A graphic illustrating the difference between equality and equity: equality means everyone gets the same things, regardless of whether it is appropriate for them; equity means everyone gets what they need befitting their situation.


June 6, 2022

Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 18th!

The Juneteenth Celebration, presented by the Juneteenth Committee of Ventura County (JCVC), is taking place on Saturday, June 18 at Plaza Park in Oxnard. This holiday commemorates the emancipation of enslaved people in the US. The holiday was first celebrated in Texas, where on that date in 1865, in the aftermath of the Civil War, slaves were declared free under the terms of the 1862 Emancipation Proclamation.

Learn more:


June 6, 2022

June is Pride Month!

May 9, 2022

May is Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

During Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, our Nation recognizes the innumerable contributions, vibrant cultures, and rich heritage of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AA and NHPIs). As some of the fastest-growing racial and ethnic groups in the Nation, AA and NHPI communities represent a multitude of ethnicities, languages, and experiences that enrich America and strengthen our Union.

This month, we celebrate our fellow Americans from AA and NHPI communities and pay tribute to all they have done to help fulfill the promise of America for all. Together, let us recommit ourselves to building a country in which every American — regardless of who they are, where they come from, or what they look like — has an equal opportunity to thrive.

—President Biden, The White House, A Proclamation on Asian American, Native Hawaiian, And Pacific Islander Heritage Month, 2022

Learn more:

Fact Sheet: Celebrating Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2022 | HHS.gov

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2022

April 6, 2022

National Minority Health Month

Every April, the HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) observes National Minority Health Month to highlight the importance of improving the health of racial and ethnic minorities and reducing health disparities.

OMH is proud to announce the theme for National Minority Health Month 2022: Give Your Community a Boost! This year’s theme focuses on the continued importance of COVID-19 vaccination, including boosters, as one of the strongest tools we have to end the COVID-19 pandemic that has disproportionately affected communities of color. This theme supplements the CDC recommendations to prevent COVID transmissions, such as physical distancing, use of well-fitting masks, adequate ventilation, and avoidance of crowded indoor spaces.

Experiences with racism and discrimination can contribute to mistrust of the healthcare system among racial and ethnic minority groups, leading to mistrust of factual information on vaccines and boosters. Because of this, the Give Your Community a Boost! theme also supports the U.S. Surgeon General's recommendations on combating COVID-19 and vaccine misinformation at the individual, community, and organizational levels.

Learn more:

Office of Minority Health

National Minority Health Month

March 7, 2022

March is Women's History Month

Women’s History Month is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society and has been observed annually in the month of March in the United States since 1987.

The actual celebration of Women’s History Month grew out of a weeklong celebration of women’s contributions to culture, history and society organized by the school district of Sonoma California in 1978. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week. The U.S. Congress followed the next year, passing a resolution establishing a national celebration. Six years later, the National Women’s History Project successfully petitioned Congress to expand the event to the entire month of March.

Women's History Month Theme

The National Women’s History Alliance designates a yearly theme for Women's History Month. The 2022 theme is "Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope." This theme is "both a tribute to the ceaseless work of caregivers and frontline workers during this ongoing pandemic and also a recognition of the thousands of ways that women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history."

Learn more:

Women's History Month 2022

A Proclamation on Women’s History Month, 2022

December 2, 2021

Featured Resource: New Health Equity Language Guide Helps Fight Implicit Bias & Discrimination

The AAMC Center for Health Justice and American Medical Association (AMA) co-developed a new guide on inclusive language to advance health equity. Designed for physicians and other health care professionals, Advancing Health Equity: AMA-AAMC Guide on Language, Narrative, and Concepts provides guidance and promotes a deeper understanding of equity-focused, first-person language and why it matters.

Using inclusive language is important for healthcare providers to ensure that they are giving culturally comprehensive care that is absent of implicit bias or discrimination, which unfortunately affects many Latinos and other people of color. The AAMC Center for Health Justice and AMA co-produced this guide to help shift the narrative about health equity and to show how language is interconnected with the fight for justice.

Learn more:

New Health Equity Language Guide Helps Fight Implicit Bias & Discrimination, Salud America!

Advancing Health Equity: A Guide to Language, Narrative and Concepts, American Medical Association (AMA)

November 10, 2021

Native American Heritage Month

Native American Heritage Month celebrates the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and history and acknowledges the important contributions of American Indians and Alaska Natives in the United States. Throughout November, OMH will focus on raising awareness about the health disparities impacting the American Indian/Alaska Native community and highlight the importance of staying healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted American Indian/Alaska Native populations across the country, with infection rates over 3.5 times higher than non-Hispanic whites. Additionally, American Indian/Alaska Native communities are more likely to develop chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and have a higher prevalence of obesity. These underlying health conditions can put people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

To help reduce the complications associated with these health disparities, OMH is working with other federal partners to create awareness of the importance of managing these health conditions during these uncertain times and promote better health for American Indian/Alaska Native populations.

Learn More

Office of Minority Health

October 4, 2021

Featured Resource: CalHOPE


CalHOPE offers free resources for all Californians in need of support relating to COVID-19.


We are all excited to return to school, but we may still be nervous about COVID. You’re not alone — CalHOPE is here to help. Connect with CalHOPE by chat or phone.

(833) 317-HOPE (4673)

CalHOPE Connect

CalHOPE Connect offers safe, secure, and culturally sensitive emotional support.

Learn more and chat now: www.calhopeconnect.org

CalHOPE partnered with California Mental Health Services Association which has a statewide experienced workforce comprised of peers, community mental health workers, and other non-licensed personnel. Individuals in need of emotional and/or crisis support can connect via phone, videoconference, smart device, or computer chat. Depending upon needs and situation, family and/or group support sessions are also available.

CalHOPE Warm Line

The CalHOPE warm line connects callers to other people who have persevered through struggles with stress, anxiety, depression—emotions triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The peer counselors listen with compassion, provide non-judgmental support and guide you to additional resources that can give hope and help them cope.

CalHOPE Warm Line: www.calhope.org/pages/current-services.aspx

Call: (833) 317-HOPE (4673)

Together for Wellness Website

Mental Health and Wellness Tips for Today

The CalHOPE Together for Wellness website has easy-to-navigate wellness tools, including stress management and coping skills.

Visit: calhope.semel.ucla.edu

September 15, 2021

OMH Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Every year, Hispanic Heritage Month is observed from September 15 to October 15. This year, the HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) will work with federal and non-federal partners to disseminate information about disease prevention, health promotion, and share the latest recommendations for Latinos related to COVID-19.

The observance theme, Esperanza: A celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope, encourages everyone to reflect on all the contributions Latinos have made in the past and to look forward to the future. It is also a reminder that we are stronger together. Visit the OMH Hispanic Heritage Month microsite, available in English and Spanish, for more information, downloadable materials, and resources throughout the observance month.


National Hispanic Heritage Month 2021 – HHS Fact Sheet

September 2, 2021

Conversations about Suicide: Help & Hope – 6th Annual Forum‍

Suicide touches us all. Join us to hear personal stories and points of view. Learn about local resources and how to make a difference.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

4:00 PM – 6:00 PM




For suicide prevention resources: www.WellnessEveryDay.org

August 25, 2021

Snapshot: Minority Health Social Vulnerability Index (SVI)

Systemic socioeconomic inequities like poverty, poor housing conditions, and lack of access to quality health care, lead to worse health outcomes among racial and ethnic minority populations in the United States. Such factors also increase risk for the ability of racial and ethnic minority populations to anticipate, confront, repair, and recover from the effects of a disaster or public health emergency. These factors combine to form the concept known as social vulnerability.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the HHS Office of Minority Health developed the Minority Health Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) to enhance existing resources to support the identification of racial and ethnic minority communities at the greatest risk for disproportionate impact and adverse outcomes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learn more:

Minority Health SVI

August 18, 2021

September is National Recovery Month

Recovery is For Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community

Recovery Month is a national observance held every September to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with a mental and/or substance use disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life.

