CSU Fresno

Central Valley Health Policy Institute (CVHPI)

The CALPACT program at the Central Valley Health Policy Institute (CVHPI) California State University Fresno (Fresno State) provides an opportunity for public health professionals, community leaders, and graduate students to develop leadership skills and perspectives.

We facilitate skill-building on using data to help frame compelling policy and systems change initiatives and model the application of multicultural dialogue and collaborative community problem solving. We encourage knowledge and network building across the full spectrum of public health challenges.

For more information about CVHPI please visit our website.


The San Joaquin Valley experiences some of the worst health outcomes in the state in large part because of remarkable inequalities in outcomes by location, race/ethnicity/nativity and insurance states. These health inequities are exacerbated by limited access to specialty care, high rates of uninsured, and serious environmental and community development health issues.

Because of its vast geography, public health practitioners and advocates have often worked in isolation from their colleagues within the region and the state. Even before the recent recession and reductions in public health funding, the region’s small and under-resourced health departments often call on staff to fulfill roles beyond their training and have created too few opportunities for staff to learn about new and emerging strategies for successfully protecting the public’s health.

It is only recently that in-depth epidemiological and program assessment data have been available for the region, and many of the public health agency staffs, safety net providers, and health advocates have not had the chance to explore the implications of these data for practice. Because of the region’s remarkable racial/ethnic diversity, strong network of community organizations, and emerging progressive leadership, public health advocates need new skills in using data and in working collaboratively with community representatives around the full spectrum of public health challenges.

Our Mission:

Improve equity in health and healthcare by developing the region's capacity for policy analysis and program development, implementation and evaluation through integrating and leveraging the resources of California State University, Fresno and the institutions and communities of the San Joaquin Valley.

Learn more about our programs/services and research priority areas here.




Executive Director, John Capitman, Ph.D.

John Capitman

John Capitman, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of the Central Valley Health Policy Institute and Nickerson Professor of Public Health at California State University Fresno. Capitman leads Institute activities in applied health research, policy analysis, technical assistance, and education. Dr. Capitman has served as PI and Co-PI on numerous federal, state and foundation service and research projects. He has an extensive track record of publications in the peer-reviewed health services research and policy journals.  His current research focuses on how social, economic, and environmental factors influence population health in the San Joaquin Valley and increasing the capacity of local organizations to address these factors. Capitman also co-facilitates the Health Policy Leadership Program and teaches about rural health and health disparities. Capitman also serves on the Governing Board of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. 

Before joining CVHPI, Capitman was directed a research program on race/ethnicity, age, and gender at the Schneider Institute for Health Policy, Heller School, Brandeis University. He was PI for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)evidence review on racial/ethnic disparities in cancer care among elders and lead the AOA National Resource Center on Diversity and Eldercare. He has published extensively on racial/ethnic differences in accessing Medicare and Medicaid services and lead or participated in evaluations of numerous CMS demonstration projects.

Capitman received his BA, Magna Cum Laude in Linguistics and Philosophy from Yale University in 1976 and his PhD in Social Psychology from Duke University in 1980. He recieved post-doctoral training as a Gerontological Society Research Fellow, State of California, Department of Health Services, Division of Long-Term Care, Sacramento, California. 

John A. Capitman, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Central Valley Health Policy Institute
Phone: (559) 228-2157
Fax: (559) 228-2168
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Research Director, Marlene Bengiman, Ph.D.

Marlene I. Bengiamin, Ph.D., is the Research Director at Central Valley Health Policy Institute (CVHPI) California State University, Fresno. Dr. Bengiamin  received a Master of Arts in Medical Sociology, a dual Majors in Sociology/Management from the University of North Dakota, and a Ph.D. in Research Methodologies in Education from the University of North Dakota with an emphasis on Measurement and Assessment. Dr. Bengiamin brings an extensive background in research methodologies and education with over 20 years of experience in multicultural education and cultural competency, and has lectured extensively on research methodology. She has published in peer-reviewed journals internationally, nationally, and regionally on topics that include incorporating cultural sensitivity and competence into nursing education curriculum, and transcultural health care. 

Dr. Bengiamin has a long history of speaking in various settings in an effort to advance the knowledge and understanding of the impact of racial/ethnic disparities on health. She is determined to make a meaningful difference in the lives of underserved populations.

As a Senior Research Associate with the Central Valley Health Policy Institute, Dr. Bengiamin's current work includes analysis of vital San Joaquin Valley health challenges such as adequacy and quality of health care for uninsured and underinsured adults, adequacy of prenatal care, environmental influences on health, social determinants of rural/urban disparities, regional health policy leadership development, and health professional shortages. Before joining the CVHPI in 2005, Dr. Bengiamin was teaching graduate level research and statistics with an emphasis on psychometrics, data management, and analysis of knowledge data in the Kremen School of Education and Human Development at California State University, Fresno.

Marlene Bengiamin, Ph.D.
Senior Research Associate
Central Valley Health Policy Institute
Phone: (559) 228-2167
Fax: (559) 228-2168
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