Latino Health Access (LHA)

Latino Health Access, a well-recognized community based organization locally will provide guest lectures (that will be video recorded) for the Childhood Obesity and Nutrition in the Hispanic Immigrant Population portion of the module. The organization promotes health amongst the multiple needs of uninsured and underserved Latinos in Orange County through preventative and educational programs. Its purpose is to provide quality services to improve the health of this population by assuring extensive involvement of individuals’ health decisions.

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LHA contact partner:

Alejandro Espinoza

Program Coordinator


Alejandro Espinoza is currently the program coordinator of chronic diseases and special projects at Latino Health Access (LHA). He serves in multiple committees’ county wide providing his expertise on community based participatory research and outreach. His work utilizing the community health worker model at LHA has provided him the opportunity to implement this model in states like Texas, Hawaii and throughout California. Alejandro has also collaborated with academic institutions in their efforts to conduct focus groups, pilot programs and research studies within the Latino community in Orange County.


Building Healthy Communities (BHC)

Building Healthy Communities is a 10-year, $1 billion program of The California Endowment. The California Endowment is a foundation committed to improving the health of all Californians, especially those in underserved communities. BHC assists communities across the state in taking action to make where they live healthier by improving employment opportunities, education, housing, neighborhood safety, unhealthy environmental conditions, access to healthy foods and more. The goal: to create places where children are healthy, safe and ready to learn. Success will be measured by reaching specific milestones in decreasing childhood obesity and youth violence and increasing school attendance and access to quality health care in our target communities.

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erualdo gonzalez

BHC contact partner:

Erualdo Gonzalez



Dr. González’s research examines policy and practice in Mexican and working-class immigrant urban centers, grassroots coalition social change models, the role of “healthy communities” projects on local urban planning policy change, and Latino immigrant participation in local planning decision-making. He has approximately 15 years of evaluation, strategic planning, and participatory action research experience with healthy communities initiatives and related projects, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Communities Creating Healthy Environments Initiative, the California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities Initiative, and the California Wellness Foundation’s Children and Youth Community Health Initiative in California.


Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA)

The Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) is a large and dynamic public agency, comprised of approximately 2,600 employees who are responsible for providing a wide range of services to protect and promote the health of the Orange County community. The Nutrition Services department within OCHCA works to create, support, and continuously improve an environment that promotes the achievement of maximum potential for personal and community health. Nutrition Services is responsible for implementing and supporting nutrition programs and activities to improve the nutritional status of the general community and several priority subgroups.

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OCHCA contact partner:

Maridet Ibañez

Program Consultant


Maridet Ibañez is a Registered Dietitian and serves as the Nutrition Services Manager for the County of Orange Health Care Agency and is committed to having nutrition information available to residents at every stage of life. She currently manages the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) at the Health Care Agency, the Network for a Healthy California Local Incentive and Regional Network awards, the facility inspections and other nutrition focused programs. She serves as the spokesperson on nutrition matters for the Health Agency. Maridet oversees programs and a staff of more than 80 bilingual staff that provides direct services to the Latino, Vietnamese and other ethnic populations of different socio economic backgrounds in the county.  In addition, Maridet participates on various local committees and leads several evaluation projects to ensure the quality of nutrition education provided.  She is a member of the local County Nutrition Action Plan (CNAP) workgroup and is on the Leadership Team of the Orange County Nutrition and Physical Activity Collaborative (NuPAC).


United States Department of Agriculture Hispanic-Serving Institutions National Program (USDA-HSI)

The USDA Hispanic-Serving Institutions National Program acts as a positive and dynamic, innovative, driving force at USDA in support of a workforce and educational program delivery reflective of the needs of a diverse population. This is accomplished through targeted partnerships with Hispanic-Serving Institutions and other public and private entities in a manner that supports the agricultural industry in the 21st century. Our vision is to maintain strategic partnerships between USDA and HSIs that provide equitable access to employment, educational and institutional development opportunities.

Regional Directors create strategic linkages between USDA and HSIs. They assist students, faculty, and staff in accessing USDA educational and employment programs.  Through campus visits, presentations, emails, word of mouth, and referrals they are able to network with students, faculty, and staff. They also raise awareness of USDA and other Federal opportunities available to students and HSIs. 

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