Recovery Month celebrates the gains made by those in recovery, just as we celebrate health improvements made by those who are managing other health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease. This observance reinforces the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover.

There are millions of Americans whose lives have been transformed through recovery. Since these successes often go unnoticed by the broader population, Recovery Month provides a vehicle for everyone to celebrate these accomplishments.

The 2021 theme, “Recovery is For Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community,” reminds people in recovery and those who support them that no one is alone in the journey through recovery. Everyone's journey is different, but we are all in this together. Recovery Month will continue to educate others about substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders, the effectiveness of treatment and recovery services, and that recovery is possible. All of us, from celebrities and sports figures to our co-workers, neighbors, friends, and family members, throughout our lives have experienced peaks and valleys, both big and small. But with strength, support, and hope from the people we love, we are resilient.

Learn more:

Faces & Voices of Recovery’s National Recovery Month


Faces and Voices of Recovery is dedicated to organizing and mobilizing the over 23 million Americans in recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs, our families, friends and allies into recovery community organizations and networks, to promote the right and resources to recover through advocacy, education and demonstrating the power and proof of long-term recovery.

August 18, 2021

CDC and OMH Partner to Launch Minority Health Social Vulnerability Index (SVI)

Supporting Communities

Systemic socioeconomic inequities like poverty, poor housing conditions, and lack of access to quality health care, lead to worse health outcomes among racial and ethnic minority populations in the United States. Such factors also increase risk for the ability of racial and ethnic minority populations to anticipate, confront, repair, and recover from the effects of a disaster or public health emergency—these factors combine to form the concept known as social vulnerability.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the HHS Office of Minority Health developed the Minority Health Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) to enhance existing resources to support the identification of racial and ethnic minority communities at the greatest risk for disproportionate impact and adverse outcomes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learn more:

Minority Health SVI

July 13, 2021

July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month is observed each July to bring awareness to the unique struggles that racial and ethnic minority communities face regarding mental illness in the United States. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it harder for racial and ethnic minority groups to get access to mental health and substance-use treatment services.

Throughout the month, the HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) will focus on promoting tools and resources addressing the stigma about mental health among racial and ethnic minority populations, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

OMH encourages state, tribal, and local leaders, community-based organizations, faith leaders, healthcare providers and individuals to educate your communities regarding mental health stigma.

Learn more:

National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

July 13, 2021

In the News: Senate Passes a Bill Making Juneteenth a Federal Holiday

"And that’s why we must understand that Juneteenth represents not only the commemoration of the end of slavery in America more than 150 years ago, but the ongoing work to have to bring true equity and racial justice into American society, which we can do. In short, this day doesn’t just celebrate the past; it calls for action today."

— Remarks by President Biden at Signing of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, June 17, 2021

The Senate unanimously passed a resolution establishing June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day, a U.S. holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger announced in Galveston, Texas, the end of slavery in accordance with President Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. In 1980, Juneteenth became a Texas state holiday. In the decades since, every state but South Dakota came to officially commemorate Juneteenth, but only a handful of states observe it as a paid holiday.

Learn more:

Senate unanimously passes a bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday, CNN, June 16, 2021

Remarks by President Biden at Signing of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, June 17, 2021

June 15, 2021

FACT SHEET: The Biden-Harris Administration Champions LGBTQ+ Equality and Marks Pride Month

"During LGBTQ+ Pride Month, we recognize the resilience and determination of the many individuals who are fighting to live freely and authentically," Biden wrote in a presidential proclamation declaring June Pride Month. "In doing so, they are opening hearts and minds, and laying the foundation for a more just and equitable America."

— Statement by President Joe Biden, June 1, 2021

The White House, June 1, 2021

President Biden issued a proclamation affirming June 2021 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) Pride Month, marking a time a time of hope, progress, and promise for LGBTQ+ Americans across the country. After four years of relentless attacks on LGBTQ+ rights, the Biden-Harris Administration has taken historic actions to accelerate the march toward full LGBTQ+ equality. From protecting the civil rights of every LGBTQ+ American, enabling all qualified Americans—including transgender Americans—to serve their country in uniform, ensuring that LGBTQ+ Americans are leaders at every level of the federal government, to protecting and defending the human rights of LGBTQ+ persons around the world, the Biden-Harris Administration is a consistent and reliable partner in the fight for equality at home and abroad.

Too many LGBTQ+ Americans across our nation continue facing discrimination and hate, especially LGBTQ+ people of color and transgender Americans, and some states are attempting to roll back the clock on equality with discriminatory bills that target LGBTQ+ people and families. The Biden-Harris Administration reaffirms that no one should face discrimination or harassment because of who they are or whom they love.

As President Biden said during his first joint address to Congress, the President has the back of LGBTQ+ people across the country and will continue fighting for full equality for every American – including through continuing to urge the U.S. Senate to pass the Equality Act and provide overdue civil rights protections to LGBTQ+ people and families across the country.

This Pride Month, the Biden-Harris Administration celebrates the historic progress made towards LGBTQ+ equality since President Biden took office.

Learn more:

FACT SHEET: The Biden-Harris Administration Champions LGBTQ+ Equality and Marks Pride Month, The White House, June 1, 2021

June 15, 2021

Featured Campaign: Vaping Historietas

See our latest campaign about the risks of secondhand vaping. We developed this campaign to address the health risks related to vaping and how it can affect others. The historieta format shares the information through engaging short stories and highlights how vaping can affect children and other family members. The goal is to increase awareness that can lead to a safer home environment, especially for children who may be most vulnerable.

Learn more:

Secondhand Vaping Historietas

English videos: www.vapingfactcheckvc.org

Spanish videos: www.vapeoverificado.org

May 19, 2021

In the News: Media Statement from CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky on Racism and Health

Racism is a Serious Threat to the Public’s Health

CDC, April 8, 2021

Rochelle P. Walensky MD, MPH, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared racism a serious public health threat. She highlighted several new efforts CDC is leading to accelerate its work to address racism as a fundamental driver of racial and ethnic health inequities in the United States. She unveiled a new website “Racism and Health” that will serve as a hub for the agency’s efforts and a catalyst for greater education and dialogue around these critical issues.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the death of over 500,000 Americans. Tens of millions have been infected. And across this country people are suffering. Importantly, these painful experiences and the impact of COVID-19 are felt, most severely, in communities of color—communities that have experienced disproportionate case counts and deaths, and where the social impact of the pandemic has been most extreme. Yet, the disparities seen over the past year were not a result of COVID-19. Instead, the pandemic illuminated inequities that have existed for generations and revealed for all of America a known, but often unaddressed, epidemic impacting public health: racism.
What we know is this: racism is a serious public health threat that directly affects the well-being of millions of Americans. As a result, it affects the health of our entire nation. Racism is not just the discrimination against one group based on the color of their skin or their race or ethnicity, but the structural barriers that impact racial and ethnic groups differently to influence where a person lives, where they work, where their children play, and where they worship and gather in community. These social determinants of health have life-long negative effects on the mental and physical health of individuals in communities of color. Over generations, these structural inequities have resulted in stark racial and ethnic health disparities that are severe, far-reaching and unacceptable.
Confronting the impact of racism will not be easy. I know that we can meet this challenge. I know that we can create an America where all people have the opportunity to live a healthy life when we each take responsibility and work together. I am committed to this work. I certainly hope you will lean in and join me.”

