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Sierra Health Foundation Partnerships

A message from Chet Hewitt


Photo of Chet Hewitt

We have good reason to be optimistic about the new year in California. Chief among them is a healthier economy that is allowing families and businesses to put the great recession in the proverbial “rearview mirror.” Another example is California’s relatively smooth roll out of the Affordable Care Act, which is providing millions of residents access to health insurance.

While we should acknowledge and celebrate this good news, we should not forget there is still much work to be done, especially in the Central Valley. Not unexpectedly, this region will continue to grapple with challenges that impede the promise of improved health for all. These include schools that need to better educate our children, strengthening our health care safety net to ensure the newly insured and remaining uninsured receive care, promoting neighborhood safety to foster active and healthy lifestyles, and ensuring access to healthy food and clean water.

Many families like my own are fortunate in that we live in neighborhoods in which the challenges described above have largely been addressed. Unfortunately, this is not the case for too many families in our region. The challenges they face resulting from poor environmental conditions and a lack of economic, social and educational opportunity are increasingly hard to overcome and have negative long-term health effects. At its most recent national conference, the American Public Health Association adopted a new mission to make America the healthiest nation in the world in a generation. This is a tall order given where we are starting: 17th overall among developed nations, and with some of the most challenged counties located in California’s Central Valley.

Given this reality, perhaps our large and diverse region should be most optimistic about the growing realization from outside the region that a key pathway to a healthier California is a healthier Central Valley. At Sierra Health Foundation, we look forward to doing our part by continuing our partnerships within the Healthy Sacramento Coalition to improve community health, the Respite Partnership Collaborative to increase access to mental health services, the Positive Youth Justice Initiative to reform local juvenile justice systems, the Sacramento Region Health Care Partnership to increase access to health care, and the Health Leadership Program to develop the skills of current and emerging health leaders. We also will launch a responsive grants health program in the San Joaquin Valley through our Center for Health Program Management, and continue to find ways to join efforts led by others. These efforts allow us to work with law enforcement, school districts, community residents, nonprofits, public agencies, community health centers, and national and statewide funders — an acknowledgement that no one organization or sector can do this alone.

As always, we start the new year by reaffirming our commitment to continuing our vigorous pursuit of health equity for all. We are optimistic that the growing body of research that demonstrates the reasons to focus on the health of the Central Valley will be a call to action rather than a prognosis of gloom. Our wish for the new year is to make significant progress on these important issues, and by doing so contribute to the knowledge base on how to do this important work in regions across the country. Let’s work hard to make this wish a reality, right here in the Central Valley, beginning right now.

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Responsive Grants Program funding available


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The Responsive Grants Program continues in 2014 with grants up to $15,000 to support projects and programs that improve health and quality of life for people throughout our 26-county funding region. We will have two funding rounds this year, with a total of $500,000 available.

Applications for this year’s first funding round are due by noon on March 3.

We will hold a webinar on Feb. 5 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Register for the webinar and download application materials on the Responsive Grants Program web page.

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Counties receive Positive Youth Justice Initiative grants to transform juvenile justice systems


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The Center for Health Program Management, and funding partners Sierra Health Foundation, The California Endowment and The California Wellness Foundation, on Jan. 28 announced $1.6 million in grant funding to four counties to implement an innovative approach to juvenile justice through the Positive Youth Justice Initiative.

Alameda County Probation Department, San Diego County Probation Department, San Joaquin County Probation Department and Vallejo City Unified School District in Solano County were each awarded $400,000 for a two-year period to test a series of reforms designed to transform juvenile justice into a more just, effective system and drastically improve the lives of the youth they engage. To date, $4.5 million has been invested in the Positive Youth Justice Initiative.

Photo of youth advocate

The announcement took place during an event at Sierra Health Foundation, which included guest speakers Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Assemblymember Tom Ammiano and representatives from the four awarded counties. A panel of juvenile justice experts included James Bell from the W. Haywood Burns Institute, Suzy Loftus from the Center for Youth Wellness, Scott Budnick from The Anti-Recidivism Coalition and Sheila Mitchell, retired chief of probation in Santa Clara County. Participants also heard from two youth advocates, Jesse Esparza and Briana Shropshire (pictured), who shared their personal stories of transformation and their perspectives on the Positive Youth Justice Initiative.

“The Positive Youth Justice Initiative was developed to ensure children in the juvenile justice system receive the support, guidance and structure they need to move beyond the trauma and neglect most experience prior to being engaged by the justice system,” said Chet Hewitt, president and CEO of Sierra Health Foundation and the Center for Health Program Management. “We are thrilled to be partnering with a group of innovative county leaders committed to leading the charge for juvenile justice reform in California. Their willingness to focus on the healthy development of system-engaged youth will enhance their individual prospects for a healthy, productive life while improving public safety for us all.”

