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Ensuring a Safe Return to Schools for All

Staff Perspective Melissa Ibarra

Hello Get Healthy San Mateo readers! 

My name is Melissa, and I’m excited to join Health Policy and Planning as a Community Health Planner for the next year. I lead the Safe Return to Schools for All initiative, which aims to enhance the partnership between San Mateo County Health and the San Mateo Office of Education to ensure a safe return to schools for all students and school communities. I will also serve as the School Liaison between the community and San Mateo County Health.  

Prior to HPP, I worked with the Communicable Diseases Control Program where I led case and outbreak investigations on a variety of diseases, including COVID-19. The basis of my work was data collection and health education. The COVID-19 pandemic expanded these primary duties to encompass familiarity with and knowledge of resources to support those impacted by disease. Considering the health disparities, inequities, and outcomes that COVID-19 has further exacerbated in our community, I plan to approach the safe return to schools through a health equity lens.  As a San Mateo County native, I am passionate about achieving optimal health and quality of life for all, while paying particular attention to underserved racial and ethnic community groups. I look forward to working with you!