Learn more:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Media Statement, April 8, 2021

Racism and Health website

May 19, 2021

In the News: Addiction Should Be Treated, Not Penalized

Moving Toward A Public Health Approach

Health Affairs Blog, April 27, 2021

Nora D. Volkow, M.D., Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has been instrumental in demonstrating that drug addiction is a disease of the human brain. As a research psychiatrist and scientist, she has pioneered the use of brain imaging to investigate the toxic effects and addictive properties of abusable drugs. Dr. Nora Volkow makes the evidence-based case on how drug criminalization disproportionately harms Black communities and exacerbates health disparities.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the large racial health disparities in the United States. Black Americans have experienced worse outcomes during the pandemic, continue to die at a greater rate than White Americans, and also suffer disproportionately from a wide range of other acute and chronic illnesses. These disparities are particularly stark in the field of substance use and substance use disorders, where entrenched punitive approaches have exacerbated stigma and made it hard to implement appropriate medical care. Abundant data show that Black people and other communities of color have been disproportionately harmed by decades of addressing drug use as a crime rather than as a matter of public health.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse is redoubling its focus on vulnerabilities and progression of substance use and addiction in minority populations. We are exploring research partnerships with state and local agencies and private health systems to develop ways to eliminate systemic barriers to addiction care. We are also funding research on the effects of alternative models of regulating and decriminalizing drugs in parts of the world where such natural experiments are already occurring.
People with substance use disorders need treatment, not punishment, and drug use disorders should be approached with a demand for high-quality care and with compassion for those affected. With a will to achieve racial equity in delivering compassionate treatment and the ability to use science to guide us toward more equitable models of addressing addiction, I believe such a goal is achievable."

Learn more:

Health Affairs Blog, Addiction Should Be Treated, Not Penalized, Nora D. Volkow, NIDA, April 27, 2021

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)


May 5, 2021

Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) both have a rich heritage thousands of years old that have shaped the history of the United States. This year, during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) will focus on supporting communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic by continuing to promote vaccine confidence and addressing the recent rise in violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the U.S.

OMH is urging state, tribal, and local leaders, community-based organizations, faith leaders, healthcare providers and individuals to leverage their communication channels and social media platforms to not only celebrate the achievements and contributions of AAPIs in the U.S., but to also encourage AAPI communities to prioritize their mental and emotional wellness in the current state of racism and intolerance.

Learn more:

Office of Minority Health

Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

The Office of Minority Health is dedicated to improving the health of racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of health policies and programs that will help eliminate health disparities.

May 5, 2021

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. And this year, more people than ever before are dealing with emotional challenges associated with the pandemic and the social upheaval experienced across our country. These stressors have amplified the need for public awareness and discussion of mental health as a key component of overall health. So, in conjunction with the national “May is Mental Health Awareness Month”, Ventura County Behavioral Health has launched a new countywide campaign, “I’m Talking About My Mental Health.”

This campaign was developed with de-stigmatization as a critical goal. By showing relatable people facing relatable challenges, reaching out for help and making positive changes in their lifestyles, we make the goal of improved mental health feel approachable and achievable. By personalizing the message – talking about “my” mental health – the campaign allows viewers to see others talking about, thinking about, and working on their mental health and fitness, and demonstrates this as normal and life-affirming behavior.

There are now billboards and posters in the community, public service announcements on the radio, and colleagues inviting discussion by wearing buttons or even using the themed Zoom background.

Please take a minute to get familiar with the campaign, and join us in promoting the discussion of mental health in the weeks ahead.

‍Learn more:

I’m Talking about My Mental Health


April 29, 2021

FDA Commits to Evidence-Based Actions Aimed at Saving Lives and Preventing Future Generations of Smokers

Efforts to ban menthol cigarettes, ban flavored cigars build on previous flavor ban and mark significant steps to reduce addiction and youth experimentation, improve quitting, and address health disparities.


April 29, 2021

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it is committing to advancing two tobacco product standards to significantly reduce disease and death from using combusted tobacco products, the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. The FDA is working toward issuing proposed product standards within the next year to ban menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes and ban all characterizing flavors (including menthol) in cigars; the authority to adopt product standards is one of the most powerful tobacco regulatory tools Congress gave the agency. This decision is based on clear science and evidence establishing the addictiveness and harm of these products and builds on important, previous actions that banned other flavored cigarettes in 2009.

“Banning menthol—the last allowable flavor—in cigarettes and banning all flavors in cigars will help save lives, particularly among those disproportionately affected by these deadly products. With these actions, the FDA will help significantly reduce youth initiation, increase the chances of smoking cessation among current smokers, and address health disparities experienced by communities of color, low-income populations, and LGBTQ+ individuals, all of whom are far more likely to use these tobacco products,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. “Together, these actions represent powerful, science-based approaches that will have an extraordinary public health impact. Armed with strong scientific evidence, and with full support from the Administration, we believe these actions will launch us on a trajectory toward ending tobacco-related disease and death in the U.S.”

“For far too long, certain populations, including African Americans, have been targeted, and disproportionately impacted by tobacco use. Despite the tremendous progress we’ve made in getting people to stop smoking over the past 55 years, that progress hasn’t been experienced by everyone equally,” said Mitch Zeller, J.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “These flavor standards would reduce cigarette and cigar initiation and use, reduce health disparities, and promote health equity by addressing a significant and disparate source of harm. Taken together, these policies will help save lives and improve the public health of our country as we confront the leading cause of preventable disease and death.”

> Read the news release

March 31, 2021

April is National Minority Health Month 2021

April is National Minority Health Month, and this year, the HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) is focusing on the disproportionate impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on racial and ethnic minority and American Indian and Alaska Native communities and underscore the need for these vulnerable communities to get vaccinated as more vaccines become available.

This year's theme for National Minority Health Month is #VaccineReady. The focus will be to empower communities to get the facts about COVID-19 vaccines, share accurate vaccine information, participate in clinical trials, get vaccinated when the time comes and practice COVID-19 safety measures.

Learn More:

National Minority Health Month

Office of Minority Health

March 10, 2021

Featured Campaign: Vaping Historietas

Secondhand Vaping

See our latest campaign about the risks of secondhand vaping. We developed this campaign to address the health risks related to vaping and how it can affect others, which is especially timely due to COVID-19. The historieta format shares the information through engaging short stories and highlights how vaping can affect children and other family members. The goal is to increase awareness that can lead to a safer home environment, especially for children who may be most vulnerable.

The Secondhand Vaping historietas are available as videos, PDFs and printed booklets. To view and share, see:

English videos: www.vapingfactcheckvc.org

Spanish videos: www.vapeoverificado.org


Historietas in English

Historietas in Spanish

March 10, 2021

Featured Publication: Improving Housing Affordability and Stability to Advance Health Equity

Federal Policy Recommendation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

A series of policy briefs include evidence-based recommendations to help people through the immediate health and economic crises and longer-term recommendations to ensure a fair and just opportunity for health.

The COVID-19 pandemic has uprooted the lives of everyone living in the United States and around the world, but the most severe health and economic impacts have been concentrated among people of color, those with low and middle incomes, and people who live in places that were already struggling financially before the economic downturn. The pandemic has exposed a stubborn, harsh truth about life in America: People’s ability to live a long and healthy life depends to a significant degree on the color of their skin, how much money they have, and where they live.

Everyone needs a safe, stable, and affordable home in a thriving neighborhood to have a fair and just opportunity for good health. However, millions of families in America—particularly families of color—are denied shelter, security, and access to opportunity. How do we: 1) keep people stably housed through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, and 2) build toward transformational change that guarantees housing as a human right and a public good that advances racial and economic equity?

