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California Alliance for Prevention Funding

Legislative briefing   January 22, 2018


Making Prevention Possible:

Sustainable Funding for Chronic Disease, Injury and Violence Prevention



The California Alliance for Prevention Funding (CAPF) held a legislative briefing in Sacramento on January 22, 2018 to educate legislators about the need for sustained and expanded support for chronic disease and injury prevention and to demonstrate that establishing a State Wellness Fund is feasible, other states have done it, and there are different ways it can be approached and funded.


Thirty-six people attended, including legislators and representatives from state committees, offices and organizations:

  • Assembly-member Wood and Assembly-member Blooom

  • Staff from the offices of five legislators (Assembly-members Bloom, Eggman, Gipson, Chu and Senator Pan)

  • Assembly Appropriations and Assembly Budget Committees

  • Senate Office of Research

  • Santa Cruz and Solano Counties

  • Twelve organizations including the CA Dental Association, CA Coalition for Children’s Safety and Health, CA Health Care Safety Net Institute, Prevention Institute, Public Health Advocates, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Public Health Institute, CHEAC, HOAC, CCLHO, Blue Shield Foundation and the CA Primary Care Association


The briefing opened with Kat DeBurgh, Executive Director of HOAC and co-chair of CAPF, who introduced CAPF, its mission and foundational principles, and set the stage with an overview of the cost of chronic disease in California. View presentation


Assembly-member Bloom spoke about the importance of upstream primary prevention efforts to prevent chronic disease and injury, improve the health of all Californians and save the state money in escalating health care costs.


Assembly-member Jim Wood, Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, talked about his concerns and experience with tobacco and other prevention issues.   

Public health leaders from three states with established wellness funds dedicated to chronic disease prevention discussed and answered questions about their models.  Each presentation included: sources of revenue, administration and oversight, and how funds are distributed.  Each speaker also presented data documenting the positive impacts of sustained funding on community health indicators in their state including smoking rates, obesity, and senior falls.  State speakers included:


  • Chris Tholkes, Director of Minnesota’ Statewide Health Improvement Partnership.

  • Tracey Strader, former Director of Oklahoma’s Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust

  • Barbara Ferrer, who previously worked with Massachusetts’ Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund and is currently the Public Health Director for Los Angeles County


Rosa Soto, Executive Director of the LAC + USC Medical Center Foundation, spoke about the accomplishments of a community based prevention project that had been funded by a federal Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant and the further community health improvements that would have been realized if funding had not been cut. View presentation.​


Karen Smith, Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health, closed the session with a report about the status of chronic disease and injury prevention in California, the expected impacts of federal funding cuts on public health in California and how sustained, dedicated funding for chronic disease and injury prevention could improve health in the state.


Questions and discussion followed, with most questions directed to representatives from states that have Wellness Funds, about how they operate and the health improvements that resulted from sustained funding. 

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