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Blogs

Welcome to BHC Online Blogs page. Below you will find the perspectives and experiences of BHC members, leadership, and partners across all 14 selected communities. Blogs are ordered chronologically and include the name of the community in the title.

If you are member of our BHC initiative and would like to become a blog contributor, please reach out to your local Hub Coordinator or email julio.z@bhcconnect.org.



Celebrating Health and Justice for All

posted Jul 7, 2015, 12:00 PM by Julio Zaldivar

These last few weeks have marked some momentous victories in the fight for health and justice for all. The Supreme Court of the United States upheld marriage equality, paving the way for same-sex couples in every state to marry. The High Court also upheld the integrity of President Obama’s landmark Affordable Care Act. Additionally, our state of California approved expanded access to health coverage for 170,000 undocumented immigrant children. We have also witnessed the sight of Confederate Flags coming down from statehouses in the South.

Each and every one of these developments – health care for all, marriage equality and the removal of symbols of racism – are because of years and decades of advocacy by grassroots and community heroes in the battle for justice.

Inequality and lack of opportunity can create and exacerbate poor health, and so we, The California Endowment, will continue our commitment in supporting those who take a community-engaged, “systems” approach to health improvement. Poor health is concentrated in groups and populations who are ignored or marginalized by public policies and systems: communities of color, LGBT, immigrants, the incarcerated, and others. So we support the grassroots and advocacy organizations that fight for health, through the lens of health and  justice for all.

For this reason, we are celebrating the forward momentum of our state and nation by showcasing a 700-square-foot banner at our Los Angeles headquarters that lifts up the importance of inclusion and equality for all Californians.healthandjusticeforallbanner1for blog

The young man whose arm and fist are featured in the image on the banner is one such individual who has struggled to achieve justice in  health care for himself. His name is Oscar Alarcon  and he was diagnosed with diabetes 3 1/2 years ago. Oscar is undocumented and gay and did not qualify for any publicly-funded health coverage, nor was he able to purchase health coverage through California’s health exchange because of his immigration status.  Fortunately, Oscar qualified forDeferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and is now able to access health coverage and manage his diabetes.

But there are still thousands of Californians struggling to access health care due to their immigration status. The Endowment and its partners will continue to fight for health and justice for all until all Californians have access to health coverage and care that is their basic human right.

-- The California Endowment

Introducing the Asegurate Campaign

posted Jun 11, 2013, 1:07 PM by Julio Zaldivar   [ updated Jun 24, 2013, 10:16 AM by Julio Zaldivar ]

Obama Press conference blog photo2

In partnership with Covered California and three of the largest Spanish media partners, Univision, Telemundo and impreMedia, The California Endowment was joined by President Obama to launch a historic campaign that will help reach the 15 million Latinos in our state. Our president recognized this innovative education and enrollment effort as a Image of Dr. Rossmodel for other states to emulate. This is a great testament of what great work can be done when government, philanthropy and media come together. The campaign, which goes by the name Asegúrate, or "Get Covered: in English, will educate California Latinos about what Obamacare means to them and help them navigate through new enrollment opportunities and systems. This campaign will also help bolster local community and grassroots efforts to drive enrollment throughout California.
This collaboration is already proving to be effective and you can view a snapshot of the power behind this effort through this short clip.
 
by Robert K. Ross, M.D.
President and CEO
Jun 07, 2013

Extra! Extra! Read All About It in The School Discipline News

posted May 13, 2013, 3:13 PM by Julio Zaldivar

Discipline News 051013

CastleRedmond Blog by Castle Redmond
Program Manager, Schools
May 10, 2013

It's exciting for me to be a part of the movement to reform school discipline policies, in California and around the nation. I've met dedicated advocates, innovative teachers and principals, and education leaders who are deeply committed to teaching students how to make responsible decisions — while keeping them in school.

The pace of progress has been almost dizzying. It seems that nearly every week, there's a new school or district reporting great results, some new study highlighting the urgent need for reform, or a new group of students speaking out and organizing for change.

The California Endowment created The School Discipline News to chronicle these developments, share the latest with policymakers, and help connect the increasingly wide network of reformers working to introduce common-sense school discipline policies.

Our spring issue was just published and is available here. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did. And, I hope you'll get in touch with me if you have any ideas for our next edition.

Health Happens with Youth Media!

posted Apr 30, 2013, 2:19 PM by Julio Zaldivar   [ updated Apr 30, 2013, 2:19 PM ]


Maldonado colorby Albert Maldonado
Program Manager, Youth Development
Apr 29, 2013
Each week in the 14 BHC places, young people knit together experiences at school, at work, at home and in their neighborhoods to tell stories about how health happens. This month, they investigate proposed changes to the Academic Performance Index, and cover a transportation issues forum in Merced. They make connections between immigration rights and gay marriage, or between violence in our neighborhoods and abroad. Youth reporters interview local government, create PSAs on water conservation and kayak the Salton Sea with elected officials.

