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Current Projects and Highlights



The California Endowment, Building Healthy Communities - South Kern

Building Momentum for School Health - 20181460

California Project LEAN will build the capacity of school districts for adopting and implementing health-promoting school wellness policies to improve student health and success in Kern County.  Back to top
Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Kern
Creating Opportunities for Health - 20655917
California Project LEAN will partner with two local school districts to engage and train parents
and teachers in strategies that promote student health.
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Kaiser Permanente's Northern California Community Benefit Programs, Diablo
Promote Healthier Foods and Beverages in Schools - 20655123
California Project LEAN will support Antioch Unified School District implement its wellness policy nutrition components to enhance the school meal program as well as engage and inform school community about nutrition guidelines and district protocols to improve competitive and non-sold food and beverage options.
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County of Santa Barbara
School Wellness Policy Trainings and Technical Assistance - CN21374
California Project LEAN in coordination with Center for Wellness and Nutrtion are conducting ReThink Your Drink assemblies at various elementary schools in the Santa Barbara area, coordinating school wellness summits, and conducting Nutrition Education 101 professional development trainings.


The California Endowment, Building Healthy Communities - South Kern

Promoting Health in School Environments: To build the capacity of school administrators and parents to improve school meals and beverages in school districts in South Kern County
Project LEAN is working in the areas of Arvin, Lamont, Di Giorgio, Vineland, and Greenland to establish Local School Wellness Councils where policy development or revision can be guided, or implemenation plans can be devised.  CPL will convene stakeholder trainings and meetings and provide direct training and technical assistance to parents and school districts. 
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Kaiser Permanente Northern California Community Benefit Programs
Fresno - Continuing to Advance School Wellness - 20643003

With the success of passing the Madera Unified School District Wellness Policy, Project LEAN will continue to support Madera through its implementation process, guide revisions, assist with communications, and support the Madera Wellness Council.

Madera Unified School District – Assistant Superintendent Breaks Ground with the Madera School Board

“After much work, from us and many, many others, I am so proud of the work the district is doing. I just had to share this PowerPoint. It was created by the assistant superintendent and presented to their school board last night, March 10, 2015. Our work is about working with and building the capacity of key stakeholders and this power point shows me just that.”
Jane Alvarado-Banister, Program Manager – Central Valley

The process Madera USD embarked on is impressive and should be hailed as a model for other districts in the state and nation. The efforts were led by the Assistant Superintendent by a directive of the Superintendent and was supported by two school board members. Promotoras de Salud were already strong advocates in their community and insisted on lasting change. Due to California Project LEAN’s (CPL) experience and expertise, MUSD invited CPL to lead their policy revision efforts and requested the process to be inclusive of the Coordinated School Health model.

The process was a grass roots effort by parents and community to strengthen BP 5030 - School Wellness Policy.  The group/community encouraged the district to be a leader and champion for student health and well-being.

The Wellness Council has met approximately 10 times over the past 12 months and many sub-committee meetings have taken place.

Wellness Council members, comprised of over 44 representatives, have participated in the development of the Wellness Policy.
Wellness Council members include:

  • Board Trustees
  • District Office Administrators/Directors/Coordinators
  • Site Administrators
  • Nurses
  • Family Liaison/Family Support Specialist
  • Teachers
  • Parents
  • Camarena Health – Promotoras
  • Dairy Council of California
  • Madera Parks and Recreation
  • Madera County Health Deptartment
  • Central Valley Health Collaborative
  • Valley Children’s Hospital
  • California Project LEAN
  • Local Health Care Providers
  • CNEP – Cal Fresh
  • SNAP Ed
  • UC Co-Op
  • First Five

The updated policy addresses nutrition guidelines for all foods and beverages available on school campus, including access to water language that exceeds the California Plumbing Code, guidelines for physical activity and physical education, the overall school environment, health services, mental health, restorative justice in District discipline practices, lactation accommodation, and other pertinent issues identified by the Wellness Council.

CPL developed and provided an implementation plan template and progress tracker for the Wellness Council. The implementation plan template is used to assess current practices and to develop an action plan for wellness policy implementation and the progress tracker has been completed to identify policy implementation completed thus far.

Currently, efforts underway include:

  • Parent Outreach
  • Site Administration Outreach and Training
  • Common Messaging to Staff

As mentioned, Madera USD is a model district exemplifying what it truly takes to bring community together and develop a very comprehensive wellness policy that not only affects students, but the whole school community, and a strategic plan to implement it.

