Spring 2018 Message from the Chair


Viola Lujan, HAB45 Executive Chair


Dear Leadership Council members and community partners,

2017 was an exciting year for Healthy & Active Before 5!  Building on a decade of successes in the area of early childhood obesity prevention, we formally made the shift to focus on overall health equity for children ages 0-5 in Contra Costa.

While our work has always been grounded in equity and informed by the social determinants of health, this expanded focus will allow us to tackle a broader range of issues affecting our communities. For example, in 2017 we worked to prioritize the protection of immigrant communities’ rights and continued access to services.

As we prepared to take on these new challenges, we also continued to carry out core activities to strengthen partnerships and expand access to healthy eating and physical activity.

  • We held two Leadership Council convenings, where we shared up-to-date information about changes to the social safety net, and discussed what health equity means for the populations we serve.
  • We continued to support healthier environments through our Pledge the Practice, Pass the Policy Initiative, providing technical assistance and mini-grant funds for four new policies in 2017.
  • As a key partner in the Contra Costa Parks Equity & Improvement project, we celebrated ribbon cuttings at several renovated parks and completed an assessment of parks in Bay Point.

Last summer, we enthusiastically welcomed our new Director, Ali Uscilka. I want to acknowledge all members of the Executive Committee, who worked tirelessly and collaboratively to keep our work going while we faced staff shortages. It has been my pleasure to serve as Healthy & Active Before 5’s Executive Chair for the past year. Later this month we will welcome Ruth Fernández, MA as the new Chair. Ruth is the Deputy Director of First 5 Contra Costa, and brings a wealth of experience to the table. I am confident that her leadership will be invaluable!

I would like to thank those of you who passed policies, attended our events, and provided your expertise over the past year. It is your participation that makes our collaborative so successful.  We look forward to working with you in 2018!


Viola Lujan

Executive Chair, Healthy & Active Before 5

Director of Business and Community Relations, La Clínica