May 5, 2017

From Nancy Sasaki, Executive Director – Things have been busy at Alliance Healthcare Foundation in our continued efforts to learn about the great work taking place throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties. By sharing what we learn, we hope you may discover meetings you are interested in or organizations you would like to connect with in our recap of April.

April 2: I headed up to Seattle for the National Council for Behavioral Health conference and started with a session on diversity, inclusion and multiculturalism. I was interested in learning more about how these topics are impacting the field. In some ways, I was surprised to find the same conversations being had today as the ones I was hearing years ago. Ultimately it was good to know they were having the discussion and recognizing the important role diversity and inclusion plays when providing health services.

April 3: Woohoo!!! Big day at AHF! We welcomed Annie Guo as our communications manager! Annie comes to us from Denver, CO where she worked in the health equity field. She brings new energy and perspective to our communications and outreach efforts. Some things will be the same while others will get a refreshing change. Welcome on board Annie!

April 3 & 4: More conference sessions and exhibits! Some common themes were: integrated electronic health records, test result data analysis, and new apps for mental health. I also attended the session with Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to learn about any changes in federal funding. Although it is still too early to know about changes, SAMHSA staff said they were given the go ahead to continue the work they have been doing. I was also fortunate to hear from then Surgeon General Vivek Murthy in what could have been one of his last public presentations. He was compassionate and passionate about the health of this country and his story couldn’t have been more powerful. He ended his talk with the statement – where else could the immigrant grandson of a farmer in rural India be asked to lead the public health of the country by the President of the United States.

April 5: I had the opportunity to talk with representatives from OrgCode, an organization conducting an organizational assessment of the Regional Task Force on the Homeless. At this important point in the development of the homeless system, getting a picture of what we have, what we need and where we are going is critical. I am looking forward to the findings of all of the assessments – organization, community, and best practices! If you are already thinking about next year, check out the webinar here.

Since we have now launched our Innovation Initiative, I held two webinars this week to provide an opportunity for those unable to attend the Innovation Forum to learn about the initiative and to ask questions. I always hope they are helpful and we are definitely looking forward to reading all of the proposals we receive!

April 6: One of the benefits we provide the five finalists of the Innovation Initiative is a business planning consultant. This consultant helps prepare them for the Pitchfest presentation. This year we are changing up the way this consultation occurs which means a few meetings with the potential new consultants! In each area, we will go more in-depth and capitalize on the strengths of the consultants. Curious? Me too! I can’t wait to announce what we are able to structure! Even though only one proposal receives the Innovation Initiative, the work with the consultants prepares all of them with a stronger “pitch” and hopefully inspires others to support them financially.

April 7: At the end of the day, I attended the Cancer Resource Center of the Deserts’ Casino Night Gala in Holtville. Beautifully decorated and well attended, the event hosted by CEO Helen Palomino, was a huge success with stories about the path survivors take to access the care and treatment they need. Congratulations CRC!

Michele got a sneak peek of the new state-of-the-art platinum level LEED constructed Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center. Highlights include 321 single patient rooms, two miles of walking path, large screen TVs for telehealth and medical tutorials for medicines and procedures, and beds with virtual guard rails to name a few. To assist with building orientation, the artwork and design motif align with the cardinal directions; the east wing is a desert design while west has an ocean theme. The facility is now open to Kaiser patients.

April 10: Today was an early morning as I met with my fellow healthcare foundation leaders in Sacramento. Many thanks to Chet Hewitt, CEO, Sierra Health Foundation for hosting us. One of the topics that has been discussed by this group before was the concerns around the healthcare workforce and how we look at the workforce of the future. We also talked about the Governor’s budget with information provided by Chris Hoene, CEO, CA Budget & Policy Center. Some of the areas that caught my attention were the fact that no budget cuts from the federal government were built into the proposed budget and $400M earmarked for affordable housing was removed from the budget. The reason for the latter was because no plan for how to disburse these funds had been agreed upon by the legislature and the Governor. I did mention that I was sure the providers could have developed a plan!

April 12: It was good to catch up with and welcome Yali Bair back to San Diego. I worked with Yali during my Planned Parenthood days and was happy to hear she was looking to get involved with nonprofit work here in San Diego. With a background in communications and strategic planning, Yali will be a strong leader wherever she lands.

I then headed over to the Be There San Diego – CACHI (California Accountable Communities for Health Initiative) discussion led by CEO, Kitty Bailey. With broad representation in the room and key stakeholders and leaders, I am looking forward to working with others and seeing where this goes for southeast San Diego and beyond!

From there, I met with Kate Beckel about a project they are doing with the jails. Every time I meet with people in the community I am inspired by their compassion and ideas they have for bettering the lives of the people they touch. I was inquisitive about how they will solve the gaps so there is a smooth transition from the point of contact to the next place they land. In this case how those formerly incarcerated are connected to the services they want to continue accessing in the community.

