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October 2016 Newsletter
Unmasking Health Disparities


Dia de los Muertos 
Celebrate Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) this year in Redwood City on 11/6! Dia de los Muertos is the theme of this month’s newsletter with a focus on life expectancy as a measure of population health and specifically the differences in outcomes by race, place, and income. The Day of the Dead is celebrated in Mexico on 11/1- 11/2, where families visit relatives’ graves at the cemetery and make special altars at home to honor those who came before us. Join Redwood City and County leadership on 11/6 for music, free kids activities, traditional food, vendors, and altars contest at the San Mateo County History Museum. Find out more about the event here.

Open Community Planner Position
We have one position open on our small and mighty team of Community Health Planners! You will be an integral part of the Get Healthy San Mateo County initiative, helping to advance equity through policy and environmental changes, while also taking the lead on Healthy Economy work. Please consider applying and share with your networks! Applications are due 11/1.

Vote! It’s good for your health  
Don’t forget to vote on 11/8! From a tobacco tax to legalizing marijuana, there are plenty of initiatives on the ballot that influence our health. Plus, voting is good for your health and it builds a sense of community! Find your polling place here and make your voice heard.

Items to include in this newsletter

Case Study

Trips for Kids: Safe Routes to Green Space
Case Study: Siena Youth Center

The Trips for Kids Program is about health and community building, helping kids ages 11-18, learn about bicycle safety, maintenance, and active lifestyles. With Get Healthy SMC funding, Trips for Kids expanded to engage youth in developing a survey and video series to educate youth and families on biking, equipment maintenance, and access to local trails.

Staff Perspective Karen Pfister

Minding the Gap in Las Muertes

I lead our Epidemiology program at the San Mateo County Health System and assist with statistical analysis and provide data for policy and program planning. Our Epidemiologists at the Health System help to ensure our policy work is grounded in evidence. Through data reports and requests, we share health information with community members and other stakeholders on the health of San Mateo County.


Widening Racial Wage Gap

A recent report from the Economic Policy Institute finds the income gap between black and white workers has increased – and discrimination is the main reason for the disparity, with young women who are black are being hit the hardest. The report calls for policy measures to address the wage gap, including raising the federal minimum wage, enforcing antidiscrimination laws, and convening a summit to address why black college graduates begin their careers with an earnings disadvantage.


Spending where it Counts

Did you know life expectancy in the U.S. is lower, maternal and infant mortality rates are higher, and chronic illness is more common than European countries? The U.S. spends more on healthcare than any other developed country, yet our health outcomes are not any better. A recent post by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation revisits how social services spending that target education, housing, nutrition and poverty could have a greater impact on improving health outcomes! Read the full blog post here.


Making Moves Ahead

The San Mateo County City and County Association of Governments (C/CAG) is recruiting for their Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee to advice on bike and pedestrian facilities planning and make funding recommendations for bike and pedestrian projects. This can include bike or pedestrian bridges, bike lanes, and sidewalks, as well as non-infrastructure, such as encouragement programs, bike plans, and Safe Routes to School.


Foodies Lunch and Learn

Join Sustainable San Mateo County for lunch and an update on our local food system on 11/2 in South SF! See the new collaborative mapping project with OpenSMC, new indicators to watch, and meet our own Jasneet Sharma who’s moderating a panel on healthy food, hunger, and food waste. Find more information here.


Hop Aboard for Parks Access

Heard about the new shuttle for East Palo Alto and North Fair Oaks? Launched last month, anyone can jump aboard the new County Parks Shuttle for free, linking East Palo Alto to Redwood City and eastern Menlo Park to Woodside. The County Parks department is working hard to make sure everyone can get outdoors and play in some of San Mateo County’s most beautiful parks. Download the park shuttle route and schedule here and plan your next trip today!


How to Have the Conversation

Mark your calendars! The second annual Achievement Gap Summit is on 11/4 at the Sobrato Center with Get Healthy SMC participating in a panel discussion panel with the Health System’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services and the County Office of Education on the state of equity in our schools. This two-day summit will focus on how to have courageous conversations about the achievement gap, poverty, and race. Find more information here.


Get Your Housing On

Housing Leadership Day, Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County’s annual event, was held on 10/14 this year with a focus on affordable housing and the education sector. Supervisor Warren Slocum opened the event with a sobering analysis of the state of housing in the county and a rousing call to action. Workshops and speakers throughout the day discussed policy solutions, communications strategies, and funding approaches to build more affordable housing in the county. Find more about next steps for the Housing Leadership Council here.