos
  • California’s adult obesity rate is 60%, compared to 70%  in Stanislaus and Kern counties, and 69% in Fresno County
  • Bakersfield and Fresno have the more than five times the number of fast-food restaurants and convenience store as grocery stores and produce vendors, compared to similarly sized California cities
  • Within the city of Fresno, only 1.4 playgrounds exist for every 10,000 residents and the city spends an average $59 per resident for parks and recreation centers
  • Agricultural production was valued at over $32 billion[1], while the average agricultural worker earns an hourly mean wage of $9.22 and makes a mean annual income of $19,180

Cultiva LaSalud will transition and build upon the foundation created through PHI’s Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program (CCROPP), established in 2005 with funding from The California Endowment.  As a regional initiative CCROPP brought together public health departments, community based organizations and grassroots community members to work together in addressing the policy, system and environmental factors that contribute to obesity and obesity related illnesses. CCROPP many local successes include changing local ordinances to allow for the establishment of farmer’s markets and unlocking school gates for physical activity. CCROPP’s director Genoveva Islas will serve as Program Director forCultiva LaSalud, and PHI’s Dr. Carmen Nevarez will serve as principal investigator.

“I’m excited to continue focusing on improving health equity for Latinos in the San Joaquin Valley,” says Islas. “Ultimately this project will help us improve quality of life and avert premature deaths and medical costs from chronic diseases that are significantly impacting Latino families.”

The Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) award is part of a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) initiative to support public health efforts to reduce chronic diseases, promote healthier lifestyles, reduce health disparities, and control health care spending. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will administer the grants, which will run for 3 years, subject to availability of funds.

Overall, HHS awarded $35 million in new grant awards to 49 local health agencies. REACH, a CDC program that began in 1999, focuses on racial and ethnic communities experiencing health disparities. Awardees include local governmental agencies, community-based nongovernmental organizations, tribes and tribal organizations, Urban Indian Health Programs, and tribal and intertribal consortia. They will use public health strategies to reduce tobacco use and exposure, improve nutrition, increase physical activity, and improve access to chronic disease prevention, risk reduction, and management opportunities.

REACH is financed in part by the Prevention and Public Health Fund of the Affordable Care Act.

“In this country, chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are the leading causes of death, disability, and health care costs, accounting for 7 of 10 deaths among Americans each year, and more than 80 percent of the $2.7 trillion our nation spends annually on medical care,” says Dr. Mary A. Pittman, President and CEO of the Public Health Institute. “And in California, our Latino communities are among the greatest impacted. This infusion of federal dollars will give Central Valley families a better shot at healthier lives and healthier futures.”


[1] California Agricultural Statistics Review 2013-2014, California Department of Food and Agriculture

About the Public Health Institute

The Public Health Institute, an independent nonprofit organization, is dedicated to promoting health, well-being and quality of life for people throughout California, across the nation and around the world. For more information, visit


More Updates

Work With Us

You change the world. We do the rest. Explore fiscal sponsorship at PHI.

Bring Your Work to PHI

Support Us

Together, we can accelerate our response to public health’s most critical issues.


Find Employment

Begin your career at the Public Health Institute.

See Jobs

Aerial view of wildfire smoke


Wildfires & Extreme Heat: Resources to Protect Yourself & Your Community

Communities across the U.S. and around the world are grappling with dangerous wildfires and extreme heat. These threats disrupt and uproot communities and pose serious risks to environmental and community health—from rising temperatures, unhealthy air pollutants, water contamination and more. Find PHI tools, resources and examples to help communities take action and promote climate safety, equity and resiliency.

Get started

Continue to