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Blog Posts from January 2015

Blog Posts from January 2015

Welcome to Friday Facts! Each week we'll be taking a look at a specific chart from the Data & Resources section of our website. This week we're focusing on students reporting depression-related feelings in Fresno County.

We have been talking a lot about mental health recently. If you’ve been following the blog this week, you will have seen that we hosted two town hall meetings, one in Fresno and the other in Oakland, to discuss the California Reducing Disparities Project’s (CRDP) draft Statewide Strategic Plan to Reduce Mental Health Disparities. These events have generated great discussion and a number of comments that we will be incorporating into the final plan after the ongoing public comment period ends on February 17th.

While we have talked so much about the strategic plan in this space, we haven’t focused on some of the actual mental health needs that it will address. So, for this Friday Facts, we are going to look at a chart representing the percentage of students experiencing depression-related feelings in Fresno County. As you can see, at least 1 in 4 students in each racial/ethnic group have reported experiencing depression-related feelings in the last year. There are some noticeable disparities, as Pacific Islanders (nearly half), Asians, and Latinos reported experiencing depression-related feelings at higher rates. But it is clear that this particular issue impacts all communities.


The land of sunshine, celebrities, and world-famous beaches is also home to 5,000 active oil and gas wells. These wells are spread across 10 oil fields and 70 different sites embedded in neighborhoods, parks, and commercial districts throughout the City of Los Angeles. Although oil drilling occurs in diverse neighborhoods ranging from affluent Cheviot Hills to pollution-burdened Wilmington, in a new issue brief, Oil Drilling in Los Angeles: A Story of Unequal ProtectionsCommunity Health Councils found low-income communities of color in the City have fewer protections from the risks from local oil drilling operations than more affluent, whiter neighborhoods.

What does “fewer protections” mean? When Zoning Administrators for Los Angeles determined the terms of drilling in affluent communities in the 1950s and 1960s, they noted oil drilling was an activity more suited for industrial zones, and only allowed drilling in the Wilshire and West Los Angeles areas after a strict set of precautionary measures were enacted. Precautionary measures included enclosing drilling equipment and/or sites, monitoring air quality and noise levels, creating a 24-hour hotline for complaints and concerns, and setting stringent property screening measures like tall trees and walls to block sight of unattractive equipment. The oil drilling that occurs in wealthier, whiter neighborhoods is either at least 400 feet farther away from homes than in the lower-income communities of South Los Angeles and Wilmington — where the majority of the residents are Latino and African American — or is partially or completely enclosed to protect the neighboring community from the myriad risks. Conversely, oil drilling in South Los Angeles and Wilmington is not only closer to homes than wealthier communities, but also completely outdoors. 

Over 75 mental health advocates representing diverse communities in Oakland gathered today to provide feedback on the California Reducing Disparities Project’s (CRDP) Statewide Strategic Plan to Reduce Mental Health Disparities. The town hall meeting was the second of five organized by CPEHN, the plan’s author, as part of an ongoing 35-day public comment period that ends on February 17th. The room was buzzing with excited conversation and thoughtful engagement as small groups of advocates discussed ways to strengthen this one-of-a-kind strategic plan.

Equity Atlas

Welcome to Tuesday Tidbits! This space will be used every week to highlight new resources, upcoming events, and other resources related to improving health and fostering equity. If you would like your resource/event to be highlighted, please let me know at Thanks!

If you’re curious about how equitable your community is, then PolicyLink and the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity at the University of Southern California (PERE) have the perfect tool for you. The recently launched National Equity Atlas is an informative resource that allows you to examine a number of equity indicators (demographics, economic vitality, etc.) on a national, state, and regional level. For example, you can see a map of communities of color in California and also examine by region the job and GDP growth rate.

If all of this sounds a little overwhelming, that’s okay because PolicyLink and PERE are hosting Tools for Social Change: The National Equity Atlas, a webinar tomorrow (January 28th) at 10 am PST. Here’s what’s on the agenda:

“During this webinar, our speakers will describe the equity framework, take you on a tour of the Atlas, and share examples of how foundations can employ equity data and policy strategies to foster inclusive growth.”

Be sure to register for the free event and follow along on Twitter at #ncrpchat and #equityatlas.

Today in Fresno, we had a good turnout at the first CPEHN town hall meeting to discuss the draft Statewide Strategic Plan to Reduce Mental Health Disparities. Roughly three dozen mental health advocates gathered at Fresno’s Downtown Business Hub to provide public comment on a draft plan aimed at reducing disparities in mental health in California’s communities of color and LGBTQ population.

Representatives from mental health professionals serving a wide array of populations at the state and local level gathered to provide their expertise to the ongoing efforts of the California Reducing Disparities Project (CRDP).

The meeting generated discussion on a variety of topics. One primary focus was data collection to identify disparities within subgroups of the five targeted populations in the plan (African American, Asian and Pacific Islander, Latino, LGBTQ, and Native American). For example, the Central Valley’s sizeable Hmong population has different needs than other Asian and Pacific Islander populations in other regions in the state.

