The popular Garfield Elementary School farmer's market brings fresh, affordable fruits and vegetables to students, parents and neighbors.

HEAC Initiative Structure and Goals


Health Eating, Active Communities (HEAC) was rooted in the understanding that to be healthy, to have healthy habits and make healthy choices, children and youth must live in environments that are healthy. To eat well and be active, they need to live in communities that offer healthy food and physical activity environments thoughout the child’s daily life.

HEAC set out to demonstrate what kinds of changes are possible to community environments for nutrition and physical activity, by:

  • funding community coalitions to create change
  • creating a network of technical support to assist them, and
  • supporting a statewide array of research and of state policy advocacy.

    PPH Central Program Office:  Providing Coordination and Guidance 

    Peer learning and technical support were coordinated and facilitated by Partnership for the Public's Health (PPH), as the HEAC program office, to deepen the opportunities for learning and success. PPH also provided direct coaching to community coalitions, an integrated communications infrastructure, and streamlined grants management.

    Six HEAC Community Coalitions, Across California

    At the heart of the HEAC program, six low income communities across California were funded for 6 years to form coalitions, and achieve systems and policy change across the five sectors that define children’s lives. The six HEAC communities:

    • Baldwin Park (Los Angeles)
    • East Oakland
    • West Chula Vista (San Diego)
    • Santa Ana (Orange County)
    • South Los Angeles
    • South Shasta County (far north)
      >>More on the HEAC six communities <<click here>> 

    The HEAC coalitions funded three core partners at each community, to come to the table as equals, and to form the basis for a broader coalition to do the work:

  • Local health department
  • Community based organization, and
  • School district

    The HEAC community coalitions, each innovators with much to teach as the work unfolded, came together regularly to learn from one another, becoming a mutually empowering network of peers.

    Network of Technical Support

    To help the community coalitions tackle change, the HEAC initiative funded a network of organizations to provide technical assistance for the work, providing tailored support for each sector. Technical assistance was facilitated and coordinated by the Partnership for the Public's Health program office, to strengthen its efficacy and to allow for shared insights to improve support. Additional funding allowed for more specialized technical assistance, as community work evolved to require it.

    Sister Program, Regional Model:
    CCROPP (Central California Obesity Prevention Program)

    Funded over approximately the same period as HEAC, but with a strong emphasis on Regional organizing, the Central California Obesity Prevention Program (CCROPP) pursued goals similar to HEAC's, creating healthy food and physical activity environments for children. (To learn more about CCROPP, visit the CCROPP website

    Linkages to Research and State Policy Change

    Researchers and state policy advocates were funded to pursue research and state level policy changes that would help communities create healthier food and physical activity environments.

    As the community level work matured, local advocates joined state level advocates to bring the local voice to bear in Sacramento. Community insights -- about the real barriers to community health for and the real changes needed on the ground -- helped to shape future legislation ideas.


    Coordinating & Capacity Building

    As the program office for HEAC, Partnership for the Public’s Health provided: • Communications infrastructure • Coaching & capacity building • Tools, resources & TA coordination • Peer learning networks • Grants management