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May 2022 Newsletter
Voting Is Good for Our Health


Items to include in this newsletter


Reminder to VOTE! 

All registered voters have been mailed an Official Ballot with a postage-paid return envelope for the June 7, 2022, statewide direct primary election. To find ballot drop box sites and in-person voting locations in San Mateo County, check here:  


Thank you Elena Hernandez!

Elena is ending her 9-month graduate internship with our team at the same time she is graduating from UCLA with a dual master’s degree in public health and urban planning. As the Healthy and Resilient Communities intern, Elena helped us with research projects on the health impacts of extreme heat, the use of resiliency hubs to shelter from natural hazards, and she also updated sections of our planning for health toolkit. Elena, we wish you the very best in this next chapter of your professional journey! 


A New Way of Working Together in My New Role—by Belen Seara

At the end of this month, I’ll be joining the County’s Racial and Social Justice Office as the new equity manager. I’m so excited for this new role and opportunity to continue to make equity a reality for so many San Mateo County residents that have not had their fair share of the prosperity that this county has to offer. Leaving the Health Policy and Planning Program is not easy—I love the mission of our work, my dedicated colleagues, and the partners that help us move our work forward.


Opportunities for Youth Civic Leadership

While many youth are not yet able to vote in the June 7th statewide primary election, they can still exercise civic empowerment through the channels that are available to them. Civic empowerment is a sense of agency to claim one’s own rights to engage in activities related to their community, school, city or town, and influence their environments. Youth can inform policies and programs that create the conditions for health and create lasting changes in their community.


Join Us at Community Nature Days 2022!

On April 23rd SMC Park Rx hosted its first Park Rx Community Nature Day (CND) at San Pedro Valley County Park in Pacifica. CNDs are public nature events, but also medical providers get to promote and participate with their patients’ families as they prescribe spending time in nature for one hour twice a week. We thank Dr. Chethan Sarabu from Gardner Packard Children’s Health Center for sharing his time outdoors, and for speaking with families and answering questions.


Youth Lead The Way to Safer Streets!

We saw good participation from students in our recent walk audits at Martin Elementary in South San Francisco, and Ravenswood City School District schools. The youth’s commitment to participate in safety patrol, and their courage to share thoughtful feedback with city planners and engineers, parents, and school staff, was worth applauding. Stay tuned as we share updates on the community ideas that get implemented.


Government Alliance on Race and Equity Conference Highlights 

The Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) hosted their annual membership meeting online and in person in Portland, Oregon from April 19-21, 2022. This conference gathered hundreds of racial equity practitioners across the country who work in local, state and regional government to uplift best practices, celebrate victories, and share lessons learned from their work advancing racial equity in their jurisdictions. Key ideas discussed and lessons learned included: 


How to Get COVID-19 Tests for Summer School and Other Programs

Over-the-counter (OTC) COVID-19 tests are available for K-12 summer school and camp programs through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The order form for the CDC OTC tests is available here. Of note, a four-week supply is the default, but schools may request tests for a longer period. June 17, 2022, is the final date to order, so place your summer requests now! Additionally, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is seeking feedback on school testing access.


Building Workforce Connections

EPACENTER and Friends for Youth, two of our 2021 Get Healthy SMC grantees, met with NOVAworks, the workforce service provider for San Mateo County, to learn about each other’s efforts and explore opportunities for collaboration. Starting late summer, EPACENTER will be providing paid internship opportunities to youth from East Palo Alto who are interested in accessing high-paid career opportunities in the creative field. Friends for youth will be providing paid internship opportunities for youth in North Fair Oaks and Redwood City in four non-profits that provide mental health services.