Leadership Council Convenings

Healthy & Active Before 5’s Leadership Council is a cross-sector network with a shared goal of advancing health equity for young children and their families in Contra Costa.  We convene the Council twice a year to learn from experts, discuss strategies for improving early childhood health throughout the county, and model best practices in healthy eating and active living.  The Leadership Council also serves as HAB45’s extended advisory board and provides invaluable guidance in implementing our plan and principles throughout the community. Learn more about our Leadership Council here.

Join us for our 2021 Fall Leadership Council Convening! Date and registration details to be announced.

Enjoy highlights from past Leadership Council Convenings below:


April 2021: COVID Road to Equitable Recovery!

Healthy & Active Before 5’s 2021 Spring Leadership Council Convening was held on April 28th. Thirty-seven stakeholders attended virtually to discuss the status of current pandemic-related benefits and protections, as well as what will happen moving forward. Ali Uscilka – HAB45 Director opened by sharing updates on HAB45’s public policy agenda and the successes of our past priorities, including the 2020 Census, Measure X, and COVID Relief Fund Response. A powerhouse panel of experts comprised of Justin Jarrett with Contra Costa Crisis Center, Taylor Kimber with Office of Congressmember DeSaulnier, and Alex Werth with East Bay Housing Organizations shared valuable housing protections and county resource. Each touched on stable housing concerns, food security, mental health, and other issues most pressing to our community. Following, small breakout groups worked to identify new ways to serve and advocate foryoung children. On the whole, the event successfully brought community members together to push for an equitable recovery that will benefit the most vulnerable families in Contra Costa. 

October 2020: Election Readiness!

On October 6th, Healthy & Active Before 5 convened its cross-sector Leadership Council for updates and capacity building. While this year’s convening needed to be virtual due COVID-19, it was wonderful to see so many friendly faces with a shared goal of health equity for young children in Contra Costa! Director, Ali Uscilka, provided updates on HAB45’s work and our Public Policy Agenda, and Program Associate, Chelsea Rae, presented our new 4P’s mini-grant opportunity for sites that want to make changes to support physical activity while maintaining social distancing guidelines. Keynote speaker Margaret Brodkin, Director of Funding the Next Generation, provided information and tips for working to pass local revenue measures Prop 15 and Measure X. Attendees worked in small groups to practice sharing information about these election opportunities and brainstorm ideas for how early childhood and public health advocates can get involved leading up to the November 3rd election.

October 2019: Get Ready for 2020!

Healthy & Active Before 5’s Fall 2019 Leadership Council Convening took place on October 30th at John Muir Hospital in Concord. Forty-two representatives from the early childhood, health care, public health, and non-profit sectors attended. Darlene Rios Drapkin, US Census Bureau Partnership Specialist and Matt Lardner, Contra Costa Census Outreach Coordinator gave an informative presentation about how the census works, why it matters, and what community partners can do to promote a complete count. Ali shared some updates about HAB45’s census work, progress on the Public Policy Agenda at the state level, and other opportunities in 2020 including local elections. Executive Committee members facilitated table discussions about what questions we might ask potential candidates for local office to highlight the health needs of young children and families in Contra Costa. Chelsea Rae led a fun and interactive physical activity break that incorporated networking to facilitate deeper relationships. Overall, the event was a big success! We are grateful to all of our partners who made it happen, and our funders (John Muir Health, Kaiser Permanente, and The California Endowment) who support these semi-annual convenings.

April 2019: Equity in Action!

This event highlighted examples of policy changes that are advancing equity in our communities. Brooke Converse from the Contra Costa Library presented the library’s new fine-free policy, which will expand access to books and early literacy resources for all Contra Costa residents. Dr. Joan Roux, of Contra Costa Regional Medical Center, gave an update on the hospital’s plan to be designated as Baby-Friendly in the coming months. The changes being implemented will support breastfeeding and bonding for families giving birth at CCRMC. As a continuation of our work to educate our partners about housing issues, Tony Samara of Urban Habitat shared promising local policy solutions to address the housing affordability crisis, including just cause for evictions and rent control. Leadership Council members worked in small groups to learn more about effective policy advocacy and implementation, from contacting state legislators to communication strategies for organizational policy changes. And of course, there was a lively Zumba break and healthy breakfast! We look forward to working with our partners to advance policies on all levels that will create healthier environments for families.

November 2018: Building Capacity to Advocate for Equity

At this meeting, we focused on building skills and capacity for advocacy.  Panelists Sandra Martinez of The California Wellness Foundation, Betty Geishirt Cantrell of SparkPoint Contra Costa, and Tasha Henneman from Senator Nancy Skinner’s office shared their perspectives on how and why non-profits and service providers can engage in advocacy. Attendees reviewed Healthy & Active Before 5’s Public Policy Agenda with examples of current advocacy priorities. Executive Committee members and staff facilitated breakout sessions where attendees could practice advocacy skills, including social media advocacy, crafting talking points for public testimony, and building relationships with elected officials. The day ended with a collective action  to advance our priorities. Slides from the event can be accessed here.

