Over 100 advocates from across the state gathered at the Sierra Health Foundation in Sacramento earlier today for CPEHN’s sixth Focus on Equity: Communities of Color in a Post-ACA California convening. The event, co-hosted by OnTrack Program Resources, highlighted a number of topics that impact health in California’s communities of color, including health care quality, behavioral health integration, and access to health care for the remaining uninsured, particularly undocumented immigrants.
After the popularity of our events in Oakland, Fresno, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Riverside, we were invited by OnTrack to continue the discussion in the state capital. The event began with a presentation by CPEHN Executive Director Sarah de Guia that touched on each of the event’s topics.
She focused on how communities of color, who represent a majority of the state’s population, have the most to gain from successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). She also pointed to the increased enrollment of Latinos and African Americans during Covered California’s second open enrollment period as a sign that the law’s programs are starting to have their intended impact.
At CPEHN, we’re always working to promote health equity on a number of fronts. Earlier this year, we joined with the DentaQuest Foundation in a nationwide effort to improve oral health equity for California’s low-income communities and communities of color. Part of the foundation’s Oral Health 2020 initiative, we are partnering with several other grantees in the state, including Latino Coalition for a Health California (LCHC), Asian Americans Advancing Justice – LA, SCOPE LA, Central Valley Health Policy Institute, and Vision y Compromiso, to build a grassroots movement for oral health.
Earlier today, DentaQuest Foundation hosted a Twitter storm with the Children’s Dental Health Project and Northeastern University’s Innovations in Oral Health to promote health equity and raise awareness of oral health disparities across the country. The discussion, using the hashtag #iamhealthequity, resulted in a lot of great information and resources for improving oral health in underserved communities. CPEHN’s founding ethnic partner and partner in the DentaQuest project, LCHC, also participated in the Twitter action today. Here are some highlights, but be sure to check out the full discussion on Twitter here:
A new issue of our Health Equity Forum newsletter was released today and it starts off July with a lot of great articles and resources highlighting efforts to improve health and equity in California.
CPEHN’s Executive Director, Sarah de Guia, opens the newsletter with an article about the emotional last few weeks for social justice advocates. She celebrates last week’s Supreme Court decisions regarding the Affordable Care Act and same-sex marriage. However, she also takes time to remember the lives lost in the tragic hate crime in Charleston.
Our Ethnic Partner Spotlight features an article from Xavier Morales, Executive Director of the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California. He focuses on the importance of addressing the diabetes health crisis in communities of color and what policy steps can be taken.
The American Lung Association in California has an interesting piece on their terrific new report, State of the Air 2015. The report looks at how California’s cities rank nationally in terms of air quality and what trends have become evident over the last decade. And the RYSE Center in Richmond has a compelling story on the challenges facing those returning from the juvenile justice system.
Yesterday in Sacramento, Health Affairs (a leading journal of health policy and research), the Blue Shield of California Foundation, and the California HealthCare Foundation hosted an event,The California Medi-Cal Waiver: Perspectives on Promoting Health System Improvement in California. The event highlighted the opportunities presented by the renewal of California’s 1115 Medi-Cal waiver to transform California's health care system so that it is better able to meet the needs of its new enrollees.
Earlier this year, CPEHN’s Sarah de Guia discussed how the waiver offers a great opportunity to promote health equity for Medi-Cal enrollees, a majority from communities of color:
The waiver gives states like California additional flexibility to design and improve their Medicaid program (Medi-Cal in California) and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). With the waiver, states can expand eligibility, provide additional services not typically covered, and use innovative service delivery systems that improve care, increase efficiency, and reduce costs, otherwise referred to as the “Triple Aim.”
What’s missing from these conversations is a focus on a fourth aim, promoting health equity… Through our participation in the 1115 waiver renewal process, CPEHN is working to bring awareness to the historic inequities in health outcomes that our communities experience, and the need for innovative policy proposals to help reform traditional health care coverage into systems that can provide meaningful access to services for our communities.
