Turning great ideas into healthier communities

Issue Areas

Nutrition & Diet

The Public Health Institute views nutrition and diet as fundamental building blocks to good health. We are committed to reducing obesity and improving diets through a multitude of proven wellness strategies, including behavior change interventions, policy and advocacy, place-based approaches, school wellness programs, and working in tandem with community development and other sectors to increase access to affordable and local healthy fruits and vegetables.

PHI addresses nutrition and diet related public health concerns through the lens of health equity and social justice. We know that a one-size-fits-all approach is not likely to be sustainable or as effective as interventions that are in tune with community needs and backed by research and data. We provide expertise in capacity building, curriculum design, school-based wellness, health in all policies, food security, and programs to strengthen local leaders to advocate for better nutrition policies.

Our expertise includes:

  • Implementing program and policies designed to support healthy nutrition: PHI works with schools, communities and farmers to implement nutrition standards, physical activity promotion, safe routes to school and more, incorporating well-tested methods for parent and student engagement.
  • Designing worksite wellness programs: PHI has partnered with over 200 worksites to introduce nutrition education and positive environmental changes, with a focus on low-wages industries like agriculture, manufacturing, hospitality and retail.
  • Engaging the food retail industry to improve access to healthy foods: Over 800 retailers have partnered with PHI to reach low-income consumers through merchandising, food sampling, store tours and environmental strategies.
  • Developing, producing and disseminating your work: PHI's award-winning materials, Web Forums, and production platforms target a diverse group of consumers and intermediaries, including low-literacy and non-English speaking audiences. PHI can help you develop print, audio, video, and digital products, and disseminate them to targeted audiences through on- and offline channels.

HOW CAN WE WORK TOGETHER? SEND US AN EMAIL.


Resources and Tools

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Experts

Michael Dimock

Michael R. Dimock, president of Roots of Change Fund (ROC), is a national food movement organizer and thought leader on food and farming systems ne...

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Elizabeth Emerson

Elizabeth Emerson is co-investigator of the Health Spectrum Program and the Smoke-Free International Program. She received the Humanitari...

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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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Suzanne Ryan-Ibarra

Suzanne Ryan-Ibarra, PhD, MPH, is a Principal Investigator and Senior Research Scientist at the Public Health Institute. She has more than 10 years...

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Lynn Silver

Lynn Silver is a senior advisor at PHI for chronic disease and obesity as well as the director of PHI's California Project LEAN. She works to e...

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Sharon Sugerman

Sharon Sugerman, MS, RD, FADA is Research and Evaluation Program Director for Public Health Institute’s Center for Wellness and Nutrition. In...

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Elaine Zahnd

Elaine Zahnd, PhD, is a sociologist and senior research scientist at PHI. Zahnd has conducted health policy-related research and evaluations for ov...

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Programs

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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CAN-Act

CAN-Act (the California Association of Nutrition & Activity Programs) supports healthy eating and active living in California by providing lead...

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Center for Wellness and Nutrition

The Public Health Institute Center for Wellness and Nutrition recognizes the connections among local community environments, poor diet, physic...

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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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Cultiva La Salud

As an initiative of the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH), Cultiva La Salud works in Fresno, Kern and Stanislaus counti...

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Network for a Healthy California, Supplemental Nutrition Education Program Education

PHI partnered with the California Department of Public Health to implement the Network for a Healthy California (Network), the largest and most div...

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Public Health Alliance of Southern California

The Public Health Alliance of Southern California is a collaboration of leaders from Southern California local health departments, which are statut...

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Roots of Change

Roots of Change (ROC) is a think tank-and-do tank working to ensure emergence of a sustainable food system in California. ROC provides road maps to...

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Here's How We're Making a Difference

Changing Health Behaviors

Photo by Tim Wagner/HEACThe 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.

 

 

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.   

 

Protecting SNAP-Ed During Federal Farm Bill Negotiations

Photo by Tim Wagner/HEACDuring 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.