Turning great ideas into healthier communities


California Adolescent Health Collaborative

The California Adolescent Health Collaborative (CAHC) is focused on improving the well-being of California’s youth by utilizing multidisciplinary and equity-informed approaches. With strategic partnerships, CAHC works to improve the knowledge and skills of adolescents to be leaders in their communities and have healthy transitions to adulthood.

Program Director(s)

Susan Watson

Program Site



Castlemont's Community Health Equity Academy

Castlemont High School officially launched their Community Health Equity Academy (CHEA) in 2017. This pathway is rooted in the social determinants of health and integrates public health themes with lived experiences. The California Adolescent Health Collaborative supports CHEA by creating learning and skills application opportunities, managing the Youth Advisory Council (YAC), and providing core support to CHEA teachers for the CHEA curriculum and overall academy efforts.

Healthy Relationships & Economic Pathways (H-REP)

The goal of H-REP is to help youth ages 14-24 in Stanislaus and Merced Counties gain the skills they need to develop healthy personal and professional relationships, access support resources, and work towards economic stability. H-REP provides Healthy Relationships Education using an evidence-based curriculum that provides opportunities for students to engage in developing healthy relationships and decision-making skills. CAHC has adapted the curriculum to be CA Healthy Youth Act compliant.

Marketing E-Cigarettes Towards Adolescents (META) Oakland

In partnership with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education (CTCRE), the META Oakland project supported Bay Area youth researchers using PhotoVoice to investigate how youth perceive e-cigarettes and how e-cigarettes are marketed toward youth in Oakland.

Partnering with Adolescents to Ready the Newest Engaged Researchers (PARTNER)

In collaboration with Livingston Community Health in the Central Valley and Asian Health Services in Oakland’s Chinatown, CAHC organized two advisory boards comprised of adolescent patients, providers, researchers, and other stakeholders to develop capacity for and engagement in patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR). As members of the advisory boards, adolescent patients were engaged and trained as co-researchers and research priorities were identified at each location.

Tobacco Control Policy Leadership Institute (TCPLI)

he Tobacco Control Policy Leadership Institute developed adolescent leaders as advocates for tobacco control policies in their communities. The project focused on building capacity of the adolescents and creating awareness campaign presentations on the dangers of tobacco, and the ways that the tobacco industry markets towards local youth. Additionally, to build community awareness on pending policy changes, the team advocated and testified at city council meetings in Oakland and San Leandro.

Young Mother Researchers (YMR)

The Breastfeeding Among Young Mothers research project (YMR) was created to understand how breastfeeding behavior modification can enable breast cancer risk reduction among young, diverse mothers. The study used community-based participatory research to investigate multi-level (social and structural) barriers and facilitators of breastfeeding in this vulnerable population. Brighter Beginnings and a dedicated advisory committee of volunteers provided key support throughout the project.

Here's How We're Making a Difference

Partnering With Youth Journalists to Investigate How e-Cigarettes Are Marketed Towards Young People

Menthol is the most abundant flavor of e-cigarettes sold in Oakland and Bay Area local markets, pharmacies and liquor stores—and the flavors and colors clearly target minors, youth and small children. That's one of the findings from the youth-led Marketing E-Cigarettes Toward Adolescents (M.E.T.A.) project, from PHI's California Adolescent Health Collaborative in partnership with University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education.

Through PhotoVoice, a community-based participatory research method, youth journalists explored the topic through their own eyes and their communities, and found opportunities for community education, local advocacy with businesses, and policy ideas for tobacco reduction. 

The youth journalists identified new ways that retail stores and tobacco companies target adolescents, and the findings directly affected local policy advocacy efforts—eventually helping to lead to the passage of a tobacco flavors ban in the City of Oakland. Youth co-researchers also testified at hearings and advocated for flavors bans in San Francisco, Oakland and San Leandro.

Learn more about this project in a video exploring how youth researchers used PhotoVoice to investigate how youth perceive e-cigarettes and their marketing in Oakland.