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Sierra Health Foundation Partnerships

Celebrating 30 years of partnership


30th anniversary logo

This month we’re highlighting our programs that promote leadership development in the nonprofit sector to improve health in communities.

The Health Leadership Program strengthens the skills of leaders in nonprofit organizations and public agencies whose mission is dedicated to improving health and quality of life in their communities. Since 2001, the Health Leadership Program has supported 288 health and social service executives in developing their skills to lead their organizations and communities. Class XII begins next month – see the article below.

The Minority-Led Organization Capacity Building and Leadership Development Program supports the development of leaders of color and strengthens the capacity of minority-led nonprofit organizations serving communities of color in Northern California and the San Joaquin Valley. To date, 37 organizations have received grants up to $10,000. This program is funded by The California Endowment and Sierra Health Foundation.

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Health Leadership Program Class XII to begin in September


HLP logo

We’re pleased to welcome 25 members to Health Leadership Program Class XII. Class members are current or emerging leaders in organizations that work to improve community health and well-being and reduce health disparities across a broad range of issue areas such as education, employment, access to health services, population health, social services, environment, housing, youth development and juvenile justice. The 2015-2016 program will focus on improved organizational outcomes and impact.

The Health Leadership Program is led by the Institute for Population Health Improvement at UC Davis Health System and is co-directed by Kenneth W. Kizer, MD, MPH, and Rich Callahan, DPA.

See the Class XII member list and learn more on the Health Leadership Program web page.

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California’s Office of Health Equity releases strategic plan


OHE plan cover

We applaud the release of California’s Office of Health Equity’s statewide strategic plan, Portrait of Promise: The California Statewide Plan to Promote Health and Mental Health Equity. The plan calls for improved data collection and analysis to identify the causes of health disparities, effective communication to build awareness of these causes, and appropriate changes in infrastructure to effectively respond to them.

Earlier this year, our Center for Health Program Management entered into a multiyear agreement with the Office of Health Equity to promote communications, community partnerships and engagement. Working with the Office of Health Equity, Tamu Nolfo serves as the Senior Project Manager and Dante Allen as the Communications Officer.

Read the news release.

Download the strategic plan.


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Tahira Cunningham joins Sierra Health Foundation


Photo of Tahira

We’re pleased to welcome Tahira Cunningham as the foundation’s newest program officer. In this position, Tahira will support the California Executives’ Alliance to Expand Opportunities for Boys and Men of Color, a collaboration of CEOs from 20 California foundations dedicated to aligning their efforts, resources and influence to improve the lives of boys and men of color in California.

Prior to joining Sierra Health Foundation, Tahira was the Health Director with the Greenlining Institute, working to achieve health equity for low-income communities and communities of color at the state legislature and state departments. With the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, she led the statewide health work for the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, advocacy on the state budget, legislation and mental health policy. Tahira also worked as the Associate Director of Public Policy for the California Primary Care Association, representing the state’s nonprofit community clinics and health centers, and for the California Dental Association administering the Donated Dental Services program, providing free dental care to low-income and disabled individuals.

Tahira has advocated on the state’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), oral health and health care issues affecting seniors, children, the homeless and HIV/AIDS populations. Among her career successes, she prides herself on the development of California’s community clinic and health center Health Care Ambassador Program, which educated and trained more than 1,000 clinic doctors and staff on key provisions of the ACA, and was recognized as the first statewide ACA education campaign by the Schwarzenegger Administration.

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Respite Partnership Collaborative grantees, members engage in learning opportunity


RPC logo

Earlier this month, Respite Partnership Collaborative (RPC) mental health respite program grantees gathered at Sierra Health Foundation for a Grantee Learning Community meeting. Staffs from the 10 funded programs were joined by members of the RPC for a dynamic morning of presentations and discussions. The meeting included a presentation from California Office of Health Equity Communications Officer Dante Allen, who shared resources available from the Office of Health Equity and presented on the social disparities of health in relation to mental health respite services.

Respite program staff and collaborative members engaged in discussions on the implementation of mental health respite and shared lessons learned. Discussion points ranged from the need to tell the story of why respite is a critical service to how insecure housing impacts the mental health of those seeking respite. The meeting closed with inspirational words from RPC member Iffat Hussain, who acknowledged the programs and their ability to collectively provide mental health respite to more than 4,200 individuals in Sacramento County.