Learn more:

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

January 20, 2021

Driver of Change: Adam Lopez, Revive Community Church

Helping the Community

Read our Driver of Change interview with Adam Lopez, Community Relations Director for Revive Community Church in El Rio. In December2020, Revive Community Church reached over 500 families in El Rio at two community relief events. They distributed over 200 boxes of food, thanks to the City of Oxnard and Food Share of Ventura County and 2,000 toys. In November 2020, the UFW Foundation joined efforts and collaborated with Revive Community Church in serving over 300 families and distributing 300 grocery bags, 150 bags of clothes, and dozens of pairs of shoes.

Learn more:

Drivers of Change


January 20, 2021

Inspiration: Jennifer Rangel, Creating Bilingual Cartoons to Teach Zoning 101 Urban Planning

‘Way to Give Back’

Excerpt from Salud America! blog series about Salud Heros.

“Ever wondered why your neighborhood looks how it does?”

Jennifer Rangel once asked herself this question. To find an answer, Rangel got a master’s degree in urban planning. Along the way, this Latina planner learned that discriminatory urban planning practices, like the zoning of land, had been used for white advantage for over a century, segregating communities and forging inequities in health and wealth among Latinos and other people of color.

Rangel wanted to share what she learned. So she helped create workshops ─ then bilingual animated videos ─ to train neighborhood leaders, social workers, and others about zoning and how to get involved in zoning changes. “Understanding zoning is a critical step for residents as they try to undo previous harms and to remedy policies and practices that perpetuate the harmful effects of discrimination and segregation," Rangel wrote on the Inclusive Communities Project website.

See Rangel’s Animated Videos About Zoning in English and Spanish.

Salud America!


January 20, 2021

Featured Publication: Mental Health Is a Global Public Health Issue

Gaining Understanding

"Mental, emotional, and psychological health have garnered increased attention as a major public health issue. Mental health includes not only the traditional focus on individual therapy interactions but also emerging frameworks designed to address mental health at the population health level.

Health is shaped by a plethora of determinants (eg, genetics, gender, socioeconomic status, education, physical environment, social support networks, access to health services) that operate at the individual, family, community, health systems, and societal levels. Because these determinants of health affect not only physical health but also psychological health, it’s imperative in public health to gain a better understanding of the many pathways through which determinants of health impact the psychological well-being of large groups of individuals."

Preventing Chronic Disease (PCD) is pleased to release this collection, Mental Health Is a Global Public Health Issue, which consists of 10 articles that examine relationships between family history, self-care practices, sleep, obesity, educational attainment, and depression. This collection also includes one that addresses the critical need for a population approach to improve the nation’s behavioral health during the COVID-19 pandemic, and one that offers recommendations on keeping parks and green spaces accessible to promote mental and physical health.

Learn more:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Mental Health is a Global Public Health Issue, Preventing Chronic Disease, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

January 15, 2021

Stay in touch with our Social Determinants of Health Newsletters

Check out our Social Determinants of Health Newsletters and read about our Drivers of Change. You may nominate a community member or colleague for recognition for exemplary work in the community to help build healthier communities and address health equity. You may nominate someone or yourself!

We would love to hear your stories of community change, what inspired you, and how you are making a difference.

Read about it at https://www.healthequityvc.org/newsletters

March 27, 2020

A Tale of Two Zip Codes

When it comes to our health, our zip code matters more than our genetic code. For many communities in California and across the United States, easy access to healthy food options, parks for exercise, and good schools determines quality & length of life. The California Endowment’s 10-year Building Healthy Communities initiative seeks to bring equity to all neighborhoods so that all Californians can enjoy the benefits of healthy communities to live long and prosper. It’s time to change the odds for everyone.


Learn more at www.buildinghealthycommunities.org.

March 27, 2020

Social Determinants of Health Series: Building Healthy Communities

A healthy community happens when personal, institutional, organizational and environmental resources are available for all to achieve their full health potential. Community happens when people connect with each other. The healthy community encourages interaction. We support efforts to create or expand on the types of systems that make up the healthiest, most equitable communities. In order to achieve this, we need to consider and address the impact that the Social Determinants of Health, the conditions in which we live, age, learn,work and play, have on our health. Ventura County Health Care Agency’s Public Health and Behavioral Health departments continue to partner on a series of forums to promote healthier communities in our county.

On March 27th, we hosted our third forum of the series: “Building Healthy Communities: You can help build a healthier community!” Our guest speaker, Dr. Anthony Iton, is from The California Endowment. Dr. Iton’s primary interest is the health of disadvantaged populations and the contributions of race, class,wealth, education, geography, and employment to health status. He has asserted that in every public health area of endeavor, be it immunizations, chronic disease, HIV/AIDS, STDs, obesity, or even disaster preparedness, public health practitioners must recognize that they are confronted with the enduringconsequences of structural poverty, institutional racism and other forms of systemic injustice.

Addressing Social Determinants of Health require the engagement of all sectors of a community. It takes a lot of hard work. But communities are transforming in ways that put better health within everyone's reach. Be part of the solution, and commit to building healthier communities in Ventura County through individual, organizational and community wide effort and engagement.

November 13, 2020

Upcoming Webinar: Hispanic Stress and Resilience During the Holidays

Stress has a significant impact on Hispanic/Latinx populations, and is related to the use and misuse of illicit substances and alcohol. The accumulation of Covid-19 and other sources of cultural stressors may be especially profound during the upcoming holiday period. This presentation will provide an overview of recent developments in research and practice that focus on stress, acculturation stress, and resilience among Hispanic/Latinx populations.

December 3, 2020, 2:00 pm EST

Hosted by the National Hispanic & Latino PTTC

Learn more:

Webinar: Hispanic Stress and Resilience During the Holidays

Prevention Technology Transfer Center (PTTC) Network


The purpose of the Prevention Technology Transfer Center (PTTC) Network is to improve implementation and delivery of effective substance abuse prevention interventions, and provide training and technical assistance services to the substance abuse prevention field.

November 3, 2020

PhotoVoice Oxnard

Exploring Racism as a Social Determinant of Health

BRITE (Building Resilience & Inclusion Through Engagement), a long-time contract provider with Substance Use Services – Prevention, is proud to share one of their projects, PhotoVoice Oxnard.

PhotoVoice is a visual research method that uses photography to capture issues of concern as a means for communication and stimulating social change. Through PhotoVoice, teens can become more engaged in their community and develop an ability to advocate for the changes that they want to see.

"Our experience living in our community allows us to provide evidence that shapes policy on gender, racial equity, behavioral health, and overall wellness. One powerful role we have as community members is sharing our stories on how our social environment affects our health and wellbeing."

Participants spoke to City Council members about their issues of concerns and their suggestions for change. See the photographs, writings and recordings at PhotoVoice Oxnard www.brite.link/photovoice

November 3, 2020

Beyond Screening: Achieving California's Bold Goal of Reducing Exposure to Childhood Trauma

“Through engagement and partnership with multiple agencies, sectors, and communities, California can build momentum for change that ensures that communities, philanthropy, healthcare, and local and state governments align toward the shared vision of a healthy, safe, and equitable California for all children and families.”

This new report makes the case for a community-level, prevention approach to reducing adverse childhood experiences. California’s state government can play a vital role in facilitating and supporting efforts to improve community-wide health, safety, and wellbeing, by reducing exposure to trauma, and increasing individual and community resilience. Beyond Screening: Achieving California's Bold Goal of Reducing Exposure to Childhood Trauma explores prevention and healing approaches that strengthen mental health and wellbeing, support communities to heal from trauma, and build community resilience.

