About Us

Kalusugan + Kalakasan has been serving the community for several years. Our goal is to help Filipino Americans and other underserved groups find the path to good health and total wellness through community education and service, advocacy, research and training (CART).

Kalusugan + Kalakasan is a nonprofit, multi-service organization providing high-quality, professional services by implementing programs that promote health and total wellness through positive changes in lifestyle and the environment making our community a better place to live. We have taken a leadership role as a dynamic, forward-thinking organization by responding to the needs of the changing community.


1992 to 1995 – Kalusugan was founded as Project Kalusugan (Good Health) in 1992 to develop a coalition and conduct a needs assessment of the FilAm community. It was incorporated as a 501(c)3 in 1995 and changed its name to Kalusugan Community Services.

1996 to 2001 – Since then, the organization has obtained many grants to implement programs that reduce risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, gout/arthritis and mental health problems of youth. This included NUTRI-FIT, California 5-a Day Power Play Campaign, Project LEAN, and Siglang Buhay Cancer Prevention Project. Major funders were: California Department of Health Services, Cancer Prevention Project and San Diego Health and Human Services Agency.

It has obtained over $ 5 M at this time through grant writing and fund raising efforts.  The founders are Dr. Riz A. Oades, Professor Emeritus of History at San Diego State University, Dr. Ofelia Dirige, faculty member of the Center for Asian Pacific Studies and Graduate School of Public Health, SDSU, and Paul Ones, former Chairperson of the Council of Philippine American Organizations (COPAO) and business entrepreneur.

2002- 2009 – KCS opened the Filipino American Wellness Center (FWC) in 2002 and  developed a comprehensive integrated program on health promotion and disease prevention. The major components as it exists today are:  Community Service & Education, Advocacy, Research, and Training (CART). The Center was mainly developed through grants from The California Endowment (TCE) and The California Wellness Foundation (TCWF). The organization implemented many health and wellness programs at this time and garnered support from many organizations.

A major project was the “Healthy Eating Active Living Campaign (HEAL)” in which staff worked with Filipino American restaurant and grocery store owners in National City and Mira Mesa to increase healthy options served or sold. It was also at this time beginning 2007, that KCS was the fiscal sponsor of the annual Filipino American Arts and Cultural Festival (FilAmFest) for 8 years funded by the SD Commission for Arts and Culture and the SD County Enhancement Program. The Kuya Ate Mentoring Program (KAMP) was also sponsored by KCS for three years. Dr. Riz Oades, Co-Founder, passed away in 2009 and Dr. Dirige took over as the President and CEO from 2010 to the present.

2010 to 2015 – This was a time of transition and financial hardship due to the economic recession and loss of our Founder, Dr. Oades. The situation led to the sale of the FWC and move to a smaller location sharing with the Asian Journal office. As we were also in the midst of strategic planning, it was an opportunity to rethink the vision and mission to be consistent with the changing environment due to cultural diversity, technology, economy, rise of the millennial generation and climate changes. Thus, KCS was at a New Beginning and created a new name, (Kalusugan + Kalakasan: Center for Health & Wellness), and renewed vision, mission, goals, objectives, and programs.

2015 to 2017  Kalusugan’s goals are to: a) be financially sustainable to support its core operations through a diverse plan of fundraising: b) enhance and maintain organizational capacity; c) develop and expand communication strategies; and d) provide effective and relevant programs to the community. Some of the funds from the sale of property included: creating an Investment Fund for K+K for financial sustainability; starting a Dr. Riz A. Oades Endowed Scholarship Fund as a legacy; recruiting and strengthening the board; hiring new staff; and starting a resource development plan for financial sustainability. Plans were finalized in 2015 and presented to the FilAm community at the anniversary in November 2015.