Healthy Places

Healthy Places

Public Health Advocates helps neighborhoods and schools become places that nurture health and well-being of everyone. We believe that neighborhoods and schools can be places where the physical, social, and economic conditions make health a reality for all people.

Building Healthy Communities (BHC) – Boyle Heights

PHAdvocates supports teens and adults from Boyle Heights, CA in their fight to get healthier food and drinks in their schools. This inspiring group got sugary drinks off the school menu and now they are working to get purified drinking water stations installed in schools and are demanding regular cleaning and up-keep of school drinking fountains. They also want to see the size of the Roosevelt High School Wellness Center increased.

The group is also focused on larger education equity issues like restorative justice and the education challenges faced by foster youth and English-language learners. PHAdvocates supports the group in understanding the policy aspects of the issues as well as in formulating and advocating for policy solutions. The group had a major victory in 2015 when LASUD decreased the school policing budget by $13 million and instead allocated a $2 million increase for restorative justice efforts.

Follow the advocates in Boyle Heights on Facebook.

Complete Parks Initiative

Cities strive to make their parks centers of health, recreation, and beauty for all of residents and visitors. Cities also recognize the value of parks as a core economic asset. Launched under the auspices of our Healthy Eating Active Living Cities Campaign in 2015, our Complete Parks Initiative works with neighborhood leaders, residents, local elected officials and their staff to place parks and open space at the center of community and economic health. A commitment to environmental justice and equality of opportunity infuse the Initiative.

One of the Initiative’s resources is the Complete Parks Playbook which PHAdvocates developed with ChangeLab Solutions. The Playbook (available in Spanish & English) provides an overview of the seven elements that make up a complete parks system. Each section describes an element, lists specific policies and resources and provides a successful community example.

For more information on the Complete Parks Initiative, contact Kanat Tibet, PHAdvocates’ Director of Local Policy – 916-213-6380.

Complete Parks Playbook

Diabetes Prevention

More than half of California adults, and almost a quarter of teens, now have diabetes or prediabetes. With limited availability of healthy food in low income communities, a preponderance of soda and junk food marketing, and urban neighborhoods lacking safe places to play, it is as if many communities have been designed for diabetes.

PHAdvocates is embarking on a statewide campaign to turn around California’s diabetes crisis. We are:

  • Holding listening session around State to learn from people who have diabetes and prediabetes what would be most helpful to them, their families, and communities.
  • Developing a state and local policy agenda based on what we learn.
  • Working with neighborhood residents and state leaders to make diabetes prevention a top public health priority.

Our new effort was launched with the March 2016 release of Prediabetes in California: Nearly Half of California Adults on Path to Diabetes a study done in conjunction with UCLA. Visit us on Youtube to learn more about the study and how to discuss the impact of prediabetes in your community.

Prediabetes in California: Nearly Half of California Adults on Path to Diabetes

Prediabetes by City

Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Cities Campaign

The HEAL Cities campaign provides online resources, training, and technical assistance to city officials as they adopt policies that create safe places to walk, bike and play, healthy food retail options like farmers markets, community gardens and healthy corner stores, and municipal workplaces that support nutrition and physical activity . The campaign focuses on three policy-related areas:

  • Land use
  • Access to affordable healthy foods
  • Worksite wellness

The Campaign was established in 2008 in partnership with the League of California Cities and the Cities Counties and School Partnership.

In California, the campaign has 185 participating cities which have passed over 350 policies on healthy eating and physical activity covering 8 million people.

Across the nation, there are 300 HEAL Cities in the states of Colorado, Oregon, Maryland and Virginia where HEAL Cities partnerships exist between regional public health advocacy organizations, state municipal leagues, and active community members under the auspices of the HEAL Nation Initiative.

Learn more about the campaign and how you can get involved.

Kick the Can

PHAdvocates is a leader in the national movement to encourage people (especially children) to drink water instead of sugar.

State Policy. We have led statewide campaigns to:

  • Put warning labels on sugary drinks (2014 – 2015)
  • Tax sugary drinks to pay for diabetes prevention (2002 – 2013)
  • Make safe drinking water a basic human right (2012)
  • Stop providing sugary drinks to children in childcare (2010)
  • Stop selling sugary drinks in public schools (1999 – 2005)

Local Ordinances. We advocate for local policies that:

  • Tax sugary drinks, like in Berkeley
  • Require warning labels on outdoor ads for sugary drinks, like in San Francisco
  • Remove sugary drinks as the default option in restaurant kids’ meals, like in Davis

Our KickTheCan website is THE place to find information about the dangers of sugary beverages.

To learn more about the harm of sugary drinks visit us on Youtube – Channel KTC

Safe Routes to School – City of San Fernando

PHAdvocates is assisting San Fernando, CA to develop citywide Safe Routes to School plans. We lead the community outreach effort on these projects using techniques learned during our decade of community work in Baldwin Park, CA.

Specially, we are bringing residents, school officials, and community stakeholders to the planning table to assure that the Safe Routes to School Plans are crafted with community input. We place significant emphasis on bring groups to the table that have traditionally been excluded from the planning process.

We develop and lead interactive workshops designed to teach community members the hands-on skills they need to participate in the Safe Routes to School planning process such as public speaking, how facilitate group discussions, and how to conduct assessments of the built environment. A community charrette process is then used to bring together residents, planners and city leaders to promote joint ownership of solutions and defuse any confrontational attitudes between community members and city staff.

Check out our YouTube video to learn more.

Within Our REACH (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health)

PHAdvocates’ REACH project promotes healthy eating and physical activity as well as expanded access to healthy foods in the neighborhoods and organizations serving African-American residents of Stockton, CA. REACH focuses on making changes to the places where people play, live, work, worship or pray, so that people can make healthy choices.

At the organizational level, PHAdvocates is helping leaders of Stockton’s African American neighborhoods, churches, institutions and businesses find innovative ways to offer more walking, biking, exercise and healthy food and beverages options.

At the city level, we are heavily focused on the update to the City of Stockton General Plan. REACH believes residents, especially those typically left out of the city planning process, bring a wealth of knowledge to the planning process. By building a strong partnership between residents and city leaders, REACH is working to create a more equitable Stockton for every neighborhood in the city.

Key REACH partners include NAACP Stockton Branch and numerous churches serving Stockton’s African American community.

Learn more at

Follow our REACH project on Facebook.