April 13: Arrrgggghhh! Sometimes you just can’t make it into work – or you really shouldn’t! That was what happened when I woke up today. But I was still able to “meet” by phone! Michele connected with me while she was meeting with Martha Garcia, VP Student Services at Imperial Valley College. They are exploring the services needed by students who are either homeless, food insecure or both. Understanding their data in order to identify these students is the first step. They also recognize some of these students are currently or formerly in the foster care system as well!

Michele also attended the monthly Imperial Valley Homeless Task Force meeting that morning; officially now known as Imperial Valley Continuum of Care Council (IVCCC). On May 11, a press briefing will share the details of the Point in Time Count. See the press briefing release here.

Michele followed up those meetings with a few conversations with current grantees. Luis Olmedo, Executive Director of Comite Civico de Valle shared their progress on the CACHI grant with Pioneers Memorial Hospital on county-wide asthma interventions. Misty Lee, Executive Director, Boys & Girls Club of Imperial County discussed the work they are doing with the children they serve as well as how they are working to create a strong financial base.

April 14: This has turned out to be a month where I get to reconnect with former colleagues! I had lunch today with Angela Reed, former VP of Patient Services at Planned Parenthood. It was great to catch up with her and hear about the next chapter in her career!

Michele visited with Corey Pahanish, Executive Director and Kim Heinle, Community Advocate at Bayside Community Center to discuss their future plans. Corey and Kim have been working extremely hard to take Bayside to the next level and be an even stronger center for the Bayside community. Bayside will be working with Thrive Public Schools in a joint-use building and are working to expand operations – including a garden expansion and a coffee and produce solar-powered cart in the “under-renovation” community-inspired events center.

Michele followed up with lunch at Ceviche! with Karim Bouris of Main Street Alliance. Main Street Alliance is an alternative chamber of commerce of sorts focusing on small businesses with healthcare reform as a top priority. You may have seen their “Hate Has No Business Here” campaign following the elections.  Although the strategic alignment wasn’t quite there – Michele did learn about a few great small businesses to support.

April 15: Another former colleague – Vince Hall – is the new CEO at Feeding San Diego. A big congratulations to him! I figured I’d better catch him before he got too crazy busy, so I stopped by their Pairings with a Purpose event in Encinitas. Great food booths paired with beverages (21+ kind) and a lot of learning about who they are serving, the food insecurity in our county and the excitement Vince has for his new role. I even got to be in the company of Kiptyn Locke – who all of you know from Season 5 of The Bachelorette!

April 17: This evening I attended a very interesting titled event – Impolite Elephant Safari! Would you go? Well, the gist of the discussion was identifying and being willing to openly discuss the elephant in the room – even if it feels impolite. If you were to do this, how much more open and free would the discussion be going forward? Are there common elephants regardless of the topic? For example, racial bias, politics, fairness, etc. It was also fun to recognize your own reactions when in this potentially uncomfortable place. It’s probably no surprise, but mine is typically humor!

April 19: Bright and early Michele, Michael McConnell and I headed out to Imperial County to take a tour of Slab City. On the way we also stopped to see Salvation Mountain! We met up with Karen Hall who works with Imperial County Behavioral Health through the Niland Family Resource Center. Although the HUD definition identifies the people in Slab City as homeless, it was a topic of conversation on the ride back. There are also some who seek help from Karen because they want to find a way out of Slab City and a better life for their children. The 2017 Point In Time Count also provided much needed information about the people who “reside” in Slab City.

April 20: Just prior to the Regional Task Force on the Homeless board meeting, we received an update on the results of the 2017 Point in Time Count for San Diego County. Although the overall number has gone up, we have made some progress (although not enough) with veteran homelessness. A decline of 9% in veteran homelessness gives some hope that we are headed in the right direction! We have a long road ahead though.

Occasionally Michele attends the San Diego Border Health Collaborative meetings. This meeting Dr. Wael Al-Delaimy spoke on global mental health. Dr. Al-Delaimy has conducted much research on refugees and specifically children and the impact that trauma and torture by mothers (should this be that mothers have experienced?) has on their children’s mental health. He had many recommendations on how to address this issue including early detection in the primary care setting and mental health screenings.

Later that night, Michele was double-booked, but fortunately both events were at the same location! Her first stop was the Data to Action event hosted by Multicultural Health Foundation in partnership with Community Health Improvement Partners, Be There San Diego and Southeastern San Diego Community Advisory Council. Together they are reimagining wellness for the community. Their next event is May 18 to advance community engagement and to further their intent to heal our communities.

Second stop was the Environmental Health Coalition’s 2017 Leaders United for Justice Award Celebration. The key note speaker was American labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta. EHC works to empower communities to act together to make social change.