Kaiser Permanente Northern California Community Benefit Programs, Fresno, 2014-2015

Advancing School Wellness
California Project LEAN is working in the Central Valley to increase the local capacity of school districts and public health departments to create healthier school environments and to increase parent and youth capacity in advocacy efforts to advance school wellness activities. 
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The California Endowment, 2013-2015
Building Momentum for Parent Engagement in School Wellness Policies
Expanding on the success of HEAC (2005-2013), CPL provided training and technical assistance to parents, schools and community partners in Coachella, City Heights, Sacramento and South Kern during Year 1 of the project.  Currently, CPL is working with five school districts in South Kern, two districts in San Diego and one school district in the Bay Area to engage and empower parents to advance Local School Wellness Policy efforts. 
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Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, San Diego, 2014-2015
Engaging Parents in Promoting Healthy Beverages at School
Training and technical assistance is being provided to San Diego parent leaders and partners to identify strategies particularily through the Local School Wellness Policy to promote healthier beverages and decrease access to sugary drinks in the school environment. 
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South Alameda County - Healthy Schools for Healthy Kids - 20647802

Project LEAN was funded to first survey the needs of school districts in the South Alameda County area and then provide training/technical assistance to draft or implement Local School Wellness Policy.  Areas of focus were Hayward Unified Parent University, Newark Unified School District, Fremont, and through partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation for thier work in San Leandro. Back, to top
The California Endowment, 2005-2013
Healthy Eating Active Communities (HEAC), 2005-2013
California Project LEAN served as training and technical assistance provider to TCE school sector grantees involved with its $26+ million childhood obesity prevention program.  California Project LEAN provided training, resources, and ongoing technical assistance on improving the school food and physical activity environment in California through policy change. 
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Kaiser Permanente Northern California Community Benefit Programs
Manteca - Advancing School Wellness Through Policy - 20644865
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For more information contact Katherine Hawksworth by writing to
[email protected] or calling 925.708.7027. Back to top
Central California Regional Obesity Prevention (CCROPP)
CCROPP is a program that supports access to healthy, affordable foods and access to physical activity resources in multiple counties in California’s Central Valley.  California Project LEAN provides support and resources to CCROPP stakeholders working with school sites.  Through parent engagement trainings, school staff trainings on local school wellness policies, and technical assistance to CCROPP community partners, California Project LEAN is helping to improve school nutrition and physical activity environments. 
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Community Partners

Training and Technical Assistance
Since 2012 Community Partners has worked with California Project LEAN to support their grantees by providing training and technical assistance to engage parents and partners to advance Local School Wellness Policies. 
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Joint Use of School Facilities for Physical Activity

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) secured a
Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) for obesity prevention efforts.  The Recovery Act includes funds for community -based prevention and wellness strategies and physical activity, and nutrition initiatives that promote wellness and prevent chronic disease through state-wide policy and local policy.  Projects are funded for two years, beginning in February of 2010.    

California Project LEAN and in partnership with the another CDPH program, Safe and Active Communities, has taken the lead for the physical activity initiative for this grant.  The physical activity initiative will , focus on joint use of school facilities and CDPH will lay the ground work to advance state and local policies that increase equit, able access to safe and attractive school facilities outside of the school day for physical activity and recreation.  Read our Joint Use Project Fact Sheet for more information about the project.

Key Aims of the Grant

  • Work toward adoption and implementation o, f a state joint use policy to reduce at least one major barrier to comm, unity after-hours use of indoor and outdoor school physical activity facilities. 
  • Work with a minimum of 10 schools in low-resource communities to establish joint use policies and practices.

Why Joint Use?
Many communities across California lack safe, well-mainta, ined, and accessible places for community members to be physically active.  Access to no- or low-cost public spaces for physical activity plays a critical role in the prevention and treatment of obesity and overweight.  In many communities, schools provide the only open space for recreation and physical activity for students, families, and the community.  Policies and practices that support community use of outdoor facilities anytime outside of the school day and/or agreements where schools/districts/county offices of education jointly share recreational facilities for community use before, during and/or after the school day a, re a healthy solution that, optimizes resources.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg's Innovative Joint Use Task Force
Jonathan Wells, Capital Facilities Program Manager for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department, shared his region’s innovative approach to joint use. Mr. Wells discussed how Charlotte-Mecklenburg ensures maximum use of taxpayer dollars through an inter-agency joint use task force.  Mr. Wells is a Certified Planner with the American Institute of Certified Planners and has convened the Joint Use Task Force since beginning work at the Planning Department in 2000.

View slides.

Check out for additional joint use resources.


