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Getting Real About Health Equity at APHA

November 15, 2018

This year’s APHA Annual Meeting was inspiring, informative, and filled with many big wins for health equity. PHI was well represented in San Diego this week with 30+ presentations, events, and posters from our many programs. We were inspired to see honest conversations about health equity, power, and the institutional neglect that impacts the health of so many around the world, and are committed to continuing to contribute to building a healthier future for all. Read more about our favorite highlights from the event.   more

Alameda County Care Alliance Honors Caregivers at the 4th Annual Caregiver Recognition Celebration

November 14, 2018 | Valerie Steinmetz

In October, the Alameda County Care Alliance (ACCA) hosted its fourth annual Caregiver Recognition Celebration and Health Expo at the Center of Hope Community Church in Oakland, CA. The event was designed to celebrate family and informal caregivers who selflessly give their time and talents to assist individuals with advanced illness. “The ACCA Advanced Illness Care Program is unique because it was started in a community, faith-based setting to help our congregants and community members with their health, social, and spiritual needs as it relates to advanced illness,” said Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Jr., the Senior Pastor of Allen Temple Baptist Church.   more

Reflections from Rise Up Fellows at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)

November 07, 2018 | Rise Up

"When PHI's Rise Up invited me to attend United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), I couldn’t believe what a huge opportunity it would be for me," said Fellow Alejandra García Muñiz. "I have made my career working with different civil society organizations in Mexico, being an activist for women and people with disabilities, promoting equal rights and employment inclusion. For an activist like me, being at the UNGA is a dream, and now it is a dream come true. Watch the video of Muñiz and Ricardo Preciado Jiménez at UNGA  more

Improving Media Coverage of Violence: What Journalists Want Advocates to Know

October 30, 2018 | Michael Bakal

If we want to prevent violence, policymakers and the public at large must understand its root causes and the social context in which it occurs. After all, we can't address a problem if we don't entirely understand it. Yet, as research conducted by Berkeley Media Studies Group has shown, news coverage of violence provides a distorted view of the issue. It tends to focus more on individual acts than on the many social factors that lead to violence. It also overreports rare tragedies and extreme events like mass shootings while underreporting more common types of violence, like suicide, domestic violence, and street-level violence. BMSG sat down with several experienced journalists to ask what it would it take to bring public health and social justice perspectives into their coverage of violence.  more

8 Ways to Communicate Strategically About Proposed Federal Immigration Rule Changes

October 25, 2018 | Katherine Schaff

When the Department of Homeland Security released a proposal this month that would deny green cards to immigrants who use public benefits, it sent waves of concern — and mobilization — throughout immigrant communities, public health organizations, and other social service providers. PHI's Berkeley Media Studies Group developed messaging tips to help advocates communicate effectively about the proposed federal changes and frame the issue in ways that further public health and social justice goals.

"At BMSG, with our mission rooted in the values of public health and social justice," wrote Health Equity Coordinator Katherine Schaff DrPH, "We, too, are deeply disturbed by the far-reaching health impacts and repercussions on future citizenship applications that could result from expanding the so-called 'public charge' rule."


Health in All Policies, Health Equity to be Featured at APHA 2018

October 24, 2018 | Colin Gutierrez

Creating health equity is a guiding priority and core value of APHA, and of the Health in All Policies movement. Everyone should have the opportunity to attain their highest level of health, and Health in All Policies practitioners will share their stories about how they are advancing equity on two panels at APHA’s 2018 Annual Meeting and Expo, themed “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Health Equity Now.”

Health in All Policies is a public health approach that is used as a strategy for addressing the complex factors that influence health and equity, also referred to as the social determinants of health, which include educational attainment, housing, transportation options, and neighborhood safety. These panels are being organized by the Public Health Institute and leaders of California’s Health in All PoliciesTask Force, which has worked at the leading edge of the health equity movement since its inception in 2010. The Task Force incorporates equity as a core principle with its work in policy areas as diverse as transportation, housing, land use, education, and social services.  more

PHI at APHA 2018

October 23, 2018 | Public Health Institute

To create better health, PHI and its programs focus on building more equitable systems through policy and community change. At this year's APHA meeting, Creating the Healthiest Nation: Health Equity Now, we hope our 25+ presentations, posters and special events on the social determinants of health and many other topics will challenge you with new ideas, provide information to inform your work, and inspire you to connect with new partners.

If you are attending APHA, we invite you to check out our presentations and posters, stop by our booth, or connect with us on social media. Here are some events to look forward to from PHI this year.   more

What Can We Learn From Media Coverage of Trauma and Family Separation?

October 17, 2018 | Sara Han

This summer, Americans confronted a moral crisis as they learned about the surge in families who are being separated and detained at the U.S.-Mexico border. In April, the Trump administration implemented a "zero tolerance policy" that treated parents arriving at the border with their children as criminals, detaining their children separately before prosecuting the parents. At the center of this public outrage is trauma: The physical, mental, and emotional health of hundreds of families and their children are being harmed. Experts and advocates for children's health and immigrant rights have spoken out against the separation and detention of these families. "[These] children are essentially living their worst nightmare," Wendy Cervantes of the Center for Law and Social Policy told Newsweek. "A kid's worst nightmare is the boogeyman coming in the middle of the night and taking away their parents. That's what's happening."

