News // February 24, 2014

County Graduates Eighteen Resident Leadership Academy Facilitators

Patty Corona-Morales, volunteer leader with Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center, has a passion for healthy cooking. A strong community advocate and natural leader, she was looking for ways to get more “kitchenistas” involved in promoting healthy food in her neighborhood.  

Corona-Morales is one of 18 participants who graduated on January 29, 2014 from the County of San Diego Resident Leadership Academy (RLA) Facilitator’s Training Seminar.  The RLA brought community leaders from diverse sectors together over a four-week course to learn how they can train fellow community members to improve food systems, physical activity programs and public safety.

'I am very excited about all of the discussions and at the same time, I feel a huge responsibility with my community,” said Corona-Morales. “This RLA will help me with all of our future plans.”

Participants were recruited from diverse organizations, including community health clinics, youth organizations and community centers, that focus on community empowerment and have the capacity to conduct future RLA courses. The graduating facilitators are now equipped with the information and skills to offer a 10-week RLA course through their individual community organizations. The curriculum includes sessions on healthy food systems, building community, land use, safe/walkable communities, and advocacy, as well as how to use grassroots networks and broad public outreach to reach residents. 

The new graduates have plans to facilitate new RLAs this spring, where local residents will have the opportunity to be trained in crime prevention through community-based design, walkability, and social determinants of health.  Participants will also practice skill-building to address these issues with their elected officials.

“We were humbled and honored to work with such a genuinely interested and dedicated cohort of organizations who will now disseminate the RLA model across San Diego's underserved communities,” said RLA Facilitator Seminar instructor Dana Richardson of Community Health Improvement Partners (CHIP). “It's an exciting time to advance community engagement in public health.”

The diversity of agencies represented at the seminar demonstrates the commitment of community partners to improving the health, safety and well-being of communities throughout San Diego County, in alignment with the County’s Live Well San Diego initiative.

The RLA Facilitator’s Training Seminar was funded by the Community Action Partnership within the County of San Diego’s Health and Human Services Agency and managed by CHIP.