Leaders in Action Grants

About the Leaders-in-Action Grants:

One way the SCIL pursues its mission is by offering graduate-level School of Public Health students the opportunity to apply for and participate in Leaders-in-Action Grants. These grants provide students with up to $500 in funding to accomplish small-scale projects or events that aim to improve the health of their peers, the greater UCB community, or the local East Bay community.

At their core, Leaders-in-Action Grants are meant to provide grant recipients an opportunity to enhance and develop leadership and professional skills by actively engaging or mobilizing their SHP peers around a service or educational activity. In addition to enhancing relationship building, community organizing, and project management skills, Leaders-in-Action Grants also provide students with the opportunity to participate first-hand in a grant application process.


The Student Collaborative for Impact Leadership (SCIL) is accepting applications for funding student-led community and school projects. Past projects that have received funding include: painting of the UHall stairways, breakfast pop-up series for graduate students, OUSD garden renovation projects, Cooking Simplified and Black Students in Action. Applications can be found here and emailed to scil@berkeley.edu by the priority deadline of November 13th by 11:59pm. See attached flyer!

Recent LiA events:

SCIL Leaders-in-Action Grants Symposium
Thursday, April 27, 6pm - 8pm
150 University Hall

Thank you to all who joined us as we featured the projects of our five 2017 Leaders-in-Action grantees. This was an opportunity for our community to learn more about their projects, their leadership skills in action, and the impact they've had on our greater community. Download our flyer!

The Jim Skerl Community Outreach Program
2017 LiA Grantee Events
Thursdays, April 6, April 13, and April 20, 11am - 1pm

Many thanks to the students who gathered to help build relationships and provide resources for the homeless and vulnerable people living in the vicinity of the School of Public Health. Your work to prepare food and supplies and then distribute them around campus made a big difference! Download our flyer for more details!

SPH Student Research Forum & Networking Mixer
Wednesday, April 12, 5pm - 7pm

On April 12th, students, faculty, staff and the SPH community joined SCIL, the Public Health Alumni Association, SPH Student Government, and Leaders-in-Action grantee Madelena Ng for the first SPH Student Research Forum! We created a "brave space" for students to present their current research and get valuable feedback from the SPH community.

2017 Grantees

Healthy Breakfast Pop-Up Series

We are hosting a three-part breakfast pop-up series at University Hall to educate public health graduate students about simple, healthy breakfasts that are convenient to take to campus. With a lack of healthy options surrounding the building, we would love to share simple recipes that students can prepare in advance and pick out of their refrigerators each day.

We will teach three simple breakfast menus: an overnight oatmeal bar with toppings and variations of flavors, a smoothie bar with different fruits and vegetables to blend on-site, and avocado toast with a choice of toppings. This breakfast series will allow students to enjoy not only a healthy breakfast, but also a comfortable space to mingle with other students before class.


Chrissy Badaracco
Maggie Rasnake
Marisa Westbrook

Community Health

Starting in 2013, SPH students formed a partnership with the organization Harm Reduction Services to learn from their outreach work with people experiencing homelessness in Sacramento. Friendships and conversations developed and we learned that there is a lack of trust in traditional clinic-based healthcare services among people experiencing homelessness. We focus on effective ways to learn from a community of people who are not only underserved in terms of healthcare, but marginalized in most settings.

Students developed a project to conduct oral history interviews to guide the development of specific health interventions. Rooted in stories of unconditional mutual support and care among people experiencing homelessness, we developed a plan to create a health promotion program through a series of community-led meetings. These meetings and continued conversations led to a community-inspired CPR, first-aid, and overdose training program.

The first of a series of these trainings took place in December 2016 after extensive planning and collaboration between health leaders, medical professionals and outreach workers. Not only did everyone at the training leave with increased knowledge about lifesaving skills and overdose prevention, but we created a space to share stories about health challenges and firsthand experiences.

Project Members:

Dee Marie Chavez: Community Health Promoter and Leader
Diane Alise Evans: Community Health Promoter and Leader
Phil Summers: Emergency Medicine Resident
Crister Brady: UC Berkeley School of Public Health graduate student in 1 year
Interdisciplinary MPH program
Jason Cummings: UC Davis undergraduate
W. Suzanne Eidson-Ton: UC Davis Family Medicine Faculty Member
Harm Reduction Services staff

The Jim Skerl Community Outreach Program

The Jim Skerl Community Outreach Program seeks to build relationships with and provide resources for the homeless and vulnerable people living in the vicinity of the Berkeley School of Public Health. In doing so, we hope to educate our participants about the nature of poverty in our own backyard through personal interactions with those most in need. Download our flyer to learn more about upcoming outreach events.

Key participants: Jung Kim, David Conteras-Levya, Ada Kwan, Jennifer Frehn, & Aryn Phillips. We plan to invite additional members of the SPH community.

Grantee Bio: Alexa Magyari is a first-year PhD student in Health Policy concentrating in Health Economics. Before coming to Berkeley, she worked as a research assistant at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics and an intern at Picwell, a healthcare technology startup. She has a BA (2016) from the University of Pennsylvania in Health & Societies, concentrating in Healthcare Markets & Finance. Her research interests include the industrial organization of healthcare markets, health insurance, and provider decision-making.

Canastas de Seguridad/Food Security Baskets

Food insecurity poses as a challenge to many individuals, but specially for those who are living with HIV and considered a sexual minority within a conservative catholic nation. Specifically, how food insecurity affects their antiretroviral therapy (ART). The mission of the project is to recognize the lived experience of food insecure men who have sex with men (MSM) living with HIV in El Salvador and provide a basket of ​amenities​ that address short-term stresses of acquiring food to ensure ART adherence. By assembling "canastas de seguridad", this project hopes to illustrate the need to highlight the HIV global epidemic for the UC Berkeley School of Public Health community.