April 24:  I attended the Council on Foundations Conference in Dallas, TX for one day! I was presenting with Bill Pitkin, Director of Domestic Programs with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and Bill Major, Executive Director of Foundations with the Zarrow Foundations on the topic of housing and homelessness. The opening plenary included former President George W. Bush! He was very relaxed and funny in his presentation about the work he is doing with his foundation. Among his topics of interest are cervical cancer in Africa and veterans in the US. We also heard from Ava DuVernay, film director of Selma, 13th, and A Wrinkle in Time. She emphasized the role she plays in promoting equity and diversity within the film industry. But she also wants to make films that depict the social justice issues of our time – especially when they are steeped in past movements.

April 25: “In the Executive’s Chair” is a program of the School of Business at California State University San Marcos. Modeled after “The Actor’s Studio”, the Executive of the day is interviewed by two professors, then the team of students who have explored the background of the Executive. The questions were both professional and personal. Questions like “what would you tell your 20 year old self?” and “what was the hardest decision you had to make that turned out to be the wrong one?” were asked – some easy, some thoughtful, and some harder than others. Afterwards I had a nice lunch with business school staff as we talked about the direction of the school and their involvement with the community! They have scholarship agreements with ten school districts in North County to boost local student enrollment!

April 26: Today I had lunch with Stacie Spector, Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s senior adviser for housing solutions, Amy Denhart, Director of Funders Together to End Homelessness San Diego and Megan Thomas, Senior Director of Collaborative Philanthropy, San Diego Grantmakers! Although Stacie is no longer with the Mayor’s Office, it was great to catch up with her to learn more about the special initiatives directed at ending homelessness that the Mayor has proposed. Building a system is complex, time-consuming and a challenge when bringing many organizations together to collaborate on one goal – ending homelessness. Ever the optimist, I am excited to see so many stakeholders working on this goal – getting the various types of housing we need is a huge challenge in our community.

This evening we gathered our current CEO/Executive Directors together for dinner and a discussion about sabbaticals. Many thanks to Don Stump, CEO, North County Lifeline for sharing his journey as he is about to leave on a three-month sabbatical. Also, Alberto Cortez, CEO, Mama’s Kitchen, shared his experience of coming back to his organization following his sabbatical. Janine Mason, CEO, Fieldstone Foundation put it all together for us from her perspective as a funder who not only provides the funds to make the sabbatical happen but also the technical assistance needed to navigate through the staff and board questions and the infrastructure changes that happen as a part of the process. We learned that it may take as much as three years for the individual to get ready to apply for funding. One of the main questions directed at how to tell the board. Then it’s time to prepare staff, set up decision-making processes, and prepare to completely disconnect! The transition back to the CEO/Executive Director role also takes some thought as all involved welcome back the leader, show off their accomplishments, and establish the new norm of working going forward.

April 27: Now that we are approaching 2020, a national committee is already looking at Healthy People 2030! I listened in on a conference call about the new goals and how the metrics will be determined.

Co-workers in Suite 350 went out to celebrate Dining Out for Life and to support the San Diego LGBT Community Center! Yummy Mexican food was the choice for the day! Thanks to Bryan Fisher for coordinating the lunch and everyone who joined in: Paul Brown, Annie Guo, Michele Silverthorn, Ryan Ginard, Justin Schaberg, Megan Thomas, Amy Denhard, Melissa Leon, Mark Tran, Steve Eldred and myself.

That evening I dressed up for the Serving Seniors “Experience of a Lifetime” gala. It is always sweet to hear the Serving Seniors choir perform! Thanks to Paul Downey, CEO, for his hospitality and for the strategic direction the organization is taking to ensure there is housing for those in need into the future!

April 29: Delicious food prepared by a multitude of chefs, great blues music, sushi appetizers and a vodka bar in the freezer were some of the highlights of the San Diego Food Bank gala! Hosted by James Floros, CEO, hundreds of people bid on silent and live auction items in support of the food bank’s work. Food insecurity continues to persist in our community and is ever more critical as we approach the summer when school meals are no longer available. In fiscal year 2016, they distributed 22 million pounds of food, 33% of which was fresh produce! Thanks to the staff and volunteers and all the supporters of the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank for your work and dedication!

Have questions or comments about AHF in the community?

Contact Executive Director Nancy Sasaki or Program Officer Michele Silverthorn to learn more about AHF in the community and how we work to advance health and wellness.

On The Community Calendar

  • May 11, 10:30 AM – Point in Time Report Release: Homelessness in Imperial County | Read the press briefing release | See flyer
  • May 15, 8:00 AM – Bastyr University Press Conference | 851 S Johnson Ave, El Cajon, CA 92020
  • May 17, 11:00 AM – Kitchens for Good Graduation | 404 Euclid Ave, San Diego, CA 92114
  • May 17, 3:00 PM – Youth Homeless Demonstration Project Meeting | San Diego Youth Services, 3255 Wing St, San Diego, CA 92110
  • May 18, 3:00 – 5:00 PM – Regional Task Force on the Homeless San Diego Governance Board Meeting | 1600 Pacific Hwy, San Diego, CA 9210, Room 302-303

To keep up with us as we attend events next month and beyond, follow @AllianceHF on Twitter and LinkedIn, or like us on Facebook.

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