New California Surgeon General Joins Community Groups in Stockton to Discuss Health Disparities

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SACRAMENTO – Yesterday, Governor Newsom announced the appointment of Dr. Nadine Burke Harris as the first-ever California Surgeon General. Today, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris joined the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN), the California Black Health Network, Faith in the Valley, members of The All Stars Alliance Non-Profits (Fathers & Families of San Joaquin, Little Manila Rising, San Joaquin Pride Center, Reinvent South Stockton Coalition (RSSC), and Sow-A- Seed Community Foundation), and Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs for a community roundtable discussion at El Dorado School in Stockton. Participants urged the new Surgeon General to focus her efforts on providing justice and opportunity to communities that face deeply entrenched poverty and community violence.

“Congratulations to Dr. Nadine Burke Harris on her appointment as California Surgeon General – a position focused on a comprehensive approach to addressing health risks and challenges, including identifying social determinants of health and persistent inequities in communities. As a recognized leader in the fields of trauma and health equity, we believe that Dr. Burke Harris can use this position to provide much needed leadership to address the root causes and health impacts of childhood trauma,” said Kiran Savage-Sangwan, Deputy Director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network.

“The importance of California’s Surgeon General beginning her work in the community of Stockton cannot be overstated. Nearly a quarter of Stockton residents live in poverty and the city experiences a violent crime rate more than three times higher than that of California as a whole. However, the people of Stockton are resilient and have developed model programs for responding to the most pressing issues facing their community. CPEHN stands ready to work together to reach the vision of health and well-being for all Californians,” continued Savage-Sangwan.

On the day of his inauguration, Governor Newsom announced a number of health care actions, including an executive order to establish a California Surgeon General. On January 11, CPEHN sent a letter to the Governor thanking him for his bold vision and outlining recommendations in order to make the most of this opportunity.

For years, CPEHN has worked on The California Reducing Disparities Project (CRDP), which aims to transform California’s mental health system to address the root causes of trauma and mental health. In December 2018, CPEHN partnered with community organizations to host a Stockton Reducing Disparities Public Hearing, at which community members identified the need to provide opportunities and services in the city.

“All of us at Little Manila Rising are filled with hope with today’s announcement. The time is now to deal with the compounded generational trauma that marginalized communities have had to face; and to create equitable solutions that will lead to true healing in our community. We thank Governor Newsom for this bold step and look forward to work in partnership to truly make a difference in our community,” said Dillon Delvo, Executive Director of Little Manila Rising.

“CBHN joins our partners in congratulating Dr. Nadine Burke Harris on her appointment to Surgeon General for the state of California. Dr. Harris’ work linking adverse childhood experiences and toxic stress with harmful effects to health later on in life is key to addressing the obstacles facing California’s African American community. Dr. Harris’ work is aligned with CBHN’s Black Health Agenda. CBHN looks forward to working with Dr. Harris, Governor Newsom, his administration, stakeholders statewide, and California’s African American community to create the conditions for #HealthyBlackPeople,” said Angelo Williams, Deputy Director of the California Black Health Network.

“Fathers & Families of San Joaquin would like to applaud Governor Newsom and congratulate Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, the state of California’s first and new Surgeon General. We are excited that Stockton is her first stop on her California tour. We are well poised to do big things together for California— especially when we understand and truly address the impacts of trauma in our most vulnerable children and communities. Through our collective efforts the Stockton Trauma Recovery Center has produced healing and healing has produced results. The city has had a historic record low gun violence drop due in large part to the community’s focus on addressing toxic stress and adverse childhood experiences while also committing to addressing the social, historical, institutional trauma of our residents. FFSJ’s Trauma Recovery Center along with our partners have developed a healing model that continues to grow through intergenerational and multi-ethnic leadership. Together, we have helped to heal thousands of individuals, reconnected families, provided economic pathways out of poverty and activated the energy and potential of our residents to reimagine and build a Stockton that we can all be proud of,” said Sammy Nunez, Executive Director of Fathers and Families of San Joaquin.

“Faith in the Valley is inspired and invigorated by today’s announcement. The passion, expertise and focus that Dr. Nadine will bring to this critical body of work will bring the necessary attention and light to propel forward our collective work to address and end disparities in our communities. Congratulation Dr. Burke Harris and thank you Governor Newsom,” said Pastor Trena Turner, Executive Director, Faith in the Valley.