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Sierra Health Foundation Partnerships

A message from Chet Hewitt


Photo of Chet Hewitt

2016, our 31st year of grantmaking, is shaping up to be an exciting and transformative time for Sierra Health Foundation and the Center for Health Program Management. Over the next 12 months, both entities will exit and celebrate important initiatives that have reached their planned conclusion, take important next steps and make mid-course corrections in several ongoing program areas, and begin internal restructuring to position both institutions for a successful future.

Concluding this year will be the Respite Partnership Collaborative, an innovative mental health project funded by Proposition 63 Mental Health Services Act funds and launched in partnership with Sacramento County and community residents. Designed to improve service delivery in underserved communities, the RPC’s work has contributed to county-wide efforts to help redesign and rebuild a decimated mental health delivery system. Over four years, the program has launched 11 community respite programs that have served more than 5,000 individuals in culturally sensitive, community-based settings. Without these programs, most of those served would have been forced to seek care for mental health crises in hospital emergency rooms, which is both expensive and ineffective. Perhaps most impressive is the affirmation of the positive influence and impact community-driven, culturally responsive program design and management has had on both consumer and provider experience. We are ecstatic to be able to report that our exit will not mean the termination of services; almost all of the selected providers will now receive direct support from Sacramento County MHSA funding to continue their work.

We also will bring to a close our Community Health Center Capacity Building Program, which has helped strengthen the leadership, administrative and clinical operations of the region’s community clinics. At the conclusion of this five-year effort, the number of Federally Qualified Health Center designated clinics has doubled, which has led to a significant improvement in financial stability of the overall system. These improvements bode well for more than 250,000 newly insured individuals and families seeking access to quality primary care across the region.

In 2016, transforming the treatment youth and young adults who come into contact with the juvenile justice system receive will remain a top priority for us. Accordingly, we expect to make major advances in our Positive Youth Justice Initiative, as we continue to support system leaders who are committed to building new practice models, while ramping up our support to community-based advocacy organizations. There is bi-partisan local, state and national momentum for reform – focus on youth development, end solitary confinement, community engagement, community-based service delivery – and we will invest in efforts to more rapidly move this agenda forward.

We expect to double the number of grantee partners supported through our San Joaquin Valley Health Fund, who are building their policy and advocacy capacity to address the ravages of inequality and inequity by working to secure access to clean, affordable drinking water, improve education outcomes and foster higher levels of civic participation in the San Joaquin Valley. We launched the fund in 2014 with three investors; today we have seven co-investors, including two national foundations.

We also expect to make important strides in our community-led effort to reduce preventable African-American child mortality rates in Sacramento County – an effort that has garnered national interest, and in our management and support for the California Executives’ Alliance, a 22-member philanthropic coalition working to improve the life chances for boys and young men of color in California. We, along with our many partners, will share more about these important efforts in the months ahead.

Throughout all of our programming, we continue to uphold an intentional goal of applying health equity and a social determinants of health framework to all of the work.

None of the progress made or being pursued would have or can be achieved by the foundation or Center alone. As is always the case, we’ve been privileged to work in partnership with a tremendous set of community and organizational leaders from the nonprofit public and private sectors. It’s shaping up to be another busy and productive year, the table is being set, and we are excited about what we might accomplish in 2016 ... together.

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Responsive Grants Program funding available


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The Responsive Grants Program returns this year, with grants up to $15,000 to support projects that improve health and well-being throughout our 26-county funding region. There will be one funding round in 2016 with a total of $500,000 available. We will award at least 30 percent for projects serving rural areas of the region.

Applications are due by March 14 at noon. We will hold a proposers’ conference in Redding on Feb. 9 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and a webinar on Feb. 10 from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Participation is recommended, but not required.

Application materials and registration for the proposers’ conference and webinar are available on the Responsive Grants Program web page.

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Additional funding awarded to support tranformation of California’s juvenile justice system


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The Center for Health Program Management awarded $800,000 in funding to improve the social and health outcomes for youth involved in the juvenile justice system through the Positive Youth Justice Initiative (PYJI), an innovative approach to juvenile justice reform. PYJI is supporting California counties in designing and implementing a series of system reforms through an integrated model that invests in youth, treats trauma, provides wraparound service delivery and strengthens local infrastructure.

San Joaquin County Probation Department and Vallejo City Unified School District in Solano County each will receive $400,000 to expand their work with PYJI.

The initiative is funded by Sierra Health Foundation, The California Endowment and The California Wellness Foundation. Learn more on the PYJI web page.

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Staff transitions announced


After nearly four years with Sierra Health Foundation, Director of Health Programs Robert Phillips will be leaving the foundation to join Kaiser Permanente as Senior Director of National Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy Communications. His last day at the foundation will be Feb. 3.

Photo of Robert

Robert’s contributions have been tremendous. His dedication has furthered the goals of the Healthy Sacramento Coalition, built on the Sacramento Region Health Care Partnership to implement the Community Health Center Capacity Building Program, and helped to establish the California Executives’ Alliance to Expand Opportunities for Boys and Men of Color. He has helped build a competent team that will continue to move us forward. He will be greatly missed, but we look forward to continuing to work with him in his new capacity.

Senior Program Officer Kaying Hang will serve as Interim Director of Health Programs starting Feb. 4. The search for a permanent director will begin in the spring and will be open to all interested applicants.

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Joan Twiss joins Sierra Health Foundation staff


Photo of Joan

We’re pleased to welcome Joan Twiss as the foundation’s newest staff member. As a Senior Program Officer, Joan will focus on finding ways for residents to age in their communities in a healthy and safe manner. In this role, she will use her extensive nonprofit experience to develop partnerships and find policy opportunities that advance aging-in-place practices. She also will advance learning in organizational development and evaluation for nonprofit executive directors.

Joan comes to the foundation with broad experience at the local, state and national levels in the nonprofit and public sectors. She possesses a wealth of knowledge and a commitment to creating the physical environments and social conditions in which all generations can thrive. She currently serves on the California State AARP Livable Communities Advisory Team.

Joan previously was executive director of the Sacramento-based Center for Civic Partnerships at the Public Health Institute for more than 25 years, where she directed planning, implementation, technical support, training, policy development and evaluation.

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Chet Hewitt receives local honors


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Congratulations to Sierra Health Foundation President and CEO Chet Hewitt for being named The Sacramento Observer 2015 Person of the Year. Chet received the honor for his leadership on the Steering Committee on Reduction of African American Child Deaths and his efforts nationally to improve outcomes for boys and young men of color. Read the article.

Chet will receive the Robert T. Matsui Community Service Award at the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Event on Feb. 6 at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento. Get information about the annual event on the MLK Celebration Sacramento web site.

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