My name is Sonali, and I am excited to join the Health Equity
Team as a Community Health Planner to support County Health’s
Anchor Institution strategies.
Through the CalFresh Healthy Living Program, I supported many
partners to advance health equity, making healthy food choices
and active school travel more accessible to high-need
communities. It was fulfilling to proactively engage with the
diverse teams that influenced institutional policy changes.
Hello! My name is Liz Sanchez and I am excited to be rejoining
the CalFresh Healthy Living team and HPP as a Community Program
Specialist II. Over the past several years, I have been working
out of class in various roles supporting San Mateo County’s COVID
response. In the beginning stages of the pandemic, I worked as
the education liaison, assisting in helping schools reopen.
For many people, voting is not top of mind when they think of
public health interventions. But there is a
body of growing research to suggest that civic engagement,
which includes voting, volunteering, and joining community
groups, is associated with better mental and physical health.
These are community-oriented activities that improve individual
health. To me what this data says is that what we do together
From Indigenous land ceremonies to COVID test kit
distribution, Inclusive Pride flags flying and community partners
advocating for LGBTQ+ folks of all ages, SMC Pride 2022 is care
in action. San Mateo County (SMC) Pride Celebration is hosted by
our SMC BHRS Pride Initiative who partners with numerous
agencies, including the SMC Pride Center, SMC LGBTQ Commission,
Outlet, SMC Fair, and many others throughout the years to bring
our communities this special event.
Hello! My name is Mai (pronounced like “my”) and I am so happy to
introduce myself as a new Community Health Planner with San Mateo
County Health Policy and Planning (HPP). I’ll be working to move
the Community Collaboration for Children’s Success (CCCS) forward
and support our civic empowerment and health initiatives.
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
The start of a new decade hit us with a pandemic that no one saw
coming. An abrupt economic crisis followed, along with anxiety,
isolation, and uncertainty. The pandemic highlighted and
exacerbated the existing inequities within our county and
country. To say that it’s been a challenge is an understatement.
Families have lost so much – from loved ones, to jobs, financial
security, and their normal family and community connections.
Greetings, GHSMC partners! I write my final post with deep
gratitude and optimism during one of the more challenging years
in recent memory. As I wrap up my transition this month working
for the County of San Mateo, I am encouraged by all the great
health equity work that I was fortunate to be a part of during my
three years with the Health Policy and Planning team. We
were able to advance policy efforts such as Daly City being the
first city in the county to adopt a Vision Zero Action Plan to
eliminate traffic deaths, which disproportionately affect our
most vulnerable communities.
It’s hard to imagine that we are in the home stretch of our
2015-2020 Get Healthy SMC Strategic Plan. Five years ago, you
told us that being healthy wasn’t just about getting to the gym,
having vegetables with lunch, and cutting out soda for kids. You
shared your experiences and those of your families and
communities that demonstrated that we can’t be healthy in
isolation – we need healthy, equitable communities for all.
Justin and Grace here combining forces to talk about anchor
strategies, which is a framework for building health and wealth
in socially disadvantaged neighborhoods. Across the country,
hospitals and health systems are using their economic power to
improve community well-being. These large place-based
enterprises, also known as “anchor institutions”, are using their
resources to create economic opportunities for excluded and
low-income residents through inclusive workforce programs,
equitable procurement policies, sustainability efforts and
One of my favorite things about this job is the chance to learn
about issues impacting our most vulnerable in our County and ways
we can advance health equity by building financial security for
all people. One issue we’ve been researching recently is the
impact local fines and fees can have on residents’ ability to
grow their assets and savings.
Over the last year and a half, four communities in San Mateo
County have been hard at work looking for solutions to overcome
barriers to youth success. Despite busy schedules and competing
priorities, over 1,000 community members showed their investment
in young people’s futures by taking surveys, attending night
meetings, knocking on doors, talking to neighbors and digging
deep with their communities to come together around top