Perhaps the hottest topic at the meeting was the importance of cultural competency within the mental health workforce. There were many suggestions on how to ensure that the workforce best understands the unique needs of California’s diverse populations, including mandatory trainings, improving curricula at the college level, and developing and disseminating resources.

The attendees were also enthusiastic about the CRDP’s potential to determine the most effective community-based mental health practices.

Welcome to Friday Facts! Each week we'll be taking a look at a specific chart from the Data & Resources section of our website. This week we're focusing on living wage in Alameda County.

If you haven’t heard, we are currently living in an era of nearly unprecedented income inequality in the United States. While the whole country is experiencing this phenomenon, it is especially noticeable in the Bay Area, where a recent study found that both San Francisco (2nd) and Oakland (7th) rank in the top 10 cities with the most income inequality.

For today’s edition of Friday Facts, we’re going to focus on the East Bay and in particular Alameda County, of which the City of Oakland represents a sizable portion. On our site, we have a chart examining, by race and ethnicity, the percentage of families of four in Alameda County that make a living wage. In this data set, the California Department of Public Health determines a living wage to be at least $22.64 an hour and is defined as “the hourly wage rate or annual income that a sole provider working full time (2080 hours/yr) must earn to provide his/her family a minimum standard of living, covering costs of food, child care, health insurance, housing, transportation, and other necessities.”

Even a cursory glance at the numbers would show striking disparities along racial and ethnic lines, with all communities of color seeing higher rates of families earning below a living wage than Whites. Latino families, for example, are five times as likely to earn less than a living wage than are Whites. 

Disparities Solutions Center

The Disparities Solutions Center is now accepting applications for the 2015-2016 Disparities Leadership Program (DLP) until February 13, 2015. We welcome applicants from across the country, especially from California.

The DLP is our year-long, hands-on executive education program focused exclusively on helping health care leaders achieve equity in quality. The program is designed to help you translate the latest understanding of the problem of disparities into realistic solutions you can adopt within your organization.

Through the DLP, we aim to create leaders prepared to meet the challenges of health care transformation by improving quality for at-risk populations who experience disparities. The program has three main goals:

Health Equity Forum

The latest edition of our Health Equity Forum newsletter hit the virtual shelves today, and it features a lot of information on the most pressing health issues impacting California’s communities of color in 2015.

To start it off, our Executive Director, Sarah de Guia, summarizes the ongoing efforts to renew California’s 1115 Medi-Cal waiver, which has been instrumental in expanding the program in accordance with the Affordable Care Act. Renewing the waiver will help the state focus not just on expanding access to coverage, but implementing strategies to reduce health disparities as well.

We also have an article from B. Darcel Lee, President and CEO of the California Black Health Network (CBHN), one of CPEHN’s founding ethnic partner organizations. She gives a recap of CBHN’s Heroes in Health Gala.

This post originally appeared on

For many of us committed to social justice and the health and wellbeing of our communities, this year’s celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday is particularly powerful.

Our society once again finds itself at the precipice of race relations. Social justice advocates and organizers, furious with the recent high profile killings of Black youth, mostly young men, have taken up the banner that Dr. King carried so many years ago, and are demanding that the legal and justice systems recognize that Black lives matter.

This demand that Black (and by extension Brown) lives matter is a call to action. It is a call for us to reflect on the work of Dr. King and to take to heart his own call to action that “the time is always right to do what is right.” This call to action goes well beyond the legal and justice systems. It is a call to action for every institution, every system, and every individual in our society.

One clear area of society where Dr. King’s message and the demand that Black and Brown lives matter needs to permeate is our health care system. It is time for our health care providers to do what is right and make Black and Brown lives, particularly the lives of young Black and Brown men, a priority.

Time for Change Foundation

Welcome to Tuesday Tidbits! This space will be used every week to highlight new resources, upcoming events, and other resources related to improving health and fostering equity. If you would like your resource/event to be highlighted, please let me know at Thanks!

There’s some exciting news today from the folks over at Time for Change Foundation as they have launched a redesigned website. The Foundation, which works to empower disenfranchised, low-income individuals, now has a new online home that features upcoming events, a blog, their quarterly newsletter, volunteer opportunities, and more.

One of the Foundation’s most well-known programs is Take Action California, a terrific virtual, e-advocacy tool that features action alerts, fact sheets, and events in support of grassroots advocacy throughout California. If you’re working on issues like criminal justice reform, budget and policy reform, education, employment, and health, then Take Action California is a great platform to help amplify your voice and gain support for your work.

Take Action California is just one of many great programs that Time for Change Foundation operates, and another is the Center for Advocacy and Leadership Training (CALT). This innovative program includes a catalog of training sessions targeted to the Inland Empire to build capacity and improve communities.

These programs and many more have a new web home, and the Foundation’s new site’s interactive format and new look reflects the growth of the organization in recent years.