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Voices for Health Equity

Voices for Health Equity

Welcome to Tuesday Tidbits! If you would like your resource/event to be highlighted, please let me know at Thanks!

Here in California, we’re lucky enough to have some of the most spectacular natural landscapes in the world. I grew up on the East Coast, and while I will always have a soft spot for the Blue Ridge Mountains and Chesapeake Bay, the sheer beauty of California’s beaches, mountains, and deserts is pretty breathtaking. The millions of acres of parks in the state are a resource that all Californians can access and appreciate, and that is in large part thanks to conservation efforts and land trusts that ensure public land stays public.

Public land is important in many ways, but most notably it allows residents areas to be physically active and engage with their environment. Our parks are a public resource that needs to be protected, and there are many individuals and organizations across the state trying to do just that.

For today’s Tuesday Tidbits, we’re looking at a new report from the California Council of Land Trusts’ (CCLT) California Horizons Committee, Conservation Horizons: Keeping Conservation and Land Trusts Vital for the Next Age. As the culmination of 18 months of work, the report examines the current state of land trusts in California and offers recommendations for modernizing the conservation movement to coincide with the state’s changing demographics, politics, and funding.

If you’ll be around the Capitol in Sacramento next week, there’s a great opportunity to learn about some exciting efforts to improve health in California’s communities of color.

On Thursday, March 26th, the California Health Policy Forum is hosting a legislative briefing, Chronic Disease Prevention: The Social Equity Lens.  

The event, which runs from 2 to 3:30 pm at the Capitol will feature an interesting panel discussion on how we can address health disparities by examining the social and environmental determinants of health. The panel will feature a diverse group of speakers, including:

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 preventable amputations as a result of diabetes in California.

Diabetes in California is reaching epidemic proportions. Over 2.3 million residents have been diagnosed with diabetes, with the majority suffering from type 2. Communities of color are disproportionately impacted by the disease, with Latinos and African Americans twice as likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and twice as likely to die from it.

Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes, and one of the main drivers of obesity is sugar-sweetened beverages. In our recent brief, Not So Sweet: Confronting the Health Crisis from Sugar-Sweetened Beverages in California, we found that a reduction in sugar-sweetened beverage intake of 10% statewide would potentially prevent 12,000 new cases of diabetes over the next 10 years, with communities of color seeing the greatest benefits.

We talk a lot about the work to address the social and environmental determinants of health here in California. But where does that work fall in the context of national efforts focusing on prevention and public health?

Next week (on March 19th), a web event co-hosted by Dialogue4Health, the American Public Health Association, Prevention Institute, Public Health Institute, and the Trust for America’s Health will highlight efforts across the country to promote prevention and strengthen population health. The event, Advancing Prevention and Population Health: New Year, New Efforts, New Opportunities, will stress the importance of continued funding for prevention work, strong partnerships among health advocates, and what needs to be done to build a culture of health.

Specifically, the event agenda includes:

  • An update on how children’s hospitals are working to advance population health;
  • Strategies from a public health department that is leading the way with elected officials and other stakeholders to build support for continuing public investments; and
  • A Congressional update about the current national funding landscape for public health.

Speakers from the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee, the Children’s Hospital Association, and the Minnesota Department of Public Health will be offering their insights on prevention and population health in 2015.

This should be an interesting forum for anyone working on addressing the social and environmental determinants of health. Perhaps you can pick up some new ideas or strategies based on the work going on at the national level and in other states. 

Welcome to Tuesday Tidbits! If you would like your resource/event to be highlighted, please let me know at Thanks!

Roughly one out of every seven Californians has been diagnosed with asthma. With such high rates, this chronic condition impacts all communities across the state. Luckily, there are a bunch of great organizations working in California to raise asthma awareness.

Among these organizations is Breathe California, which focuses on fighting lung disease, improving air quality, and promoting public health. One of Breathe California’s initiatives is a workshop, All About Asthma, that focuses on working with parents and providers to recognize asthma symptoms and treat the condition early.

Breathe California is hosting All About Asthma workshops this week in the Bay Area, with Spanish sessions held in Daly City for health providers tomorrow (March 11th) and for parents on Thursday (March 12th). An English workshop for parents is also on Thursday (March 12th) in San Bruno. Each of these workshops is available free of charge. You can visit the Breathe California website to register. They also offer the workshops in Chinese.

