To see the 2024 Grant Recipient Summary, click here.

Health and Healing


The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” The concept of well-being has evolved over the years to include the Socioecological Model and the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines SDOH as “the non-medical factors that influence health outcomes. They are the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life. These forces and systems include economic policies and systems, development agendas, social norms, social policies, racism, climate change, and political systems.” (CDC-adapted definition from WHO 2022.)

The broad concept of healing is not limited to treatment or diagnosis of medical conditions, but also includes honoring the cultural beliefs, and respecting the traditional healing, values, religions, and spirituality of evolving cultures. With centuries of systemic oppression upon Peoples of Color, much of healing involves overcoming intergenerational trauma and community empowerment. The Equity in OC Initiative stands in solidarity with marginalized communities and is focused on promoting health equity for all.

These grants support a collaborative approach to creating positive change in three primary SDoH action areas: Housing is Health, Food as Medicine and Health & Healing. The recipients are implementing projects that reduce health equity gaps and address SDoH affecting their communities.

Information Referral Services - GetHelp OC
Lead Agency: 2-1-1 OC

2-1-1 Orange County (211OC) is the lead agency for GetHelpOC, a collaboration with 15 partner organizations to implement a Community Information Exchange (CIE). It is a community-driven solution that ensures the engagement of local voices and the promotion of partnerships within the network so that residents have access to the help they need when they need it.

Contact information:
Belisa Davis,

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Wellness on Wheels - Mobile Health & Social Care
Lead Agency: Children's Health OC

Children’s Health Orange County is the lead organization for Wellness on Wheels (WOW), a partnership with five support organizations that aims to increase access to health services, education and care, and decrease the stigma around mental health and social services.

Contact information:
Erika Jewell,

Organizational Health Literacy as a path to Health Equity
Lead Agency: Institute for Healthcare Advancement

Institute for Healthcare Advancement is partnering with Orange County Social Services Administration, CalOptima Health, and St. Jude Neighborhood Health Centers to improve the organizational health literacy of each partner. The result is systemic change in how partners outreach to, engage with, and provide services for clients and the public.

Contact information:
Marian Ryan,

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Birth Initiative for Reproductive Rights, Transforming & Healing (BIRRTH) Women of Color
Lead Agency: MOMS Orange County

MOMS Orange County and HERStory are partnering to create a scalable model for how doula services may operate in Orange County, particularly for low-income women of color. By assessing the need for doula services locally, the initiative aims to engineer programs that have the potential to create change at scale with sufficient support from the community and at the levers of power.

Contact information:
John Paul Bryan,

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Anaheim Education & Health Intersections Initiative
Lead Agency: OC Congregation Community Organization

The Anaheim Education and Health Intersections Initiative is committed to building the capacity, voice, and sustainability of communities in Anaheim to address the school-to-prison pipeline and other forms of structural racism by instituting authentic engagement systems within the Anaheim Union High School District.

Contact information:
Miguel Hernandez,

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Advocacy for People with Disabilities
Lead Agency: YMCA of OC

The YMCA of Orange County is leading a collaboration with eight partner organizations to increase the capacity of support organizations and parents to provide policy, systems, and environmental change advocacy for children and youth with diagnosed or suspected co-occurring Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and mental health needs.

Contact information:
Lee Lombardo,

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WellSpaces: A Catalyst for Equitable Access for Students
Lead Agency: OC Department of Education

WellSpaces is creating welcoming spaces for students to learn wellness related skills that improve their physical, mental and social emotional health. This includes actively engaging students and families through a student advisory council, increasing collaborative partnerships between schools and community partners and improving student access to services.

Contact information:
Dareen Khatib,

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What social determinants of health
projects and actions are equity
improvement teams embarking on?

Voices from our Community

How has the Equity in OC Initiative
impacted the community?