Download the April issue of "Health Happens in Youth Media" here  or visit http://ymbhc.wordpress.com/ for more youth perspectives on community health.

April 16: National Healthcare Decisions Day

posted Apr 16, 2013, 10:27 AM by BHC South LA   [ updated Apr 16, 2013, 11:27 AM by Julio Zaldivar ]

National Healthcare Decisions Day

By Maria Beltran, Organizing and Communications Fellow, Young Invincibles

 

Masculine honor, wisdom, strength, and pride are the essence of the Machismo culture.  In Latino communities like mine in South LA, this term embodies the definition of what a man should be and what boys should aspire to become. Unfortunately, it can also be detrimental to the health of the men in our community. 

Just recently, my grandfather fell ill due to a foot injury. Despite being in pain, his “macho” mentality kept him from seeking help. To him, seeking help from family members and doctors meant he was weak. My grandfather suffered in silence.

The injury, coupled with his diabetes, ultimately led to his condition getting far worse.  What started as a simple foot injury ended in my grandfather being in a vegetative state. My family all wished that we talked to him before things got so bad.  Because not only were we struggling to deal with the loss, but we were also lost when it came to knowing what he would want.

When I think of National Healthcare Decisions Day, I think of my grandfather.  This day is about bringing awareness to the importance of advance care planning for yourself and your loved ones.   It was started to inspire and empower individuals to make advance care giving decisions and complete things like advance directives so that our loved ones would be able to honor those requests.

So what’s an advance directive? An advance directive allows an individual to give explicit instructions stating what they would prefer should something happen to them rendering them unable to make the decision themselves.

Of course, the awareness that National Healthcare Decisions Day seeks to bring about doesn’t just affect grandfathers or members of the Latino communities, but society as a whole—including young adults.

So what can we do?

After seeing what happened to my grandfather, I for one know that I can think ahead – talk to my parents, my family and my loved ones. These are difficult decisions to think about and difficult conversations to have with our families.  But today, on National Healthcare Decisions Day, I encourage all of you to discuss these issues with your loved ones and recognize that macho or not—no one is invincible.  

Teaching Gardens

posted Apr 15, 2013, 2:02 PM by Julio Zaldivar   [ updated Apr 15, 2013, 2:02 PM ]

by Kathlyn Mead
E.V.P., ORGANIZATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS & C.O.O. 
Apr 09, 2013
On March 26, I joined our partners at the American Heart Association (AHA) to celebrate the success of Teaching Gardens making health happen in Long Beach Unified School District.  AHA Teaching Gardens are flourishing in Long Beach schools, teaching young students how to plant seeds, nurture growing plants, harvest the food and, ultimately, understand the value of the role that communities play in creating opportunities for healthy eating choices.
  
To celebrate the groundbreaking of this new garden at Garfield Elementary School, students, faculty, and parents joined together for a Plant Day and the chance to get their hands dirty. Superintendent of schools, Chris Steinhauser, came out to join the fun and commend the principal, teachers, and children for their commitment to growing, harvesting and healthy eating.  He vocalized support to grow Teaching Gardens in every school in his district, the third largest in California!
 
Throughout the morning, students built planters, planted seedlings and watered the plants. Teaching Garden staff members discussed with students what dishes they could help their parents make with the very fruits and vegetables they were growing.  It was truly wonderful to see all of the kids with their sleeves rolled up making health happen in their school.
 
 
And the highlight of the day for these kids? Placing worms into the soil to help provide fertilization and aeration to grow healthy plants. While it made some a bit squeamish, it was a fun, engaging way to get kids involved in the entire gardening process.
 
 
 
The truth is, exposing kids to gardening does more than provide some fun. It gives them the opportunity to learn about healthy foods and healthy eating. By building gardens with fresh fruits and vegetables, kids are in turn building healthier communities in Long Beach.
 
When The California Endowment initially partnered with the American Heart Association, we envisioned a model for school gardens that could be replicated across California and the nation. After the Teaching Gardens program was met with success in South Los Angeles, we are delighted to see it grow into the Long Beach community helping more kids live stronger and healthier lives.  
 

Boys Will Be Boys.

posted Apr 4, 2013, 10:11 AM by Julio Zaldivar   [ updated Apr 15, 2013, 2:01 PM by Julio Zaldivar ]

Over spring break, 14 young men of color and 14 adult allies made their way to Camp Oakhurst for a weekend of team building and leadership development for Fresno's Alliance for Boys and Men of Color Camp. These young men took adventure to new heights, and had some fun with the "harlem shake". And way to go Sarah Reyes.

