Exploring the connectedness of health in our communities and imagining a better future
June 22, 2022 | Issue #25
This month brings many reasons to celebrate.
At Blue Shield of California Foundation, we have the tremendous job of supporting innovation, action, and promising solutions to achieve health equity and end domestic violence in California. With another round of investments this week — 32 grants representing nearly $10 million
— we are excited to partner with diverse organizations and communities across the state.
The work gets done in many ways. Whether it’s putting more time and money into the hands of Californians with low incomes, paving the way for young people of color to improve the health of their communities, or providing healing and prevention alternatives to families experiencing domestic violence, we celebrate progress and the growing significance of these efforts.
June is also Pride month, a mix of ebullient festivities and the resolve to stand up for LGBTQ rights — in those states legislating against transgender youth, in particular.
Finally, June marks the second birthday of Intersections. It’s been a joy to highlight grantees, feature original work, and spotlight health equity and domestic violence prevention from many points of view. Forward this issue to a friend
to keep the celebration going and great ideas circulating.
Director of Communications and Public Affairs
A victory for domestic workers needs community support
An estimated 10,000 domestic workers in San Francisco can’t access the sick leave they have earned. A new education campaign by Hand in Hand, in partnership with the California Domestic Workers Coalition, asks employers to pledge to provide paid sick leave to their employees.
Though San Francisco was one of the first major cities to pass a paid sick leave ordinance back in 2006, 72% of its domestic workers report not receiving paid sick time. This has been especially devastating during the pandemic. Working for multiple employers for small amounts of time makes it hard to keep track of the paid leave people are accruing. The new Domestic Workers Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, set to launch in 2023, will create a web-based portable benefits program so workers can open a single account that will pool contributed funds from multiple employers and follow them across jobs.
While the program is being designed and tested, workers still need the sick leave they have earned. That’s where the education campaign comes in. This toolkit that you can use and share has more information, messages, and resources so you can advocate for domestic workers — and learn more about ways to support them in your community. While this is an innovation is happening in San Francisco, domestic workers across California — and across the country — face similar challenges. Benefits like paid leave are an effective way to lift individuals and families out of poverty, and every worker deserves economic security and mobility.
Mass shootings and domestic violence: the undeniable link
In search of community health
Last summer when Alma, a public health major at UC Berkeley, joined a road trip across California, she was hoping to find a sense of direction for her career.
“Health care to me is public health. Making sure people have access to water, to food; making sure that health care is accessible, affordable,” she told the Roadtrip Nation crew behind “Caring Forward,” a new documentary that explores the future of care in California.
Alma was one of three young Californians who, with support from the Foundation, interviewed professionals across the state. She hoped to learn how to put community at the center of health. “I do want to go into the public health field, but there’s not a lot of Latinx representation and that’s a little scary,” she said. “A lot of the time the health care system will fail people from my background.”
The road trippers began their journey in Calexico, where Alma said she felt overwhelmed. For most of her childhood here, her mother lived in Mexico and her family had to work a lot to get by. She described her community as “in survival mode.”
Dr. Tien Vo, the CEO of Vo Medical Center, serves that community by providing care to everyone, regardless of insurance or their ability to pay. He told the road trippers he personally relates to the patients he sees, coming from a farm-working family in Vietnam. Alma shared that her parents were undocumented and had no health insurance, so going to the hospital was not a reality for her family — not only because of the cost, but also the fear of being reported.
“The health care industry isn’t perfect, and I’m hoping I can make it better for the people in my community,” she said. “It’s really about bringing my full self and using everything that makes me who I am to help communities.”
An $11 million pilot program using restorative practices to prevent or address domestic violence is part of the Violence Against Women Act that Congress passed in March. The concept of restorative justice for domestic violence prevention is not new; it reflects a growing movement among anti-violence advocates, domestic violence agencies and lawmakers to find effective ways to break cycles of abuse.
One example of this approach comes from Santa Cruz County. As reported in California Health Report, Positive Solutions aims to help people responsible for domestic violence change their behavior patterns and build healthy relationships. They find that addressing domestic violence solely through the criminal justice system, by involving the police or incarcerating people, doesn’t fix the problem or promote healing, and may actually cause additional harm.
“It just gives you chills,” said the program manager. “You’re watching folks process and forgive themselves and each other. These guys are nodding and saying, ‘Yes, that happened to me too. You’re not alone.’”
This month at Blue Shield of California Foundation
- Learn more about the American Rescue Plan Recovery Act (ARPA), how the funds have supported equity in California counties, and how you can help make round two even better. The California Pan-Ethnic Health Network hosts a June 29 webinar to share a success story from the Imperial Valley and much more.
- Pregnant and parenting students must overcome challenges such as a lack of affordable child care as they provide for their families and complete their studies. On June 23, join this student-centered discussion that aims to uplift the unique experiences of student parents.
- At the annual Grantmakers in Health conference, Foundation President and CEO Debbie Chang will speak about a future without domestic violence. The “quick take” talk will explore opportunities for prevention.
- The deadline is approaching! Are you a community collaborative with innovative ideas to advance health equity? Join the BUILD Health movement’s fourth cohort. The application period is open through June 30.
- FreeFrom is hiring. FreeFrom envisions a world in which all survivors are able to build the wealth and financial security necessary to support their individual, intergenerational, and community healing — enabling them to thrive.