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June 2016 Newsletter
Healthy Communication


Watch TV at work

Our Spring Community Benefits for Health forum videos are streaming! If you couldn’t make it to the forum or want a refresher, sit back and catch the three presentations from local planning law expert Julian Gross, Steven Turner on Partnership Redwood City, and Belén Seara of San Mateo County Union Community Alliance.

Same URL, more to explore

Have you seen our shiny new website? Click around into our priorities and how to build healthy, equitable communities. Be sure to zoom into our interactive maps and charts in our Data section and check out Success Stories for new ideas.

Items to include in this newsletter

Case Study

Answers in the Palm of Your Hand

A recent study shows how “citizen science” can be used to track access to healthy, affordable food for older adults in San Mateo County, while improving physical activity. Using cell phones, older adults tracked barriers and opportunities in their neighborhoods. Read more here.

Health by Numbers

What’s Your Health Literacy?

Approximately half of adults lack health literacy skills, defined by the CDC as the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. Low health literacy has been linked to poor health outcomes such as higher rates of hospitalization and less frequent use of preventive services. Read more here.

Staff Perspective

Talking Health

Communication truly is a connector. It binds us in shared ideals and creates a space for collective action. How can we share information that inspires people to take action for their health? Read more here


Grand New Housing Toolkit

The Grand Boulevard Initiative recognizes the importance of housing for creating people friendly places along the El Camino. They are in the process of developing a sophisticated housing toolkit specific for the Grand Boulevard Corridor. When complete, the toolkit will include the following sections: existing conditions, policies and programs, and implementation mechanisms. This will support member jurisdictions in identifying critical gaps and opportunities to advance housing needs for their communities.


Prop C brings more homes to SF

More affordable housing is coming to San Francisco thanks to the voters’ approval of Prop C. Now projects with 25 or more homes will have affordable housing requirements increased from 12% to 25%. This also includes a set aside for middle income housing to help teachers and other middle income residents stay in the Bay. Stay tuned for SF’s feasibility study on Prop C coming out late July.


San Mateo County named “Bicycle Friendly Community”

San Mateo County has been named a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists, an advocacy group based in Washington, D.C.! The County received the Bronze award – the first time the County applied. The award recognizes the County’s commitment to improving conditions for bicycling through its investment in pro-bicycling policies, infrastructure such as bike racks, and promotion. Find out more about the County’s efforts here.


Parkside health

In early June, Brisbane discussed options for the Parkside at Brisbane Precise Plan for the 25 acres of public and private properties near the city’s entrance. We’re thrilled to share one of the underlying project goals is to “support holistic community health” and the plan will incorporate healthy community components of healthy housing, a healthy economy, and healthy neighborhoods. Read more here.


Launching the new Gender Diversity Task Force

Did you know LGBTQ youth have higher rates of drug use, homelessness, feeling disconnected, and suicide attempts than their peers? May’s School Wellness Alliance meeting launched a new task force to help equip schools and parents to support LGBTQ youth. The Gender Diversity Task Force will work to ensure that schools are safe, welcoming and inclusive for all students. Some steps to do this include training for school staff and parents as well as collecting data to track LGBTQ youth health behaviors and outcomes to determine the extent of the problem and how effective we are in addressing the issues.


Keeping what you earn

According to a recent report from Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, we can estimate that between 10-23,000 workers in San Mateo County experienced wage theft in the last week. Wage theft is when workers are not paid what they are legally owed in full. Sadly, less than half of those who win a wage theft claim are ever paid back by their employers. Read the full report here.


Filling skills

California’s workforce could be facing a skills gap and a 1.1 million shortfall in bachelor’s degrees in the coming years. The Public Policy Institute of California has identified specific goals such as access, transfer, and degree completion to help close the problem. Educational attainment is a key factor in determining lifelong health.


Healthy wages for longer lives

How does a higher minimum wage impact you? The American Journal of Public Health recently published a study showing people with a higher minimum wage enjoy a longer, healthier life – particularly in low income communities of color. Find more here.