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[Huffington Post] McFarland Shows a Sprint, but the Real Race Is a Marathon
Mar 10, 2015 |

[Huffington Post] McFarland Shows a Sprint, but the Real Race Is a Marathon

Overcoming the odds takes much more than luck and talent. As seen in the new movie McFarland, USA, it takes passion, determination, and the will to succeed. The film, based on a true story, follows a teacher in California's Central Valley who decides to start the high school's first boys cross country team and encounters many unexpected challenges and successes along the way. The predominantly Latino school district is housed in an area rich with farmland but plagued with poverty. There is no budget for uniforms and no efficient equipment for training. The students do not own running shoes and their family obligations mandate work in the fields both before and after school. Teen pregnancy and school dropout are common, and college, most students believe, is not in their future. But where these young people lack resources, they make up for in ability and resolve. As one of the runners says to the coach in the film, "It's not the size of the dog in the fight. It's the size of the fight in the dog." With the odds stacked against them, the students manage to win the state championship, starting a more than two decade-long winning streak at the school.
Not Just A Leader, But A Changemaker
Mar 10, 2015 |

Not Just A Leader, But A Changemaker

In continuing the drumbeat my co-fellow, Alheli Cuenca, began by sharing her story, I ask that you join me as I share my exploration of self-leadership and how this journey has led me to become a Health Equity Fellow working on issues at the intersection...
What We've Learned from the First Three Years of Building Healthy Communities
Mar 09, 2015 |

What We've Learned from the First Three Years of Building Healthy Communities

As is always the case for busy foundation staff, having time to reflect, while essential, sometimes feels like a luxury. The California Endowment, however, is being intentional in this regard as the stakes are high for the 14 places that make up Building...
California Health Journalism Fellowship brings 20 reporters to USC for training and launch of ambitious reporting projects
Mar 10, 2015 |

California Health Journalism Fellowship brings 20 reporters to USC for training and launch of ambitious reporting projects

Twenty California journalists are gathering this week for the USC Annenberg California Health Journalism Fellowship. We've had a great and inspiring time with them. The journalists, chosen from a competitive field, are taking part in intensive workshops and then spending six months working on ambitious health journalism projects with support from USC Annenberg. Topics explored during the weeklong fellowship include connections between community health and where and how you live, the successes and challenges of health reform and health care innovations that are making a difference in the lives of Californians. The Fellows work for California outlets, including major daily newspapers and public radio stations, regional newspapers, online news outlets and ethnic media outlets. “It’s been an amazing opportunity getting to interact with such a talented group of speakers and fellow reporters,” California Health Journalism Fellow Diana Aguilera told me. “It’s a place where reporters can share ideas and learn from the best in health journalism,” said Aguilera, a reporter at Valley Public Radio in Fresno
Mar 05, 2015 |

[Chronicle of Philanthropy] Opinion: Foundations Must Promote a ‘Diversity Dividend’ at Green Groups

The 50 foundations that give the most to environmental groups shelled out more than $1 billion to green organizations in 2012. One might wonder: What exactly is the makeup of the boards and top leaders of those foundations who are making vital decisions about what organizations to support? Last year, we learned the answer from a study conducted by Dorseta Taylor, a professor of environmental justice at the University of Michigan. Green 2.0, a new campaign dedicated to increasing racial diversity at mainstream environmental groups, released the most comprehensive report on the makeup of those foundation boards and senior staff members.
Change Gon' Come: A video about hope
Mar 03, 2015 |

Change Gon' Come: A video about hope

The youth media projects The Endowment funds across the state provide an opportunity for California's underserved youth to express themselves through poetry, photography, journalism, and video. These are our next generation of leaders and it behooves us...
From Fresno to Greenlining
Mar 02, 2015 |

From Fresno to Greenlining

Earlier this month, Juan Reynoso wrote about the Health Equity Fellows and the journey we’ve embarked on together. To help this all make a little more sense, we’re each going to tell you a bit about ourselves and what landed us here. My story begins in...
Our kids have a right to safe water
Mar 02, 2015 |

Our kids have a right to safe water

Hi lovely people, Jamie here. As you guys might know, part of my foundation is based out in California and we’ve recently teamed up with a wonderful institution, The California Endowment, who are doing great work promoting better health in the...
[Sacramento Bee] Op-Ed: CEO-worker pay disparity matters
Feb 27, 2015 |

[Sacramento Bee] Op-Ed: CEO-worker pay disparity matters

The American Enterprise Institute and Employment Policies Institute challenge our ads to boost the minimum wage (“Ad campaign to boost minimum wage relies on some fuzzy math,” Viewpoints, Feb. 25). We stand by our ad that contrasts the pay of a typical CEO with a minimum-wage worker. There are many studies that estimate CEO pay. We used estimates from a study done by the Associated Press and Equilar, an executive pay research firm, which was widely distributed and cited this past year. Their estimates also fell in the middle of the studies we reviewed. For example, Bloomberg Business reported on a study from Demos, a public policy organization, which puts the gap between fast-food CEOs and their frontline workers at more than 1,200 to 1. The article states that “fast-food CEOs are some of the highest-paid executives in America, with an average compensation of $26.7 million in 2012. Fast-food workers are the lowest-paid. Their average hourly wage is $9.09.” Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article11255807.html#storylink=cpy
Attorney General Launches New Bureau of Children's Justice
Feb 26, 2015 |

Attorney General Launches New Bureau of Children's Justice

"We simply cannot let down our most vulnerable children today, then lock them up tomorrow and act surprised." With that statement, Attorney General Kamala Harris has launched the California Department of Justice's new Bureau of Children's Justice to...
Safe Communities: Where Health Can Thrive
Feb 23, 2015 |