Project Participants
UC Berkeley Community

  • Ina Zhang, Amelia Plant, Dorian Jackson, Blanca Chavez (School of Public Health)
  • Jacquline Fuentes and Rodrigo Avila (Social Wellfare)
  • Juan Carvajal (Mechanical Engineering)
  • El Salvador Community
  • Vladimir and Susan (Pan American Social Marketing Organization)
  • Food insecure HIV+ MSM Recipients

Grantee Bio: Marvin Crespin-Gamez is a 2nd year Masters of Public Health candidate in the Health and Social Behavior Program at UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Before coming to the MPH program, Marvin worked in Senator Gillibrand's (D-NY) team that served her role in the Senate's Armed Services Committee. Additionally, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal working on a USAID Food Security Project. Post graduation, Marvin will enter the Foreign Service with USAID and work as a Technical Health Officer for the agency's Bureau of Global Health.

School of Public Health (SPH) Student Research Forum

SPH Research Forum

The SPH Student Research Forum serves to provide an avenue where SPH graduate students can come together to talk about their research, network with internal and external professionals, engage in collaboration and community support. The goal is to feature 2-3 speakers at each event, and each speaker would have 10-15 minutes to present their research. Time would be left at the end for the audience to ask questions, mingle, and connect with the presenters.

Key Participants:
Suzanne Dufault, MPH(c)
SPH Student Government
Public Health Alumni Association

Grantee Bio: Madelena Ng is a 1st year Doctor of Public Health candidate at UC Berkeley School of Public Health. She has a MPH in Epidemiology and BS in Neuroscience from UCLA. Before coming to Cal, she worked as a Protocol Project Manager at UCSF where she managed the operations of a web-based cardiovascular cohort study with over 100,000 participants. Her research interests include evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of internet-based clinical research studies in accelerating discovery, racial/ethnic minority representation, and upholding data standards.

Past recipients of Leaders-in-Action Grants have applied funds towards activities related but not limited to community service, health education, presentations, and workshops:

2016 Grantees

Help A Sista' Out - Linking transgender inmates with culturally appropriate health and well-being services upon their release from jail.

Black Youth in Action - Engaging African American/Black adolescents to find ways to address tensions between the black community and society as a whole in a positive manner.

Therapeutic Yoga for Public Health Students - Yoga for Public Health graduate students, tailored to the unique stresses of public health classes and graduate school.

Cooking Simplified Student Food Insecurity Focus Groups Understanding how students cope with food access and food insecurity issues.

 2015 Grantees:

Healthy Bears Take the Stairs
Healthy Bears Take the Stairs is a health and sustainability campaign in University Hall (U-Hall) that aims to reduce electricity consumption by promoting taking the stairs instead of elevators, and to increase physical activity among those who work and study in U-Hall. Visit their Facebook page to learn more.

Contact: Isabelle Thibau

Mentors in Public Health
The Mentors in Public Health program is led by the student organization Multicultural Health in Action (MHIA).
Contact: Xenia Shih, xenia.shih@berkeley.edu


OUSD Garden Renovations
More information on this project coming soon!
Contact:Margareta Brandt


Borderland Practice
More information on this project coming soon!
Contact: Adrianna Alexandrian

 2014 Grantees:

Eliminate the Stigma Week aimed to change the attitudes and discriminatory behaviors associated with mental health problems by creating fun and interactive events for students to participate in, while at the same time introducing them to campus resources to help with any stress. Eliminate the Stigma Week included activities such as a mental health discussion, De-Stress Fest, a movie screening, Unspoken Stories, and a Stamp Out Stigma Run.

Fruit Access at Goldman School of Public Policy (GSPP) aimed to change internalized personal beliefs by changing the social and physical environment around healthy food. Based on research that indicated that a fruit access program in the form of weekly fruit delivery directly to a common space may improve the health habits of students, faculty, and staff, the Fruit Access at GSPP fostered a better working environment and created a stepping-stone for further health improvements at GSPP and within the broader UCB community.

Apply 'Design Thinking' to Public Health Workshop aimed to introduce SPH students to the methodology of 'design thinking' through fun, hands-on activities. Guest speakers who have worked with design thinking methodology shared their practical experiences, and the workshop's activities were drawn from UCB members' experiences working at companies like Google, Microsoft, and IDEO. The workshop provided School of Public Health students with a fresh and useful set of tools they could draw upon to implement health interventions from a design thinking perspective.

Current Board Members:
Chrissy Badaracco, Public Health Nutrition
Lauren Caton, Maternal and Child Health
Caity Connolly, Health Policy and Management
Daniela Flores, Public Health Nutrition
Elise Harb, Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Brittany Margot, Maternal and Child Health
Hmelissa Mlo, Maternal and Child Health
Simone Saldanha, Public Health Nutrition

Current Committee Members:
Chloe Balma, Health Policy and Management
Erika Brown, Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Caren Chen, Health Policy and Management
Erica Madero, Health and Social Behavior
Andrea Martinez, Health Policy and Management
Hmelissa Mlo, Maternal and Child Health
Amelia Plant, Maternal and Child Health
Maggie Rasnake, Public Health Nutrition
Simone Saldanha, Public Health Nutrition
Ina Zhang, Infections Disease and Vaccinology

Questions? Please email scil@berkeley.edu