Center for Wellness and Nutrition
The Public Health Institute Center for Wellness and Nutrition recognizes the connections among local community environments, poor diet, physical inactivity, food insecurity and obesity.
The Center for Wellness and Nutrition has a diverse portfolio of nutrition, physical activity, obesity prevention and chronic disease prevention projects that reduce the risk of obesity by empowering communities to eat healthier foods, engage in physical activity and create safer environments that foster healthy choices. We have partnered with the California Department of Public Health for over 15 years to implement its highly-successful, USDA-funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program nutrition education (SNAP-Education).
Our multi-disciplinary PHI team provides specialized expertise in social marketing, cultural competency, communications, tailored materials, partnership development, training, technical assistance, research and evaluation, with a focus on the unique needs of the low-income audience. Our team can oversee full projects from development to implementation, or provide training and consultation to help guide your efforts and build the capacity of your staff.
ACEs Training for First 5
The Center for Wellness and Nutrition will train represent behavioral health, public health, social services, education, and child care providers for Trinity County First 5 on issues related to ACEs.
AltaMed Healthy Retail Project
The Center for Wellness and Nutrition will provide an on-site training for grocery store employees in collaboration with AltaMed staff, and conduct a gap analysis and provide technical assistance to enhance AltaMed’s CDC Reach Grant’s Healthy Retail component.
Bay Area Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Training and Resource Center
The Center partners with the Santa Clara Public Health Department to operate the San Francisco Bay Area Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Training and Resource Center (TRC), which supports Bay Area health departments. The TRC tailors assistance to needs for programs and initiatives, community engagement, policy, systems and environmental change, and media and communications.
California Children’s Healthy Eating and Exercise Practices Survey (CalCHEEPS), 1999-2013
CalCHEEPS is a statewide surveillance project of the California Department of Public Health that collects diet and exercise data from 6- to 11-year-old children in California. It is conducted biennially and uses a telephone-based 24-hour dietary recall to monitor dietary, physical activity, and overweight trends among children from households receiving CalFresh to evaluate their progress toward meeting health recommendations outlined in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Healthy People 2020 Objectives. Data are weighted and analyzed by demographic, behavioral, and environmental factors to help inform California’s nutrition educations programs and campaigns targeting children. In 2007, a calibration study using food diary and 24-hour dietary recall compares group means in dietary intake by data collection method.
California Harvest of the Month (HOTM) Evaluation
HOTM is an initiative of the California Department of Public Health that features nutrition education tools and resources to support healthy lifestyle habits like eating fruits and vegetables and being physically active every day. Formative evaluation to support the development and refinement of HOTM include literature reviews, secondary data reviews, key informant interviews with key stakeholder groups, and a statewide survey of classroom nutrition education practices among teachers.
Central Valley Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Training and Resource Center
The Center partners with PHI's Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program to operate the Central Valley Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Training and Resource Center (TRC). The TRC supports Central Valley health departments. TRC public health experts, trainers and professional advisors tailor assistance to needs for programs and initiatives, community engagement, policy, systems and environmental change, and media and communications.
The Center for Wellness & Nutrition will provide support, training, communications and technical assistance to UCSF’s Champion Providers project. The project harnesses the influence, power, and respect of health care providers to build healthier communities.
Classroom Mastery: Adult Learning and Facilitation Skills Training
The Center on Wellness and Nutrition will conduct a training to adult educators on the topic of “Classroom Mastery: Adult Learning and Facilitation Skills Training.” It will be conducted with people who focus on adult education in order to enhance and practice skills related to designing, preparing and delivering adult education programs related to nutrition education and obesity prevention.
Cooking Matters Evaluation
PHI's Center for Wellness and Nutrition (CWN) is working in consultation and collaboration with the Cooking Matters Colorado PSE team to create an evaluation strategy to assess the real benefits of PSE interventions for consumers and retailers in the shop setting. The evaluation will focus on changes in food security and sales related to PSE interventions.
Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) and Michigan Harvest of the Month (MiHOTM) Evaluation
The Michigan Fitness Foundation collaborates with the Michigan Department of Education to implement the MiHOTM program in FFVP schools, coordinating nutrition education and cafeteria promotions with fresh fruit and vegetable snacks. The study design is quasi-experimental using an intervention and control group with a convenience sample of schools to examine the impact of the MiHOTM and FFVP snack. Pre and post-intervention measures include MiHOTM exposure, change in fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity behavior, and related psychosocial constructs among children; as well as school environment assessment, teacher and FFVP administrator survey, parent survey, and FFVP snack orders. Formative evaluation to support the development and refinement of MiHOTM include literature reviews, and key informant interviews with key stakeholder groups.
The Center for Wellness and Nutrition will train and support HealthMPowers staff in 1) engaging communities, conducting focus groups, gathering and analyzing data and developing targeted social marketing campaigns, 2) engaging food retailers, conducting retail assessment and developing purchasing and promotional items that appeal to food retailers and consumers. This project will work with three Georgia communities, Baldwin, Savannah-Chatham and Washington leveraging HealthMPowers’ existing school and child care center programs.
Growing Healthy Farms, Healthy People: Our Shared Future Western Growers Assurance Trust Wellness Initiative Demonstration Project
The Center for Wellness and Nutrition is funded by Western Growers Assurance Trust to enhance the competitiveness and profitability of members and to lead members, worksite employees and the fresh produce industry toward a healthy, sustainable and profitable future by implementing evidence-based worksite wellness programs. Activities will occur on an ongoing basis over 18 months, guided in each site by an employee wellness committee.
Healthy Communities Healthy Lives
Provide technical assistance to grocers to enhance and promote healthier food and beverage options within the store.
Michigan Harvest of the Month (MiHOTM) Point-of-Access Evaluation
The Michigan Fitness Foundation collaborates with diverse community partners to implement the MiHOTM program in grocery stores, farmers’ markets, community gardens, and food pantries reaching low-income populations in Michigan with nutrition education and resources. Quasi-experimental designs assess the impact of the MiHOTM point-of-access pilot programs in retail and food pantry settings. Evaluation measures include shopper survey, in-store scan, showcase observation, store manager/director survey, food panty participant intention card/survey, and food pantry staff and nutrition educator interviews.
Michigan Nutrition Network Evaluation Phase IV
PHI is proposing evaluation activities to support the request from the MFF to move the MiHOTM and FFVP intervention from a pilot project to a practice-based program. This includes summarizing the evidence for HOTM, developing tools to support classroom teachers, working with key informants to develop the best training and implementation models, identifying best practices for implementing MiHOTM at FFVP school sites in Michigan, and developing an impact evaluation plan for FFY 16.
NEOP Investments in LA County: Strategic Designs for the Youth Engagement Model
The Center for Nutrition and Wellness will contract with County of Los Angeles to identify methods to engage youth in nutrition education. Deliverables include data and results of focus group findings, a summary report with thematic findings and technical assistance after the report is delivered.
Placer County SNAP-Ed Get Fresh Project
The Center of Wellness and Nutrition will demonstrate how it coordinates efforts to implement community nutrition interventions and educate CalFresh and SNAP-Ed eligible participants on making healthier choices within their limited budget. In addition, they will develop successful and long-lasting partnerships between agencies and nutrition education providers to promote the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and increase physical activity among the CalFresh and SNAP-Ed eligible population. As well as, demonstrate how PHI will indentify unmet needs of the target audience through targeting methodologies, resources, and partners within local jurisdictions, and implement nutrition education and obesity prevention interventions to that target audience.
