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October 2018 Newsletter
Civic Participation and Health

Newsletter

You Can Still Register to Vote and Cast Your Vote 
Voting influences decisions that directly impact our communities and in turn influence community health outcomes. In partnership with the San Mateo County Elections Office, we are reaching out to SMC Health partners and clients to maximize voter participation.  We are sharing the importance of voting to health and wellbeing, the changes to voting in our county, eligibility requirements and specifics on how to cast your vote- most of which is also outlined in our Staff Perspective in this newsletter! We can lead a presentation with your group or clients in the few days remaining before the election on November 6th.  Please contact Heather Arata, HArata@smcgov.org, if you are interested in more information.

Items to include in this newsletter

Health by Numbers

Civically Engaged Communities = Better Health Outcomes

As of June 2018, there are 506,481 San Mateo County residents eligible to vote and out of this total, 388,456 are registered to vote. This means that 118,025 eligible voters are not yet registered to vote in San Mateo County. You can still register and cast your vote until November 6th– so there is still time to make sure everyone’s voice is heard. Communities that are civically engaged have better health outcomes. Source: State of California Elections Office 

Staff Perspective Heather Arata

Voting is Good for Health!

While voting may not seem like a public health issue, research shows a correlation between voter turnout and positive health outcomes. This means that places with higher rates of voters also have higher rates of positive health outcomes, such as overall improved mental and physical health [1].  Alternatively, places with low voter turnout have higher rates of poor self-reported health, and research shows that there is a connection between reported and actual health outcomes [2].

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Boards & Commissions Vacancies

The City of Daly City seeks volunteers to serve on our Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee. Candidates interested in promoting safe pedestrian and bicycle activities and live or work in Daly City should apply. For more information about volunteering, contact Shirley Chan at (650) 991-8231 or schan@dalycity.org 

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New Renters Protection Policy in Menlo Park 

City leaders on Menlo Park’s Housing Commission recently made a recommendation that its City Council move forward on a comprehensive tenant relocation assistance policy. Such policies ensure housing stability to the city’s most vulnerable residents, which is a critical element for residents’ mental health. For additional information and updates, visit the city’s dedicated webpage to the work at https://www.menlopark.org/relocationassistance.

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SMC Health Joins the Healthcare Anchor Network 

San Mateo County Health is now a member of the Healthcare Anchor Network, a collaborative of health systems across the country using their institutional resources to remove economic barriers to health. Through inclusive workforce programs, equitable procurement policies, and mission-aligned investments, network members are creating wealth-building opportunities for the residents most impacted by health and income disparities.

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Walking Matters! A Day with Mark Fenton on Leading a Walk Audit

Health Policy and Planning and the San Mateo County Office of Education co-hosted a safe walking and biking event with public health and active transportation specialist Mark Fenton to San Mateo County! This event brought together city and county staff from throughout San Mateo County, as well as school principals, teachers, parents, and safe walking and bicycling advocates. Highlights from this event included learning about ideas for improving street and intersection design, and actually conducting a walk audit!

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More Mobility Options Wanted in South County

Our partners at Menlo Park Spark recently completed a mobility needs survey in Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, and North Fair Oaks. Community members identified needs such as safer walking and biking infrastructure that can help inform ongoing policy updates such as Menlo Park’s transportation plan update, Belle Haven’s traffic safety plan, and the Dumbarton rail corridor project.

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Healthy Kid’s Meal Drinks Is Now State Law! 

Governor Brown signed SB 1192, which is the California Healthy-by-Default Kids’ Meal Drinks bill! The bill requires restaurants in the state that market children’s meals to offer only water or milk as the default beverage for the children’s meals. This is a big step towards reducing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption by children and creating a healthier food environment. This is one way to make the healthy choice, the easy choice.

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Let’s Talk and Work on Restorative Justice Practices 

On October 11th over 60 people came together to learn about Restorative Justice Practices (RJP) at the San Mateo County Office’s annual Respect 24/7 Conference. This year’s conference highlighted various strategies that school districts are using to support implementation of RJP from building staff capacity to practice mindfulness in their classrooms to a school that has trained all teachers in how to conduct circles and restorative conversations and all students participate in circles.

Post Rosa Torpis

Prioritizing Neighborhood Strategies for Children’s Success 

The communities of North Fair Oaks and South San Francisco are honing in on strategies for children and youth success! Through survey collection and small group conversations, Community Champions heard from over 400 children, youth and family members on their community assets, barriers to success, and ideas for strategies to remove barriers. At the final Neighborhood Leadership Group meetings for the two communities, the group will finalize the priority needs and strategies for their local Children’s Success plan!

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