The number one nutritional problem in the U.S., childhood obesity, is associated with exponential increases in life-threatening health problems. The Sanos y Fuertes (Healthy and Strong) project will establish a permanent graduate certificate in Latino Health and Nutrition Education at CSULB. The program’s goal is to enhance graduate student preparedness to envision, design, implement, and evaluate health-related, community-based, participatory research information about interventions to address childhood obesity. Thirty-five bilingual/bicultural Latino health professionals are receiving specific training, tools, and skills needed to provide culturally and linguistically relevant and science-based childhood nutrition, overweight and obesity education, and chronic disease prevention to Latino communities.
Interested in becoming a Graduate Research Fellow? Applications are DUE March 26, 2014. Download the Graduate Research Fellow Application now.


  • Britt Rios-Ellis, PhD
  • Co-Principal Investigator
  • britt.rios-ellis@csulb.edu
  • Mara Bird, PhD
  • Research and Training Coordinator
  • mara.bird@csulb.edu
  • Dr. Gino Galvez, Ph.D
  • Co-Investigator
  • gino.galvez@csulb.edu
  • Dr. Selena Nguyen-Rodriguez, Ph.D
  • Evaluator
  • drstnr@gmail.com
  • Dr. Gail Frank, PhD
  • Co-Principal Investagator
  • gail.frank@csulb.edu
  • Natalia Gatdula
  • Director of Community-Based Programs
  • natalia.gatdula@csulb.edu
  • Erika Bonilla
  • Intervention Supervisor
  • erika.bonilla@csulb.edu
  • Toni Espinoza-Ferrell, MPH
  • Curriculum Development Coordinator
  • Toni.Espinoza-Ferrell@csulb.edu
  • Lizette Alvarez
  • Graduate Research Fellow
  • ms.lizettealvarez@gmail.com
  • Rita Heng
  • Gradute Research Fellow
  • rita.heng@student.csulb.edu
  • Nancy Lopez
  • Graduate Research Fellow
  • NancyLopez85@gmail.com
  • Cristian Quiroz
  • Graduate Research Fellow
  • Cristian.Quiroz@student.csulb.edu
  • Minerva Torres
  • Gradute Research Fellow
  • minerva.torres@student.csulb.edu
  • Lupita Cardenas
  • Graduate Research Fellow
  • Lupitagcc@gmail.com
  • Safieh Ajine
  • Graduate Research Fellow
  • s.ajine@gmail.com

Promotoras de Salud / Community Health Workers

  • Maria Cristina Chaple
  • maria.chaple@csulb.edu
  • Concepcion Garcia
  • c.garcia@csulb.edu
  • Virginia Mata
  • virgim42@yahoo.com
  • Maricela Parga
  • maricela.parga@csulb.edu


  1. Provide 35 graduate fellowship opportunities to prepare participating students for careers leading to improvements in health, nutrition, and reduction of obesity among Latinos
  2. Institutionalize a 6-course graduate level Latino Health and Nutrition Studies Certificate
  3. Create a culturally and linguistically relevant Sanos y Fuertes toolkit to be administered to 375 Latino families with children ages 2-8