Power Play! Campaign (Power Play!) Evaluation
Power Play! is a multi-channel, community-based social marketing initiative of the California Department of Public Health that engages low-income children (9-11 years old) and their families to eat more fruits and vegetables and be physically active every day. Two impact evaluation studies, both using randomized control trials, capture the effects of Power Play! in participating children. Pre and post-intervention measures include campaign exposure and recall, change in fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity behavior, and related psychosocial constructs among children; as well as school environment assessments and teacher surveys. Qualitative methods are also an integral part of the Campaign material and promotion development; message, concept, and logo testing; pilot testing; student photovoice projects; examining strategies for parent engagement; and incorporating community voice into the evaluation findings.
Rethink Your Drink Webinar and Training
PHI’s Center for Wellness and Nutrition will facilitate an interactive training focused on Rethink Your Drink for Oregon State University.
School Health and Wellness Consortium: Fresno & Madera Counties
PHI CWN will create a School Health and Wellness Consortium engaging school district leadership in Fresno and Madera counties. Districts will meet on a regular basis to increase their knowledge of the Whole School, Whole Child, Whole Community framework to strengthen their Local School Wellness Policies. In this process, participating districts monitor their performance, share practices and develop accountability for comprehensive and ongoing implementation of their wellness policies.
SNAP Processing at Placer County Farmers’ Markets
Center for Wellness and Nutrition will initiate SNAP processing at two farmers’ markets in Placer County and implement a regional communication effort for markets and partners working on SNAP accessibility and promotion.
SNAP-Ed Southeast Learning Community
PHI will collaborate with the National Network of Public Health Institutes, including its members in the Southeast Region, the USDA Southeastern Regional Staff and Office to establish a learning community with SNAP-Ed agencies from Southeast states, and to identify successes and challenge and provide technical assistance related to evidence and practice-based resources and approaches.
SNAP-Ed Southeast Learning Community Phase III
To host webinars and workshops and provide ongoing technical assistance to NNPHI related to incorporating policy, systems and environmental changes into healthy eating interventions in Southeastern states.
Southeast Learning Community
The Center has formed a partnership with the National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI) in the Southeast Region of the United States to support agencies implementing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-Ed). The states included in this project include: Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Funding for this project has been provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Center will work with the Southeast Region to look beyond SNAP-Ed direct education and incorporate policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) strategies as a support mechanism to SNAP-Ed Implementing Agencies as well include evaluation measures and develop partnership opportunities with NNPHI members.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education
Over 15 years, the Center has partnered with the California Dept. of Public Health's Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Branch to provide management, program support, evaluation and implementation of the nation's largest, most diverse nutrition and physical activity initiative. It has helped create partnerships empowering low-income Californians to increase fruit and vegetable consumption, physicial activity and food security.
The Western Region Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Center of Excellence at Colorado State
This project builds on the expertise PHI Center for Wellness and Nutrition (CWN) staff in research and evaluation of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) intervention strategies. CWN will evaluate Youth-led Participatory Action Research (Y-PAR), an intervention for Colorado State University’s Region Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Center of Excellence award.
Toiyabe Indian Health Project Partnerships in Community Health Evaluation Plan
PHI will support Toiyabe Indian Health Project, Inc. with evaluation of their Partnerships in Community Health award from CDC. PHI will analyze baseline data of their Actual Use Evaluation of Walking Paths, initiate follow-up data collection, and initiate baseline data collection on the Outcome Evaluation Community Survey.
Toiyabe Indian Health Project Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health and Evaluation Plan
PHI will support Toiyabe Indian Health Project, Inc. with evaluation of their Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health Plan award from CDC. PHI will analyze baseline data of their Actual Use Evaluation of Tribal Farmers Markets, initiate follow-up data collection, and initiate baseline data collection on the Outcome Evaluation Community Survey.
Toiyabe Indian Health Service PICH and REACH CDC Division of Community Health grants
Each of these grants, which both run from FFY 2015 through FFY 2017, funds a variety of community wellness projects. PHI is funded as the evaluation contractor for both grants. Each of the grants requires two types of evaluation: one actual use evaluation and one or more outcome evaluations. The projects selected for evaluation include development of walking/biking paths in three tribal areas, planting a school garden with concurrent implementation of a school garden curriculum in five schools in grades K-2, and market match for fruit and vegetables to increase access in three farmers’ markets.