Fresno BMoC Harlem Shake


Merced youth get (back) on the bus!

posted Apr 3, 2013, 1:56 PM by Julio Zaldivar   [ updated Apr 3, 2013, 1:56 PM by Julio Zaldivar ]

Brian Mimura cropped color

by Brian Mimura
Program Manager, Southwest Merced/East Merced County
Apr 02, 2013

“I never thought I would have to worry about how I would get to school.”

Those are the words of Delvina Johnson, a young high school student in Merced. Delvina  and dozens of other residents and young people have been speaking out since the local school district eliminated bus transportation for students living within 5 miles of Merced High Schools. 

Delvina and her peers want to focus on succeeding in school. Not merely getting there.  

Thanks to their successful community organizing and persistence,  the school board reinstated many of their bus lines! Check out this TV coverage that describes “The Battle of the Bus”.

Congratulations to everyone who made this happen! 


More guns in schools? We all know better

posted Apr 2, 2013, 1:18 PM by Julio Zaldivar   [ updated Apr 2, 2013, 1:18 PM by Julio Zaldivar ]

barbara

by Barbara Raymond
Director, Schools, Healthy California
Apr 02, 2013

The issue of school safety continues to be discussed in living rooms from the White House to our houses.  We all care deeply about keeping our kids safe.  Unfortunately, we’ve been here before.  This time we know what works, and it’s not putting more guns near our kids.

The public has excellent common sense:  in a recent poll on what makes schools safe, 67% of voters in California support adding more mental health counselors, nurses, and mentors to schools

Teachers, counselors, and school administrators should be the first line of defense in school safety. They are trained and credentialed in how to work with young people.  They have the tools to keep the school orderly and calm.  Law enforcement has an important a role to play in keeping schools safe – police have specialized training in responding to crises, planning for emergencies, and designing sites to be safe but welcoming.

After the Columbine tragedy, we learned that putting police in schools doesn’t always translate to more safety.  It often has the unintended consequence of increasing arrests for low-level disorderly conduct that would have otherwise been handled by school personnel.  An arrest is no small thing.  Arrests have serious negative consequences for our kids’ future: every arrest increases the risk for dropping out of school, committing future offenses, and being incarcerated as an adult.

When police are in schools, they need to be trained; they don’t just naturally know how to work with youth.  Voters in California overwhelmingly support training for police (88%).  Three programs proven to improve police understanding of young people are: Strategies for Youth: Policing the Teen Brain; Circle Solutions: Fair and Impartial Policing; and Model for Change’s Crisis Intervention Team Youth.  These programs reduce arrests and improve police-student interaction.  And they keep schools safe too.

Health happens in schools when we leave the teaching to teachers, counseling to counselors, and disciplining to the principal’s office.  A good rule to aim for is 2:1—two counselors, nurses, or mentors for every one police officer.  This way, people stay in their best roles and can work together to cultivate environments that support student success.

Young Immigrants Fight for a Place, and for Access to Health Care

posted Mar 26, 2013, 11:39 AM by Julio Zaldivar   [ updated Mar 26, 2013, 11:39 AM by Julio Zaldivar ]

Rob Waters
by Rob Waters
Prevention Institute
Mar 26, 2013

My family got some bad news last week. My 21-year-old niece, Caitlin, a student at the University of Texas, learned that she’d had a relapse of the leukemia that struck a year ago and forced her to undergo months of intensive chemotherapy. She endured that experience with pluck and grace and the leukemia went into remission. Then, last week, two months into a semester of study abroad in Spain, she learned her cancer had returned.

She quickly returned home and from the moment she got off the plane to resume her battle with leukemia, she issued an order to her parents: no moping and no tears. Once again, she is inspiring all of us, her family and friends, with her grace, courage and humor.

In one respect, Caitlin and our family are fortunate. Thanks to a key provision of Obamacare, she remains covered on her parent’s health insurance, as do some 3.1 million other young adults under the age of 26 who might otherwise be uncovered. That means she has access to excellent, cutting-edge treatment at one of the premiere cancer-treatment centers in the U.S.—and it won’t put my brother’s family into debt or bankruptcy.

For thousands of other young people, the situation is quite different. Oday Guerrero came to the U.S. at the age of 4 when her parents fled the violence and poverty of Tijuana, Mexico. Now 23, Guerrero became the first member of her family to go to college and last year graduated from UC-Irvine.

Thanks to the executive order issued last year by President Obama, she and as many as 1 million other undocumented immigrants under age 30 are no longer at risk of being deported. But they remain at risk of having health conditions go untreated. At the very moment when the U.S. is making its biggest effort ever to widen access to health care, undocumented immigrants are being shut out. They are excluded from the Affordable Care Act, ineligible to purchase subsidized insurance or to be covered by Medicaid.

Click here to read the rest at Forbes.com

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