Strategic Framework

The Marin Countywide Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Initiative brings together residents and community partners from throughout Marin to create a roadmap to improve community health.

Our partners are committed to working together to improve healthy eating and active living in all the places we live, learn, work, and play in Marin.


In the spring of 2012, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) convened leaders from throughout the County created Marin’s first coordinated, countywide Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Strategic Framework, which aims to strengthen the partnerships and create community conditions, so that ALL residents have the opportunity for healthy eating and active living.

Kim Baenisch, Marin County Bicycle Coalition Vinh Luu, Marin Asian Advocacy Project
Ana Bagtas, HHS, Division of Aging Shan Magnuson, Kaiser Permanente
Gueidi Beltran, HHS, WIC Susan Martinelli, HHS, WIC
Marika Bergsund, Growing Great Luke McCann, Marin County Office of Education
Nancy Boyce, Marin Link
Kerry McGrath, Marin Organic
Alanna Brogan, Kaiser Permanente
Andrea Michaelson, Kaiser Permanente
Janet Brown, All Star Organics
Ricardo Moncrief, ISOJI
Sean Brooks, San Francisco Food Bank
Nan Moon, Kaiser Permanente
Jane Chin Young, UC Cooperative Extension Marin
Debi Moss, San Francisco Marin Food Bank
Barbara Clifton Zarate, First 5 Marin
Stephanie Moulton-Peters, Mill Valley City Council
Chloe Cook, West Marin Senior Services
Brian Crawford, County of Marin, Community Development
Linda Dahl, County of Marin, Parks and Open Space
Florencia Parada, Parent Services Project
Dan Dawson, County of Marin, Dept, of Public Works
DuVan Pham, Community Action Marin
Amy Dietz, HHS, Division of Aging
Joseph Piekutoski, San Geronimo Valley Community Center
Rochelle Ereman, HHS, Epidemiology
Sandy Ponek, Canal Alliance
Elberta Eriksson, ISOJI
Amy Reisch, First 5 Marin
Carol Essick, Marin County Office of Education
Heather Richardson, San Geronimo Valley Community Center
Michael Feranchak, Marin General Hospital
Teri Rockas, Healthy Marin Partnership
Xochitl Fierro, HHS, WIC
Sandra Rosenblum, HHS, Maternal, Adolescent, and Child Health
Vanessa Franco, Marin Day Schools, Hillside Campus
Bria Schlottman, Kaiser Permanente

Rebecca Gayman, Kentfield School Nurse
Christine Gimmler, County of Marin, Community Development
Terrie Green, Marin City Health and Wellness Center
Dina Griffith, Marin General Hospital
Oscar Guardado, HHS, Nutrition Wellness Program
David Haskell, Garden Kids
Tracey Hessel, Marin Community Clinics
Kat Jones, County of Marin, Parks and Open Space
Wendi Kallins, Safe Routes to Schools
Katie Keating, Youth Leadership Institute
Pat Kendall, Healthy Marin Partnership
Sheila Kopf San Francisco Marin Food Bank         
Martha Nelson, Dominican University
Bonnie Nielsen, UC Cooperative Extension Marin
Alexandra Danino, Parent Services Project
Marty Graff, HHS, Public Assistance
Tori Murray, Marin General Hospital
Pam Shinault, City of Novato, Parks and Recreation
Byron Sigal, Northbay Children's Center
Leah Smith, Agricultural Institute of Marin
Rebecca Smith, HHS, Nutrition Wellness Program
Juan-Carlos Solis, Wild Care
Sparkie Spaeth, HHS, Community Health and Prevention Services
Jenny Stephens, HHS, Maternal, Adolescent, and Child Health
Kathleen Tabor, MarinKids
Craig Tackabery, County of Marin, Dept. of Public Works
Wendy Todd, Marin Community Foundation
Shane Valentine, Local chef and author
Victoria Vasquez, HHS, CalFresh Outreach
Shae Ladnier, HHS, Prevention Hub Miguel Villarreal, Novato Unified School District
Kristen Law, Youth Leadership Institute Constance Washburn, Marin Organic
Kelsey Lombardi, Marin Head Start Richard Waxman, LIFT-Levántate
Suzanne Loosen, Transportation Authority of Marin


The completion of the HEAL Strategic Framework marks the opportuntiy for partners to build stronger working relationships and collaborative structures to identify success measures, define action steps and timelines, and implement priority strategies. Although changing the way we work together takes time, participants in the HEAL process are committed to working together to achieve greater impact to improve healthy eating and active living in all the places we live, work, learn and play in Marin.