Safe Communities: Where Health Can Thrive

Through it’s Building Healthy Communities (BHC) plan, The California Endowment has made a 10-year, $1 billion commitment to improve health outcomes in 14 of California’s most underserved communities. Public safety and violence prevention is at the core...
Reporting on Health: A tale of two towns in California’s Ventura County
Feb 23, 2015 |

Reporting on Health: A tale of two towns in California’s Ventura County

The story I reported for the California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowship focused on obesity and diabetes in two communities in California’s Ventura County. Though not far apart in terms of distance, the two towns are worlds apart in terms of childhood obesity. Ojai, which is well off, offers a sort of mirror image to Santa Paula to the south, which is one of the poorer towns in the county and has a greater proportion of Latinos. Young people in Ojai are much more likely to be in a healthy weight range, whereas Santa Paula has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the state (48 percent). It took me about six months to bring this story to publication. Given the length of time it consumed, it’s worth getting out of the way a few things that were not helpful. Although I quoted many numbers in the story, public health databases did not help at all. The spark for the story was lit by a study published by the county’s health care agency in December 2013. The study offered much insight into childhood obesity in the county, but trying to dig further into the data on various online databases – including the one from the county – turned out to be a phenomenal waste of time. The study had already culled the best stats, and even consulting with the statistician for the health care agency didn’t bring me any more useful numbers. Instead, what I really needed was the human dimension: the personal stories, an understanding of obesity’s causes locally, threats to long-term health, and, most of all, a sense of the actions being taken in Santa Paula to help stem the problem.
At the Crossroads of Two Sectors
Feb 23, 2015 |

At the Crossroads of Two Sectors

Here at Greenlining, we see diversity and equity as the key to success. Only by allowing everyone to contribute their talents and creativity across all sectors can we build an inclusive, fair, and prosperous society. As President Obama recently stated in...
Reporting on Health: Just how does childhood adversity turn into poorer health?
Feb 12, 2015 |

Reporting on Health: Just how does childhood adversity turn into poorer health?

If you’re brushing up on your knowledge of how early adversity influences long-term health, sooner or later you’ll come across the CDC’s page on the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, that famous 1998 study of Kaiser Permanente members in San Diego that launched a flotilla of news articles and studies on how childhood trauma can damage one’s lifelong health outlook. On that CDC page, you’ll notice a little pyramid meant to illustrate the basics: A foundation of early adversity ups the odds of chronic disease and “Early Death,” the pyramid’s ominous crown. Between that difficult start and untimely end lies the adoption of risky behaviors and “social, emotional and cognitive impairment.” The same pyramid is included in the original study, but the CDC took the liberty of adding in the words “scientific gaps,” a reminder that our understanding of the links between early adversity, unhealthy behaviors, and early disease and death is still a bit murky. The standard explanation is that children who are abused or traumatized are more likely to grow into adults who smoke, drink, take drugs and take greater health risks than their more fortunate peers. It’s those behaviors that are precipitating poorer health and premature death. That’s the idea offered by Dr. Vincent Felitti and co-authors in the founding study:
Feb 12, 2015 |

Painful Losses of Health Warriors

In recent days, we have been bitten by some key losses of leaders in community and public health.  The extraordinary Lark Galloway of Community Health Councils was an unrelenting advocate for a healthy South Los Angeles and a reopened MLK community...
Feb 09, 2015 |

[The New Yorker] Not Immune

Twenty-five years ago, when a doctor named Robert Ross was the deputy health commissioner of Philadelphia, a measles epidemic swept the country. Until this year’s outbreak, which started at Disneyland and has so far sickened more than a hundred people,...
El Porvenir: Water bills, safety notices, and the drought in western Fresno County
Feb 05, 2015 |

El Porvenir: Water bills, safety notices, and the drought in western Fresno County

El Porvenir. In Spanish it means “the future,” but also something more. El Porvenir is the luxury of being able to think long term, of what is yet to come for us, and for our loved ones. Thinking long-term is difficult, however, for many Californians who...
Celebrating the Three-Month Anniversary of Proposition 47
Feb 05, 2015 |

Celebrating the Three-Month Anniversary of Proposition 47

In November, California voters approved Proposition 47 and sent a clear pro-health message:  more prisons and more punishment are not the way forward. Instead of spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year to imprison drug addicts and people with...
Finishing the Sentence on Childhood Trauma...
Feb 04, 2015 |

Finishing the Sentence on Childhood Trauma...

It started with a profound connection to the words of one wise Dutchman addressing a room full of therapists. The ah-ha moment when Bessel van der Kolk linked childhood trauma to attachment. Exciting, because at Echo Parenting & Education we train parents and professionals how to create the kind of safe, stable relationships that allow a child to flourish. Instinctively, we had always known that the lack of such attachment was traumatic to a child - after all, if your survival depends on an attuned, attentive caregiver, anything that interrupts that feeling of connection will signal imminent danger and send the body into full trauma response. We have also realized that abuse and neglect doesn't always manifest in physical ways. Spanking is a violation of a child's right to physical safety and cannot be viewed as anything but violence; more pernicious because it is perpetrated on someone smaller and weaker than you. However, Bessel's work at the Trauma Center in Boston has revealed that emotional abuse and neglect is equally if not MORE damaging to children. Seems like our founder, Ruth Beaglehole, always had it right. Echo Parenting & Education was founded on the premise that anything that hurts the body, mind or emotions of a child is violence.
Obama Budget Reflects California’s Values
Feb 04, 2015 |

Obama Budget Reflects California’s Values

President Obama released his federal budget proposal this week. Where the State of the Union address lays out a President’s vision in words, his budget lays out his vision in dollars. And thanks to a rebounding economy and shrinking deficit, President...
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