2019 Childhood Obesity Initiative Partner Awardees

The COI held a Partner Mix & Mingle on April 18 to celebrate the amazing work being done by partners throughout San Diego County to promote health for children and families. We want to take this opportunity thank all of our partners for your efforts and support!


Individual Awardee – Dr. Shaila Serpas

Over the years, Dr. Shaila Serpas has been involved with numerous community based initiatives in the South Bay and across the County to reduce the rates of childhood obesity, such as the Healthy Eating Active Communities initiative, the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative, and the School District Wellness Programs. Dr. Serpas has been a leader and tireless advocate for healthy schools (among many other aspects of child health), initiating and overseeing a successful pilot project –  the San Diego Healthy Weight Collaborative –  to transform the culture of Rice Elementary School in Chula Vista. The Healthy Weight Collaborative successfully piloted 5210 health messaging and tested other staff, parent, and student wellness initiatives. This collaborative brought many community partners to the school and community to help develop and implement a new wellness policy in the Chula Vista Elementary school district.

Dr Serpas has been a leader in Chula Vista during a four year REACH grant aimed to reduce childhood obesity through implementation of policy, systems, and environment changes in a variety of settings including schools, the city, YMCA, and local community clinics. Dr Serpas maintains a full spectrum family medicine practice, with a particular focus on obstetrics, lactation, adolescent and border health. As associate director of the Scripps Family Medicine Residency Program, Dr Serpas promotes community health training for Family Medicine residents. The Scripps residency has implemented a wide range of community based programs including high school mentoring, Centering Pregnancy, and school based clinics. We are pleased to recognize and congratulate Dr. Serpas with our individual partner award, and thank her for her commitment to the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative and her efforts in furthering health and wellness for children and families across San Diego!

Initiative Awardee – San Diego Unified School District Wellness Initiative

The San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) Wellness Initiative began in 2016 and follows the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) framework from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This effort prioritizes the health of students, staff, and the community and led to the hiring of 178 Wellness Coordinators to represent each school in the district. Since the initiative’s launch, SDUSD has opened five high school wellness centers and provided support to each Wellness Coordinator to implement the district’s Wellness Policy. This initiative continues to actively engage schools throughout the district in promoting all areas of wellness and represents a model for other districts. Congratulations to all of the staff, students, families, and community members who make this work possible, and thank you to San Diego Unified School District and all of the representatives for being a part of the Childhood Obesity Initiative!

We especially want to recognize the following for their incredible dedication and support for this initiative: Kate McDevitt, District Wellness Supervisor; Michelle Bell, Program Manager; Cindy Marten, Superintendent; and the San Diego Unified School District Wellness Council.

Organization Awardee – YMCA Childcare Resource Service

The YMCA CRS has worked extensively within the Community and as part of the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative (COI) to ensure parents have access to childcare options that meet best practice standards for promoting healthy eating and active living. Their Wellness Champion model launched with support from the COI Early Childhood Domain and remains a successful way to incentivize childcare providers to achieve and maintain best practices. Children and families throughout San Diego County are now benefiting from increased access to healthy options thanks to the continued efforts of YMCA CRS.

In addition, the YMCA CRS is involved in several COI domains with representatives who work tirelessly to promote the health and well-being of children in San Diego County. As an organization, they are always willing to partner and provide support when needed. Thank you to YMCA CRS and all representatives for your incredible work and dedication!