​The Strategic Framework articulates:

  • A vision for promoting healthy eating and active living where we live, work, learn, and play
  • Guiding principles directing efforts toward the elimination of disparities and a focus on community based solutions
  • Six strategic directions that will focus efforts over the next 3 years
  • Priorities and implementation structure for moving forward


Pockets of disparities are eliminated and equitable HEAL conditions are created for all in Marin
Local, State and Federal policies support HEAL
Communities create and implement their own effective HEAL solutions
Communities engage local accessible hubs that promote HEAL
Community wide infrastructure drives HEAL conditions
HEAL is hip

Guiding Principles

Reduce disparities and promote opportunities for all
While Marin is one of the healthiest communities in the nation, disparities exist. Not all residents enjoy the community conditions necessary to help make healthier choices.

Focus on changing community conditions
Healthy eating and active living requires change to the community conditions that shape the lives of residents in our community. Changes in the community include social norms that promote good health, safe streets and neighborhoods, and access to a local grocery store with affordable healthy food.

Bring together partners from various sectors
The obesity epidemic is a complex social problem, which is caused by a broad range of social conditions. Healthy eating and active living in Marin cannot be achieved through the efforts of one organization. If different organizations work together, we can create a healthier Marin.

Build on current community assets
Marin has a wide range of existing assets, including local agriculture, parks and open space, as well as many individuals and organizations committed to healthy eating and active living.

Utilize best and promising practices whenever possible


Strategic Directions


The Strategic Framework includes six strategic directions which focus our work towards a healthier Marin. The six strategic directions are divided into two groups, healthy communities and infrastucture.



The Strategic Directions in this section create the infrastructure that supports the HEAL Initiative. The HHS Nutrition Wellness Program and the HEAL Steering Committee will leverage various resources to integrate data, messaging, and policy support into activities of HEAL Implementation Teams.

  1. Prioritizing and utilizing resources based on data and results
  2. Generating culturally relevant and persuasive marketing and messaging
  3. Developing policies, practices, and political will to support HEAL

Healthy Communities

Strategic Directions in this section are addressed by residents and partners from various sectors who have passion and expertise for addressing specific community issues. HEAL partners have formed HEAL Implementation Teams to address recommendations in each of the Strategic Directions in this section.

  1. Inspiring communities to engage in placebased active living
  2. Catalyzing the community to build healthy food systems
  3. Enhancing early childhood, school and afterschool environments to promote HEAL

Healthy Communities

I. Inspiring communities to engage in place-based active living

  • Promote and expand opportunities for free or affordable recreation.
  • Create and enhance social support systems, to promote active living.
  • Create safer conditions that promote active living in all communities.
  • Engage the community in implementation and improvement of healthy community planning/zoning policies.

II. Catalyzing the community to build healthy food systems

  • Revitalize the Marin County Food Policy Council to promote healthy food systems and implement HEAL strategies in Marin County.
  • Create policies and systems for publicly-funded organizations to increase use of fresh and local foods.
  • Decrease marketing of unhealthy foods, including sugar-sweetened beverages, breast milk substitutes for nonmedical purposes, etc.
  • Increase Cal-Fresh participation rate.
  • Increase access to healthy foods for all residents through the development and promotion of healthy retail establishments, farmers markets and farm stands, CSAs, and community and school gardens.

III. Enhancing early childhood, school and after school environments to promote HEAL

  • Develop workplace, healthcare, and child care policies and practices that promote breastfeeding.
  • Assess early childhood, school, and after school environments and create new or implement existing policies to promote HEAL.
  • Support school gardens and farm to school programs that teach children about where food comes from.
  • Utilize early childhood, school, and after school environments to develop social support systems to promote HEAL throughout the family lifespan.
  • Create early childhood, school, and after school collaborative structures that support consistent, age appropriate messaging and share resources, best practices, and policy solutions for HEAL.


I. Prioritizing and utilizing resources based on data and results

  • Identify HEAL indicators and success measures to track community need and progress of HEAL Plan.
  • Increase capacity of local communities to collect, analyze, and share data and results related to HEAL efforts, through Communities of Excellence in Nutrition Education, Physical Activity and Obesity Prevention (CX3) efforts, Healthy Marin Partnership assessments, and other resources.

II. Generating culturally relevant and persausive marketing and messaging

  • Design and implement consistent and culturally sensitive messaging, social marketing and health education campaigns.
  • Increase the capacity of local grassroots leaders, promotores, and community health workers to implement peer-to-peer interventions to promote HEAL.
  • Develop continuous cross-sector communication tools to assure broad support for HEAL priorities.

III. Developing policies, practices, and political will to support HEAL

  • Educate policy makers on creating community conditions that promote healthy eating and active living in their community.
  • Create a policy agenda that supports the implementation of the HEAL Framework and increase capacity of local communities to implement and monitor HEAL policies.

