By now, most people who follow housing news know that Governor Jerry Brown signed a landmark housing bill package in September that is expected to fundamentally change the ways we fund and approve housing projects in the state.
Many of you have interacted with me as the Contract Coordinator of Health Policy and Planning. I coordinate the contract development and amendment process with departments, program managers, and other County departments. As we select the next cohort of 2018 GHSMC Community Implementation recipients, I wanted to take this opportunity to share the basics of the contract process to clarify some of the questions we often receive during the application and contracting process.
We are currently recruiting two intern positions to join us part-time from November 2017 through May 2018. The Healthy Economy Intern will help our staff with researching and developing strategies to maximize opportunity for those facing economic barriers in San Mateo County. The Healthy Neighborhoods Intern will be researching and developing strategies to increase active transportation options for all San Mateo County residents. Application packets are due 9/8!
Active transportation, or the use of any human powered mode of transportation such as walking or biking, is an important element in staying healthy. When people are physically inactive this can compound preventable health issues like obesity, diabetes, or heart disease, but not everyone has the same opportunities for staying active. These opportunities include infrastructure, such as sidewalks, cross walks, or bike lanes, or it can mean having a safe environment, public transportation within walking distance, or other resources nearby, such as grocery stores.
Research shows that academic achievement is closely related to health outcomes throughout the life course. Working with the goal of reducing health inequities and improving health outcomes, we support academic achievement through implementation of restorative practices in our schools and across San Mateo County school districts.
As many of you may know, Maeve Johnson will be on leave for a few months. While Maeve is away, I will be handling her workload pertaining to healthy housing issues throughout San Mateo County and engaging in city planning efforts in south county as relevant to healthy communities. My background is in city planning and public health, and I hold a Ph.D. in city and regional planning from UC Berkeley. My research at UC Berkeley explored issues of environmental justice and land use in California’s Central Valley.
I’m excited to introduce myself and to have this venue to share my perspective on how health and economics overlap and what it takes to build a healthy economy in our county. I am the new Community Health Planner, and I am coordinating the Healthy Economy program. I look forward to working with all of you to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy that promotes the well-being of all San Mateo County residents and workers.
We know that housing and health have a strong connection. When people have access to safe, affordable homes, they experience better health. That’s why we’re excited to be part of San Mateo County’s Home for All initiative. Home for All is a Countywide effort to build more homes in the county to meet the needs of residents and the demands of a growing workforce.
Last time I wrote, I discussed how data can make an impact and what resources Get Healthy San Mateo County (GHSMC) has coming down the pipeline to equip our partners with data. I am very excited to share that GHSMC has just expanded our data portal with more social, environmental, economic, and health indicators!
Food is a central part of our lives during Thanksgiving and the holiday season. It’s also an opportune time to reflect upon the issue of hunger and food insecurity that affects millions of people across the country who struggle with not having enough food, are unable to afford a balanced and nutritious diet, or are unsure when or where their next meal will be.
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.
Get Healthy San Mateo County Partners and Friends,
It’s been almost one year since we released our 2015-2020 strategic plan that highlights the four key priorities you identified for the collaborative. As Health System staff supporting Get Healthy San Mateo County (GHSMC), over this last year we’ve learned a lot about the key priority areas, engaged new areas of work, built new skills, and developed new partnerships. We’ve learned from all of you!
The majority of children in San Mateo County and across the country are not eating enough fruits and vegetables. Get Healthy San Mateo County (GHSMC) is working hard to change that by supporting Farm to School initiatives in San Mateo County schools that encourage students to become more engaged in the food system and increase their interest in lifelong healthy eating.
Where we live, work, play and learn have an impact on our health—the availability and accessibility of public transit, safe places for us to walk or bike, our incomes, and even how much we spend to live in our communities affects the quality and length of our lives. Each of the above considerations is a choice we make every day, yet the health of a community is not always factored in by policymakers from the local to federal levels.
How can we share information that inspires people to take action for their health?
Many people lack basic access to services, which includes information about health and conditions that impact health in their community. Many times even when people have access to information it is not always presented as clearly as possible. This ultimately produces the same result: people lacking the resources to take action for their health and neighborhood.
Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Mountain View, El Cerrito, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale… The list of jurisdictions raising their minimum wages has grown exponentially in the past several years, culminating this spring with the near simultaneous signing of statewide $15 minimum wage legislation in both New York and California. Originating in high-cost large metropolises, the movement has spread to whole states and smaller cities, including many throughout Silicon Valley.
Over a year ago, I sat with East Palo Alto (EPA) residents and listened as they identified health problems facing their community. They discussed more obvious health concerns such as EPA’s high rate of asthma (over twice the County’s rate) and challenges with accessing healthcare. Residents also raised issues like overcrowding in housing, the lack of middle income jobs, and inadequate transportation to connect the community to opportunities. This workshop was part of EPA’s effort to link health to the City’s long range planning process.
Greetings, Get Healthy San Mateo County Community,
As the new Public Health Director at the San Mateo County Health System, I am excited to have the privilege to serve all who live, work, and play in San Mateo County. Having worked at the federal, state, and local level, I’m excited to continue working to reduce health disparities and promote health equity here in San Mateo County.
Many of you know me as the friendly face checking you in at our events, answering any questions during the RFP process, and supporting you so you can continue the great work you do to create healthy, equitable communities. I’ve been working with Get Healthy SMC for over six years and have seen the power of our partnerships – recognizing we can all achieve more and be more effective than working alone.