Reach the Decision Makers 2024-25 Cohort

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Please read the following application information carefully. You can also download this information as a pdf.

Miss the informational webinar? Check out the recording and slides here.


Reach the Decision Makers (Reach) is a year-long program that increases the capacity of participants to understand and use the best environmental health science to promote science-based health standards and policy in California. Reach emphasizes the importance of learning by doing. Participants develop the tools and skills to effectively engage key offices and staff members within California Agencies and contribute to immediate and lasting changes in environmental health policy. We encourage both individuals and pre-formed teams to apply.

  • Participants must live in the San Francisco Bay Area, Modesto, Merced, or Fresno regions. See additional requirements here.
  • Pre-formed team. This could be an existing coalition or any group of individuals who want to form a team of four to six individuals.  However, teams must include a diverse mix of community-based leaders, researchers, health care professionals, and public health professionals.
  • Individuals. Researchers, community-based leaders, public health professionals, and health care professionals with experience in public health, environmental health, and/or medicine are encouraged to apply and will be assigned to a multidisciplinary team.


Reach's History

EaRTH's sister program, PRHE, ran the Reach program from 2010-2017, offering this opportunity at the federal level, and the program was a great success. To date, the Reach the Decision Makers program has trained over 100 scientists, community members, public health professionals and clinicians, many of whom have pursued successful careers in medicine, academia, and public health.


Deadline for applications: Monday, March 11, 2024 by 12 pm PST

Selection notice to applicants: Wednesday, March 27, 2024


Application Information

To Apply

Please carefully read the following application information that includes eligibility, participant requirements, key program dates and participation costs.

The deadline for applications is Monday, March 11, 2024.  Applicants must apply via the Google Form. If you are applying as a pre-formed team, each person must submit an application and then select one person from your team to send an email to [email protected] to provide the list of all members applying as part of your team. Applicants will be selected through a competitive application process. The selection committee will review all completed applications and will interview a selection of finalists. Applicants will be contacted by email on Wednesday, March 27, 2024 to inform them of the committee’s final decision.

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Program Overview


Participants in the program should expect to commit roughly 150 hours (including in-person travel) over the course of the coming year. The program has the following components:

  1. Initial In-Person Training and Subsequent Zoom Educational Seminars

Participants will meet in San Francisco, CA at the beginning of the program. This in-person meeting is required. Participants will then participate via Zoom throughout the duration of the program for interactive learning sessions. The trainings will address issues related to environmental health science and public policy, including how to work with the state government, understanding the role of science in public health decision-making, team building and leadership, and how communities can use science to improve community health and well-being.

  1. Mentored Team-Learning Groups

Teams will work together, with support from a mentor and program staff to research and develop a policy project that addresses a pressing environmental or reproductive health issue that is under the jurisdiction of the California State Government.

  1. Team Policy Project

Each team will choose their own policy project as the basis of their engagement with the California State Government at an in-person Sacramento, CA meeting or other location as appropriate on a date chosen by the team within the months of September – November 2024. Example projects.


Cost of Participation

This project is made possible through a NIEHS-funded P30 Environmental Health Sciences Core Center grant. Out-of-pocket costs to participants are expected to be minimal beyond the time commitment required for participation. 

  • Travel, housing, and meals for the in-person meeting with policy makers in Sacramento, CA will be covered by the program.
  • Participants will receive a $500 stipend at the completion of all program requirements to offset costs of participation.
  • Participants will be required to have time during the workday (paid time or time off) to participate in the program.
  • Some incidental costs should be expected (computer time, internet, etc.)
  • Travel to and from the in-person orientation in San Francisco is not covered by this program. Meals will be provided for the San Francisco orientation. Travel scholarships are available for participants located >50 miles from San Francisco Bay Area.
  • Webinars will be held via Zoom.


Reach Program Dates

We have updated the following program dates as of 04/01/24. All Webinar sessions are held on Wednesdays from 9:00 – 11:00 am PT, unless stated otherwise:

February 21, 2024            Information calls for Applicants

March 11, 2024                Application deadline

March 27, 2024                Send selection notice emails

April 24, 2024                   Reach Kick-Off Call (introductory webinar), 12pm-1pm PT

May 7-8, 2024                  In-person orientation & dinner at UCSF Mission Bay

June 12, 2024                  Webinar #1

July 17, 2024                    Webinar #2

August 14, 2024               Webinar #3

September 18, 2024         Webinar #4

October 16, 2024              Webinar #5

November 13, 2024           Webinar #6

December 18, 2024           Webinar #7

January 15, 2025               Sacramento Prep Meeting & Q&A Session with Reach Staff

February - March, 2025     Practicum (teams meet in-person with CalEPA staff)*

April 28, 2025                     Team report-backs, in-person at UCSF Mission Bay

*meetings to be scheduled directly by teams


Program Eligibility

Individuals and pre-formed teams will be chosen for the Reach program based on the following criteria:

  • Previous experience in or knowledge of environmental health
  • Interest in environmental health and science policy, with emphasis on vulnerable populations (e.g. pregnant people, children, etc.)
  • Commitment to participant requirements (see below)
  • Organizational support/agreement for participation (if employed)
  • Match with program model, especially history of working well in collaborations


Additionally, participant selection will be made to ensure that each cohort meets the following criteria:

  • Balanced mix of community-based leaders, researchers, health care professionals, public health experts
  • Range of experience (from none to high) in public policy
  • Diversity of people who serve and/or represent populations impacted by California State Government decision-making in the field of environmental health
  • Diversity of experience (from students to seasoned professionals)
  • Mix of emerging vs. established community organizations


Participant Requirements

  1. Participants must live in the San Francisco Bay Area, Modesto, Merced, or Fresno regions.
  2. Be a community member, researcher/scientist, public health expert, or health care professional with experience and interest in environmental health and a desire to advance public policy at the California State Government in the field of environmental health.
  3. If representing an organization, you should have the full support of the organization, including the board of directors, to participate in Reach and spend staff time working on a policy project.
  4. Be committed and available to attend all webinars and in-person meetings, including the team meeting with the California State Government, for the full time of each training/meeting, including during daytime and evening hours.
  5. Be willing to work on a team with others who have similar interests, collectively develop a policy project, and actively work on the project even if it is not completely within you or your organization’s priorities.
  6. Be comfortable working with others through telephone and conference calls, webinars, and email.
  7. Be willing to share the workload with the rest of your team and commit the amount of time necessary to accomplish your chosen project.
  8. Be comfortable communicating in English (reading, writing, & speaking) with team members, policy makers, and other external stakeholders.
  9. Be willing to bridge differences in personalities and styles to collaborate successfully as a team.
  10. Have an e-mail account that you can check daily, access to a computer with internet and video conferencing capabilities. If you have trouble accessing these resources, please reach out to the Reach program coordinator.
  11. Be willing to communicate with EaRTH if barriers to participation exist.
  12. Practice professional conduct at all times while participating in Reach the Decision Makers and while engaging with government employees and other participants.
  13. Be willing to provide feedback to EaRTH on your experiences with Reach the Decision Makers through periodic evaluations during and after the close of the program.
  14. Be willing and prepared to engage after your participation in the network of Reach participants and alums to continue advancing science-based environmental policies.
  15. Be able to attend at least 80% of all the webinars (i.e. miss no more than 2) and attend the team meeting in Sacramento, CA to receive the stipend at the end of the program.


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