Learn more about the project on the Respite Partnership Collaborative web page.

RPC group photo

Photo: RPC grantees, members and staff

The Respite Partnership Collaborative is a public-private partnership of the County of Sacramento, Division of Behavioral Health Services, the Center for Health Program Management and community members who serve as members on the RPC. The RPC is a Sacramento County Mental Health Services Act Innovation Project, funded by the County of Sacramento, Department of Behavioral Health Services through the voter-approved Proposition 63, Mental Health Services Act (MHSA).

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Respite Partnership Collaborative members represent Sacramento at state conference


The Respite Partnership Collaborative (RPC) was excited to send representatives to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) California 2015 conference this month in Newport Beach. The RPC had exhibit space in which members shared information about the Sacramento County respite programs with mental health consumers and family members from across California. Many conference attendees responded by saying how important mental health respite is and that respite programs are needed in their counties.

NAMI California is a leading organization of individuals working with mutual respect to provide help, hope and health for those affected by serious mental illness.

NAMI Sacramento is a grassroots, family and consumer self-help support and advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with severe mental illnesses.

RPC photo

Photo: RPC members Alexis Bernard and Dirulislam Abdullah at the NAMI California conference.

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Sacramento strategic plan to reduce child deaths presented to national commission


On August 6, Chet Hewitt, president and CEO of Sierra Health Foundation and co-chair of the Steering Committee on Reduction of African American Child Deaths in Sacramento County, testified before the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Families in a panel discussion on disproportionality of child deaths, particularly about the work in Sacramento County to develop a comprehensive, data-informed approach.

During the panel discussion, Chet provided recommendations including moving upstream with a stronger focus on early intervention, increasing focus on family development, moving the system away from a focus on crisis intervention to one that emphasizes family development, strengthening data collection, and using validated instruments to promote objective decision making.

Read the news release.

Learn more on the Steering Committee on Reduction of African American Child Deaths web page.

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Grantee Spotlight: Great Northern Services


The importance of being responsive is something Great Northern Services knows very well. A grantee in our Responsive Grants Program, the nonprofit in Siskiyou County provides a community food program and emergency food distribution as part of its mission to improve quality of life in rural communities. When the Boles wildfire destroyed hundreds of acres and more than 150 homes and properties in Siskiyou County last September, Great Northern Services was among the fire’s victims, losing its offices and food warehouse. Losses from the fire included a new walk-in freezer/refrigerator that was essential to the organization’s ability to provide food to those in need.

GNS Photo

Great Northern Services had received a Responsive grant to provide fresh produce and protein-rich foods to vulnerable populations. However, without its freezer/refrigerator, they were unable to fulfill that service. After hearing about the situation, we worked with Great Northern Services to revise its original grant requirements to help with recovery and use the funding instead to support the installation of a new walk-in freezer/refrigerator, which was donated by Siskiyou County’s USDA Rural Development office.

We applaud Great Northern Services for its dedication and service to the residents of Siskiyou County.

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Grantee Spotlight: Community Recovery Resources


Community Recovery Resources (CoRR) is a nonprofit health organization serving rural Northern California communities promoting health and improving lives through substance abuse treatment and related behavioral health services. Sierra Health Foundation supported CoRR to implement an accessible, integrated continuum of care that includes substance abuse treatment, related behavioral health and primary care with $200,000 in grants.

CoRR Photo

This investment has supported CoRR’s Campus model as it becomes an essential and self-sustaining resource in this rural community. CoRR’s Deputy Director Ariel Lovett shared, “As we celebrate our third anniversary this August, approximately 2,000 each year are accessing services to heal from substance use disorder and related behavioral health issues — this means women with children getting help in residential programs, individuals and families finding stability in transitional housing, and teens and adults healing their lives in various outpatient services.”

Warren Daniels, CoRR’s CEO and a Health Leadership Program alumni member said, “The leadership, guidance and support we’ve received from Sierra Health Foundation has been invaluable in our ability to develop the Campus concept. Not only is the Campus a local solution, it has become a regional resource and is being lifted up as a national model as we change the way healthcare services are delivered.”

We’re proud to partner with CoRR in this important work.

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