This week, CPEHN began its fall convening series and over 100 advocates attended events in Fresno and Oakland to discuss the importance of health and equity in neighborhood planning. The convening series, A Blueprint for Health: Planning Communities that Promote Equity, features a discussion of the newly released draft statewide general plan guidelines from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) and how this document can be used to develop healthier, more equitable communities across the state.
Today in Oakland, the convening began with a presentation from Heather Wooten from ChangeLab Solutions about the importance of the state’s general plan guidelines and why community involvement is key.
Both Tuesday’s event in Fresno and today’s in Oakland featured a presentation by Elizabeth Baca and Sahar Shirazi from OPR about what is in the new draft guidelines. In particular, they highlighted three chapters dealing with health, equity, and public engagement. You can read those chapters here:
When I first began organizing as an undocumented student on campus at Cal State Fullerton, my biggest challenges was building up my skill-set so that I could effectively run campaigns on my own. When I attended my first training at the Social Justice Summit at Cal State Fullerton in 2006, I saw the power of joining a passion for justice with helpful tools and advocacy skills that move pro-immigrant policies.
Today, I find myself a more seasoned organizer, thanks in part to the help from training spaces like the Social Justice Summit. When I reflect on milestone fights, such as the hard-won AB 60 Driver’s License bill, the California TRUST Act, and others, I notice a connecting thread between those that made it possible. From the undocumented pre-med student activist to the community organizer, not only do we have a fierce passion for working towards a future where immigrant communities live brighter, healthier, safer lives, but we are also committed to developing supportive spaces that build a stronger and more inclusive movement.
Whether it is through up-to-date information, face time with allies, or sharing helpful strategies, it is critical that we be involved in spaces for knowledge exchange between advocates of diverse levels of experience and from different walks of life. This is why the California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC) has committed to creating such spaces through our biannual regional trainings.
The effort to expand access to affordable health coverage for California’s immigrant population is in full gear this week as Senator Ricardo Lara has been traveling the state to promote SB 4, which takes a strong step toward covering all Californians by expanding access to Medi-Cal to all children regardless of immigration status. The bill also allows undocumented immigrants to purchase coverage through Covered California, which they are currently prohibited from doing.
Senator Lara’s Health for All Statewide Community Tour kicked off in Oakland last night along with Assemblymember Rob Bonta at Asian Health Services. Senator Lara will be traveling throughout the summer legislative break to rally support for his proposal and to build awareness about the expanded coverage options for undocumented children, which will begin in April 2016. SB 4 will be heard in the Assembly Appropriations committee when the legislature reconvenes in August.
Community and organizational support at last night’s press conference and community meeting demonstrated the imperative of covering the state’s immigrant population.
Assemblymember Bonta discussed his family’s recent immigration history as one of the main reasons why he’s working on SB 4.
Today in Oakland, health advocates from across the Bay Area gathered at CPEHN’s spring convening, Focus on Equity: Communities of Color in Post-ACA California, to discuss efforts to reduce health inequities in California. The event focused on three priority areas: efforts to expand access to health care to all Californians regardless of immigration status (Health for All), including equity in efforts to improve quality of care, and the integration of behavioral and primary health care services.
After an introductory presentation from CPEHN’s Cary Sanders on the current state of coverage, quality, and behavioral health integration, we shifted to local speakers. The first, Jazmin Segura from Educators for Fair Consideration, spoke about the importance of expanding health care to all Californians, regardless of immigration status. She noted that thanks to the recent executive order by President Barack Obama, many immigrants receiving Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status are now considered Permanent Residents Under Color of Law (PRUCOL) and are thus eligible for full-scope Medi-Cal if they meet the income requirements. However, years of distrust in the system has combined with pervasive misinformation to keep DACA-eligible immigrants from signing up for Medi-Cal, either because they don’t know they are eligible or because they are afraid of future repercussions.
Segura then discussed current efforts to extend health coverage to all Californians, regardless of immigration status. She noted that Senator Ricardo Lara’s SB 4 Health for All Act is “the next great fight for immigrant rights organizations” and noted that for it to pass through the legislature, it will need help from advocates across the state.
Over 3.5 million Californians have enrolled in new coverage options since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), yet persistent health disparities remain among communities of color, immigrants, and Limited English Proficient populations. Join CPEHN and our partners for Focus on Equity: Communities of Color in a Post-ACA California, as we highlight opportunities to advance equity in 2015 and beyond. Topics will include:
Health for All: There will be updates on the progress of SB 4 (Lara), the Health for All Act, and we will feature why it’s necessary to ensure that all Californians can access health coverage, regardless of immigration status. There will also be information on how you can take action and have your voice be heard in support of SB 4 and other efforts to improve access to health coverage for immigrants across the state.
Integration of behavioral health in primary care: We will hear about why treating behavioral health and physical health in an integrated manner will help improve care in both fields.
The importance of equity in measuring the quality of health care: While the health care system approach to quality is focused on the “triple aim” of population health, patient experience, and costs, we will show why it’s necessary to include a fourth aim: equity.
Our convenings are interactive events that allow participants to participate in important health policy discussions. We’ll feature important policy proposals and how our communities can mobilize in support of them. We value the opportunity to travel throughout the state and hear different perspectives on all the critical health issues impacting California’s communities of color. It’d be great if you can join us and share your thoughts!
Zero Breast Cancer is hosting a unique and important workshop: GIS for Community Impact: From Technology to Translation on April 14 in Oakland. We are bringing together academic, public health, and community health partners to explore how geographic data contribute to our understanding of environmental and social factors that impact our health, especially cancer risk.
The workshop will focus on using breast cancer risk as a model for how to use GIS to help aid in health promotion and disease prevention efforts. According to the 2013 federal report, Breast Cancer and the Environment: Prioritizing Prevention, we need to pay more attention to our environment, including access to healthy foods and physical activity spaces, exposures to chemicals (pesticides, pollution, and drugs), and radiation. These factors are most likely to affect low-income and communities of color, which may have different susceptibility due to social stressors.
Join us for an interactive day of discovering how we can advance cancer research and focus prevention on those communities with the greatest risk. Register today!
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.
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.