Learn more on the Positive Youth Justice Initiative web page.

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Three nonprofits receive funding to increase mental health respite service options in Sacramento County


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On Jan. 16, the Respite Partnership Collaborative announced grants totaling $1.55 million to three agencies in Sacramento County to increase mental health respite service options and offer alternatives to psychiatric hospitalization for community members experiencing a mental health crisis. The announcement took place at a community stakeholder meeting held at Sierra Health Foundation.

St. John’s Shelter Program for Women and Children received a $300,000 grant to support a program to de-escalate mental health crisis for women by providing short-term respite and on-site support services and linkages to community services on site at the shelter.

Children’s Receiving Home received a $250,000 grant to deliver trauma-informed respite services to youth experiencing a mental health crisis in a safe and supportive environment while they stabilize.

Transitional Living and Community Support (TLCS) received $1 million to promote stabilization for adults experiencing a mental health crisis by providing 24-hour/7 day-a-week mental health crisis respite services that can be accessed on a drop-in basis in a warm and supportive community-based setting.

“The respite services that St. John’s Shelter, Children’s Receiving Home and TLCS will provide with this funding are essential in our community,” said Sierra Health Foundation and Center for Health Program Management President and CEO Chet Hewitt. “Instead of going to a hospital emergency room, individuals in crisis will have safe, supportive alternatives to receive appropriate care.”

To date, the Respite Partnership Collaborative has awarded more than $2.6 million to nonprofit organizations in Sacramento County to increase mental health respite service options.

Funding for the Respite Partnership Collaborative is provided by the County of Sacramento, Department of Behavioral Health Services through the Mental Health Services Act Innovation Component. Learn more on the Respite Partnership Collaborative web page.

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Sacramento Region Health Care Partnership launches learning institute for community health centers


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We were pleased to launch the Sacramento Region Health Care Partnership Safety Net Learning Institute on Jan. 27, with participation from eight community health centers from El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo counties: Cares Community Clinic, Chapa-De Indian Health Program, CommuniCare Health Centers, Elica Health Centers, Health For All, Sacramento Native American Health Center, WellSpace Health and Winters Healthcare Foundation.

The Learning Institute builds on the skills and expertise of teams of key staff from community health centers. Internal system transformation is the theme of the Institute. The topics of each convening combine the important issues of today’s health care environment, preparation for full implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the significant roles that community health centers will play in the future of the region’s health care delivery system. Each session features a guest speaker with keen expertise in the topic, and robust interaction and discussion among participants.

This first convening featured guest speaker Bridget Hogan Cole, Program Director of the Building Clinic Capacity for Quality Program, a project of Community Partners, who discussed the fundamentals of quality improvement.

The Safety Net Learning Institute is a key element of the Sacramento Region Health Care Partnership’s Community Health Center Capacity Building Program, and is sponsored by Sierra Health Foundation in partnership with Kaiser Permanente, Dignity Health, Sutter Health and UC Davis Health System. Learn more on the Sacramento Region Health Care Partnership web page.

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Healthy Sacramento Coalition reports document health needs of county residents


We’re pleased to share three reports prepared on behalf of the Healthy Sacramento Coalition:

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  • Sacramento County Community Health Needs Assessment, prepared by Valley Vision
  • Sacramento County Community Health Policy Scan, prepared by Prevention Institute
  • The Chronic Disease Experience of Sacramento County Residents, prepared by Sacramento County Division of Public Health

Information presented in the reports serves as the foundation for the Healthy Sacramento Coalition’s plans for activities to improve community health and reduce health disparities in the county.

Download the reports and access interactive GIS maps, which supplement the Community Health Needs Assessment, on the Healthy Sacramento Coalition web page.

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Conference space now available at Center for Health Program Management’s San Joaquin Valley office


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Nonprofit organizations and public agencies in the San Joaquin Valley have a new cost-free venue for meetings. Since launching the Center for Health Program Management office in Merced in November, we’ve opened our Conference Center to organizations working to improve health equity in the San Joaquin Valley.

The Conference Center, located at 521 W. Main St. in Merced, includes two fully accessible meeting rooms and a lobby for pre-function activities. Room 519 seats up to 20 people, and Room 523 seats up to 10.

Nonprofit organizations whose vision and goals are compatible with the Center’s are encouraged to apply for use of the facility. Visit the Center web site for more information and an online application.

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