© 2013 Toni Yancey - All Rights Reserved                             Site Design / imagine Y

REACH US Center of Excellence in the Elimination of Disparities (CEED):

Community Action to Address Chronic Disease Disparities

I lead UCLA's Center of Excellence in the Elimination of Disparities (CEED). Our CEED is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) U.S. initiative.

Our CEED is focused on eliminating disparities in cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases related to obesity among African Americans, Latinos, and Asians. Our CEED disseminates evidence- and practice-based strategies and policies that incorporate physical activity and healthy food choices into organizational routine. Examples of organizational policies and practices include: 10-minute group exercise breaks and walking meetings, healthy refreshments at organizational meetings and functions, replacing desktop candy dishes with fruit baskets, including healthy and competitively priced foods in vending machines, cafeteria and/or on-site food vendor offerings, and promoting stair use by posting prompts and improving stair accessibility, visibility and appeal. We also focus on other chronic disease and cancer risk reduction strategies in accordance with community priorities, such as tobacco control and cancer screening. Our target organizations include worksites, schools, churches, professional sports organizations, and safety-net clinics. 


Our interventions reflect African American, Latino and Asian American cultural traditions. By using a participatory approach and building on rich cultural assets in our communities, e.g., collectivist values and dancing as a part of group social interaction throughout the lifespan, this academic-community partnership engages the broader community in dissemination, training, and advocacy efforts to achieve widespread improvements in nutrition and physical activity behaviors. Our goals are to focus dissemination and training activities to achieve sustainable healthy eating and active living policies and practices within organizations in at-risk communities, and to spark advocacy to influence such policies and regulations at the local, state and national levels. In addition to partnering with existing community collaborators, this CEED funds small subcontracts and Legacy Projects to engage minority-serving organizations not previously a part of UCLA’s/Los Angeles County DPH’s networks. 

Key collaborations

Providing training, implementation support and technical assistance in partnering with the California Center for Public Health Advocacy and the California League of Cities www.healcitiescampaign.com. Providing training, technical assistance and evaluation support in partnering with the California WIC Program and UC Berkeley www.wicworks.ca.gov 

Projects of our primary partners, subcontractors and Legacy grantees include:

Expanding the African American Healthy Body, Healthy Brain pilot that provides training and technical assistance on a menu of options for evidence and practice-based health promotion approaches to churches and other voluntary health organizations. 

Training parents in a Title I public school on advocating for local and district wellness policies; encouraging the sharing of lessons learned with children; leveraging funding from other sources to offer 2 - 3 mini-grants to participating schools to empower parents to pursue policy and environmental change on other campuses.

Mobilizing a targeted community to improve access to fruits and vegetables for low income families through the implementation of the East Los Angeles Merchant Nutrition Project – a project to engage local restaurants and grocers in need of healthy “makeovers.”

Linking UCLA’s CEED and WPFW Pacifica Radio with select Washington DC-based community partners to implement and evaluate the use of live on-air broadcast Instant Recess (IR) breaks with simultaneous participation at community sites, and participation at other times via downloaded podcasts.

Engaging local high schools in Winston-Salem, NC to promote peer modeling and increase visibility for IR across age groups through implementing exercise breaks at sporting events; providing technical assistance in developing additional IR routines.

Describing personal health attitudes, beliefs and practices of Los Angeles-based federal, state and local public leaders; evaluating the association between these attributes and programs or policies supported by these leaders; translating findings into an informational report card and evaluating the effect of the report card on leadership behaviors.

Adapting the Lift-Off! to meet the cultural and linguistic needs of Philadelphia’s Vietnamese community; integrating 5-10 minute IR breaks into group-level social service and educational programming and performing a preliminary evaluation of the impact of the intervention.

Increasing the number of youth-serving organizations in Long Beach, CA that promote the consumption of at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables daily, and participation in regular, moderate physical activity.

Increasing the uptake of cancer screening uptake in Asian American and African American communities by increasing the capacity of existing clinics and health care agencies in the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Producing IR breaks targeting rural Montana American Indians, urban Los Angeles Filipinos, and pan-Pacific Islander cultures. 


We rigorously evaluate the impact of our dissemination efforts on the practices and policies of organizations and on the health status of the participating communities on an ongoing basis.  Existing datasets are used as appropriate, e.g., the Los Angeles County Health Survey, the California Health Interview Survey, the California Department of Education FitnessGRAM and Academic Performance Index, and the California Healthy Kids Survey. 

Our CEED serves as a national resource center for informational materials, training and technical assistance supporting the implementation of organizational level wellness changes within underserved communities.


REACH U.S. CEED Abstract


Antronette K. (Toni) Yancey (Principal Investigator)

Roshan Bastani

(Co-Principal Investigator),

William J. (Bill) McCarthy, Annette Maxwell, Beth Glenn, Ritesh Mistry, Cynthia Mojica, Weng Kee Wong, William Vega, Allison Diamant, Michael Rodriguez, Marjorie Kagawa-Singer, Kate Crespi, Joyce Guinyard

Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Health (DPH):  

Paul Simon

(Co-Principal Investigator)

Jeff Gunzenhauser,

Eloisa Gonzalez,
Cynthia Harding, Tony Kuo, Jonathan Fielding


Primary Community Partners:  Asian Pacific
Healthcare Venture, Inc., California Black
Women’s Health Project,
Esperanza Community
Housing Corporation, Latino Health Access, The California Endowment, Kaiser Permanente

Subcontractors and

Legacy Grantees: 

Alzheimer’s Association;

KID Healthy;

University of California Cooperative Extension,

Los Angeles;

WPFW Pacifica Radio;

Diabetes Amputation

Prevention Foundation; University of Pennsylvania, Asian Health Initiatives; Minnesota REHDAI Collaborative

CDC CPCRN Community Research In Cancer
(CORICA) Partners: 

Montana State University/Ft. Peck Indian Reservation; Filipino-American Service Group, Inc. (FASGI)


Investigator Team: 

American Cancer Society, Clinica Oscar Romero, Community Health Councils, Crystal Stairs, DPH,

Latino 5-A-Day,

Partnered for Progress,

The City Project,

Worksite Wellness LA