Resident Leadership Academies

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Resident Leadership Academies (RLAs) are multi-week training programs for San Diego County residents who want to learn how to improve their local communities. Training sessions focus on topics such as community leadership, crime prevention and safety, land use and active transportation, and healthy food systems. Residents learn skills and best practices to address the issues that most affect their communities, and they work alongside their neighbors to help improve quality of life where they live. Upon graduation, attendees have new knowledge and access to a support network to help them lead community improvement projects.

RLA Updates and Opportunities

Many individuals and organizations are involved in Resident Leadership Academies across the County. The latest updates can be found on social media.

RLA Curriculum

Those who would like to facilitate a RLA can find the Facilitator/Train the Trainer and Participant materials below. The RLA Curriculum consists of a Participant Manual, modifiable PowerPoints, and various templates and handouts. The curriculum covers subjects such as Community Building Principles, Social Determinants of Health, Land Use and Community Planning, and more.

The County of San Diego currently has two approved RLA curriculums available. For groups funded for a particular RLA session or project, the version of the curriculum to be used will be determined by your funder (see links below). For all other groups, either version, or elements from both, may be used for the trainings.

  • 1st Edition Curriculum
    1st edition curriculum covers resident-driven community improvement efforts, including community building principles, neighborhood assessment activities and strategies for stakeholder engagement.
  • 2nd Edition Curriculum
    2nd edition curriculum expands on the 1st edition to include embedded activities, reflection questions and content on smoke-free environments and climate change.

RLA Resources & Opportunities

Bi-Monthly RLA Council Meetings
Meetings to provide additional training, discuss RLA updates, and to engage with other RLA practitioners. Anyone in the RLA network (graduates/residents, facilitators, CBOs and agencies supporting RLA) is welcome and encouraged to attend.

Technical Assistance (TA) for RLA Practitioners
TA is provided by the County to any RLA Practitioner involved with RLAs. TA may consist of assistance with planning of future RLAs, and development, refining, and implementation of Community Improvement Projects (CIPs), for example. For groups funded for a particular RLA session or project, the TA provider will be determined by your funder.

RLA Network Supplemental Training Workshops for Current RLA Practitioners
Supplemental trainings are available to anyone in the RLA network (graduates/residents, facilitators). These trainings focus on expanding leadership skills and offering opportunities for current RLA practitioners to engage with one another. The supplemental trainings may cover, but are not limited to, such topics as: Presentation Skills, Meeting Facilitation, and/or Applying for Resources.

New Facilitator Training/Train the Trainer Seminars
Seminar participants attend 3-4 full days of training, which consist of a detailed review of the curriculum, facilitation practice and tips for RLA planning and coordination. One or more new facilitator trainings per year will be offered through 2019.

Contact us for additional information on any of the resources listed above, or to learn about RLAs happening in your community.

RLA Success Stories

RLA Graduates Equipped to Support Community Improvement

Post Date:05/09/2023 3:01 PM


May News CHIP RLA 3x1


By Dana Richardson, President & CEO, Community Health Improvement Partners 


Community Health Improvement Partners recently certified 10 new Resident Leadership Academy (RLA) Facilitators into the RLA model of community engagement in public health.  

The Resident Leadership Academy is a 10-session curriculum-based, public health leadership program that focuses on topics such as crime prevention and safety, land use, active transportation, and healthy food systems. Participants assess their neighborhoods, determine and prioritize needs, and implement a Community Improvement Project to support physical activity and healthy eating. 

Cohort 11 was the third group in the county to complete the RLA workshop. The RLA training series takes place over five weeks, and was conducted from Jan. 25 to Feb. 24, 2023.  It is intensive and highly rewarding for the graduates. The overall rating for the training was 4.63 out of 5, and completion of Cohort 11 brings the total number of RLA trainers in the county to more than 175. 

Cohort 11 graduates included representatives of the following organizations:  Bayside Community Center, Community Housing Works, Casa Familiar, CHIP Recovery Residence Association, Institute for Public Strategies, International Rescue Committee, County of San Diego, and Vista Community Clinic

Cohort 11 participants made these remarks about the program: 


  • Thorough information 

  • The instructors were great, supportive, flexible and helpful and replied any time I needed help or had questions. 

  • I liked that the training was virtual and there were many articles, training videos, and PowerPoints. Content-wise, there was a lot of information and it was understandable. 

  • The breakdown of the class material was in-depth and specific. It was easy to digest. 

  • Engagement and discussion. 

  • I believe that the whole training went very well. The information was delivered in an energetic fashion. 

  • The interaction between participants and trainers was so great. 

  • Thanks for providing the opportunity to attend such a great training. 


After completing the RLA workshop, a majority of individuals improved their knowledge assessment scores significantly, as demonstrated by the pre- and post-test results (nine out of 10).   

RLA graduates are now equipped with new knowledge and access to a support network to help them lead community improvement projects throughout the County of San Diego. 

To learn more about RLA opportunities, community residents may contact Community Health Improvement Partners (CHIP) at or call 858-609-7960 or visit

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