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Sierra Health Foundation Partnerships

Celebrating 30 years of partnership


30th anniversary logo

As we celebrate and reflect on Sierra Health Foundation’s last 30 years of grant making and partnerships, this month we’re highlighting the foundation's longtime commitment to improving the health of children and youth.

From 1994 to 2003, Community Partnerships for Healthy Children supported 31 communities throughout Northern California to address issues such as health access, parenting, school readiness and achievement, after-school recreation and early childhood development.

From 2006 to 2010, our REACH Youth Program supported the healthy development of young people in the Greater Sacramento Region. Nine communities received Community Action grants to create youth-adult coalitions that increased participation in quality programs and activities, provided opportunities for youth to develop leadership and decision-making skills, and helped communities take positive action for youth. The socially and economically diverse group of communities included El Dorado Hills, Galt, Meadowview, Rancho Cordova, South Sacramento, Vacaville, West Sacramento, Woodland and Yuba-Sutter.

Currently, our Positive Youth Justice Initiative supports four counties that are transforming juvenile justice into a more just, effective system to improve the lives of the youth they engage. The initiative’s goal is to encourage system transformation that is focused on the development of healthy youth rather than punitive sanctions and confinement. Our grantee partners are: Alameda County Probation Department, San Diego County Probation Department, San Joaquin County Probation Department and Vallejo City Unified School District in Solano County.

Learn more about our current and past youth programming on the Youth Pathways to Health web page.


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Steering Committee on Reduction of African American Child Deaths presents strategic plan to Sacramento County Board of Supervisors


Strategic Plan cover

The Steering Committee on Reduction of African American Child Deaths submitted its strategic plan, African American Children Matter: What We Must Do Now, to the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors on April 14.

Sierra Health Foundation President and CEO Chet Hewitt and Center for Health and Well Being Executive Director Wendy Petko, co-chairs of the Steering Committee, presented the strategic plan. Numerous other Steering Committee members and community residents provided testimony at the meeting.

The Steering Committee submitted the plan in response to recommendations from the Blue Ribbon Commission, which was convened in 2011 by Supervisor Phil Serna to address the disproportionate African American child deaths in Sacramento County. The Steering Committee was established by a Board of Supervisors resolution in June 2013.

According to data reported by the Blue Ribbon Commission, during the period from 1990 to 2009, the African American child death rate was almost twice the average of the overall child death rate. While being only 12 percent of the child population in Sacramento County, African American children accounted for 22 percent of child deaths.

The Steering Committee identified five priorities to reduce African American child deaths in Sacramento County by 10 percent to 20 percent over the next five years: Advocacy and Policy, Equitable Investment and Systematic Impact, Coordinated Systems of Support, Data-driven Accountability and Collective Impact, and Communications and Information Systems.

Download the strategic plan.

Watch the news report on KCRA-3.

The Steering Committee is funded by the County of Sacramento and First 5 Sacramento, and is managed by our Center for Health Program Management.

RAACD at Board of Supervisors photo

Photo: Steering Committee co-chairs Chet Hewitt and Wendy Petko present the strategic plan to the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors.

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Health Leadership Program Class XII applications due April 27


HLP logo

The Health Leadership Program will continue this year with Class XII. Current and emerging leaders in Northern California and the San Joaquin Valley are encouraged to apply.

Applications for Class XII are due by April 27. Visit the Health Leadership Program web page to download the application and brochure.

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Dr. John Rich shares stories of trauma and violence, encourages innovation in programs and policies at Speaker Series event


We were pleased to welcome Dr. John Rich for our Speaker Series event on April 9. A professor at the Drexel University School of Public Health and a leader in the field, Dr. Rich presented on trauma and violence in the lives of young African-American men.

His presentation included stories of young people affected by adversity, violence and trauma. Participants learned about their experiences through powerful videos produced by young men and women who are part of Healing Hurt People, a program of Drexel’s Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice in the School of Public Health and College of Medicine. Through their stories, Dr. Rich suggested new ways to think about the connection between trauma, the social determinants of health and problems like urban violence. He also talked about the need to bring innovation to programs and policies by designing them with those most affected by violence.

The event included well-received spoken word performances by two members of Sacramento Area Youth Speaks, Shomari “Issa” Jackson and Andreas “Dre-T” Tillman.

Group photo from Speaker Series

Photo (left to right): Andreas “Dre-T” Tillman, Dr. John Rich, Shomari “Issa” Jackson, Chet Hewitt and Supervisor Phil Serna.

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Positive Youth Justice Initiative Learning Community focuses on trauma, fostering organizational culture


Positive Youth Justice Initiative (PYJI) partners from Alameda, San Diego, San Joaquin and Solano counties gathered on April 9 and 10 for a PYJI Learning Community at Sierra Health Foundation. Participants included leadership and line staff from probation, education and child welfare systems.

The event opened with a workshop on trauma and violence in the lives of youth by Drexel University Professor Dr. John Rich, who spoke at the foundation earlier that day (see the article above). The following day included a training on fostering organizational culture change within juvenile justice, led by Sheila Mitchell, former Santa Clara County Chief of Probation, as well as Lillie Allen from Be Present Inc. and Chris Block of the American Leadership Forum, Silicon Valley.

Learn more about the initiative on the PYJI web page.

PYJI Learning Community photo

Photo: PYJI Learning Community participants engage in a breakout discussion.

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Sacramento My Brother’s Keeper Initiative continues work to improve health and well-being for boys and young men of color


Building on initial conversations from the Sacramento My Brother’s Keeper launch meeting on March 18 at Sierra Health Foundation, local leaders are encouraging community members to continue their support in the next phase of the initiative’s process.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, Sacramento City Unified School District Superintendent Jose Banda, California Asian Pacific Chamber President and CEO Pat Fong Kushida and Sierra Health Foundation President and CEO Chet Hewitt invited community organizations to participate in a series of workshops this month. The sessions focused on identifying specific efforts that support access to opportunities for boys and young men of color and targeted outcomes for three age groups:

  • Birth to Age 11: Increase School Readiness, Increase Reading by 3rd Grade, Increase Math and Reading Scores by 5th Grade and Increase Social/Emotional Skills/Behavior by 5th Grade
  • Age 12-18: Reduce Middle School Failure, Reduce Juvenile Arrests and Convictions and Increase High School Graduation
  • Age 19-25: Increase College Completion; Reduce Felony Arrests, Convictions, Incarceration and Recidivism

Contact Sierra Health Foundation Director of Health Programs Robert Phillips with any questions about this effort.

MBK Sacramento Workshop photo

Photo: Kim Williams from Sacramento Building Healthy Communities and Kenneth Providence from South Sacramento Christian Center discuss their vision for boys and young men of color at the Sacramento My Brother’s Keeper workshop on April 22.

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