From Nancy Sasaki, Executive Director – There was a lot of great work being done to improve the health and wellness of underserved populations in San Diego and Imperial Counties last month, but you’ll notice a definite focus on food systems in our latest recap. September was Hunger Awareness Month, and a lot of tremendous work happened to raise awareness of and reduce food insecurity in our region. Hats off to all our partners in the community for working so hard last month and every month to make sure everyone in San Diego and Imperial Counties has enough healthy, nutritious food to eat. Our priorities are reflected in the places we go and the people we meet so keep reading to learn more about all the great work being done in our region in September.
Sept 1: How fun! I got to catch up with former California Endowment colleague, Greg Hall. He’s doing great and looking forward to doing some consulting work!
Sept 5: After the long weekend, I had lunch with Jeff Dunigan at UBS. He wanted to catch up with the work of AHF as he was one of the original founders! It’s always great to hear how this all got started and to talk about what’s the same and what’s different.
Sept 6: I drove to El Centro this morning for the Imperial Valley Continuum of Care Council Homeless Executive Board Meeting. It’s exciting to see how they are progressing with building their system, including a Coordinated Entry System, competitive applications for funding, and the development of an evaluation process.
After this meeting I met up with Sara Griffen, CEO of the Imperial Valley Food Bank, to talk about the progress of their capital campaign to build a new and larger warehouse, kitchen, and teaching lab!
Meanwhile, Michele attended the Insure the Uninsured Project San Diego Regional Workgroup. Much discussion was had on the status of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and options around single payer or universal care for Californians. Two important points that were discussed: First, the rate of uninsured pre-ACA in 2013 was 17%, and the rate post-ACA in 2016 was 5%—that is good news! But we still have 5% of the population with no health insurance. Second, the National Immigration Law Center has an excellent immigration toolkit for healthcare providers at healthtoolkit.nilc.org to help people understand provider and patient rights, tips, and suggestions for safe healthcare facilities in this climate of strict immigration enforcement.
Sept 9: On this Saturday I was lucky enough to attend the annual San Diego Blues Festival hosted by the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank! On two stages bands played throughout the day to raise money and food for the San Diego Food Bank. Attendees were encouraged to bring canned foods and non-perishable foods for the Food Bank to distribute. Throughout the day, CEO James Floros educated everyone about food needs in the community and the number of people they serve.
Sept 11: I met with Steve O’Kane this morning to get an update on his projects. As community clinics explore ways to enhance the way they are reimbursed for their services, this looks like a great development. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about it in the days to come!
Be There San Diego hosts a great series called “University of Best Practices.” Michele attended the latest session addressing food insecurity as a social determinant of health and actions medical professionals can take to assess their patients’ food and nutritional needs. The panel included Dr. Sunny Smith from the UCSD Student-Run Free Clinic, Dr. Kristin Brownell from Family Health Centers of San Diego, Jillian Barber and Perla Pace from Sharp Healthcare, Elly Garner from Palomar Hospital, and Amanda Schultz Brochu of San Diego Hunger Coalition who moderated the discussion.
Sept 12: Amy Denhart, Director of Funders Together to End Homelessness San Diego (FTEHSD), and I toured a housing project that works to get homeless veterans off the streets. Sadly, we learned that some of their funding was cut due to changes in the budget at the City of San Diego. It’s frustrating to have housing available that can’t be used because of funding issues.
Sept 13: Many thanks to Dr. Adolph Edwards from the El Centro Regional Medical Center and chair of the Veterans Committee of the Imperial Valley Continuum of Care for hosting a community dinner. The topic of conversation was how to move forward with services and assistance for homeless veterans in Imperial County. Several community members were in attendance and all are committed to doing what they can to help.
Sept 18: Michele didn’t take the day to golf but she checked out all the great silent auction items at the dinner for Casa de Amparo’s Fore the Kids golf tournament. Casa de Amparo has always supported and is a major force for the treatment and prevention of child abuse and neglect, but Michele recently learned they have made programmatic changes to screen and provide services to address the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
Sept 20: This morning Michele visited Karen deLaurier, Board Chair at Uptown Community Service Center. The center is one of the few that offers mailboxes for their clients. They have also partnered with the Union of Pan Asian Communities to have two counselors on site during the week to assist clients with their needs.
Sept 21: I was a presenter on a webinar this morning hosted by Funders Together to End Homelessness San Diego on the topic of health and housing. Many thanks to Lauren Bennett at FTEHSD for hosting and coordinating the panel of speakers.
Sept 22: AHF staff spent the day with our Board Trustees and non-board members of the Program Committee at our annual Envision meeting. A ton of work was accomplished as we envision what our future will look like. Along with some invited guests, we talked about health and wellness in San Diego and Imperial Counties as well as the environmental issues facing Imperial County because of the drying Salton Sea. This day is a time for us to delve deeply into issues and to plan a potential role for AHF. Many thanks to all who participated!
Sept 23: There was a lot happening with hunger awareness this month—#hungerfreesd! Michele attended San Diego Hunger Coalition’s Hunger Free Fest at SMARTS Farm. The farm is situated right downtown at 13th and Broadway. Executive Director Anahid Brakke welcomed everyone and gave an update about the impactful work they are doing to end hunger in San Diego, including research, advocacy, and implementation of RX for CalFresh.
Sept 28: Many thanks to Good, Inc. for their work for Funders Together to End Homelessness San Diego to assess four communities that have moved the needle on ending homelessness. Today we heard from Andy Morris and Jane Ottensmeyer with Good, Inc. about their findings in Houston, Santa Clara County, Philadelphia, and Seattle. FTEH-SD wanted to go deeper into what worked for them—their secret sauce—beyond the infrastructure and strategic plan. Some of the common themes highlighted were: effective leadership, alignment on a theory of change, collaboration, and public opinion / community support. Soon we will be releasing all of the findings and recommendations to the community in a final report.
Michele was in Imperial and met with Executive Director Rosa Diaz and board members Steven Mireles and Elizabeth Esqueda at the Imperial Valley LGBT Resource Center. They continue to expand their reach and create connections with the community. The center recently established a partnership with the county to train HIV testers and counselors to bring HIV testing to their facilities.
Following that Michele went to Imperial Valley College (IVC) for the grand opening of the IVC Kitchen. In partnership with the college, the Imperial Valley Food Bank, and many community supporters, the college has opened a food pantry on campus to serve the needs of the homeless and food-insecure students. Congratulations to Dr. Martha Garcia and her amazing student services team.
Sept 29: I spent the day in San Francisco meeting with the other leaders of healthcare foundations in California. We added some new members to our group: Janet Spears at MettaFund, Michael Koch from UniHealth Foundation, and Katie Beckman from the Packard Foundation. This time we spent more time learning about our primary goals. We also discussed the newly formed Workforce Commission and the exciting work they are doing to address the health workforce of the future.
Have questions or comments about AHF in the community?
Upcoming Events on the AHF Community Calendar
- October 25: FORUM: Homeless Crisis, Balboa Theater, 6 to 7:30 pm
- November 1: iEnagageU: Hunger Free Kids, Leichtag Foundation, 2 to 5 pm
- November 2: 30th Anniversary NCPC Volunteer Awards Luncheon, California Center For The Arts, Escondido, 10:30 am to 2:00 pm
- November 2, 3: Environmental Health Leadership Summit, Imperial Center—Twin Dragon, 8:30 am to 5 pm