California Project LEAN, in partnership with the former program, California Center for Physical Activity, worked to improve state and local policies and practices that supported community use of school facilities outside of the school day for the purposes of physical activity and recreation. Project outline:Many communities across California lack safe, well-maintained, and accessible places for community members to be physically active.  Access to no- or low-cost public spaces for physical activity plays a critical role in the prevention and treatment of obesity and overweight.  In many communities, schools provide the only open space for recreation and physical activity for students, families, and the community.  Policies and practices that support community use of outdoor facilities anytime outside of the school day and/or agreements where schools/districts/county offices of education jointly share recreational facilities for community use before, during and/or after the school day are a healthy solution that optimizes resources. Back to top

Reducing Consumption of Sugar Sweetened Beverages California Project LEAN worked to limit the availability of unhealthy drinks (i.e., sugar-sweetened beverages) (SSBs) through promoting policy changes that limited the sale of SSBs in California public schools.  SSBs are the single largest contributor of calorie intake in the United States and increased SSB intake is associated with poor diet, obesity, and risk for diabetes.  For children, each extra can or glass of a SSB consumed per day increases their chance of becoming obese by 60 percent.  Current legislation prohibits the sale of soda in schools but allows the sale of other SSBs, such as electrolyte replacement beverages.  These often have as much sugar as soda and in 2008, a representative sample of California public high schools indicated that 8 of the 10 top beverages sold a la carte were electrolyte replacement beverages.  Project LEAN worked with key partners to lay the groundwork for closing the gap in the law that allows public middle and high schools in California to sell electrolyte replacement beverages. Back to top

Reducing Intake of Sodium in Shasta County California Project LEAN worked with Shasta County Public Health (SCPH) to implement policy and environmental strategies to reduce sodium intake in Shasta County. Reducing excess sodium intake in the population can lead to reductions in rates of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. SCPH will work with restaurants, schools, and local governments to pass policies which set sodium guidelines for foods offered and sold in these venues. California Project LEAN will support Shasta County’s efforts by providing ongoing training and technical assistance and by sharing the lessons learned across the state. To learn more abou, t local, state, and national strategies to reduce sodium intake, read Los Angeles County Public Health's sodium brief, The Potential Health Impact of Reducing Excess Sodium Consumption in Los Angeles CountyBack to top

Improving Physical Activity and Physical Education in Schools by Improving District Policies
California Project LEAN, in partnership with the California School Boards Association (CSBA), is working with school board members to elevate the importance of physical activity and physical education before, during and after school. CA Project LEAN and CSBA are providing resources and trainings to district governance teams on physical activity policy adoption, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. 
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State Level WorkThe California Department of Public Health (CDPH)’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) initiative addressed obesity prevention efforts, including reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and increasing access to joint use of school facilities. California Project LEAN (CPL), as a project of the Public Health Institute, previously served as CDPH's lead on increasing access to healthy beverages and limiting access to SSBs through policy initiatives. CPL worked with local partners to enhance and expand the work of the Soda Free Summer campaign and move more Californians to "Rethink their Drinks." Click here to learn more about CPL’s SSB work and resources.  CPL, in partnership with CDPH’s Safe and Active Communities Branch, collaborated with state joint use leaders to develop tools and sample policies, and provide training and technical assistance that supported joint use policy.  To help aid in the joint use effort, five $20,000 community grants were issued. The initiative helped lay the ground work to advance state and local policies that increased equitable access to safe and attractive school facilities outside of the school day for physical activity and recreation.  Read our new Frequently Asked Quesions fact sheet for quick facts on joint use. Back to top
Los Angeles County 
Los Angeles County (LAC) is the most populous local public health jurisdiction in the nation (10.4 million residents), spans more than 4,000 square miles, and includes 88 cities, a large unincorporated area, and 81 school districts. Obesity rates are rising in the county among adults (from 14.3% in 1997 to 22.2% in 2007), school-aged children (from 18.9% in 1999 to 23.1% in 2008 among 5th, 7th, and 9th grade public school students), and younger children (from 16.7% in 2003 to 21.8 in 2008 among children 3-4 years of age receiving WIC services). In addition, marked disparities in obesity rates are seen across the county. For example, the obesity rate among school-aged children in 2007 ranged from a low of 4% in the affluent City of Manhattan Beach to a high of 34% in the predominantly low-income City of Bell Gardens located less than 20 miles away.