This report was developed by the California Funders Workgroup on Prevention and Equity, which includes Blue Shield of California, the Sierra Health Foundation, The California Endowment, St. Joseph Community Partnership Fund, The California Wellness Foundation, and Well Being Trust.

Learn more:

Beyond Screening: Achieving California's Bold Goal of Reducing Exposure to Childhood Trauma, Juliet Sims, Manal Aboelata, Prevention Institute, October 2020

October 15, 2020

The California Healthy Places Index (HPI) - Public Health Institute

“The State of California took an important step this week in acknowledging the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 in Black, Latinx, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander and Indigenous communities by introducing a health equity metric into its COVID-19 reopening measurements. The State will use the California Healthy Places Index (HPI) tool, as part of its new Blueprint Health Equity Metric."

— Mary A. Pittman, DrPH, CEO and President

The health disparities identified by the HPI tool often stem from historic racism, including redlining in housing markets, education and employment discrimination, and racial bias in many other areas. These policies and practices create some of the conditions—overcrowded housing, greater exposure to pollution and toxic chemicals, higher levels of childhood and everyday stress, and others—that put people of color at greater risk for coronavirus and for the underlying health problems that make the virus more deadly.

Learn more:

Public Health Institute

The California Healthy Places Index (HPI)

September 16, 2020

Achieving a Cohesive Culture for Health Equity in Latino and All Communities: A Research Review

A widening socioeconomic gap, racism, and discrimination contribute to inequitable distribution of healthcare and mental and physical health disparities among Latinos and other people of color and those in poverty, especially amid COVID-19. A cohesive culture for health equity is one where everyone works individually and as a group to ensure that each person has a fair, just opportunity for health and wealth, as well as equitable access to basic resources required for these goals.

The review highlights strategies and interventions to alleviate poverty, improve social cohesion, reduce bias, and increase compassion toward all groups to contribute to a cohesive culture with health equity.

> Read the Review

> News Release

> Salud America

September 16, 2020

Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month takes place every year from September 15 to October 15. During the month, the HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) will celebrate the culture, achievements and contributions of Hispanics and Latinos in the United States. In 2020, OMH will focus on raising awareness about the health disparities impacting the Hispanic/Latino community and promote physical activity, healthy nutrition and regular doctor visits to help improve overall health, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

> Learn more

September 2, 2020

Advancing the Response to COVID-19: Sharing Promising Programs and Practices for Racial and Ethnic Minority Communities

The HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) is hosting a virtual symposium on Thursday, September 17, 2020 to highlight state, tribal, territorial and community-based efforts to address COVID-19 among racial and ethnic minority and American Indian and Alaska Native populations. The Advancing the Response to COVID-19: Sharing Promising Programs and Practices for Racial and Ethnic Minority Communities virtual symposium will feature national, state, tribal and local experts leading these efforts and is developed for public health leaders at all levels and community organizations confronting the pandemic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a history of systemic health and social inequities have put racial and ethnic minority groups at an elevated risk of contracting COVID-19 or experiencing severe illness, regardless of age. CDC data suggests the prevalence of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other underlying conditions also contribute to disparities in health outcomes within communities of color.

The OMH virtual symposium aims to support the dissemination of promising practices, programs and strategies for combating COVID-19, especially in racial and ethnic minority communities.

> Learn more

August 13, 2020

Driver of Change: Ventura County Department of Child Support Services

Our newest Driver of Change was recently featured in the August Social Determinants of Health Newsletter.

Our Mission: Working to ensure children receive consistent and reliable support from both parents.
Our Core Purpose: To help families thrive.
Our Vision: Transforming lives through the true power of child support.

The Ventura County Department of Child Support Services (VCDCSS) believes thriving families are the foundation of a vibrant and healthy community. They believe that children are our future, and raising our children takes both parents' love and support.

VCDCSS is committed to the health and welfare of all children and families. They understand the critical roles that parental, emotional, and financial support play in our children's well-being, helping them become healthy, productive, well-adjusted adults.

VCDCSS delivers important services, partnering with parents to help families establish parentage, set right sized orders, establish medical support, collect and distribute payments and reviewing orders for a modification without having to pay court filing fees or hiring an attorney. The Child Support Program increases family self-sufficiency, reduces child poverty, and positively affects children's educational achievement.

Child Support Awareness Month is a nationally celebrated campaign aimed to spread awareness about Child Support Services. The Ventura County Department of Child Support Services celebrates parents who support their children and the children who benefit from the support of both of their parents. Parents who pay support and parents who receive child support are building healthy foundations to help ensure their children thrive.

Learn more:

August 5, 2020

The Opioid Crisis and the Hispanic/Latino Population: An Urgent Issue

SAMHSA’s Office of Behavioral Health Equity is pleased to announce a new issue brief: The Opioid Crisis and the Hispanic/Latino Population: An Urgent Issue. The opioid crisis has not abated and has had a significant impact on Hispanic/Latino communities in the U.S. This issue brief presents recent data on prevalence of opioid misuse and death rates in the Hispanic/Latino population; contextual factors and challenges to prevention and treatment; innovative outreach and engagement strategies to connect people to evidence-based treatment; and the importance of community voice.

> Read the report

July 27, 2020

A Public Health Expert Says The Pandemic Is The Tip Of The Iceberg When It Comes To Health, Equity, And Social Justice

"Complexity is the defining business and leadership challenge of our time. But it has never felt more urgent than this moment, with the coronavirus upending life and business as we know it. For the next few weeks, we’ll be talking to leaders about what it takes to lead through the most complex and confounding problems, and about Brody Moments (from Jaws’ Police Chief Brody and his famous line “you’re going to need a bigger boat”) related to the coronavirus. Today we talk with Mary Pittman, President and CEO of the Public Health Institute (PHI), a nationally recognized leader in improving community health, addressing health inequities among vulnerable people and promoting quality of care. Pittman assumed the reins at PHI in 2008, becoming the organization's second president and CEO since its founding in 1964. Pittman has deep, varied and multi-sectoral experience in local public health, research, education and hospitals, and has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals and two books."

David and David: What do you see with respect to equity in healthcare, social determinants of health, and social justice?

Mary: I view the pandemic as an iceberg. You’re only seeing the tip, and what’s below the water-level is systemic under-funding, exclusion, inability to access badly-needed healthcare, untreated chronic diseases, unaddressed mental health issues, and biases and racism. Without the right support in place, people end up without homes and/or unable to care for themselves, and that makes them much more vulnerable. We’ve seen that people with social disparities, especially people of color, are at a higher risk of getting and dying from Covid-19. We’re paying the price for ignoring the research about the importance of investing in the social determinants of health.

David and David: Any other advice you can offer? Parting words?

Mary: Viruses know no borders and don’t respect political parties. We have to come together to solve these problems. We will get through this pandemic, but to avoid too many lives being lost unnecessarily in this and future crises, we need to be diligent and focused on the importance of public health and on the need for public health infrastructure. That infrastructure can’t go through more years of neglect because when a crisis hits, you can’t both build and fly the plane. I’m optimistic that with the support and collaboration of the business and the public health community, broader goodwill, and the energy and optimism of younger people, we can build a better, more just, and more resilient world.

Learn more:

Source: David Benjamin and David Komlos, (2020, July 27). A Public Health Expert Says The Pandemic Is The Tip Of The Iceberg When It Comes To Health, Equity, And Social Justice. Forbes, Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com.

> Read the Interview

> Public Health Institute

July 22, 2020

Advancing Racial Equity Webinar Series

"Alarming disparities within the COVID-19 pandemic — such as higher hospitalizations and death rates among African Americans — are sadly predictable and highlight the urgent need to address the root causes of health inequities."