UC Cal Fresh Youth Engagement Project
Center for Wellness and Nutrition will support the health of youth by supporting the University of California CalFresh sites with provision of culturally and age appropriate services. The Center will help develop strategies that will align, envision and empower youth and their adult counterparts to be future thought leaders in nutrition, physical activity, and building healthier communities.
The Center for Wellness and Nutrition is funded by Western Growers Assurance Trust to enhance the competitiveness and profitability of members and to lead members, worksite employees and the fresh produce industry toward a healthy, sustainable and profitable future by implementing evidence-based worksite wellness programs.
Youth-led Participatory Action Research (YPAR)
PHI’s Center for Wellness & Nutrition will provide a one day training to YMCA staff on Youth-led Participatory Action Research and the use of SNAP-Ed evidence-informed tools and resources to assist in supporting youth efforts to improve the food and physical activity environments in their community.
Here's How We're Making a Difference
Changing Health Behaviors
The Network for a Healthy California, the innovative nutrition education partnership with PHI and the California Department of Public Health, helped to drive a 92 percent increase in the number of low-income Californians eating recommended levels of fruits and vegetables, which is critical to prevent diet-related illness.
The Network’s work lives on as PHI’s Center for Wellness and Nutrition.
Helping SNAP-Ed Eligible Moms & Families Eat More Healthily
A 2019 study from PHI's Center for Wellness and Nutrition (CWN) found that SNAP-Ed eligible families in California added an additional one-third of a cup of fruits and vegetables to their meals daily, and increased water intake by a cup a day between 2015 and 2017 (teens increased by two cups a day)—which means these families are eating as healthily as Americans of all income levels. See the study.
In 2019, CWN also provided SNAP-Education and other nutrition-related services in 25 states nationwide, collaborated with 230 partner organizations including social service agencies, health departments, health care agencies and universities. CWN trainings supported over 1,100 individuals on wellness and nutrition topics including community and youth engagement, health equity, systems change, local school wellness policies, healthy food system interventions and evaluation—and worked with 20 food retailers like grocery stores and farmers markets to improve access to healthy fruits and vegetables. CWN also supported capacity-building and leadership efforts in 61 community-based organizations that directly serve low resourced community and communities of color, to increase or improve wellness services and equity.
Power Play! Social Media Campaign
The Children’s Power Play! Campaign, a research-proven social marketing campaign by PHI’s Network for a Healthy California (now the Center for Wellness and Nutrition), reached 500,000 low-income California children a year and improved attitudes about eating fruits and vegetables and staying physically active.
Protecting SNAP-Ed During Federal Farm Bill Negotiations
During the last round of federal Farm Bill negotiations critical funding for SNAP-Ed, the health education component of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), was on the verge of getting cut. PHI's advocacy team helped lead a national effort that protected SNAP-Ed programs not only in California, but across the U.S. Today, these programs continue to provide vital nutrition education to support low-income families in living healthy lifestyles.
Supporting SNAP-Ed Implementation throughout the Southwest
Through a partnership with the National Network of Public Health Institutes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded the PHI Center for Wellness and Nutrition to create the Southeast Learning Community as a way to support agencies implementing the United States Department of Agriculture Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-Ed) in the Southeast Region of the United States. Participating states include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The Southeast Learning Community supports SNAP-Ed’s expanded focus on obesity prevention through policy, systems, and environmental change and partnership development.
The passage of the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 reformed SNAP-Ed and provided increased resources to support implementation of effective public health approaches within nutrition education. As funds increase in the Southeast Region, the Center for Wellness and Nutrition continues to provide technical assistance to elevate and advance successful education programs that increase a multi-sector approach through evidence-based interventions.