Resident Leadership Academy


The Resident Leadership Academy empowers residents in San Diego County communities. This empowerment leads to improved quality of life in neighborhoods; with changes promoting physical activity and healthy food choices. Have you ever wondered what you could do to improve the health of not only your family - but your entire community?

The Resident Leadership Academy empowers people with the knowledge, tools, strategies and commitment to make positive changes at the neighborhood level, increasing the quality of life for all residents in these initial pilot communities: Lemon Grove, National City, Southeastern San Diego and Oceanside.

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The long-term plan involves empowerment of community members throughout San Diego County, the state and the nation, using a community-training curriculum, training manual and broad public outreach. The Resident Leadership Academy is a true investment in human capital within commonly overlooked neighborhoods that in the past have not been viewed as government priorities. These communities are now provided the opportunity to build leadership capacity and create positive changes in their neighborhoods.

Several San Diego County residents recently celebrated the completion of the Resident Leadership Academy (RLA). Fifty-one residents successfully graduated from the 10-14 weeks specialized, comprehensive RLA curriculum, empowering community residents to make improvements to their communities that will encourage healthy eating, physical activity and safety.

These leaders unveiled and shared plans for implementation of community improvement projects in National City, Oceanside, Lemon Grove and Southeastern San Diego communities with their local city officials, staff, CBO's, friends and family and other interested stakeholders. The RLA brings cutting-edge knowledge about how to create healthier neighborhood environments to local grassroots networks, where residents can decide for themselves how they would like to see their neighborhoods improved.

RLA graduates will continue working with public and private institutions in their respective communities to accomplish the goals within their action plans, which aim to reduce the prevalence of chronic disease in their neighborhoods by improving public safety, healthy food access and physical activity opportunities.

In Partnership With
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Made possible by funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
through the County of San Diego
The RLA Facilitators/Trainers


Dana Richardson

Has 15 years' experience in community-based public health; former director of government affairs and community partnerships for local, non-profit hospital.

Successes: Increasing civic engagement in South Region; San Diego cities, limiting alcohol availability & improving Physical Activity opportunities in high need communities.

Yeni Linqui Palomino

Has 7 years' experience in community-based public health; strong environmental justice background.

Successes: Influenced the separation of industrial and residential land uses in National City; mobilized local voices to influence policy makers to implement strategies to reduce pollution in underserved neighborhoods. Reduced impacts of Lead Hazards and coordinated Healthy Homes through HUD grants in the City of National City.

For information about the Resident Leadership Academy, contact Yeni Linqui Palomino at

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Quick Facts

  • Walking and biking have decreased more than 40% during the past 3 decades, partly because of unsafe routes and poor walking conditions (Active Living Research, 2009).
  • In 2006 alone, overweight; obesity; and physical inactivity cost California $41 billion in healthcare and productivity loss
  • More children are being diagnosed with diseases linked to overweight and obesity previously seen only in adults, such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease (The Obesity Society, 2009).

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See our latest newsletter and the COI calendar for upcoming events.

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Physical Activity and Nutrition Database

A free "one stop shop" for programs and services in nutrition, healthy weight, physical activity, and diabetes.

Core funding provided in part by:

Kaiser Permanente County of San Diego

A project facilitated by:

California Health Improvement Partners

San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative
5095 Murphy Canyon Road, Suite #105, San Diego, CA 92123
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