The American Public Health Association (APHA) is hosting this webinar series to give an in-depth look at racism as a driving force of the social determinants of health and equity. The series will explore efforts to address systems, policies and practices designed to limit and shape opportunities for people of color.

> See the Webinars:
Webinar #3, Reborn Not Reformed: Re-Imagining Policing for the Public's Health
August 11, 2020

> Learn more:
American Public Health Association (APHA)

APHA Webinar Series
July 14, 2020

Driver of Change: Housing Authority, City of San Buenaventura

Housing as More than Shelter

At HACSB we understand that health can be affected in many environments; we’re conscious of it starting in the home. Our approach creates social and physical environments that promote healthy living for all age groups, from 0 to hero.

Team Community Services achieves this through outreach, social media, maintaining a presence in the community, being accessible to our residents, and working closely with over 40 partner agencies. We are working to close the digital divide, increase access to low cost internet, devices, and provide digital skill building workshops. To increase achievement of educational goals, career, and economic self-sufficiency, the agency runs an annual scholarship program. Our initiative to increase access to and consumption of fresh produce started with community gardens, weekly delivery of fresh produce to resident communities, and expanded to include delivery of prepared meals, nutrition education and physical well-being programs.

HACSB touches upon all five of the social determinants of health as they align with our agency mission. The mission is to provide and develop quality affordable housing for eligible low-income residents of Ventura County and to establish strong partnerships necessary for HACSB customers to achieve personal goals related to: literacy and education; health and wellness; and job training and employment leading to personal growth and economic self-sufficiency.

We are excited to continue to drive change through innovative ways of working with residents and partners in this virtual world while remaining impactful, meaningful, and influential.

Learn more:
Stephanie J Spampanato, Community Services Manager
Ventura Housing Authority

Team Community Services with 300 boxes of fresh produce ready for delivery.
July 8, 2020

National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

The Office of Minority Health is dedicated to improving the health of racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of health policies and programs that will help eliminate health disparities. OMH encourages all our partners to join us in educating communities about the importance of mental healthcare and treatment and to help break down barriers, such as negative perceptions about mental illness.

Despite advances in health equity, disparities in mental health care persist. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reports that racial and ethnic minority groups in the U.S. are less likely to have access to mental health services, less likely to use community mental health services, more likely to use emergency departments, and more likely to receive lower quality care. Poor mental health care access and quality of care contribute to poor mental health outcomes, including suicide, among racial and ethnic minority populations.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the CDC:

  • In 2017, 10.5% (3.5 million) of young adults age 18 to 25 had serious thoughts of suicide including 8.3% of non-Hispanic blacks and 9.2% of Hispanics.
  • In 2017, 7.5% (2.5 million) of young adults age 18 to 25 had a serious mental illness including 7.6% of non-Hispanic Asians, 5.7% of Hispanics and 4.6% of non-Hispanic blacks.
  • Feelings of anxiety and other signs of stress may become more pronounced during a global pandemic.
  • People in some racial and ethnic minority groups may respond more strongly to the stress of a pandemic or crisis.

Visit this web page during National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month for downloadable materials and health resources.

June 24, 2020

Resources for Organizations Working with African American Communities

Each Mind Matters: California’s Mental Health Movement, highlights the collective efforts of all people and organizations that want to put an end to stigma related to mental illness, promote mental health, prevent suicide, and create communities across California where everyone feels comfortable reaching out for the help and support they deserve.

Racism, lack of economic opportunity, and oppression increase the chances of poor mental health in the African American community. The resources below can assist organizations serving African Americans as well as individuals interested in information for themselves or for a loved one.

> Resources for Organizations Working with African American Communities

> Each Mind Matters

June 19, 2020

Social Justice Fund for Ventura County

Learn about this resource in Ventura County. We want to feature local partners who are working on health equity in our communities.

Social Justice Fund for Ventura County

Our Mission
Social Justice Fund for Ventura County promotes fairness, equity and human rights. We strengthen social justice by empowering community members to create lasting change.

Our Vision
The Social Justice Fund for Ventura County envisions a world where each person lives as a part of an inclusive community that provides them equitable access to resources and opportunities to be safe, healthy and able to reach their potential.

Our Approach
Social Justice Fund for Ventura County invest in community organizing – the process of bringing people together and helping them develop their voices, realize their power and collectively act to create real change in their lives and communities.

Learn more:


June 19, 2020

Human Impact Partners

Human Impact Partners transforms the field of public health to center equity and builds collective power with social justice movements.

A COVID-19 Public Health Response & Recovery Policy Platform

“Decades of underinvestment in our public infrastructure and neoliberal policies that gutted protections for working people, our healthcare, and our wider safety net are vividly exposing their consequences. People of color — most harshly Black, Latinx, and Native people — are disproportionately experiencing the consequences of these conditions. In this context, directly impacted communities are naming and working towards transformative solutions around areas including the criminal legal system, housing security, economic security, and healthcare access. Public health needs to act on solutions led by directly impacted communities.”

Check out their cross-sector policy platform, that if implemented, would challenge the conditions that create inequities in health outcomes.

Learn More:

Read about the Health Equity Policy Platform for COVID-19 Response and Recovery

June 9, 2020

Driver of Change: Breakthrough Student Assistance Program

One family at a time is how the Conejo Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) BreakThrough Student Assistance Program (SAP) supports students. The BreakThrough SAP is an extra support available to all CVUSD families and is designed to meet the individual needs of students. It is an umbrella program that offers prevention, identification, screening, intervention and support strategies within a school district.  

The program is built around the 90-minute family conference called the Brief Risk Reduction Interview and Intervention Model (BRRIIM) and incorporates evidence-based practices of Brief Intervention, Motivational Interviewing, Risk and Protective Factors, Stages of Change, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Applications. The BRRIIM has been proven to be an effective tool for connecting with students from diverse backgrounds including gifted learners, at-risk learners, English Language Learners, Special Education students and students from diverse socioeconomic, cultural and ethnic backgrounds.  

Families are given the opportunity to share their stories and personal struggles in a safe and confidential environment. This allows the BreakThrough SAP counselors to learn about individual and family strengths, needs and challenges and build them in to a collaborative family plan. Through partnerships with a broad network of community partners, the BreakThrough SAP acts as a bridge between families and free and/or low-cost resources based on their specific needs. The BreakThrough SAP’s focus is on prevention and school success for all students. The program works to close the achievement gap by utilizing school and community resources to remove barriers for students to achieve academic and personal success.  

> BreakThrough Student Assistance Program

June 1, 2020

CA4Health's 21-Day Racial Equity & Social Justice Challenge

What is Health Equity? And how can we advance health equity in our work? The CA4Health Challenge is designed to engage participants by having them dedicate approximately 30 minutes a day for 21 days. You will be presented with challenges such as reading an article, watching a video, reflecting on personal experience and more. Participation in an activity like this helps us to discover how racial injustice and social injustice impact our community, to connect with one another, and to identify ways to dismantle racism and other forms of discrimination. The Challenge begins on June 8th!

Learn More at CA4Health Challenge

Advancing Prevention and Equity Together

CA4Health is an inclusive statewide community of practice made up of people and organizations working to advance chronic disease prevention and health equity in California. We believe that increased collaboration, fostering non-traditional partnerships, and tackling tough challenges together will create impactful, lasting change in California.

