Diane Gaspard is Chief of Community Health Services.
Diane joined South Los Angeles Health Projects in 1993 as project coordinator of the Perinatal Outreach and Education Program (1993-2003). While the programs she has headed have changed over time, her goal to eliminate health disparities in underserved communities has been common to them all.
During high school, a family member’s challenge with morbid obesity triggered an intense interest in nutrition, health and physical fitness. She earned a master’s degree in home economics with a focus on food and nutrition from Cal State LA and became a registered dietitian.
South LA Health Projects added more community services in the late 1990s, among them the South Los Angeles Immunization Project (1994 -2010) and the Black Infant Health Program (1997-2005), which later included a parenting education intervention (2000-2002). Diane was project manager of the Black Infant Health Program until 2003, when she left our agency to serve the community in other ways.
In 2008 Diane returned to head our Community Health Services Department.
Most recently she and other team members wrote successful grant proposals for two new programs, the Healthy Families America Home Visitation Program and Choose Health LA Kids. Diane and her staff are beginning to implement these programs.
In conjunction with our agency staff and individuals representing other organizations, Diane has formed the South LA Wellness Network, which now is assisting health professionals to more effectively carry out their programs.
In 2005 Diane took the reins of the South Los Angeles Best Babies Collaborative(2005-2013), for which we were the lead agency. For five years, beginning in 2008, she managed the Immunize LA Families project (2008-2012).
Diane’s efforts and those of her staff resulted in improved interconception practices among our South Los Angeles Best Babies Collaborative (SLABBC) participants and better birth outcomes for their infants.
Diane and her staff have also strongly promoted greater acceptance of immunization. Through Immunize LA Families, Diane and her staff focused on promoting vaccination against the flu and pneumonia among adults in the community.
At our WIC centers, she and her staff continue to encourage not only immunization against the flu for pregnant women and children, but also immunization against all the childhood diseases.
Diane has been active in Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH), a federally funded CDC initiative for eliminating racial and ethnic disparities. Her REACH involvement has extended from Immunize LA Families to her work with the California REACH Coalition, to her efforts as a board member of the National REACH Coalition.
Diane has coordinated efforts to train a number of SLAHP staff to create what are called “digital stories.” These are first person oral narratives with pictures–digital videos. The personal stories of program participants, other community members and staff, usually on a health-related topic, have been recorded and later used to educate and inspire others.
A skillful still photographer, Diane has documented special “wellness activities” of our staff and participants.