From a previous Berkeley Media Studies Group news analysis, we know that childhood trauma is rarely discussed in the news. But has it appeared more often in the midst of this intense, nationwide focus on family separations? We wanted to know, what does the coverage of trauma and family separation and detainment look like? And what lessons can advocates and journalists learn from how trauma is discussed in news coverage of family separation?  more

Health Anchor Institutions Investing in Community Land and Housing

October 15, 2018 | Bich Ha Pham and Jarrid Green

The city of Richmond, Virginia has some of the most concentrated poverty in the country. Richmond has high unemployment and poverty rates of 40 percent or above in its East End neighborhoods, which includes Church Hill North and has a majority African American racial makeup (92 percent). In the East End, life expectancy rates are lower than in the City as a whole, and in fact, in some of these neighborhoods, residents can expect to live 10 to 15 years less than people in other areas of Richmond. Additionally, the East End is said to have the largest concentration of public housing between Washington DC and Atlanta, and only a small percentage of residents are homeowners.

In this blog, originally posted by PHI's Build Healthy Places Network, guest contributors Bich Ha Pham and Jarrid Green of the Democracy Collaborative explore how anchor institutions are investing to support community control of land and housing.   more

Help Fight the Silence: Youth Mental Health First Aid

October 12, 2018 | Brooke Briggance

"It’s not something my family talked about much – at least not openly," wrote Brooke Briggance, the Deputy Director of PHI's FACES for the Future Coalition. "But there have been members of my family who have committed suicide, who struggled with addiction or who tried desperately to manage a mental illness while shrouded in silence. As time marched on and I became an adult, it began to make less and less sense to me – the silence" To help fight the silence, along with FACES Coalition Program Manager Jasmine Nakagawa-Wong, Briggance took advantage of an opportunity offered by Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services to become certified as a trainer in Youth Mental Health First Aid. "That means we can train and certify adults connected to young people who want to be armed with some tools to help them if a serious mental health situation should arise."  more

On the Road Toward Prevention: What Advocates Need to Know About How Sexual Violence is Framed

October 10, 2018 | Daphne Marvel, Berkeley Media Studies Group

Sexual assault is in the spotlight now more than ever as conversations about its pervasiveness — and what can be done to address it — unfold on a national stage. Like other widespread public health and social justice problems, sexual violence is preventable. But many people don't realize that because the messages we receive about sexual violence often leave us with the impression that the issue is too large and too complex to do anything about it.

A Berkeley Media Studies Group news analysis found that media coverage of sexual violence often focuses on details of a violent act, or what happens after the fact, but rarely addresses what can be done to prevent this violence. And journalists aren't the only ones who struggle to communicate about prevention. "Practitioners and experts tend to be really good at talking about how to respond to assaults and support survivors after the fact," said Pamela Mejia, BMSG's head of research. "But it's harder to communicate about the changes we need to make in our schools and businesses and workplaces and communities to prevent harassment, abuse, and assault from happening in the first place."  more

5 Ways that Journalists Can Tell a More Comprehensive Story About Early Childhood

October 03, 2018 | Daphne Marvel, Berkeley Media Studies Group

The foundation for who we become as adults is constructed during early childhood. Multiple bodies of science show us that what happens from pre-conception into early childhood has a profound impact on health outcomes later in life. This holds true whether researchers examine the lifelong impacts of childhood trauma, the multigenerational effects of neighborhood conditions, or the societal benefits of early education.

Robust, well-reported news coverage can inform and improve the decisions we make together, as a society, about early childhood. So what would it take to tell a more comprehensive story about this complex but critical period? And how can journalists incorporate scientific findings into everyday news stories about children?  more

Kenyan Girl Leaders Fight For Their Rights

October 01, 2018 | Chantal Hildebrand

Kenyan girl leaders have achieved an important milestone in their fight for girls’ rights. Through Rise Up’s partnership with the Center for the Study of Adolescence (CSA), our Girls’ Voices Initiative enables Kenyan girls to learn about girl-centered advocacy, leadership, and decision-maker education, and develop their own strategies to improve girls’ lives. Following a five-day intensive workshop, the 24 girl leaders developed a strategy to bring an end to female genital mutilation (FGM). With the support of their teachers and chaperones, the girls created action plans to advocate with key decision-makers in Kajiado West County, Kenya to fully implement the Female Genital Mutilation Act (2011).


