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, Project Manager
  • Alma Huerta, Program Coordinator
  • Yasmin Irfani, Program Coordinator
  • Andrea Sanchez, Program Coordinator
  • Evelyn Enriquez, Outreach Social Worker
  • Flor Peraza, Patient Navigator
  • Clavel Chavira, Health Educator
  • Sharmiya Odeh, Health Educator
  • Stephanie Ruiz, Health Educator
  • Stephany Gallegos, Health Educator

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 818.718.5951 or diane.estrada@dignityhealth.org 

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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 Andrea Sanchez at 818.718.5901 or NHMC-PreventionForward@DignityHealth.org

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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 is an evidence-based program that teaches 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 and/or loved ones.

For more information on future classes, please contact Priscilla Lomeli at 818.718.5922 or Priscilla.Lomeli@dignityhealth.org

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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 818.885.8500 ext. 3931 or Laura.Stein@dignityhealth.org

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Vaccinate LA Collaborative
The Vaccinate LA Collaborative was formed from grant funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Vaccinate LA Collaborative works towards meeting the needs of vulnerable and underserved communities in the San Fernando Valley that are impacted by the pandemic. We host pop-up vaccine clinics and conduct outreach and education on COVID-19. In addition, we encourage community members to get vaccinated. Incentives are available to individuals who receive a COVID-19 vaccination at any of our pop-up vaccine clinics.

For more information on Vaccinate LA Collaborative, please contact Laura Stein at 818.885.8500 ext. 3931 or Laura.Stein@dignityhealth.org

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COVID-19 Outreach & Education
The COVID-19 Outreach & Education team is funded by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to slow the spread of COVID-19 by promoting preventive behaviors, providing up-to-date information and dispelling myths and misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 Pandemic. Outreach and education is conducted through educational workshops, community events, monthly electronic newsletters, and social media posts.

For more information on COVID-19 Outreach & Education, please contact Alma Huerta at 818.718.5987 or Alma.Huerta2@dignityhealth.org

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STOP School Violence: LA School Empowerment Program
The BJA STOP School Violence program is a three year grant that is federally funded by the Bureau of Justice Administration. This grant is designed to improve school security by providing students and teachers with the tools they need to recognize, respond quickly to, and help prevent acts of violence. The overarching goal of this program is to address specific areas of concern related to preventing and reducing school violence and increasing school safety. We will reach our goals by training school personnel on two evidence based curricula Safe Dates and Positive Action), educating students on preventing violence against themselves and others, providing free educational workshops to the parent community, providing counseling services through our partners, San Fernando Valley Community Mental health Center, and hosting school wide awareness campaigns at our Los Angeles Unified School District partnered school sites.

For more information on LA School Empowerment Program, please contact Alma Huerta at 818.718.5987 or Alma.Huerta2@dignityhealth.org