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
Language access in our health care system has long been a point of emphasis for our work at CPEHN. For example, in 2003, CPEHN sponsored SB 853 (Escutia), the Health Care Language Assistance Act. The first of its kind in the country, this law now holds health plans accountable for the provision of linguistically-appropriate services.
The reason that laws like SB 853 and other language access measures are necessary is because of California’s uniquely diverse population. As you can see in our Friday Facts table, over 40 different languages are spoken in San Diego County alone.
San Diego County has a large (92,836) Tagalog-speaking population, and roughly 2 out of every 5 of these individuals are Limited English Proficient (LEP), meaning they speak English less than very well. Almost two-thirds of the county’s large Vietnamese-speaking population is LEP, as is half of all those who speak Chinese. The county is also home to over 320,000 Spanish-speakers who are LEP.
Such large numbers of LEP individuals in San Diego County shows the importance of providing linguistically accessible services. Navigating the health care system is challenging enough when you receive services in your primary language, imagine how difficult it would be with a language barrier.
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.