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Convening Highlights Health Needs of Communities of Color in Inland Empire

Convening Highlights Health Needs of Communities of Color in Inland Empire

Over 50 advocates joined CPEHN, the California Partnership, and the Community Clinic Association of San Bernardino today in Riverside for Focus on Equity: Communities of Color in a Post-ACA California. The event was a continuation of CPEHN’s Focus on Equity convening series and gave residents of the Inland Empire the opportunity to hear about ongoing efforts to meet the health needs of their communities and both local and statewide advocacy opportunities.

The event focused on how to address the inequities that still remain after more than 3.5 million have enrolled in health coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Like our previous events in Oakland, Fresno, Los Angeles, and San Diego, this convening focused on three main issues:

  • Health for All efforts to provide health coverage to immigrants
  • Integration of behavioral health and primary care
  • Equity and health care quality

CPEHN’s Sarah de Guia started the day with a presentation framing the key health issues facing communities of color in Sacramento.

Maribel Nunez from the California Partnership followed with a presentation about the state budget process and how communities can get involved to ensure funding for critical health and human services programs.

The following presentation focused on efforts to ensure access to health coverage for all Californians regardless of immigration status. Betsy Estudillo from the California Immigrant Policy Center and Maria Rodriguez from the Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Coalition gave an update on SB 4, the Health for All Act, as it makes its way through the legislature. Maria also shared her personal story and her challenges in accessing health care.

Attendees were then able to work in small groups to discuss Health for All efforts. Many of the participants agreed on the health issues and barriers faced by local immigrants, and agreed that taking action locally and statewide by speaking with legislators can have a positive impact.

The event concluded with a presentation on integrating behavioral and physical health care with Dr. Peter Currie from the Inland Empire Health Plan, who shared the innovative model that the local health plan serving San Bernardino and Riverside Counties’ Medi-Cal population is implementing to make sure that they stay healthy in body and mind. The day wrapped up with a brief presentation from Sujei Rios from the Riverside County Medically Indigent Services Program, who shared how immigrants who are ineligible for Medi-Cal and Covered California can access some services.

The passion for improving health in the Inland Empire was inspiring and we look forward to working more in the region.

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