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Nutrition education AND obesity prevention branch (NEOPB)


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Champion Provider Fellowship

A Powerful Approach to Healthier Communities

What it IS:

  • Project to engage, train, and support doctors and dentists in championing changes that improve health outcomes for the entire community

  • Focus on policy, systems and environmental changes 

  • Passionate volunteer doctors and dentists who represent themselves as community champions

What it IS NOT:

  • Improving on one-on-one patient level care

  • Promoting individual behavior change

  • Doctors and dentists contracted to represent the Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Branch (NEOPB) of the California Department of Public Health


California is experiencing an epidemic of obesity, leading to costly chronic diseases that include diabetes, stroke, and heart disease, with low-income, underserved communities disproportionately affected.  The Champion Provider Fellowship harnesses the passion of health care providers who are dedicated to improving the health of their communities and realize that most health decisions are made outside of a clinic setting.  The California Department of Public Health and the University of California, San Francisco, launched the program in 2014 to empower, train and support healthcare providers to use their expertise and respected voices to improve the health of communities though local policy, systems and environmental change. 

The Champion Provider Fellowship is a project of the California Department of Public Health, Nutrition Education Obesity Prevention (NEOP) Branch. It is operated by the University of California San Francisco, Center for Vulnerable Populations.  If you have questions please contact Jake Hanson at

How Does the Champion Provider Fellowship Work?

The Champion Provider Fellowship provides training and education on a wide variety of health care subjects, including the socio-ecological model of prevention, food insecurity, healthy retail, crafting compelling messages, working with the media and writing for change.  Providers are connected with their local health department to work collaboratively with community change leaders, community-based organizations, schools, faith-based organizations and others to find local solutions to obesity and related chronic diseases.  In addition, there is ongoing technical assistance and support for providers and facilitation of a supportive network of like-minded physicians and dentists committed to improving health in their communities. 

What organizations support the Champion Provider Fellowship?

Representatives of 12 statewide organizations informed the development of the program and assisted in recruiting providers, including:

American Academy of Pediatrics • California Academy of Family Physicians • California Department of Health Care Services • California Medical Association Foundation • California Pan Ethnic Health Network • California Primary Care Association • Kaiser Permanente • Latino Coalition for a Healthy California • Los Angeles County Department of Public Health • National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians • San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency • The California Endowment

How can providers help change communities?

  • Providing pertinent health information to city commissions

  • Counseling school districts on implementing wellness policies

  • Encouraging workplace wellness programs such as “Walking With the Doc” and other physical activity initiatives

  • Promoting the importance of Safe Routes to Schools

  • Organizing city-wide diabetes awareness events

  • Establishing policies to screen for food insecurity during pediatric patient visits

  • Supporting healthy retail store conversions

  • Serving as a reliable resource on health for the media

Champion Provider Fellowship Toolkits

The Champion Provider Fellowship toolkits are designed to assist local Champion Providers in their efforts in the areas of School Wellness, Safe Routes to School, and Food Security.  Each toolkit has the following three components:

  • Roadmap:  The roadmap provides non-medical background information that a Champion Provider can use to prepare to work in the designated action area.  

  • Stakeholder PowerPoint Presentation—a slide deck that Champion Providers can customize and use at their educational presentations for stakeholders in each action area.

  • Factsheet:  Designed to be used as a “leave behind” when a Champion Provider gives an educational presentation at a meeting of stakeholders such as a school board meeting.

Safe Routes to School Toolkit


Champion Provider Fellowship Brochure (PDF)
PSE Playbook (PDF, 3.2MB)


Santa Clara County Champion Provider Fellowship Video

Santa Clara County Campion Provider Fellowship Video Transcript (WORD)


How can Healthcare Providers Support Policy, Systems, and Environmental (PSE) Change?

In collaboration between the California Department of Public Health, University of California, San Francisco, and ChangeLab Solutions, Inc., the PSE Playbook was developed and demonstrates how Healthcare Providers can get involved in their respective communities.  Healthcare providers are a valuable partner because of their health expertise, experience with at-risk populations, and role as a respected member of the community. They can play many roles with varying levels of involvement in order to support PSE change. 

What is the Purpose of this Playbook?

Healthcare providers and local health departments play distinct roles in making communities healthier, and the two can collaborate to be more effective. This Playbook showcases examples of collaboration between providers and local health departments on PSE change. It covers the following topics:

  • Healthy food and beverage standards

  • Food security

  • School wellness

  • Safe routes to school

  • Structured physical activity

​​Success Stories

Dr. Laurie Bostick Cammon - Changing Lives One Step at a Time (PDF)

Dr. Barry Chang - Planting Seeds of Health (PDF)

Dr. Paul Hsiao - Ensuring Underserved Children Receive Dental Care (PDF)

Dr. Rachel Teetzel - Prescribing Nature to Encourage Physical Activity (PDF)

Dr. Gina Johnson - Using Her Position to Transform Communities (PDF)

Dr. Cinne Chou - Encouraging Patients to Enjoy Nature (PDF)

Dr. Razia Sheikh – A Warrior Against Childhood Obesity (PDF)

Dr. Pat Cantrell - Working Tirelessly to End Hunger (PDF)

Dr. Chu Yoon – A Strong Voice for Community Change (PDF)

Dr. Zoey Goore – Highlighting the Paradox of Hunger and Obesity (PDF)

Dr. Jyoti Rau – Working Tirelessly for Safer Communities (PDF)

For more information visit University of California, San Francisco - Champion Provider Fellowship.


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