I want to extend a heart-felt thank you to each of you for naming me the 2019 Dorothy Dozier Helping Hands Awardee. This has come as a wonderful surprise and it is also a great honor. One the of great joys of my volunteer activities is meeting wonderful people; not only those I serve but also those I work with. The work that we in the Alliance do brings much benefit to the community and much pride to me. The icing on the cake is all of the wonderful and long-lasting friendships with all of you that I am blessed with.
On October 12th, the SSVMSA Bus Trip to Napa brought 38 people to the world-renowned Peju winery! Upon arrival we were invited into the vineyards where we were given a VIP wine tasting. We were able to first taste grapes fresh off of the vines. Then we were given the juice of the grape that had just been pressed. Everyone was surprised to see that the juice contained bits of stem and seed, but it was delicious! Lastly, we tasted the cabernet wine that came from the grape! It was a unique and delightful experience. We were then taken through a very generous tasting of many of the wines that Peju produces. Next, we moved to lovely tables set for our gourmet lunch, also in the vineyard.
With our bellies full of wonderful food and wine we were able to stretch our legs and tour Peju’s sculpture garden. Peju’s owner, Herta Peju, delighted us with a description of different art pieces and a bit of history on how each piece was acquired. All in all it was a fabulous day and a great way to build excitement for the up and coming Art of Medicine 2020!!
Women’s Empowerment’s mission is to educate and empower women who are homeless with the skills and confidence necessary to secure a job, create a healthy lifestyle, and regain a home for themselves and their children. Their onsite child development center goes far beyond childcare to address the developmental, medical, emotional and educational needs of homeless children.
Each year, Women’s Empowerment serves more than 600 women of all ethnicities who are homeless ages 18 and up and living in the greater Sacramento area, as well as their 120 children. The women and children they serve face monumental barriers, including health disparities, racial injustice and the effects of chronic poverty. Most women in the program are single mothers, and more than a third have children too young for preschool. Women’s Empowerment’s comprehensive child development center is usually their only option for quality child care and a key place to build developmental skills.
With this $5000 grant, Women’s Empowerment will provide pre- and post-child development assessment materials for 50 homeless children enrolled in our child development center this year. They will also provide toys and tools for developmental assessments and children with special needs. Lastly, they will offer healthy snacks and meals for the children, as well as formula and diapers.
ln order to eliminate health disparities for boys and men of color, it is important to understand and address root causes. An existing and growing body of research suggests that disparities result from a complex interplay of factors at the individual, interpersonal, community, and macro levels. Disparities among boys and men of color are largely the result of a cumulative set of factors, which include adverse socioeconomic conditions, lack of health insurance, and unequal access to health care, as well as lack of quality education, adequate housing, and employment. Considering the social determinants of health, this population also experiences disproportionate levels of trauma, misdiagnosed or undiagnosed mental illness, over-medication, and high levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.
Mental Health First Aid™ will provide training to Sacramento area boys and men of color. The training and education program will deliver clinical and holistic prevention and early intervention strategies while increasing awareness opportunities for treatment and linkages to care.
Trauma has sometimes been defined solely in reference to circumstances that are outside normal human experience. This definition does not fully encompass the experiences of the young boys and men of color who are the focus of this project.
For them, traumatic experiences may become an almost routine part of everyday existence. Besides violence, assault, and other traumatic events, African American and Latino males often experience more subtle and insidious forms of trauma.
Their exposure to discrimination, racism, oppression, and poverty is pervasive. When experienced chronically, these events have a cumulative impact that can be fundamentally life-altering. Such traumas are directly related to chronic fear and anxiety, with serious long-term effects on health and other life outcomes for males of color. Yet to be fully developed is an understanding of the multiple ways in which repetitive and multigenerational exposure to violence, oppression, neglect, discrimination, criminalization and poverty can impact individuals and entire communities.
This work focuses on boys and men of color who have experienced and are still experiencing such forms of structural and systemic trauma. A term related to trauma is "adversity," which helps to clarify what people of color experience in the United States. It includes not just experiences outside usual human experience, but those that have become all too much a part of everyday existence.
Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society Alliance is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.