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Voices for Health Equity

Voices for Health Equity

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Los Angeles County Council and Urban Los Angeles Affiliate, are coordinating their second annual diversity conference on Saturday, April 9, 2016. Cultural anthropologist and sought after professor of African Studies and Human Development, Dr. Erylene Piper-Mandy will be the keynote speaker. Dr. Piper-­Mandy will address the paradigm shifts necessary to move toward institutionalizing culturally­‐relevant practice. Other presenters include renowned experts like internationally recognized psychologist Dr. Steven Lopez of USC, whose cultural competency model is currently being funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH); Dr. Cheryl Tawede Grills, clinical psychologist who has studied internationally to identify African­‐centered models for treatment engagement for African Americans; Dr. Terry Gock, expert in Asian and Pacific Islander mental health, who has championed recognition of community defined practice as evidence based practice, nationally among organizations like SAMHSA and the American Psychological Association; and addiction psychiatrist, Dr. Dan Dickerson of UCLA, principal investigator of an NIH funded research grant for Drum-Assisted Recovery Therapy for Native Americans (DARTNA).  

The Community Health Advocate School at Augustus F. Hawkins High School in Los Angeles is hosting this year’s conference, entitled Bridging the Cultural Divide - Beyond Evidence-Based Practice in Diverse Communities. The 2016 NAMI Diversity Conference is made possible by contributions from transformative sponsors, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and LA Care Health Plan, and through the generous support of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

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Cross-posted from TransForm's blog

Transportation is supposed to help us get from one place to another. But for many Californians, our transportation system instead creates huge barriers – to health, safety, opportunity, and more.

Our transportation system is a barrier to health when kids get asthma from tailpipe pollution because there are too many cars on the road, and no other options. It’s a barrier to safety when a family has no sidewalks between their home and their school. And it’s a barrier to opportunity when getting to work requires you to own a car and pay for gas – or spend hours on insufficient public transportation.

These barriers are worst in low-income communities and communities of color, where transportation officials have been more likely to build highways that divide and pollute neighborhoods, and less likely to build sidewalks, bike lanes, and reliable public transportation.

We didn’t arrive at this transportation system by mistake. Instead, there’s a long history of making choices to prioritize car travel and wealthier communities over the needs of California’s most vulnerable. 

We’ve seen our leaders begin to shift their thinking in the realm of sustainability, and make sure our climate investments benefit all Californians. But they have not done the same with the much larger pots of money used to maintain and expand our roads and highways.

Until now.

When it comes to population health and equity, no single intervention or improvement strategy can solve our challenges alone. That’s the case made in a new commentary just released by Prevention Institute and JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. That’s also why it’s so important that the request for proposals for Accountable Communities for Health (ACH) pilots in California includes a requirement that ACHs adopt a portfolio of strategies for advancing health. These include:

  • Clinical Services
  • Community and Social Services Programs
  • Clinical-Community Linkages
  • Environment
  • Public Policy and Systems Change

By aligning strategies across the portfolio, the interventions achieve a synergistic effect and compound into true population health improvement for communities. The success of this type of approach has been demonstrated repeatedly over the last 50 years through health improvement efforts that have incorporated both individual intervention and community-based prevention to take on issues as diverse as tobacco, driving under the influence, lead exposure, and violence, leading to public health victories that would never have been possible through individual sectors’ separate efforts.

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and we have a reason for you to smile. More kids than ever before have dental coverage in California. Pediatric dental coverage is included in all Covered California health plans thanks to policy changes implemented last year, and all children enrolled in Medi-Cal also have dental coverage. This coverage opens the door to preventive dental services, such as exams, fluoride treatments, and more. There is also coverage for treatment of problems, such as fillings and other needed care.

Expanded coverage is especially significant for low-income children and communities of color facing stark inequities in oral health. According to a report by the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, the disparity in oral health between poor and affluent children in California is the worst in the nation. African American and Latino children are less likely to have seen a dental provider and often wait longer between visits. When children don’t have good oral health and get the care they deserve, they are at risk for missing school and performing poorly in class, and they often end up in the emergency room for preventable dental problems that become costly when left untreated.

Dental coverage and learning how to use that coverage to get preventive services is the foundation for kids to have healthy teeth. Many families, however, may not know their kids have coverage or how to get dental care. That’s why The Children’s Partnership developed brand new flyers to help families learn how to navigate their children’s dental coverage.

The latest issue of our Health Equity Forum newsletter came out today and it includes several great articles and dozens of resources.

CPEHN’s Executive Director, Sarah de Guia, opens the newsletter by discussing Covered California’s disparities reduction and quality improvement strategies, which show promise in reducing disparities for California’s communities of color.

