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Institute for Public Strategies unveils next generation vision, mission, core values under new CEO/President

New corporate website also launched in October 2020 at

SAN DIEGO, October 2020 —The Institute for Public Strategies (IPS), a San Diego-based public health organization, has led upstream prevention projects across the United States and in Mexico since 1992. IPS currently directs multiple government- and foundation-funded projects throughout Southern California, with offices in San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino Counties.

IPS’s new mission – created with an understanding that most health disparities stem from unjust community and social conditions — is to work alongside communities to build power, challenge systems of inequity, protect health, and improve quality of life.

Brenda SimmonsEquity is listed first among IPS’s core values, which also include diversity, empowerment, systems change, results, and integrity.

“Equity is not a path forward, it is the path forward,” CEO/President Brenda Simmons said. “We are committed to transforming the social determinants of health so that all individuals, regardless of their race, culture, economic circumstances, sexual orientation, gender identity, or educational attainment, have the opportunity to live their best lives.”

Simmons was promoted to lead IPS in April 2019 after founding CEO/President James Baker transitioned to the chairman of the board of directors.

Simmons joined IPS in 2003 as a community organizer in San Diego County and worked her way up the ranks. Her broad range of experience includes leading state-, county-, and city-wide projects in places like Montana, Los Angeles, and West Hollywood, as well as managing the IPS-led San Diego-Tijuana Border Underage Drinking Project, a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) model program.

The Montana native has been involved in projects focused on substance abuse prevention, community revitalization, and child sex trafficking. Simmons earned a Master’s in Communication at San Diego State University and a Bachelor’s in Communication at the University of Montana.

“The Institute for Public Strategies partners with communities to advance quality of life,” Simmons said. “Together, we work to transform the conditions and systems that perpetuate inequity, poor health, and lack of opportunity in order to create vital, thriving, and inclusive communities.”

The new IPS vision is for safe, secure, vibrant, and healthy communities where everyone can thrive.

Launched in 1992, IPS originally focused on providing media advocacy services and training and technical assistance. Over time, IPS began operating its own projects, performing prevention implementation on large research initiatives and providing technical assistance and training to many government agencies and program operators across the nation.

IPS has emerged as a leader in program design and implementation of “environmental” or “upstream” prevention in the public health and safety field, having worked in dozens of state-, county-, and community-level projects, including the Community Trials to Reduce Alcohol Trauma project and the American Medical Association-led A Matter Of Degree (AMOD) – a college-community alcohol and binge drinking prevention program.

IPS’s expansive body of innovative work continues today. IPS has over 35 employees and offices in multiple California cities, as well as in Montana.

“What IPS is most proud of now is our community partnerships with other like-minded agencies doing similar work, as well as with our funders,” said Simmons. “These partnerships allow us to do our best work and to make a difference.”