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!

The workshop will feature:

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 the juvenile felony arrest rate in Santa Clara County.

As the economy in the Bay Area continues to grow, few places are reaping the benefits as much as Santa Clara County. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income in the county is $91,702, about $30,000 more than the statewide median. In addition, the median value of owner-occupied housing units in Santa Clara County is $645,600, nearly twice the state median of $366,400.

These numbers, coupled with the fact that the county’s population is roughly two-thirds communities of color, would make it seem like a great land of opportunity for all residents. But there are still stark disparities in the county along racial and ethnic lines. 

Today’s Friday Facts table shows one of the more striking disparities in Santa Clara County: the juvenile felony arrest rate. As you can see, African American juveniles in the county are more than eight times as likely to be arrested for a felony than their White counterparts (38.0 per 1,000 compared to 4.7). The Latino juvenile felony arrest rate (15.4 per 1,000) is more than three times that of Whites.

We discussed crime and violence and their impact on health in our Landscape of Opportunity report:

At our recent town hall meetings to discuss the California Reducing Disparities Project’s Statewide Strategic Plan to Reduce Mental Health Disparities a lot of attendees asked about the funding solicitations for Phase 2 of the project. This week, the California Department of Public Health, Office of Health Equity (OHE) released draft versions of these solicitations for public comment (and not for submitting proposals yet). You can review them and share your feedback to the Office of Health Equity by March 25th. The final solicitations, considering the public comments, will be available at a later date.

Here is the full announcement from OHE including how to access the solicitations and submit your comments:

The California Department of Public Health, Office of Health Equity has posted draft pre-solicitations for the California Reducing Disparities Project (CRDP), Phase 2 implementation on BidSync, links for BidSync on our website and links below. This is not a request for bids at this time. The purpose of the release is to solicit public feedback about our program and solicitation designs prior to release of the official solicitations. We are not accepting applications at this time.
Though we have done a lot of work to put these solicitations together, we acknowledge that there are still ways for us to improve our solicitations so that we can obtain the best bidders and ultimately the best provider of services for CRDP. We are asking:

The false notion that America is in a “post-racial” era has come to an end, and diversity is trending! From Ferguson to the NBA to Silicon Valley, issues of race and diversity are forcing themselves into the mainstream and making national headlines. The question now is: how do we translate that renewed attention into policies and actions that will build a just, equitable society?

On May 8th, you can join that conversation.

Every year, The Greenlining Institute brings together top business, government, and grassroots community leaders at our Economic Summit to connect, brainstorm, and strategize on important economic issues affecting communities of color. This year, Greenlining is taking its 22nd Annual Economic Summit, #DiversityTrending: Building an Inclusive Economy, to the JW Marriott Los Angeles LA LIVE. We invite you to join us as we explore ways to advance diversity as a critical component of an inclusive economy, and honor visionary leaders paving the way.

To register and to learn more about the event, click here. Discounted early registration is available through March 13th. If you're unable to afford the registration fee, we have a limited number of scholarships available to waive the fee. To request a scholarship, please email Yurida Ramos at

Recently, we’ve discussed the importance of complete streets and how safe transportation options can improve population health. As it turns out, promoting active transportation also makes great financial sense for our communities as well.

A fascinating research project by the UC Berkeley Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (SafeTREC), presented at the recent Active Living Research conference, found that safe transportation investments actually have the potential for positive economic impact. Researchers surveyed commuters at nine rail stations in the Bay Area about how they got to the station: whether by foot, bike, car, or bus.

As this helpful infographic shows, those who commuted primarily by car were much less likely to stop along the way for goods and services than are those who walk or take public transportation. This benefits local businesses near transit shops because increased foot traffic generally results in increased sales. Further, those who commuted by foot or bike spent far less on transportation than those who drove.

After analyzing the results, the researchers settled on this takeaway:

“Given the promising movement toward active transportation and use of transit, implications for policy and practice include giving strong consideration, support, and funding to programs that feature mode shift and safety, rather than automobile-dominant commute and travel patterns.”