Let’s Get Real About Obesity: Rates on the Rise

September 28, 2018 | Amy DeLisio, Center for Wellness and Nutrition

Why is America so obese? We need to look at how the existing environment and food systems influence community and make healthy options more (or less) available and affordable. Multibillion-dollar marketing efforts by the food industry constantly push high-calorie, low-nutrient foods, whole communities lack access to fresh produce, and the expense of high-quality foods leave low-income consumers locked out. Schools have cut back on physical education, more adults sit at desks all day, and playgrounds and parks in many communities aren’t safe enough for people to play and exercise. Obesity is a social justice issue. Studies have shown that companies disproportionately target unhealthy food marketing to Black and Latino teens. Low-income communities and rural communities often have limited access to healthy options and full-service grocery stores.  more

PHI at the 2018 Global Climate and Health Forum

September 14, 2018 | Lauryn Claassen, Public Health Institute

On Wednesday, September 12, health leaders from around the world gathered at the first-ever Global Climate and Health Forum in San Francisco to discuss the impact of climate change on health and their responsibility to act. PHI participated as a host organization, as the event represented our commitment to research, leadership, and partnerships that work to build healthy communities where individuals can reach their full potential. PHI also serves as the secretariat and convener for the U.S. Climate and Health Alliance, which was one of the main event organizers. The forum kicked off the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit, a historic event that brought major world leaders together to showcase their climate action and inspire deeper commitments from multiple sectors in support of the Paris Agreement.  more

Building People Power to Advance Health Equity: 3 Lessons from Community-Driven Initiatives

September 11, 2018 | Heather Gehlert and Lauryn Claassen, Berkeley Media Studies Group

What do early literacy in Del Norte County and Tribal Lands, urban agriculture in Sacramento, reentry efforts in Richmond, and restorative justice in Kern County all have in common? They're each part of a 10-year, $1 billion initiative to advance health equity throughout California. They're also evidence that real change happens when residents have a voice in identifying the top issues facing their communities and are involved in crafting solutions.

To better understand the work happening in these locations so that the efforts can be replicated in other places, PHI's Berkeley Media Studies Group conducted case studies of four communities that received funding through the grant. During their background research and interviews, BMSG identified several key strategies that helped advocates in each location overcome obstacles and lay the foundation for health. 

Can Federal Housing Policy Influence Healthy Behaviors?

September 04, 2018 | Michelle Wong, Craig Pollack

Neighborhood characteristics such as a lack of safe spaces for physical activity, low income, and high unemployment can deter physical activity, while safe, aesthetically appealing, and socially cohesive neighborhoods may encourage residents to be more physically active. Affordable housing is also important for health. Unfortunately, lack of affordable housing is a problem facing our society. In the United States, over 38% of “rental households” pay more than 30% of their income on rent and utilities. Recent research investigated whether low-income adults who received federal housing assistance were more likely to be physically active compared to those who did not receive assistance.  more

MPT Field Investments and Collaborations are Assets for Global Sexual Health

September 04, 2018 | Fatima Riaz and Kathryn Stewart

On World Sexual Health Day, CAMI Health's IMPT reflected on how to work with partners to improve sexual health across the globe. "There are many things that could be done, many different approaches, and many people we can work with towards this goal. Here, at the IMPT, we see multipurpose prevention technologies (MPTs) to be one such promising strategy with the potential to improve the sexual health – and lives – of women and their families around the world.

Sexual and reproductive health risks, such as unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, are intrinsically interlinked. Yet, the current mix of prevention options has fallen short in protecting the sexual health of millions of women. The innovative work being done to advance prevention science, including the development of MPTs, is essential to better meet sexual health needs and improve countless lives. The price of innovation is steep and the time horizon is long, but the end result has the potential to be game-changing.


Mapping the Road Forward: 6 Steps for Building Effective Messages About Sexual Violence Prevention

August 29, 2018 | Daphne Marvel, Berkeley Media Studies Group

In 2017, the #MeToo movement took the internet by storm. More than just a hashtag, the campaign, which was created in 2006 by activist Tarana Burke, became a global movement and shifted the public conversation about sexual violence. #MeToo opened the door to discussions about the pervasiveness of sexual harassment, abuse, and assault – and created space for many voices that had previously been denied a platform. As we consider how best to support and empower survivors, we also need to consider what it will take to prevent sexual violence from happening in the first place – and raise a generation for whom #MeToo stories are the exception, not the norm.

In this article, BMSG's Daphne Marvel outlines six steps for building effective messages about sexual violence prevention.  more

The Economics of Gender Equity in India

August 29, 2018 | Denise Raquel Dunning, Rise Up

India was recently named the world’s fastest-growing large economy and is projected to become the fifth largest economy overall by 2020. Yet India’s economic growth is limited by widespread gender inequality, violence, and cultural norms that devalue women’s roles in society and in the workforce. India was recently named the most dangerous country in the world for women, and one Indian woman is raped every 13 minutes. Gender inequality in India bars many women from entering the formal workforce, and fears of sexual violence are even driving women out of the workforce.

In the face of these challenges, Indian women and girls are creating their own solutions to drive change. On a trip to India last month, Rise Up's Founder and executive director Denise Raquel Dunning saw the powerful ways in which Indian leaders are mobilizing their communities to advocate for economic justice and gender equity.
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