Center for Healthier Communities

Who We Are

In 1997, Northridge Hospital Medical Center established the Center for Healthier Communities (CHC) as a department of the hospital. Through high quality prevention education, innovative solutions, and treatment services, CHC strives to promote healthy behaviors and improve unmet needs for residents of the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys.

Meet Our Team

  • Joni Novosel, Director
  • Priscilla Lomeli, Administrative Coordinator
  • Diane Estrada, Program Manager
  • Laura Stein, Program Coordinator

Mission Statement

CHC provides public health and wellness programs to changing needs of our community based on a triennial Community Health Needs Assessment report to enhance the San Fernando Valley’s potential to be healthier, safer, and stronger.

What We Do

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School Wellness Initiative
This initiative was launched in 2006 to help reduce the rate of obesity and related chronic diseases among public school students, their parents and teachers in the high need communities of the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles County. Launched initially in five Los Angeles Unified School District schools, collaborative efforts are now in 34 public schools. Efforts include workshops, monthly school wellness newsletter, and the Great Kindness Challenge – an anti-bullying campaign.

For more information on future classes, please contact Diane Estrada at 818.718.5987 or 

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Center for Assault Treatment Services
The Center for Assault Treatment Services (C⋅A⋅T⋅S), located in Van Nuys, is a program of Dignity Health – Northridge Hospital, which has treated children and adults affected by violence since 1997. C⋅A⋅T⋅S provides forensic medical evidentiary examinations, and interviews for victims of sexual and domestic violence 24/7. All services are free of charge to the victims. C⋅A⋅T⋅S is a team member of the local designated Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) and Domestic Assault Response Team (DART). Our trained staff provides outreach education on identifying and reporting suspected cases of abuse.

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Prevention Forward Healthy Lifestyles Program
Healthy Lifestyles is a free grant-funded program of Dignity Health - Northridge Hospital’s Center for Healthier Communities to put prevention first and help you learn how to better take care of yourself. We invite you to participate if you have any of the following conditions: pre-diabetes, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure or stroke.

You will learn how to self-manage your condition, improve outcomes, and prevent setbacks in your recovery.

Subjects covered include:

1) Techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, pain and isolation

2) Appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and endurance

3) Appropriate use of medications

4) Communicating effectively with family, friends, and health professionals

5) Nutrition

6) Decision making

7) How to evaluate new treatments. Joining Prevention Forward will be one of the best things you can do for yourself this year.

For more information on future classes, please contact Diane Estrada at 818.718.5987 or

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Diabetes Empowerment Education Program
The 6-week Diabetes Empowerment Education Program encourages lifestyle changes while learning about your diabetes and the way it affects your health, and earning you the benefits of a healthier, more energetic lifestyle.

For more information on future classes, please contact Diane Estrada at 818.718.5987 or

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Activate Your Heart
Activate Your Heart is a program whose goal is to increase cardiovascular health awareness. This exciting and engaging FREE 8-week workshop can help participants reduce the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Classes use the American Heart Association "Empowered to Serve" curriculum, cooking demonstrations, stress management techniques, grocery store tour, group exercise and health screenings.

For more information on future classes, please contact Diane Estrada at 818.718.5987 or

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Domestic Violence and Abuse Prevention
Domestic violence and abuse prevention includes one-time workshops and evidence based classes that equip community members to identify the signs of abuse, risk factors, and how to seek help if they or someone they know if being abused. Safe Dates and Bringing in the Bystander are multi-week evidence based classes that teach high school students to prevent dating violence. Our domestic violence and sexual assault workshops at schools and community organizations empower participants to take steps to break cycles of violence and find support for themselves or loved ones. Our Beyond Trauma program is a peer support group led by our Social Work staff.

We also offer an Escape Now and abuse prevention and empowerment program for adults with cognitive disabilities.

For more information on future classes, please contact Priscilla Lomeli at 818.718.5922 or

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Local Elder Abuse Prevention Enhanced Multidisciplinary Team
The San Fernando Valley Local Elder Abuse Prevention Enhanced Multidisciplinary Team (LEAP-EMDT) brings together professionals from a multitude of disciplines and systems to stop elder abuse at the earliest possible juncture. The primary focus for team members is to identify and intervene in cases of physical, sexual, emotional, neglect, and financial elder abuse. Together, team members achieve this through coordinated case reviews and tailored responses to each abuse situation.

For more information on LEAP-EMDT, please contact Laura Stein at 818.718.5919 or

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Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementia
Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia is a collaboration between CHC, OneGeneration Senior Center, and Alzheimer’s Association Southland Chapter that prepares the community to meet the needs of a growing population living with dementia. CHC provides a multi-day training for community members and medical professionals on the biological, social, and emotional needs of people with dementia and their caregivers with best practices for meeting those needs. Participants learn about the progression of dementia, early warning signs, the role of medical care, and dementia-related resources in the community.

For more information on future classes, please contact Diane Estrada at 818.718.5987 or