Yesterday’s event also included discussion about health equity and how the health care system can better serve California’s diverse communities of color. Here are some highlights:
The comprehensive report analyzes the status of women and girls in a number of arenas, including education, employment, poverty, business leadership, political representation, and mental and physical health.
The report finds that California is becoming increasingly diverse, with communities of color now representing 61% of the state’s female population, up from 56% in 2005. Latinas are the fastest growing racial and ethnic group. And that trend is likely to continue, with nearly a third of Latinas (32%) under the age of 18, compared to just 16% of Whites.
The main takeaway from the report is that women, especially women of color, are still not on equal footing as men, particularly in terms of socioeconomic status:
In order to fully address the root causes of the health inequities we see in our state, it is important to remember that what influences our health goes far beyond what happens in a doctor’s office. Many social and environmental factors contribute to our health and wellbeing. Among these, community planning and transportation design have some of the biggest impacts.
Today in Oakland, Prevention Institute hosted From Streetscapes to Thriving Communities, an event focused on how we can design our communities to better promote health. In particular, the event focused on creating safe streets:
Streets are in many ways at the heart of our communities, and street design can shape health out-comes in powerful ways – preventing traffic injuries and violence, promoting community cohesion and mental health, supporting physical activity, and more. But street design isn’t enough. Residents need safe places to play, great destinations, and a thriving local economy.
Two prominent experts, Dinesh Mohan and Dick Jackson, engaged in a terrific discussion on creating healthier streets. Here are some highlights from Twitter:
As you can see from the chart, there are some dramatic variations in high blood pressure rates across the Asian ethnic subgroups. Japanese adults, for example, have the highest rate at 35.4%, which is higher than other populations, including Chinese (18.2%) and South Asian (8.2%) adults.
“Our results suggest that susceptible populations like the Filipino and Japanese subgroups may warrant early and aggressive intervention in blood pressure reduction to help decrease cardiovascular risk,” said Dr. Powell Jose, Research Physician at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute. “Physicians should attempt to better understand cultural differences and barriers that may influence diet and health behaviors in Asian-American subgroups. Nutrition and lifestyle counseling must be offered to these higher risk populations to help control hypertension in addition to medical therapy, when indicated.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has proposed a regulation to require electronic health record systems to document and use disaggregated data on race, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, gender identity, and social and behavioral factors that influence health. This data will make it easier to identify disparities and achieve health equity.
The regulation would require up to 900 race and ethnicity categories and up to 600 language categories, the first time that any federal department has required comprehensive disaggregation. This also would be the first time that sexual orientation and gender identity data would be routinely collected.
Public comments supporting this proposed regulation are needed. Please submit yours today! While comments submitted by organizations are important, it also is very important for individual members of the public to submit personalized comments.
First, our Inland Empire convening, cohosted by the California Partnership and the Community Clinic Association of San Bernardino County, will now be June 5th in Riverside at the United Domestic Workers Community Room, 3600 Lime Street, Suite 421. The agenda will be the same and we are excited to discuss Health for All efforts to extend coverage to California’s immigrant population, behavioral health integration, and including equity when considering ways to improve quality of care. We’d also like to hear from residents in the Inland Empire about the unique health needs your communities face. Register today and we can work together to improve health in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.
CPEHN hosted its final Focus on Equity: Communities of Color in Post-ACA California convening series today in San Diego. Like our previous three events, this one focused on Health for All efforts to expand access to affordable coverage to everyone regardless of immigration status, strategies to integrate behavioral and physical health services, and ways to include equity considerations when evaluating and improving health care quality.
Marty Adelman from the Council of Community Clinics started things off with a presentation on current behavioral health integration efforts in San Diego. He stressed that integrating behavioral health and primary care services can improve both components by reducing stigma, closing the mortality gap, and limiting costs.
Adelman: behavioral health integration can combat stigma by meeting people in the community http://t.co/e3Qv1eGzJ6