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.
On May 12th, the California Assembly Health Committee will hear a new bill seeking to address one of the major health crises of our time. AB 1357 (Bloom) – The Children and Family Health Promotion Program – will create a dedicated revenue source enabling California to start to address the diabetes epidemic that is impacting our communities with devastating consequences. Comprehensive prevention efforts to reduce the diabetes epidemic in California will be supported through a 2 cent per ounce fee on sugary drinks that are distributed in the state.
California must get out in front of this preventable disease that is disproportionately affecting communities of color.
To “get” diabetes in our communities has become normal. As I travel across California where we host regional meetings from as far north as Eureka to El Centro in the South and all points in between, it saddens me when I ask those in the audience to raise their hands if someone in their immediate family has diabetes. It saddens me even more when I ask them if they have diabetes and they answer me, “Not yet” or “Todavia no.”
We cannot afford to wait any longer to take action.
The Latino Coalition for a Healthy California (LCHC) is hosting our first advocacy day at the Capitol on April 28th. We invite partners and friends to join us in Sacramento to advocate for four priority bills that will help improve the health of our communities across California. We will be visiting legislators to discuss:
AB 1321 (Ting) aims to create access to fresh, California-grown fruits and vegetables for low-income families.
AB 1357 (Bloom) will increase access to clean drinking water and generate support for community-based diabetes prevention programs.
SB 4 (Lara) will extend access to health care for all regardless of immigration status
SB 23 (Mitchell) will generate critical support through CalWORKS for families with small children.
The day will be an opportunity to learn more about LCHC’s policy agenda and participate in fun events, but we’ll also break up into small groups so that we can prep participants on how the legislative advocacy process works and ensure that everyone feels confident speaking with their representatives. We hope you’ll join us for this important day!
On Wednesday March 11th, the Senate and Assembly Health Committees held a Joint Hearing on Health Disparities in California. Co-chaired by Senator Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) and Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), the hearing featured panel presentations by advocates and researchers discussing the status of California’s communities of color and recommendations for addressing persistent health disparities. In addition, staff from the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), Office of Health Equity, Covered California, Safety Net Institute, and Partnership Health Plan discussed initiatives to improve data collection and analysis to better align health care services to address health disparities.
Defining Disparities in California
CPEHN’s Executive Director Sarah de Guia framed the discussion by emphasizing the need to incorporate an equity lens into our post-ACA health care delivery system. She noted that the key to reducing health disparities is to ensure standardized data collection and analysis of demographic data for disparities reduction initiatives and incorporating primary prevention into our delivery system to address the root causes of disparities.
The Latino Coalition for a Healthy California has worked tirelessly for the past year to reduce sugar-sweetened beverage consumption both in Berkeley and across the state, and we’re gearing up for a new battle this year. We're talking about an urgent social justice issue: one out of every two Latino children will get type 2 diabetes in their lifetimes unless things change. These statistics are simply unacceptable, which is why we’re working to engage our community across the state to become informed advocates on this issue.
After successful forums last year in Fresno, Stockton, Berkeley, Santa Ana, and Baldwin Park, where we presented to over 100 people, we are heading back to Southern California to spread the word about the type 2 diabetes epidemic in the Latino community.
We’ll cover why diabetes has become so common among Latinos, what California advocacy and community groups are doing to prevent it, and how you and your neighbors can join the effort. This forum is ideal for community members concerned about diabetes and healthy food access, promotoras/community health workers, teachers, parents, and local leaders. All are welcome.
The forums are all from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm and will be held in English and Spanish. Dinner will be provided and admission is free.