Corner Store Makeovers in East Los Angeles: Improving Healthy Food Access

Principal Investigators: Alexander N. Ortega, CSRC associate director, professor of Health Policy and Management, and director, Center for Population Health and Health Disparities; Deborah Glik, ScD; Michael Prelip, DPA, MPH, CHES, CPH

Description: This project, led by Alex Ortega, CSRC Associate Director and professor of Health Policy at the Fielding School of Public Health, developed out of a P50 grant Ortega received from the National Institutes of Health to establish the UCLA Center for Population Health and Health Disparities. Ortega partnered with the CSRC for a study addressing food access disparities in East Los Angeles. Seeking to 'make over' four corner stores, a common venue for food purchasing, the research team partnered with store owners to expand offerings of fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy food, increase healthy food marketing in stores, and improve the stores' visibility in the community. The research team also partnered with youth at a local high school to create and distribute outreach and education materials for community members about healthy food purchasing, preparation, and eating. By partnering with both stores and the community, the hope was to make over not only the stores, but also expand the market for healthy food in East L.A. While the project was data-driven, it involved a collaborative strategy with community members to change eating habits and reduce disease risk among the area's dominant Latino population, which is plagued by high rates of obesity-related chronic diseases. Obesity stands as one of the nation's most significant public health problems.

Funders: National Institutes of Health, California Endowment, Goldhirsch Foundation

Media Coverage:
"You Can Now Buy Quinoa at 7-Eleven--Is That a Good Thing?" (PDF)
Takepart, October 2, 2014
"High School Students Respond to Public Health Challenge"
UCLA Fielding School of Public Health website, March 31, 2014 (PDF)
"It Takes More Than a Produce Aisle to Refresh a Food Desert"
NPR, The Salt, February 10, 2014 (PDF)
"Diabetes, Cost of Health Care Top Health Concerns for Latinos"
NPR, Morning Edition, January 21, 2014 (PDF)
"Market Makeover: Euclid Market Transformation"
KCET, ArtBound, December 12, 2013 (PDF)
"Market Makeover: Transforming Boyle Heights' Sociedad and Euclid Stores"
KCET, ArtBound, November 22, 2013 (PDF)
"Aspen Challenge LA: Challenge 1 - Alex Ortega, Professor, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health" 
February 8, 2014 (YouTube)
"The State of L.A.'s Plate"
A Zócalo/UCLA event, November 18, 2013 (PDF)