Read about CA4Health

May 19, 2020

Webinar: Communities Respond to COVID-19: Implications for Asian Pacific Islanders

Thursday, May 21, 2020, 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm EDT

This year's Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM) comes at a time when many Asian Pacific Islanders (APIs) are experiencing discrimination and stigma emerging from anti-Asian narratives related to COVID-19. These narratives, embedded in a national context of uncertainty about health and safety, are increasing the vulnerability for fear, anxiety and emotional distress within API communities. Community leaders are responding to the rising needs for mental health and emotional support. The evolving circumstances have created a platform for enhanced partnership and innovation to expand the availability of culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health services and ensure the safety of API populations.

The National Network to Eliminate Disparities in Behavioral Health (NNED) Virtual Roundtable is the second of a two-part series on the behavioral and mental health impacts of COVID-19. Panelists will discuss:

- Emerging mental health needs for API communities
- Strategies for providing culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health and emotional support services to API populations
- Community approaches for addressing discrimination and stigma experienced by APIs

> Register here

> National Network to Eliminate Disparities in Behavioral Health (NNED)

May 15, 2020

Driver of Change - Kay Wilson-Bolton

Kay Wilson-Bolton is a Driver of Change in Santa Paula and the first Driver of Change highlighted in our new Social Determinants of Health website. Kay was scheduled to be one of our panelists at our Social Determinants of Health event on March 27th. We did not get to hear from Kay personally but do visit her Spirit of Santa Paula website at www.spiritofsantapaula.org to learn more about how this Driver of Change is influencing lives, advancing health equity and transforming her community. Kay Wilson-Bolton is the heart of the Spirit of Santa Paula.

“SPIRIT of Santa Paula is a non-profit public charity, 501c3, formed in 2002 by six local business people to do "good things" for the community. Little did we know finding a homeless man dead in one of our churches on Christmas Eve 2008 would launch us in a direction we never dreamed. The bottom line of what we try to do here is give them hope. My goal is to be that warm fire that people are drawn to.”
– Kay Wilson-Bolton

The Spirit of Santa Paula website broadcasts its mission with the following quote:

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
– John Wesley

Thank you Kay, to you and your Spirit of Santa Paula volunteers. You are transforming communities and making a difference! Follow Kay Wilson-Bolton on Facebook.

May 7, 2020

Ways to challenge policing and incarceration in COVID-19 responses

Use these tools and resources to challenge common questions and pushback to decarceration with a public health lens: Take action to challenge the use of policing and incarceration as part of pandemic response. In this midst of this pandemic, it remains as critical as ever for us to center our most vulnerable community members. As advocates for health equity, it's our responsibility to challenge responses that push forward criminalization, incarceration, and policing under the guise of public health. We envision a more transformative vision of community safety where everyone has what they need to live healthy lives.

> See Resources to Challenge Policing and Incarceration as Part of a COVID-19 Response   

May 7, 2020

How Race, Class and Place Fuel a Pandemic

Sheltering in place works for wealthier and white neighborhoods but puts low-income and Black and Latinx communities in harm’s way. Today, Advancement Project California released How Race, Class, and Place Fuel a Pandemic, an interactive report that shows how COVID-19 has shifted across geography and taken hold in predominantly Black and Latinx communities in Los Angeles; and offers recommendations to support communities of color through the worst of this crisis.

"No matter where we live, the color of our skin or where we come from, we all want to be safe and protect our loved ones from COVID-19. But race counts – even during an all-encompassing global pandemic. Even when the crisis has impacted every community and every walk of life. Our research shows that race matters in a particularly sharp and uncompromising way in this crisis — and unless our collective response starts with addressing our unequal conditions, none of us will be safe."

> Read How Race, Class and Place Fuel a Pandemic

May 7, 2020

WATCH TODAY: 'Race and Coronavirus: A Bay Area Conversation' virtual town hall addressing COVID-19 impact on Latino community

The novel coronavirus has significantly impacted several communities across the world, however, recent studies have shown one of the groups hardest hit by the pandemic is the Latino community. In April, San Francisco city officials announced 25% of positive COVID-19 cases in the city were among the Latino community. In an effort to provide those with the information they need, ABC7 has partnered with the Latino Community Foundation to present, "Race and Coronavirus: A Bay Area Conversation" a virtual and interactive town hall.


May 7, 2020

Webinar - Health at Risk: Policies Are Needed to End Cigarette, Marijuana, and E-cigarette Secondhand Smoke in Multi-Unit Housing in Los Angeles

Despite an increasing number of smoke-free local laws in the last 10 years, the proportion of Californians reporting exposure to secondhand smoke from tobacco, marijuana, and e-cigarette vapor continues to rise.

Webinar: Wednesday, May 20, 2020

> Register here
Sponsored by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

May 5, 2020

ChangeLab’s policy blog series

The COVID-19 pandemic is exposing the grievous health consequences of discriminatory laws and policies in this country. Underserved members of our society will bear the brunt of this public health emergency.  Check out ChangeLab’s policy blog series which offers immediate solutions for communities and local governments that wish to prioritize health equity in their response to COVID-19.

ChangeLab Solutions is a national organization that advances equitable laws and policies to ensure healthy lives for all. We prioritize communities whose residents are at highest risk for poor health. Our multidisciplinary team of lawyers, planners, policy analysts, and other professionals works with state and local governments, advocacy organizations, and anchor institutions to create thriving communities.

> Read more at https://www.changelabsolutions.org/blog

May 4, 2020

Migration and Health Report; Publication for Action

This publication is dedicated to binational research regarding the effects of migration on the health of Mexican and Central American migrants. The edition is co-produced by the National Population Council of the Secretariat of the Interior of Mexico, and the Health Initiative of the Americas, a program of the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. “We hope that this Publication to Action will continue to fuel the conversation among key stakeholders in how to safeguard the health and dignity of these vulnerable individuals through changes in policies, procedures, and binational approaches.”

> Read the report

> Learn more at The Health Initiative of the Americas (HIA)

May 1, 2020

Webinar: Health Equity and COVID-19: Opportunities to Improve Child Wellbeing through Policy

Wednesday, May 13, 2020, 1:00-2:30 PM

A webinar by the All Children Thrive (ACT) California project. This webinar will examine what success could look like in addressing COVID-19 by describing equity concerns arising for children and families that have been exacerbated by the pandemic, sharing examples where California’s approach has been effective, and exploring opportunities for improvement.

> Register at https://tinyurl.com/efcequityandcovid19

> Learn more at All Children Thrive (ACT)  

April 30, 2020

Heath Equity through Smoke-Free Multi-Unit Housing

This webinar from the Public Health Law Center discussed the public health benefits associated with smoke-free housing and how multi-unit housing presents special health equity considerations for smoke-free policies. It addressed key components of smoke-free housing laws and policies, and the best practices in adopting, implementing, and enforcing smoke-free housing laws and policies.

> See webinar slides at

The Law and Policy Coordinating Center (LPCC) is a joint initiative of the American Lung Association and the Public Health Law Center to support tobacco control professionals in their work to end the commercial tobacco epidemic in California.

April 29, 2020

The Opioid Crisis and the Black/African American Population: An Urgent Issue

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) by SAMHSA’s Office of Behavioral Health Equity. March 2020

The opioid crisis has not abated and has had a significant impact on African American communities. This issue brief presents recent data on prevalence of opioid misuse and death rates in the Black/ African American population; contextual factors and challenges to prevention and treatment; innovative outreach and engagement strategies to connect people to evidence-based treatment; and the importance of community voice.

> Read the report

April 24, 2020

The Great American Divide

New York Times Opinion Project

The coronavirus crisis has underscored our enduring inequalities in race, wealth and health. “The America We Need” is on Opinion project focusing on how we can emerge out of the current crisis with a fairer nation.

