The Center for Community Health is excited to welcome three members to its team!

Ramon Hernandez, DrPH, MPH - Associate Director

Dr. Ramon A. Hernandez, DrPH, MPH, is the new Associate Director for the Center for Community Health at UC San Diego. He is part of a dynamic team focused on preventing chronic diseases and promoting health equity through policy, systems, and environmental changes in local communities with the largest health disparities.  In his new role, Dr. Hernandez co-leads the implementation and sustainability efforts, including ways to institutionalize the Center for Community Health as a hub for community health innovation.

Dr. Hernandez has been with UC San Diego School of Medicine for six years where he previously was the Project Director for the HRSA funded Health Career Opportunities Program (HCOP) and the Hispanic Center of Excellence (HCOE). He also was the Training Core Coordinator for NIH-funded Community Research Center for Health Disparities (CRCHD). In these roles he led efforts strengthening the academic pipeline for underrepresented and disadvantaged students; developing a longitudinal cultural competency curriculum for medical students; and, increasing training opportunities for students interested in the biomedical, behavioral, and health sciences.

Dr. Hernandez brings to UC San Diego over twenty years of local and national experience in adolescent, young adult and family services and development; minority and urban health; adolescent mental health; and, academic diversity and retention programs. His passion is creating and sustaining supportive environments where every young person can be healthy, thrive and succeed. He has worked extensively on the planning, implementation, and evaluation of youth and community development programs across the United States, in Boston, Chicago, Denver and for the last 14 years here in San Diego.

He received both his Masters of Public Health in Health Service Administration and his Doctorate of Public Health in Maternal Child Health at Boston University School of Public Health. His dissertation was focused on sustaining school based mental health services at San Diego City Schools.

Joe Prickitt, MS, RD - Senior Director, Southern California Nutrition Incentive Program

Since 2006, Joe Prickitt has been responsible for the development and implementation of multi-million dollar United States Department of Agriculture SNAP-Ed funded Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention (NEOP) programs. This work has included oversight and implementation of the Network for a Healthy California ─ Bay Area Region Nutrition Network which encompassed six San Francisco Bay Area counties as well as Director of the NEOP Training and Resource Center for Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura Counties. The focus of this work was to enable low-income Californians to embrace healthy eating and daily physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Mr. Prickitt developed and implemented key campaigns and programs that impacted African Americans, Latinos, and children, as well as working with retailers and worksites to support healthy eating and active living. One of the exciting and innovative outcomes which Mr. Prickitt led was the Rethink Your Drink Campaign for the Network for a Healthy California ─ Bay Area Region Nutrition Network. As a result, a unique partnership developed between the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), FIRST 5 California, Kaiser Permanente and others that enabled Rethink Your Drink to become a CDPH statewide best-practice Nutrition Education Initiative.

Prior to Network for a Healthy California work, Mr. Prickitt served as Assistant Director of the 5 a Day for Better Health Program at the National Cancer Institute; Marketing Director for the Western United States for the Produce for Better Health Foundation; and as the Hawaii 5 a Day for Better Health Program Coordinator. Because of his valuable contributions toward developing the Hawaii 5 a Day for Better Health Program, including developing one of the nation’s strongest nutrition education public-private partnerships, he was awarded the 5 a Day for Better Health citation by the National Cancer Institute. Furthermore, his overall 5 a Day for Better Health work included the implementation of integrated multi-million-dollar nutrition education /produce marketing campaigns. These efforts led to a significant increase in awareness of the 5 a Day for Better Health program which contributed to a significant increase in the national consumption of fruits and vegetables as well as the incremental sales of hundreds of millions of dollars of produce.

Elly Brown, MBA - San Diego Food System Alliance Director

Elly Brown is the Director of the San Diego Food System Alliance, a multi-sector coalition focused on creating a better food environment in San Diego County. Their work involves supporting local farmers, fishermen, and urban agriculture efforts as well as addressing healthy food access and food waste issues in the County. She has been leading the coalition since January 2015. Elly began her career in financial services and business consulting in Tokyo. She discovered her passion for social and environmental impact during her MBA where she focused on social entrepreneurship. She continued her work on social impact by joining Root Cause, a Boston-based nonprofit strategic consulting firm, in 2010, advising nonprofits and foundations on building organizational capacity and maximizing community impact through collaborations.

Elly received a Bachelors in Cognitive Science from UC Berkeley and an MBA from Duke University. Elly was a staff blogger for Nextbillion, covering topics on sustainable development and social innovation. She was a judge at Harvard’s Pitch for Change social enterprise competition, serving as a mentor for the winning teams. She has experiences as a strategic consultant for social impact organizations in US, Japan, India, Uganda, and Bermuda.


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