Posted 10/03/2012 | By HealthCorps

October 3, 2012

Kaitlyn MacGregor
PHONE: 916-532-4451

HEALTHCORPS Joins DESERT HEALTHCARE DISTRICT AND THE CALIFORNIA ENDOWMENT to provide students and communities With tools for healthy, active living

 HealthCorps Coordinators Brings Health and Wellness Curriculum to Students, Faculty and Parents of Five Schools in Coachella Valley Unified School District and Palm Springs Unified School District  

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – HealthCorps®, an in-school wellness movement founded by Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife Lisa Oz, is increasing its presence in Riverside County to a total of five area high schools. Partners Desert Healthcare District (DHCD), the Desert Healthcare Foundation (DHCF), and The California Endowment met with HealthCorps leadership and in-school coordinators and The Alliance for a Healthier Generation in early September to focus on collaborative events and projects that will help further the health and wellness of high school students and their communities.

“DHCD is excited to fund the three HealthCorps Coordinators in the west valley for the next two years along with its Foundation which is funding the Alliance Coachella Valley Relationship Manager for the next four years,” commented Mark Matthews, DHCD and DHCF Board president.  “We hope to collectively impact not only the individual health of each student but to create a culture of wellness and advance the educational policies that will support healthy, active young people and their families.”

Through new and additional funding from our partners and support from school and district staff, HealthCorps has been expanded to include coordinators Evelyn Rodriguez at Cathedral City High School, Rocio Jacobo at Desert Hot Springs High School, Hector Sanchez at Desert Mirage High School and Ruby Hoose at Palm Springs High School. All four new coordinators have begun classes in their schools and are already receiving praise for their efforts.

“Rocio is already impacting the Desert Hot Springs students in her positive interactions with students about health issues,” said Desert Hot Springs High School Principal Anne Kalisek. “We are thrilled to have her here.”

Just one year ago, Naomi Soto was leading the way in the Coachella Valley as the coordinator at Coachella Valley High School, the only area school with a HealthCorps program. This September, Naomi came back to Coachella Valley High School for a second year, but with the addition of four coordinators she was no longer alone. Ms. Soto’s success at Coachella Valley High School was key to the expansion and she will be working with the teachers and administrators from her first year to expand the program this year.

“Ms. Naomi Soto has literally revolutionized our entire high school with her arrival to our campus last year,” said Coachella Valley High School Health Academy teacher, Maria Smith. “Throughout the school year, she had the students actively engaged in weekly health and nutrition classes, jumping rope during lunch mini-health fairs, and even involved our staff in a school-wide pedometer competition. Our Health Academy students love her HealthCorps lessons and have shared with me that we are very lucky and truly blessed to have Ms. Soto in our campus.”

Currently, the HealthCorps curriculum is taught in 66 high schools in 14 states and the District of Columbia. At the heart of HealthCorps are the coordinators like Naomi, that spend two years instructing students in lessons focused on mental resilience, nutrition and physical activity. Each coordinator stays at the same school for both years and plans a full year of activities, including participation in classes and taking on innovative in-class and after-school projects such as the popular Teen Battle Chef culinary arts program, cooking club, gardening club, and programs to keep teens active.

In addition to instructing classes and running after school activities, coordinators at each school will coordinate an in-school health fair to reach the whole school’s student and staff population. A larger, community-wide health fair will take place in the spring and will be the culmination of intense planning and community partnerships, organized by the five local coordinators.                                                                   


About HealthCorps

HealthCorps®, www.healthcorps.org, is a 501 (C) 3 co-founded by Dr. Mehmet Oz, the world-renowned cardiac surgeon and two-time Daytime Emmy® Award-winning host of the two time Daytime Emmy® Award-winning “The Dr. Oz Show”, and his wife, Lisa Oz.  HealthCorps® is building a nationwide movement to shape a new generation. HealthCorps® “Coordinators” carry out unique in-school and community programming targeting high-need populations. Using peer-mentoring to deliver a progressive curriculum in nutrition, fitness and mental strength, HealthCorps® Coordinators give teens purpose, help develop human character, and inspire an interest in health and culinary arts careers. HealthCorps® also serves as a unique research laboratory – exploring the complex, underlying causes of the obesity crisis and discovering and communicating solutions. HealthCorps® is bringing many initiatives together to address the “Whole Child” and activate the students’ mind, body and spirit. As a result, HealthCorps® is transforming the educational paradigm one school at a time. The program network spans 68 schools in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Please follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/healthcorps and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HealthCorps.

Desert Healthcare District

Created in 1948, the Desert Healthcare District’s original mission was to provide hospital services to residents of Desert Hot Springs, Thousand Palms, Palms Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage and Palm Desert (west of Cook Street). The District’s service area encompasses 457 square miles and extends into Mountain Center. Since the District’s inception, it has been directed by a board of five members elected by residents of the communities served. Today, with an annual operating budget of roughly $9 million, the District pursues its mission through a system implemented in 1998 where more than $3 million each year is allocated for grants and other programs. Grant funding is linked to fulfillment of the District’s strategic plan, which focuses on enhancing the health of its residents. Learn more about us at www.dhcd.org.

About The California Endowment

The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation, was established in 1996 to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians. Headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, The Endowment has regional offices in Sacramento, Oakland, Fresno and San Diego, with program staff working throughout the state. The Endowment challenges the conventional wisdom that medical settings and individual choices are solely responsible for people’s health. The Endowment believes that health happens in neighborhoods, schools, and with prevention. For more information, visit The California Endowment’s homepage at www.calendow.org.

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