"You don’t have to look hard to find inequality in America. For the past several weeks I have been sheltering with my family in Central New York, where even among the rolling hills and sweeping expanses of farmland, the vast divide between the haves and have-nots is as plainly visible as it is in New York City. The United States has a chance to emerge from this latest crisis as a stronger nation, more just, more free and more resilient. We must seize the opportunity.”

> The Great American Divide, New York Times, April 20, 2020

> The America We Need, New York Times, April 9, 2020

April 22, 2020

Addressing the Stigma that Surrounds Addiction

Untreated drug and alcohol use contribute to tens of thousands of deaths every year and impact the lives of many more. Healthcare already has effective tools including medications for opioid and alcohol use disorder that could prevent many of these deaths, but they are not being utilized widely enough, and many people who could benefit do not even seek them out. One important reason is the stigma that surrounds people with addiction.

The stigmatization of people with substance use disorders may be even more problematic in the current COVID-19 crisis. In addition to their greater risk through homelessness and drug use itself, the legitimate fear around contagion may mean that bystanders or even first responders will be reluctant to administer naloxone to people who have overdosed. And there is a danger that overtaxed hospitals will preferentially pass over those with obvious drug problems when making difficult decisions about where to direct lifesaving personnel and resources.

> Read the article

NIDA. (2020, April 22). Addressing the Stigma that Surrounds Addiction. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/noras-blog/2020/04/addressing-stigma-surrounds-addiction on 2020, April 22

April 21, 2020

To defeat COVID-19, don't only treat the patient, treat the neighborhood

African American and Latino communities have been hit hard by the disease.

ABC News.

"That makes sense, since zip codes often tell us the number and level of resources within a neighborhood as well as the quality of care available to its residents. In brief, people who live in poorer zip codes have fewer health resources and poorer health outcomes. One of the issues that we need to consider in moving forward during recovery is identifying the core elements in an unhealthy environment that activate a sense of danger or, conversely, protect against harmful effects of chronic neighborhood stressors that we know impact progression of chronic disease and health outcomes.

The COVID-19 pandemic requires flexibility, new ways of thinking and swift action. If we really want to save lives and prevent rampant and widespread infection, we’ll stop treating individual patients and start treating the neighborhoods where they live."

> Read the article

> Building Healthy Communities. A Tale of Two Zip Codes, The California Endowment

April 16, 2020

COVID-19’s Particular Threat to Native American Communities

Poor health care, lacking infrastructure, and generational poverty combine to make Native Americans especially vulnerable to COVID-19.With previous infectious respiratory illnesses like H1N1, mortality rates were sometimes four to five times higher than US averages among tribal communities. Allison Barlow, director of the Center for American Indian Health, talks to Stephanie Desmon about COVID-19’s particular threats to Native Americans, what’s being done to help mount a “culturally informed” response, and how the virus is “revealing the cracks in our systems.”

> Listen to the podcast at

April 16, 2020

Coronavirus and Latino Health Equity

With the rise of COVID-19, our team at Salud America! is digitally curating content about what the coronavirus pandemic means for Latino health equity and efforts to help vulnerable communities. We want to ensure the Latino population gets an equitable share of culturally relevant information during the outbreak.

Mission: Inspire people to drive community change for the health of Latino and all kids.

Vision: Lead the nation in creating culturally relevant multimedia research, tools, and stories to fuel people to start and support policy, system, and environmental changes in schools and communities to improve Latino child health, reduce disparities, and promote health equity and a culture of health.

About: Salud America! is a national Latino-focused organization that creates culturally relevant and research-based stories, videos, and tools to inspire people to start and support healthy changes to policies, systems, and environments where Latino children and families can equitably live, learn, work, and play.

Learn more about Salud America!


April 16, 2020

National Minority Health Month

With the nation advised to stay in and around their homes, this National Minority Health Month the Office of Minority Health (OMH) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will highlight the theme Active & Healthy and focus on safe ways all communities can stay physically active and advance mental and emotional wellness.

Join us throughout April as we encourage everyone to take simple and creative steps to stay active and support physical, mental and emotional wellness. This year, we invite everyone to join #ActiveandHealthy, a national social media campaign that will focus on the steps the nation can take every day in and around the home to keep our minds and bodies active, consistent with the social distancing guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19. Daily themes will highlight simple steps people can take to maintain and sustain an active and healthy lifestyle while reducing stress and anxiety.

> Learn more

April 15, 2020

Coronavirus underscores need for healing America’s racial divisions

April 14, 2020, San Francisco Chronicle

"The fundamental crisis we are facing is not COVID-19, nor is it the racial disparities. Our real crisis is our capacity to respond in ways that heal all of us. Now, the social trauma that has ravaged the health and well-being of black and brown communities has crept into corporate boardrooms, and suburban country clubs. Now we are all bound together by an inescapable trauma, a scar and wound that will leave an indelible mark on America’s flesh. This pandemic is an inflection point for our country to pause, reflect and pivot toward a nation of healing, belonging and care. We have an opportunity to come to grips with the consequences of our past, and an opportunity for healing the future. Everyone will require policies and resources directed toward healing."

> Read the article

> Follow Dr. Tony Iton on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/drtonyiton/ and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/dr_tonyiton

April 10, 2020

Follow Dr. Tony Iton on Twitter and Facebook!

Across the U.S., African American communities are hit hardest by the new coronavirus. Groups like the @LawyersComm are calling for the release of racial and ethnic data related to COVID-19 to ensure communities of color can receive equitable health care.

> See tweet at https://twitter.com/dr_tonyiton/status/1248657821215780864


> See his Twitter feed at Dr. Tony Iton @dr_tonyiton

> See his Facebook feed at https://www.facebook.com/drtonyiton/

Dr. Tony Iton is affiliated with The California Endowment. We are extremely grateful that he presented at our Social Determinants of Health Webinar Event on March 27, 2020. "Health Happens when all of us matter. Building Healthy Communities partners are changing the odds so that every Californian gets a chance at a long, healthy life by addressing the causes of poor health."

April 3, 2020

Tackling the Root Causes of Health Inequity, Tony Iton, M.D., J.D., MPH, The California Endowment

Read the presentation given by Dr. Iton at the Ventura County Social Determinants of Health Webinar on March 27, 2020. Dr. Iton’s audio recording of the webinar will be posted soon, so please check back! As “Drivers of Change”, Dr. Iton asked the question, “What inspires people? What is inspiring about this work?" He says people must see their story told. Their full humanity is seen in their communities. The artistic and cultural expressions are important, and people's stories matter. As a follow-up to this event, we hope to harness our local momentum and be inspired to create change in our communities.

> Building Healthy Communities event link

> Keynote Presentation: Tackling the Root Causes of Health Inequity, Tony Iton, M.D., J.D., MPH, The California Endowment

March 27, 2020

What Does It Mean to Be a Driver of Change?

We are inviting you today to become part of the “Drivers of Change Ventura County Cohort. What does this mean? If you want to be a part of changing the narrative and transforming our communities, today offers everyone here a tremendous opportunity to do your part. A community where all people have the opportunity to thrive is a huge goal, but today we want to feel empowered that we all are making a difference, and telling our stories of change in our communities can be a powerful force for transformation.

Whether your passion is affordable housing, jobs that are safe and pay fair wages, clean air, safe parks, and access to health care, all of your ideas matter, your efforts matter and our collective energies to be leaders matter.

These efforts require the engagement of all sectors of a community. It takes a lot of hard work. But communities are transforming in ways that put better health within everyone's reach. Being part of the solution means we commit ourselves to building healthier communities through individual, organizational and community wide effort and engagement.

Keep in touch with us and let us know how you can be a Driver of Change. We would love to hear your stories of community change, what inspired you, and how you are taking action to make a difference.