Turning great ideas into healthier communities

Issue Areas

Community Health

Many local environments—especially in low-income communities—limit access to healthy foods and provide few opportunities for physical activity. Neighborhoods may be disproportionately impacted pollution or violence. These community environments, often shaped by long-standing social inequities, must be transformed to support healthy lives.

A leader in the movement to build healthier communities in the United States and across the globe, PHI focuses on community empowerment and community-based solutions to address both the environmental and social determinants of health. PHI partners with community coalitions, health departments, schools, and other stakeholders to advance policy and environmental change strategies to improve health and equity outcomes.

Our expertise includes: 

  • Policy development and advocacy: Our staff are available to help you advocate for policies, at the local to international levels, that increase access to healthy foods, promote physical activity, protect the environment, and more.
  • Network and coalition building: We can help you to forge multi-sectoral partnerships with health care, business, education and government to broaden community-based health improvement efforts.
  • Capacity building: Through trainings and leadership program development, PHI can help you to build the capacity of local leaders, health departments and organizations to become effective change agents in the movement to build healthier communities.
  • Research and evaluation: Our groundbreaking research has helped to underscore public exposure to environmental toxins and the connections to diseases like cancer and asthma. PHI also offers ongoing and as-needed evaluation to inform program improvement, policy development, and demonstrate impact. 
  • Ensuring equitable health outcomes: PHI is committed to reducing health inequities by focusing on the needs of vulnerable communities.  


Resources and Tools

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Kevin Barnett

Kevin Barnett is a Senior Investigator at the Public Health Institute.  He has led research and fieldwork in hospital community benefit and he...

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Cynthia Carter Perrilliat

Rev. Cynthia Carter Perrilliat, MPA, is the executive director of the Alameda County Care Alliance (ACCA), a faith-based program in partnership wit...

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Amy DeLisio

Amy DeLisio, MPH, RD is the director at the Public Health Institute Center for Wellness and Nutrition (CWN) and has over fourteen years of experien...

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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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Katherine Karriker-Jaffe

Katherine Karriker-Jaffe, PhD, is a scientist at PHI's Alcohol Research Group. She examines how community and cultural determinants contribute ...

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Alameda County Care Alliance

The Alameda County Care Alliance Advanced Illness Care Program™ (ACCA-AICP) is a faith-based, person-centered, lay care navigation interventi...

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Build Healthy Places Network

The Build Healthy Places Network catalyzes and supports collaboration across the health and community development sectors, together working to impr...

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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 Convergence Coordinating Office

The California Convergence is a regionally organized, statewide network that unites community leaders and partners to collectively build equit...

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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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East Bay Health Workforce Partnership

The East Bay Health Workforce Partnership (EBHWP) is an employer-led effort working closely with community and education leaders to meet the curren...

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National Alliance for Health

The National Alliance for Health (NAFH) provides a forum for national public health and health care organization’s senior leadership to dialo...

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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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Here's How We're Making a Difference

Changing the Way Governments Do Business

PHI's HiAP team has built the California Health in All Policies (HiAP) Task force from the ground up, partnering with twenty-two state agencies and working in collaboration with the California Department of Public Health to promote healthy and equitable communities. It is the most extensive HiAP initiative within a state government anywhere in the country. Our Health in All Policies guide has been viewed over 30,000 times, and is used as a primer by local, state, federal and international organizations seeking to institute a HiAP approach where they live. 

Connecting Wildfires to the Public's Health

As wildfires of record heat and intensity roared the Western U.S. and other parts of the world, PHI experts linked these incidents—and their aftermaths—to health. PHI's Dr. Linda Rudolph called for better evacuation planning (especially for vulnerable populations, like the elderly and people with disabilities), and helped health departments prep for future incidents. A research study, led by PHI's Dr. Gina Solomon, looked at the state of water in areas affected by the Paradise Camp Fire—with implications for other communities across the globe that have experienced super-heated wildfires. She checked water in homes for contaminants that had leached into local water supplies. Learn more.

Helping SNAP-Ed Eligible Moms & Families Eat More Healthily

Children smiling and eating watermelon on a summer dayA 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.