Impact Stories

We’re a coalition of local health departments
on a mission to make health equity & racial justice a reality.
See how we help create systemic change.

Participatory Budgeting: A Pillar for Public Health — Marin County's First Participatory Budgeting Process Advances Equity, Systems Change with HPI


In Marin County, California, a transformative shift in public governance is taking shape with the launch of its
first-ever participatory budgeting process. This initiative, deeply rooted in a commitment to health equity and racial justice, is supported by a $2.5 million investment from the American Rescue Plan Act funds. The County is empowering community members from neighborhoods that score under the 70th percentile on the California Healthy Places Index (HPI) – a tool developed by the Public Health Alliance of Southern California – or those facing disproportionate economic and racial health disparities.

Marin’s participatory budgeting process in and of itself is positioned to improve community health. Involving under resourced community members in decision-making boosts social cohesion, which is linked to better health outcomes.

Read our thought leadership
here.

Art for Change: ASTU's Journey with Creative Corps and the Healthy Places Index

 
ASTU, a Black, queer, and gender-expansive Oakland-based artist, is being
honored as an 18th Street Arts Center awardee of the Creative Corps Pilot Program. With a spectrum of talents encompassing singing, songwriting, composing, acting, and directing, ASTU drew from their rich tapestry of personal experiences to conceptualize their Creative Corps musical theatre production, Sanctuary. Curated, written, and directed by ASTU, Sanctuary will reimagine church through the experience, expression, and celebration of the Black trans and queer community. It will also explore themes of ancestral wisdom and spiritual practices, “God” as the embodiment of change, and pleasure as birthright. Sanctuary will act as a medium for healing, inviting the community to embrace the fullness of their being and establish an intentional space that centers BIPOC LGBTQ+, healing, power, and spirituality.

To meet the Creative Corps grant allocation requirements, awardees must either live in or work closely with communities that fall within the lowest quartile of the
California Healthy Places Index (HPI).

Read our thought leadership
here.

Utah Healthy Places Index Honored with 2023 NACDD Chronic Disease Innovator Impact Award


We are thrilled to announce that the
Utah Healthy Places Index (Utah HPI), a joint project between the Public Health Alliance of Southern California (Public Health Alliance) and the Utah Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), is being honored with the 2023 Chronic Disease Innovator Impact Award by the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD). This prestigious recognition highlights the powerful role the California Healthy Places Index (HPI) and its iterations play in improving health in underserved communities, cementing its reputation as a leading model of health innovation nationwide.

Read our thought leadership
here.

The Dire Need for Climate Change & Health Equity Roles in Public Health: Ventura County Leads with New Environmental Justice Initiative


Noted as the
most rapidly warming county in the lower 48 states since preindustrial times, Ventura County is confronting several crises like hazardous floodwaters, forest wildfires, and pesticide-related air quality concerns. At the core of these environmental crises is climate change, intensifying the already pressing economic and health challenges for the county's 40,000 farmworkers. Most of these workers are undocumented immigrants, who face extraordinary risks to put food on our tables; during these disasters, many lack adequate protection and access to  medical care, leaving them vulnerable to severe health complications, even death.  Organizations that work closely with farmworkers have championed worker safety and climate resiliency initiatives to better protect workers and their families for generations. To aid their efforts, Public Health Alliance member Ventura County Public Health created a new position: Climate Change Health Equity Coordinator. This job, focuses on raising awareness around mounting climate challenges and supporting community-led initiatives.

Want to discover best practices and learn how Ventura County Public Health’s Environmental Justice Initiative serves as a blueprint for jurisdictions statewide?

Read our thought leadership
here.

