Community Health Insights

CHI is a team of innovative professionals committed to a future that enhances the health and well-being of communities. We provide research and consulting services to not-for-profit organizations and groups. Our research delivers clear, reliable, and actionable assessments of community needs, as well as evidence-based solutions to develop programs and services that have demonstrated impact. Our consulting services build the capacity and impact of both individual organizations as well as starting and functioning coalitions/collaborative groups. Our approach is to work together with organizations and community partners to support actions that deliver measurable improvements to advance institutional practices and policies, which reinforce and sustain vital improvements at the community level.

Dale Ainsworth, PhD, MSOD



Dr. Dale Ainsworth has worked and practiced in a variety of industries, communities, and non-profit settings in leadership and consultant roles focused on enhancing quality of life and organizational effectiveness through the application of community and organization development practices. He is an accomplished large and small group facilitator with experience in a variety of cultural settings. Before his roles as an educator and consultant, Dale served in several senior leadership roles, leading organizations through large-scale change efforts.


Dale holds a Master of Science degree from Pepperdine University in Organization Development, and a PhD degree from Saybrook University in Organizational Systems where his research focused on developing groups and teams to lead transitions in organizational and community settings. Dale continues to research and lead efforts to develop capacity in collaborative structures, where multiple organizations chose to work together to accomplish a common, large-scale goal.


Dale is a faculty member at California State University, Sacramento in the Health Science department. He also serves as adjunct faculty for Pepperdine University’s masters degree program in organization development. Dale is a published author, and frequently presents to audiences on the topic of collaboration as a means to address large-scale issues and intractable problems.

Heather Diaz, DrPH, MPH


Heather is an Associate Professor of Health Science at California State University, Sacramento. She holds both a Doctorate of Public Health in Preventive Health and a Masters in Public Health in Health Education and Promotion from Loma Linda University. She is a published author and has served as a consultant to local health systems and non-profits for more than 12 years.


As a practice based public health researcher her work on public health projects and assessments for underserved communities is extensive. She has  worked with many different organizations and projects all over California. Such organizations include: First 5, West End Community Action Network, California Wellness Taskforce, Public Health Institute, California Cancer Protection Program, Sierra Health Foundation, Valley Vision, Sutter Health, Kaiser Permanente, Dignity Health and UC Davis Health Systems.


Heather grew up in South Lake Tahoe, CA and loves her hometown. She is usually known for fighting for the underdog, the underserved and the less privileged. She is strong willed and inspired by personal growth, self-reflection and vulnerability. She never misses her kids sporting events and loves very expensive coffee.

Matt Schmidtlein, PhD


Mathew Schmidtlein is an Associate Professor of Geography at Sacramento State University.  In 2008 he earned his PhD in Geography from the University of South Carolina.  Matt has taught at Sacramento State since 2008, covering topics including quantitative analysis methods, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and social interactions with hazard events.  His research and practice primarily focus on the application of spatial and non-spatial data analytic approaches to understand how underserved communities are negatively impacted by threats as diverse as natural hazards and poor health.  These approaches include data management, exploration, visualization, quantitative analysis, and the application of GIS to understand and analyze spatial patterns and relationships.  He has applied these skills to understand social impacts in multiple hazard contexts including train derailments (2005), hurricanes (2007, 2015), tsunamis (2012-2015) and wildfire (2013).  His work includes assessment of existing and development of new approaches to model these social impacts in both hazard and public health contexts, and has collaborated with research partners from local non-profits, as well as the state and federal government, resulting in approaches that have been adopted internationally.  Since 2008, he has served as a social science consultant on over 30 community health needs assessments conducted on behalf of hospitals in communities throughout Northern California.


Matt grew up the son of a serviceman, and spent his childhood living throughout the US and the world.  It was likely this exposure that developed his interest in people, places, and cultures that led him to geography.  His interest in hazards came after the events of Sept. 11, 2001, when he realized that spatial tools and perspectives could be applied to better understanding extreme events and lead to more resilient communities.  These same perspectives and approaches can also be used to understand chronic issues such as poor health.  He enjoys working collaboratively with others similarly interested in improving and promoting community wellbeing.

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