Rachel A. Davis Appointed New Executive Director of Prevention Institute
Manal J. Aboelata, Founder of Prevention Institute’s Los Angeles Office, Becomes Deputy Executive Director
Oakland, CA—Rachel A. Davis, longtime managing director at the national nonprofit Prevention Institute, has been named the organization’s executive director, the board of directors announced today. Manal J. Aboelata, Prevention Institute’s managing director in Los Angeles, became the organization’s deputy executive director.
"In their commitment to justice, equity, and community, Rachel Davis and Manal Aboelata embody the values that underlie the work that we do as an organization. We are proud to have these two incredible women leading Prevention Institute at a time when the work we do matters more than ever,” said Board President Kalahn Taylor-Clark.
Davis has played a key role at the organization since its founding 21 years ago, shaping Prevention Institute’s approach and guiding innovative initiatives aimed at promoting community health and safety, health equity, and mental health and wellbeing. She has influenced state and federal policies and programs on violence prevention, community safety, health equity, and public health generally.
“Achieving health equity by powering community-level efforts to prevent illness and injury before they occur is the heart and soul of Prevention Institute and will continue to be at our core as our organization transitions into its next phase,” Davis said. “Our communities are facing significant challenges today–a changing climate, the mounting toll of diseases of despair, increasing inequality, and hate-fueled violence and rhetoric that threatens communities that have been the most marginalized. In times like these, nothing could be more important than working together to ensure health, safety, and wellbeing for everyone. No exceptions.”
Aboelata is a public health scientist and national health equity leader who has worked on issues ranging from access to healthy food and physical activity opportunities to healthy and equitable land use.
“One of our fundamental goals is to achieve health equity,” Aboelata said. “To succeed, we must also strive toward racial justice and all forms of social equity. We are partnering with people across the country in health departments, government agencies, foundations, and community-based organizations to strengthen our collective efforts until all people have the resources, opportunities, and conditions they need to thrive and live healthy and safe lives.”
Prevention Institute is a national nonprofit with offices in Oakland, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. Its mission is to build prevention and health equity into key policies and actions at the federal, state, local, and organizational level to ensure that the places where all people live, work, play and learn foster health, safety, and wellbeing. Since 1997, Prevention Institute has partnered with communities, local government entities, foundations, multiple sectors, and public health agencies to bring cutting-edge research, practice, strategy, and analysis to the pressing health and safety concerns of the day. We have applied our approach to injury and violence prevention, healthy eating and active living, land use, health systems transformation, and mental health and wellbeing, among other issues.
Bios for Rachel A. Davis and Manal J. Aboelata are below.
Rachel A. Davis
Rachel Davis was motivated to co-found Prevention Institute after working as a social worker with young people in Philadelphia, San Rafael, and San Francisco, where she witnessed a systemic failure to prevent children and young people from being harmed and to help them, their families, and communities first avert and secondly recover from trauma.
At Prevention Institute, she developed and has overseen the organization’s work on violence prevention and mental health. She led UNITY (Urban Networks to Increase Thriving Youth through Violence Prevention), Prevention Institute's CDC-seeded national initiative to strengthen and support the largest US cities in more effectively preventing violence. She co-developed THRIVE (Tool for Health and Resilience in Vulnerable Environments), an interactive tool to help identify and foster factors in the community environment that improve health outcomes and reduce inequity. Davis is also the author and co-author of numerous publications, including, most recently, “From Adverse Childhood Experiences to Adverse Community Experiences: Addressing and Preventing Community Trauma” (in Violence and Trauma in the Lives of Children, edited by Joy Osofsky & Betsy McAlister Groves, Praeger Press) and Countering the Production of Health Inequities: An Emerging Systems Framework to Achieve an Equitable Culture of Health.
Davis serves on numerous advisory bodies and steering committees, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Violence Prevention Action Council and the Division of Violence Prevention’s Policy Network; the National Advisory Committee of the HOPE Measures Project to develop a National Health Equity Index; and the steering committee for the Essentials for Childhood Initiative of the California Department of Public Health. She also represents Prevention Institute on the Global Violence Prevention Alliance of the World Health Organization.
Davis holds a master’s degree in social welfare from the University of California, Berkeley.
Manal J. Aboelata
Manal J. Aboelata joined Prevention Institute in 1998 and currently leads the organization’s Los Angeles office, which is located in Leimert Park. Her work emphasizes policy and community-based approaches, and demonstrates an overarching commitment to working with under-resourced communities to foster health and safety.
For ten years, Aboelata provided leadership and direction to the Strategic Alliance for Healthy Food and Activity Environments, a statewide network of over 900 members working to prevent chronic disease through a focus on built environment and food policy in California. She founded and chaired California’s Joint Use Statewide Taskforce (JUST) to increase neighborhood-level access to school playgrounds through agreements between school districts and local governments. She currently oversees Prevention Institute’s California Community Prevention and Health Equity Strategy and convenes and facilitates the Healthy, Equitable, and Active Land Use (HEALU) Network, a Los Angeles-based collaborative transforming the norms and culture of land use and planning so that residents are involved in proactively envisioning, planning, and overseeing the creation of healthy, equitable neighborhood environments.
Aboelata is the author of numerous publications, including Healthy Development Without Displacement: Realizing the Vision of Healthy Communities for all; The Built Environment and Health: 11 Profiles of Neighborhood Transformation; and A Decade of Advocacy: The Strategic Alliance for Healthy Food and Activity Environments.
She holds a master’s degree in public health (epidemiology) from the University of California, Los Angeles. In 2009, she was inducted into the UCLA School of Public Health Alumni Hall of Fame. In 2017, she was awarded a Stanton Fellowship from the Durfee Foundation.
Andrea Buffa, firstname.lastname@example.org, 510.325.3653.