Black Breastfeeding Week: Celebrating Community Bonds, Breaking Barriers for Birth Equity


August 25-31, 2023, marks the 11th annual Black Breastfeeding Week, a time to recognize the importance of breastfeeding in improving health outcomes for Black mothers and infants. Cherished Futures for Black Moms & Babies (Cherished Futures), a joint initiative of the Public Health Alliance of Southern California, Communities Lifting Communities and the Hospital Association of Southern California, in collaboration with Antelope Valley Medical Center (AVMC), is leading the way in greater Los Angeles to address preventable barriers and disparities in breastfeeding support. Over the past year, Cherished Futures’ work with five participating hospitals (AVMC, Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital Long Beach, St. Francis Medical Center, Torrance Memorial Medical Center and UCLA Health) is working to improve birthing experiences and outcomes for Black moms in several areas, including breastfeeding. AVMC’s efforts have resulted in a striking increase in Black exclusive breastfeeding rates — from roughly 40% to 70%. Additionally, lactation consultations with Black patients have risen from 30% to a complete 100%.

Read our thought leadership
here.

Advancing Environmental Justice Through Data: An In-depth Look at the Healthy PIaces Index Extreme Heat Edition

Climate change, the most pressing public health crisis of our era, is impacting communities unequally. Prosperity starts with place: a healthy community is a resilient community, and a resilient community is a healthy one.

Now, more than ever, there is a need for comprehensive, equitable data and innovative tools to guide climate resiliency building efforts, like the Public Health Alliance of Southern California's Healthy Places Index Extreme Heat Edition (HPI: EHE.) Developed in partnership with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Luskin Center for Innovation, HPI: EHE visualizes neighborhood-level heat impacts and community resilience factors.

HPI: EHE allows community organizations, government entities, schools, tribal organizations, community members, and other key stakeholders to scan their communities and understand which areas and populations could be most affected by heat now, and in the years to come.  

Read our thought leadership
here.

A Love Letter to Democracy

In recent years, we've seen our democracy tested in ways that were once unthinkable. The waves of challenges have come both directly and indirectly. This shows us that democracy is not an inevitable condition, but a precious gift. A gift we must hold dear and fight to preserve. As we celebrate the birth of our nation, it offers space to commit ourselves to face these truths, learn from them, and strengthen civic engagement. These actions will nurture and strengthen our democracy.    Civic muscle and belonging—is recognized as a vital condition of health and well-being by federal agencies like the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health.

Read our thought leadership
here.

Reflections on the Expiration of COVID-19 Emergencies: Public Health Charts a Path to Equity

Public Health Emergencies expire May 11th during AAPI Heritage Month; just weeks before the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, we are placed at a critical point in time.  We must seize this moment of long-term recovery to reinvent our public health systems rooted in lessons learned. Addressing racism as a public health crisis means embedding community-led, equity-focused solutions to heal historic social, emotional, and economic scars. We must also ensure this transformation is driven by the needs and priorities of those most impacted by inequities.

Read our thought leadership
here.

Spotlighting Birth Equity: The Ongoing Call for Transformative, Systemic Change during National Minority Health Month

April is National Minority Health Month a time to reflect on the persistence of racism in our healthcare system, which continues to lead to preventable Black maternal deaths and near misses, creating a cascade of trauma and loss in communities.  National Minority Health Month stands as an urgent call to action, demanding a collective immediate, and sustained commitment to eradicate the long-standing crisis of Black maternal health disparities.

Read our thought leadership
here.

Healthy Places Index™ Utilized in Creative Corps Pilot Program to Promote Health Equity Through Art Across California

The California Creative Corps Pilot Program is the first in the United States, launched in response to inequities exacerbated during the pandemic. Its $60 million in one-time general funds will be spread among 58 counties to carry out artistic projects that increase social justice, public health, energy-water-climate, and civic engagement awareness.

The organizations and artists who receive grants must demonstrate they have solid and continuous connections with communities that fall within the lowest quartile of the HPI to support health equity efforts.

In an interview, the California Arts Council’s executive director, Jonathan Moscone, told the Alliance he’s encouraging other agencies to use HPI for equitable investments, noting Creative Corps as a pilot for using HPI to transform all future CAC grant programs.

Read the whole story here.

The Importance of Protecting Farmworkers From Extreme Heat

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How Public Parks Help Us All

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Food Security During COVID-19

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