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.
Drivers of Change
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
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
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.
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.
Beyond Screening: Achieving California's Bold Goal of Reducing Exposure to Childhood Trauma, Juliet Sims, Manal Aboelata, Prevention Institute, October 2020
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
> Public Health Institute
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)
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.
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.
Stephanie J Spampanato, Community Services Manager
Ventura Housing Authority
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.
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.
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.
Read about the Health Equity Policy Platform for COVID-19 Response and Recovery
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
Social Justice Fund for Ventura County promotes fairness, equity and human rights. We strengthen social justice by empowering community members to create lasting change.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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."
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.
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
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.”
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
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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
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.
"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."
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.
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!
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
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."
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.