LAC’s Project RENEW (Renew Environments for Nutrition, Exercise and Wellness), CPPW initiative, seeks to implement policy, systems, and environmental changes to improve nutrition, increase physical activity, and reduce obesity, especially in disadvantaged communities.  “In order to have a measureable impact, we must expand our efforts beyond health education and medical services, as important as these are, to also include a focus on the environments in which people live and work,” said Paul Simon, MD, MPH, Director of Public Health Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention. “Some of those changes will include working with school districts to expand physical education and improve school meals, cities and communities to increase access to healthy foods and public spaces for physical activity, and employers to establish policies and programs that promote physical activity and healthful eating. We want to build healthier lives, starting from the ground up.”  The LA County Department of Public Health will work with a broad range of community, city, and school partners to implement a range of strategies over the course of the next two years. These strategies include:
  • Improving the nutritional content of school meals.
  • Implementing nutrition and physical activity standards among preschool providers.
  • Expanding physical education in schools and opportunities for physical activity in after school programs.
  • Creating more opportunities for walking and biking in communities by supporting the development of expanded bike networks and more pedestrian-friendly community design.
  • Establishing "joint use" agreements between schools and cities and communities to utilize school grounds and facilities for recreational programs during non-school hours, particularly in disadvantaged communities with few parks or other recreational venues.
  • Promoting healthy food and beverage policies in city and county programs serving youth and other vulnerable populations.
  • Establishing breastfeeding-friendly policies in birthing hospitals and workplaces.
  • Implementing a social marketing and public education campaign to promote healthy eating and discourage consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, a major contributor to the obesity epidemic.
LA County Department of Public Health, as the lead agency in Project RENEW, will draw on a broad base of partners to accomplish its goals, including the City of Los Angeles; school districts, including the Los Angeles Unified School District with 700,000 students; the County Office of Education; two city health departments (Long Beach and Pasadena); County Departments of Regional Planning and Public Works; a rich array of community organizations, coalitions, task forces, foundations, and voluntary organizations; the health care and business communities; and a strong team of technical consultants. Four cities in Los Angeles have passed City-level nutrition policies. 
El Monte
South El Monte
La Puente
Huntington Park
Bell Gardens
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San Diego County
San Diego County is the third most populous county in the state (behind Los Angeles and Orange Counties), with three million residents living in an area of more than 4,500 square miles. In addition, San Diego County is part of the San Diego-Tijuana metropolitan area, the largest bi-national metropolitan area shared between the U.S. and Mexico, with more than five million people. The county encompasses 18 cities and a large unincorporated area, 42 school districts, 747 schools, and 497,000 students in grades K-12. The 2009 San Diego Report Card on Children and Families revealed that nearly 30% of children in the 5th, 7th, and 9th grades are overweight or obese. This is troubling because research has shown that obese children have a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese adults. In San Diego County, approximately 55% of adults (1.2 million people) are overweight or obese.  "It’s important to remember that a poor diet, lack of physical activity, and smoking are three behaviors which contribute to the four major chronic diseases that are responsible for more than 50 percent of deaths right here in our community,” said Wilma Wooten, MD, MPH, San Diego County Public Health Officer. “Preventing disease is possible.”  CPPW will implement evidence-based initiatives that impact system, policy, and environmental changes to prevent obesity and minimize the burden of chronic disease in San Diego County. These initiatives include: Physical Activity
  • Provide policy direction that supports co-benefits between public health, climate change, land use, and transportation development.
  • Promote healthy transportation, including walking and biking, backed up by accessible and safe public transit.
  • Integrate public health considerations into land use and transportation planning documents and modeling tools.
  • Promote accessible and safe places for physical activity.
  • Increase opportunities for physical activity in before/after school programs.
  • Increase access to healthy and locally grown food in schools, foster group homes, senior meal site, and other locations.
  • Develop a regional food systems policy and support other food systems strategies that benefit our local agriculture systems and the health of our community.
  • Increase the number of farmers' markets that are participating with nutrition assistance programs.
  • Develop and expand community and school gardens through easier permitting processes and encouraging joint use agreements.
  • Support expansion of lactation policies at worksites.
  • Expand participation in school and summer feeding programs for kids.
“This grant represents a unique opportunity for us to work on projects that support the County’s ten-year health strategy agenda,” said Health and Human Services Agency Director Nick Macchione. “The overall return on investment is improved quality of life. Better health and less chronic diseases at the individual level leads to lower health care costs for the community as a whole.” The goals of the CPPW grant are achieved through partnerships between San Diego County's Health and Human Services Agency, community partners, and contracted agencies, including University of San Diego's Division of Child Development and Community Health, San Diego County Office of Education, San Diego Association of Governments, San Diego State University's Graduate School of Public Health, Community Health Improvement Partners and the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative. Back to top