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July 2015 Newsletter
Getting crafty with health


As we’re putting the finishing touches on our new strategic plan, we have identified 4 priority areas that we will be focusing on over the next few years. We’ve served ourselves a full plate! One key issue that came up across communities we heard from is housing, an important priority area we’ll be working on over the next few years. More to come on our other 3 priorities soon!

We’re also finalizing our community funding opportunity for 2016-2017 and will be releasing our Request for Proposals with more information in about one month. We’re excited to share our new vision with you and how you can collaborate with us to create opportunities for everyone in San Mateo County reach their full potential for health and well-being!

Items to include in this newsletter

Health by Numbers

Low Wage Workers

Did you know there are 4 low-wage workers for every 1 affordable housing unit in San Mateo County? As more residents have to spend significant percentages of their income on rent — it makes it more difficult for them to buy healthy food, engage in health-related activities, and pay healthcare expenses. 

Staff Perspective Maeve Johnston

Advancing health in growing communities

Hello, Get Healthy Partners!

I’m a community health planner working to create healthy, equitable environments for people who live and work in San Mateo County.

No doubt over the last few years you’ve noticed new construction underway in San Mateo County. Cranes swinging building materials into place, bulldozers rumbling through construction sites, and homes, offices, and stores rising out of the dust –giving our communities new homes, jobs, and economic opportunities. After our recent building slump, development is back on the Peninsula.


New tastes, better health

Our community partner Susty Kids has been working with students in East Palo Alto to create a “tower garden” that grows veggies at kid-picking height. What’s the latest report from the school? The kids are loving the kale – so much that teachers are finding remnants in their pockets and teeth from visiting the garden for a quick kale pick me up!


Routes you can count on

New research shows Safe Routes to School programs not only increase walking, biking, and safety, but also decrease health and transit costs. Walking and biking to school gets kids’ bodies and minds working so they’re ready to sit down and learn. Adding sidewalks, bike lanes, and crosswalks through local land use regulations and prioritizing improvements near schools make it safer for kids and benefit the surrounding community.Find more here;on how to get funding for safer routes at your school!


What’s really going on in the Bay

San Mateo County is facing a housing affordability crisis and the displacement of existing residents due to the increasing cost of housing, which has profound impacts on health. The UC Berkeley Center for Community Innovation is trying to better understand displacement and show which communities are most at risk. They recently launched a new website on Gentrification and Displacement for the region.


Let’s bike it

More employers are realizing that their employees would bike to work if they had safer routes to get there. Over in Santa Clara County, the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition and Valley Transportation Authority are collaborating with Google to make the area more bikeable by creating low-stress cycling environments.


Building health into communities

Have you heard about Millbrae’s plans for new development around the Caltrain and BART stations downtown? This is a great opportunity for transit-oriented development in San Mateo County around one of our most important transit connections to the Bay Area. It’ll have great impact if it includes particular attention to ensuring safe walking and biking, as well as housing affordability.


Rediscovering your own backyard

Want to get to know your neighborhood better? San Mateo County Passport to Parks makes an adventure out of finding your park! Work through a series of clues and discover new parts of your community – and what lies at the end of your treasure hunt. Find your first adventure here and consider another with the County Parks Department’s Take a Hike at San Bruno’s Junipero Serra Park on August 1.


A sweeter life sans sugar

A new report offers new ideas on how to reduce the amount of sugar we’re consuming, recommending 25-50 grams each day. If we want people to make healthier choices, we need to give them better options. See what healthy food policies can do to help!


Back to the basics

Things are flourishing at the HEAL Farm! Over 40 school field trips visited the farm this past school year and learned about farming, health, and nutrition through hands-on experience. Currently, the market stand is selling delicious summer squash, fava beans, berries, beets, and more and continues to provide access to fresh locally grown produce to San Mateo County residents. The farm is always looking for volunteers to help maintain the delicious crops and beautiful landscape. Check out the HEAL website for more ways to get involved!