Date of Graduation

Summer 8-26-2015

Document Access

Restricted Project/Capstone - USF access only

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Nursing and Health Professions


Over the past century, chronic diseases have emerged as a predominant challenge to public health. A relatively short list of preventable risk factors is responsible for much of the burden of chronic health conditions; however, investments in prevention measures have been minimal. The Public Health Institute (PHI), a non-profit organization based in Oakland, California, works to advance innovative solutions to public health problems on a local, national, and global scale. It employs a broad spectrum of strategies to combat chronic disease and promote health and wellness. This report summarizes the author’s 316 hours of fieldwork at PHI—the culminating experience of the University of San Francisco Master of Public Health Program, during which the student synthesizes and applies the knowledge and skills acquired in academic coursework, and demonstrates proficiency in core public health principles and theory. This paper documents the work performed on three important PHI initiatives pertaining to chronic disease prevention in California: the BEST (Berkeley Evaluation of the Soda Tax) Study, the California Wellness Fund, and the Local School Wellness Collaborative Survey. These projects, which utilize strategies for effecting public health change such as research and evaluation, policy and policy advocacy, and coalition building, share the following overarching goals: to reduce rates of chronic disease, decrease health disparities by addressing the social determinants of health, build a culture of prevention, and achieve health equity.

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