Our Ethnic Partner Spotlight features an article from the California Black Health Network (CBHN) and their advocacy efforts to improve the health of people with Sickle Cell Disease.

Covered California Sees Strong Enrollment Numbers in 2016: Covered California released a detailed breakout of its 2016 enrollees at its Board meeting on February 18. Nearly 440,000 new enrollees had selected a Qualified Health Plan (QHP) as of February 6, 2016. Low-income (88%) and communities of color (66%) continue to represent the majority of Exchange enrollees with Asians at 20%, Pacific Islanders at >1%, Black or African-American at 4%, Latino at 36%, American Indian or Alaskan Native at > 1%, and multiple races/other at 7%.

While Covered California’s preliminary enrollment numbers are strong, they provide an incomplete picture of the enrollee population as close to one-third of enrollees (119,510) did not respond to demographic questions. Covered California plans to provide additional data on its 2016 enrollee population including information on the written and spoken languages of its enrollees at a later point this year.

PI CCHH Report

“The Community-Centered Health Homes model has spurred a phenomenal transformation in our community and our clinic. CCHH is a way to make the connection to what we’re doing in the community to the services & treatment that we provide in the exam room.”

- Chandra Smiley, CEO, Escambia Community Clinics, Inc., CCHH Demonstration Project Grantee

A new Prevention Institute (PI) brief outlines what we’ve learned in advancing the Community-Centered Health Homes (CCHH) model across the country since it was first released five years ago. PI originally developed the CCHH model to provide a framework for healthcare organizations to systematically address the community conditions that impact their patients. By implementing activities based on community needs rather than medical treatment needs alone, we can improve health, safety, and equity outcomes.

In the five years since the first report release, the CCHH model has catalyzed action and activity in communities across the country - including California, the Gulf Coast Region, North Carolina, and Texas. The brief reviews and analyzes what we’ve heard from healthcare organizations actively involved in community change – particularly clinics doing early testing of the CCHH model – and summarizes lessons learned, recommendations for success, and common themes that have emerged for healthcare organizations and funders looking to implement the model. The brief was funded by The Kresge Foundation.

Adverse Community Experiences and Resilience Report Cover

Prevention Institute’s (PI) new report about community trauma provides insight into timely issues like high rates of gun violence in inner cities; protests in Ferguson, Baltimore, and elsewhere; and systemic poverty, unemployment and poor health in communities of color. It also offers solutions.

There is a growing need for treating trauma as a public health epidemic, and exploring population-level strategies and prevention. Until now, there has been no framework for understanding and preventing the systematic effects of community trauma — or how community trauma undermines both individual and collective resilience, especially in communities with high rates of violence.

The report, featured last week in USA Today, is based on interviews with practitioners in communities with high rates of violence. Adverse Community Experiences and Resilience, describes symptoms of trauma at the community level, as well as strategies to build resilience, heal community trauma, and prevent future trauma.

Healing strategies include: restorative justice programs that shift the norms around conflict resolution; safer public spaces via creation of parks; social relationship building, particularly across generations; improving housing quality and transportation; and healing circles that provide space for expression.

CPEHN and our partners would like to invite you to join us in Sacramento on March 30 for the annual ENACT Day! ENACT Nutrition and Physical Activity Day brings community members and advocates from all over California together in Sacramento to learn about and support state policies promoting nutrition and physical activity.

March 30, 2016
9:00 am to 3:00 pm
St John's Lutheran Church
1701 L Street, Sacramento, CA 95811

Click here to register and for more information. 

ENACT Day is a great opportunity to learn about advocacy and make your voice heard in the capitol. The event is free, and breakfast and lunch will be provided. All you need is your passion, and an optional donation. Space is limited! If you are unable to attend the event in person but would still like to participate, you can register for Virtual ENACT Day, during which you can use your email, telephone, and social media to tell your story. No matter where you are, you are welcome to join us!

Registration for ENACT Day closes March 16th so register today!

Also, please note: a limited number of travel scholarships are available. Please apply early to help us fulfil as many requests as possible. If you would like to apply for a travel scholarship, please complete the online application survey HERE by February 29th.

Families USA

It was really exciting to see California front and center this year at Families USA’s 2016 Health Action Conference. Sometimes when we are entrenched in the work, we often forget to reflect on our successes and the tremendous grit, collaboration, and leadership that go into it all. We were humbled as Dr. Bob Ross, President and CEO of The California Endowment, and Marielena Hicapie, Executive Director of the National Immigration Law Center, reminded us just how far California has come but also how much more work there still is to do. Later, we were absolutely thrilled to see our colleague and friend, Reshma Shamasunder, former Executive Director of the California Immigrant Policy Center, honored as the Health Equity Advocate of the Year.

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