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January 2020 Newsletter
How Can We Build Healthy Communities?


Items to include in this newsletter


Public Charge Update: Keep Getting the Help You Need

While no changes have been made, a recent court decision now allows the Federal Government to expand the benefits considered under the public charge test that could affect immigrant residents’ applications for Legal Permanent Residency or visas to enter the US. County Health is concerned that the vast majority of residents and clients who will NOT be affected by the potential rule changes may be deterred from getting the public benefits they need.


Farewell to Maeve and Grace 

We are sad to say goodbye to two of our amazing Health Policy and Planning community health planners, Maeve Johnston and Grace Streltzov, who are moving on to great opportunities advancing their careers and passion. They have been leading our Community Collaboration for Children’s Success and our Healthy Economy work and will leave big gaps.

Health by Numbers

Higher Potential Risks to Heat Exposures in Some Areas

81% of San Mateo County is without tree canopy compared to the state average of 75%. Some communities may have less tree canopy and higher potential risks to heat exposuresI. Census tracts located in the southern area and along the coastside are least vulnerable to heat exposure. Visit the Get Healthy San Mateo County Data Portal for more information. I Source: California Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (CalBRACE) Project.


Participate in the Safe Routes to School Workshop Series in 2020!

 The County Office of Education (COE) is hosting a new workshop series focused on Safe Routes to School issues and funding. The first was held at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in Daly City and was titled, Leveraging Community Resources for Your Safe Routes to School Program. The next event will be on SRTS Funding Opportunities & Grant Writing Workshop on February 5th at the County Office of Education. For more information contact SRTS coordinator Theresa Vallez-Kelly,


Planning for Health in South San Francisco and San Mateo

As we ring in the new year, Get Healthy SMC is excited to continue its work in supporting General Plan updates for the Cities of San Mateo and South San Francisco. South San Francisco looks to build off its on-going community engagement with an additional public forum this month focused on housing affordability and displacement. Get Healthy SMC staff is excited to be drawing from its Planning for Health Toolkit to ensure healthy equitable communities throughout the county.


The Need for Homegrown Talent Pipelines

Providers of essential community needs like transportation and healthcare are finding it increasingly difficult to attract and retain workers, which is negatively impacting services. Local high schools like Sequoia High are connecting students to these high demand occupations so that they can earn the wages necessary to remain in San Mateo County and live long and healthy lives.


Training More Emergency Medical Services Workers from the Community

Congratulations to our partner Emergency Medical Services Corps on becoming a 2020 Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) recipient. This free Emergency Medical Technician academy designed to strengthen and diversify the local emergency medical services workforce will be partnering with the CZI Community Fund to train more community members from Redwood City, Belle Haven, East Palo Alto, and North Fair Oaks.


San Mateo County Youth Commission to Support CCCS Priorities

San Mateo County’s Youth Commission voted on January 16 to champion the voices of young people around the County with a letter of support for the Community Collaboration for Children’s Success (CCCS)’ findings to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. The Commission reviewed findings from the planning process which engaged over 450 young people, and youth expressed interest in seeing Board funding aligned behind the youth-identified priorities in the upcoming budget cycle.


CCCS & Big Lift Partner to Develop Promotora Concept

CCCS and Big Lift have partnered to develop a concept for addressing the top three CCCS priorities across the four communities: economic opportunity/housing instability, navigation of systems/services and mental health supports to Big Lift families. The concept focuses on bringing local champions (promotoras) into Big Lift schools to support families’ needs around navigating complex systems, accessing social services and connecting easily with mental health clinical staff onsite.


Healthier and Safer Second Units in East Palo Alto

The East Palo Alto City Council received recommendations by the Accessory Dwelling Unit and Anti-Displacement Task Force on  January 21. After two years of collective work, the Task Force prioritized ten strategies to maximize the number of healthy, safe and affordable second units while minimizing displacement of existing second units that need repairs. Get Healthy San Mateo County and Department of Housing staff were deeply engaged in bringing a health and housing perspective.


How Structural Racism Impacts the Temperature of Our Communities?

Nationwide, extreme heat kills more people than any other climate change hazard. Given that our weather will continue to get warmer, Get Healthy San Mateo County has been co-chairing the Climate Ready San Mateo County’s Extreme Heat Task Force that aims to find solutions to better adapt to this climate hazard. At the center of this effort is how can we ensure that climate change does not amplify the health inequities we see today.


California School Performance Data Gets Updated

The California Department of Education recently released their annual updates for the Data Dashboard. The Data Dashboard highlights school and district level data for six of key indicators, including Chronic Absenteeism, College or Career Readiness, Suspension Rates, English Language Arts Performance, Math Performance and High School Graduation performance. Several local districts made improvements in important categories such as suspension and academic achievement. Thirteen schools in San Mateo County were identified as lowest performing with regards to suspension.


Increasing School Breakfast Participation 

Educators agree that the most important meal of the day for students is breakfast. A hungry student will have more difficulty learning than one who is well nourished.  Unfortunately many students that could be receiving school breakfast in San Mateo County are missing out. Through funding from Get Healthy SMC,  the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) to lead a pilot project in South San Francisco Unified School District and Jefferson Elementary School District to increase breakfast participation.