May 2018: Housing for Contra Costa Families: Challenges and Opportunities

This Leadership Council Convening featured presentations by Will Dominie, Policy Manager for Housing Affordability and Equitable Development for the Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative (BARHII) and Mariana Moore, Director of the Ensuring Opportunity Campaign to End Poverty in Contra Costa. The presentations were followed by a panel of Housing and Community Health Leaders who spoke on the topic: “Meeting the Housing Needs of Contra Costa Families.”  During a small group discussion, our Leadership Council discussed and made a list of action steps and resources/skills each individual and organization had to address housing challenges or engage in advocacy efforts for more affordable housing.  Afterwards, the group combined the list of action steps to make a “roadmap” for action.

Spring 2016: Food Environments and Preventing Obesity in Families with Young Children: Policies and Programs

This Leadership Council Convening featured key note speaker Pat Crawford, PhD, RD, Senior Director of Research and CE Specialist at the Nutrition Policy Institute. Dr. Crawford shared the latest pediatric and adult obesity data and discussed innovative policies and programs that could be implemented in Contra Costa County. During a small group discussion, our Leadership Council discussed the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that their organizations and Contra Costa at large face in creating a healthy food environment for families with young children.  HAB45 leadership plans to use this information to inform strategic planning meetings and further develop our Action Plan.


Fall 2015: Lessons Learned from the Berkeley Soda Tax

This meeting served to educate participants about the latest efforts to prevent consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and provided an opportunity to model healthy behavior practices. Our incredible panel of speakers included Dr. Vicki Alexander, President of the Board of Directors for Healthy Black Families, Inc., Dr. Xavier Morales, Executive Director for the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, and grassroots political strategist Larry Tramutola.  The panel highlighted some of the keys to the campaign’s success and outcomes since the passage of Berkeley’s historic Measure D Soda Tax campaign.


Spring 2015: Parks, Advocacy, and Community-Based Participatory Evaluation for Early Childhood Health

Keynote speaker Ian McLaughlin from ChangeLab Solutions presented on “Complete Parks Systems,” highlighting community park improvement efforts across the state. During the second half of the meeting, Janet Costa from the East County Regional Group (ECRG), Alex Chávez from the Central County Regional Group (CCRG), Tomasa Espinoza from the West County Regional Group (WCRG), Rhea Laughlin from First 5 Contra Costa, and Tonya Love of HAB45, presented on the “Contra Costa Community Based Parks Advocacy Project.” The presenters described the assessment of 75 parks, identified inequities across low rated parks and listed recommendations for improvement. At the end of the presentation, members of the parks project participated in a panel discussion, sharing lessons learned from our advocacy efforts. Following the panel, the Leadership Council brainstormed what role they could play in helping to strengthen our parks campaign in each region.

Fall 2014: Policy and Legislative Strategies for Financing Early Childhood Health Promotion

The meeting featured a keynote presentation by Prevention Institute Program Coordinator Will Haar on Primary Prevention Policy and “closing the loop” of investment in health and return on investment. The second half of the meeting featured a panel and discussion on local strategies for financing community prevention. Panelists included: Dr. Vicki Alexander, Co-Chair of the Berkeley Healthy Child Coalition leading the “Yes on Measure D” Soda Tax Campaign; Ron Leone, Vice Mayor and City Council Member of the City of Concord; and Coire Reilly, Manager of Injury Prevention & Physical Activity Promotion Projects at Contra Costa Health Services Community Wellness and Prevention Program. Following the panelists’ presentations and Q&A session, the participants broke out into small groups to discuss the viability of the strategies presented for Contra Costa and next steps for the Leadership Council’s support of public policy change.

Spring 2014: Healthy & Active Before 5 Public Policy Agenda

At this meeting we unveiled the HAB45 Public Policy Advocacy Agenda, marking our debut into public policy advocacy and a new and exciting direction for the collaborative. Announcing the Agenda to the Leadership Council signified the collaborative’s first steps toward garnering the support of its constituents in this work. During a small group discussion, the Leadership Council discussed what their organizations would need in terms of information, resources, and community support n order to support the HAB45 policy agenda.

Spring 2011: Social Marketing

At this meeting Mike Miller, President of Brown·Miller Communications, spoke about how social marketing can change behaviors and social norms, and the important interaction between policy efforts and marketing messages. We requested the involvement of our Leadership Council in working with us, Brown-Miller, and First 5 Contra Costa in developing a 3-year social marketing campaign (which became our Sugar Bites campaign!) to reduce early childhood obesity in Contra Costa County.