Moving Forward: The Model

The HEAL Strategic Framework has created a roadmap and implementation structure for carrying out priorities identified by our community. The implementation structure includes four HEAL Implementation Teams, a Steering Committee, a Backbone Organization, and an ad-hoc Leadership Group.

Implementation Structure

Implementation Teams

  • Work collectively to create a one year action plan
  • Identify community assets, indicators and success measures
  • Create a capacity building proposal for HHS funding
  • Develop a team scope of effort, structure and time commitment
  • Build coalitions and partnerships
  • Identify data, messaging and policy efforts needed
  • Select group members to serve on the steering committee


HEAL Implementation Teams are comprised of community and organizational representatives and will work to prioritize and implement recommendations identified in the HEAL Strategic Framework. The four Implementation Teams will determine their own decision-making process and function. Teams will uphold active communication and a transparent structure.

Steering Committee

  • Support Implementation Teams by linking them with resources, training, leadership development and opportunities
  • Assure that data, messaging and policy is embedded across all HEAL activities
  • Convene an annual review of the HEAL Strategic Framework to evaluate functioning and celebrate successes


The HEAL Steering Committee is comprised of community and organizational leaders selected by the Implementation Teams and helps to align and coordinate efforts across strategic direction areas. The Steering Committee assures that HEAL efforts are coordinated across Implementation Teams, aligned with framework’s guiding principles, and designed and carried out to achieve maximum health impact.


The Department of Health and Human Services will provide backbone support for implementation teams and the Steering Committee. DHHS will also convene a HEAL Leadership Group, comprised of key leaders and policy makers, including local funders, and leadership from county government, local municipalities, and healthcare institutions, on an as needed basis to support the Strategic Framework.

Backbone Support
and Leadership Groups

  • Coordinate training opportunities, access to data, and media and policy support
  • Scout and apply for grants and other resources
  • Support evaluation activities
  • Coordinate annual Strategic Framework review
  • Help disseminate framework to other policymakers
  • Help coordinate and mobilize funding for HEAL activities
  • Advance policy initiatives related to HEAL

Implementation Teams

Active Living Team

The active living team is currently coordinated by LIFT Levantate, and will provide a number of new, free and accessible physical activity opportunities in underserved communities, while building community capacity to sustain these programs. In addition, the team will begin mapping assets related to active living and identifying strategies for promoting these opportunities in underserved communities. For more information, contact Richard Waxman at

Marin Food Policy Council

With the support from the Marin Community Foundation, UC Cooperative Extension and a Steering Committee comprised of AIM, H&HS, and a local farmer/former Marin Food Policy Council Chair have revitalized the Marin Food Policy Council. The Council engages organizations and community members impacted by food security issues to develop a policy agenda to promote healthy and sustainable food system in all communities. The Council is creating policy approaches to increase access to and production of healthy food, such as improving CalFresh participation and supporting community gardens. For more information contact Bonnie Nielsen at

Children and Youth Wellness Collaborative

The Children and Youth Wellness Collaborative is coordinated by a leadership group consisting of First 5 Marin, MarinKids, DHHS NWP, and LIFT-Levántate, and has several strategic initiatives that focus on early childhood, school-aged, and youth settings. The Healthy Kids From Day 1 (HKFD1) initiative and the School and Afterschool initiative aim to reduce rates of overweight children in early childhood and school-based settings. These projects will make changes to policies, practices, and environments though training, capacity building and technical assistance. For information on these initiatives, contact Richard Waxman at The team also works with healthcare providers to examine practices and resources that promote optimal wellbeing for children. For information about the healthcare initiative, contact Amy Reisch at

The Approach

The obesity epidemic is a complex social problem, which arises from a broad range of social conditions. Through this planning process, we recognize that promoting healthy eating and active living in Marin cannot be achieved through the efforts of one organization. Together, we will strengthen our impact by creating the following conditions for collective success:

Hands holding carrots

  • Creating a common agenda through the HEAL
  • Framework, strengthening cross-sector partnerships, fostering a collaborative environment, and building a base of support by working directly with community residents.
  • Maintaining backbone and infrastructure support including administrative support, resource development, and other technical assistance support for the Framework.
  • Developing mutually reinforcing activities in which clear roles are defined and organizations can do the work they do best, but in a more coordinated fashion.
  • Maintaining continuous communication to help build trust, establish cross-sector partnerships, and work towards common objectives.
  • Developing a shared measurement system, to help to track the progress of our work at the community level.
Changing the way we work takes time, but the HEAL Strategic Framework is one step towards greater health for Marin. Each and every one of the participants in this process plays an important role to improve healthy eating and active living in all the places we live, work, learn and play, and we give thanks for your support.


For more information and to contact HEAL, please visit our facebook page.