TAG: "Community partnerships"

Making an ‘IMPACT’ on childhood obesity


UC San Diego, San Diego Unified School District partner to get kids active.

UC San Diego student-athlete Kyra Scott shares the pull-up bar with a student from Toler Elementary. (Photo by Erika Johnson, UC San Diego)

By Jade Griffin and Gabriella Clark, UC San Diego

“I like to get out here and sweat,” said Dalton, an elementary student at Toler Elementary, as he began a series of stretches and exercises led by UC San Diego student-athletes volunteering their time at his elementary school in Clairemont.

Dalton and his classmates are benefiting from a program called IMPACT (Increasing Movement and Physical Activity in Class Time), which is designed to keep local elementary students moving despite the lack of recess and physical education classes in some schools, particularly in underserved areas of San Diego.

IMPACT was established by the San Diego Unified School District in partnership with UC San Diego Athletics and the UC San Diego School of Medicine Center for Community Health to promote healthy activity and battle the growing national epidemic of obesity among children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents in the U.S. were overweight or obese.

Each week as part of IMPACT, UC San Diego student-athletes set up a series of circuits, including jump ropes, hula-hoops, monkey bars, stretching and more. The student-athletes assist and cheer on the students as they rotate through the stations for approximately 20 minutes. Each of the activities are designed to be fun for the students, while getting them moving and raising their heart rates — a key intention of the program.

“The IMPACT program was created to help students reach fitness standards at schools that otherwise would not have funding to maintain certain physical education programs,” said Kate McDevitt, senior manager of School Wellness Programs at UC San Diego’s Center for Community Health.

Many of the UC San Diego student-athletes who participate are members of the Triton Athletes’ Council (TAC), an organization of students from the university’s 23 intercollegiate teams who initiate campus and community service efforts. The IMPACT program was an ideal match for Triton Athletes’ because of the group’s focus on making a positive impact on the community.

Scott Acton, a member of the Triton Athletes’ Council who is also on the track and field and cross country teams, has helped coordinate UC San Diego Athletics’ role in the program this year. “It is great to see the elementary students get out and be active,” said Acton, a structural engineering major. “Word is spreading among student-athletes about what a great program this is, so more and more from UC San Diego are getting involved.”

“Having educated and physically fit athletes attend these sessions shows the children that with hard work and dedication, they can reach any goal they wish to attain in athletics, but the first step is being physically active,” said Lynn Barnes-Wallace, physical education resource teacher at San Diego Unified School District and creator of IMPACT. “The students from UC San Diego really get involved with the program and motivate the kids even more.”

IMPACT began at Edison Elementary in City Heights last spring. The program was such a success—as evidenced by the smiles and squeals of delight from the students—that it was expanded to Toler and will likely be implemented at other elementary schools in the future.

According to Peggy Lewis, principal of Toler Elementary, the program is a hit with her young students. “The kids love it,” said Lewis. “They need activity during the day. We have already seen improved student focus and concentration as a result of the program.”

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2 UCSF-led programs receive funding to tackle S.F. health issues


Hellman Foundation supports fruit and vegetable voucher program, kids’ oral health program.

A woman shops for fresh produce at UCSF Parnassus' farmers market.

By Leland Kim, UC San Francisco

Two UC San Francisco-sponsored programs beat out more than 80 others to win major funding to help advance meaningful solutions to local health issues in San Francisco.

The Hellman Foundation announced the award of the first Hellman Collaborative Change Initiative grants to the EatSF Fruit and Vegetable Voucher Program and the Children’s Oral Health Collaborative. Each program will receive $400,000 — coupled with strategic support from the Hellman Foundation — to strengthen their partnerships and support their efforts to improve lives in San Francisco.

The EatSF Fruit and Vegetable Voucher Program is creating a San Francisco where underserved communities can enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables from their local market.

Diets low in fresh fruits and vegetables are associated with obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and some cancers.  But many low-income families simply do not have access to these vitally important foods. By creating a citywide network where vouchers are redeemable at local vendors for fresh fruits and vegetables, EatSF is improving nutrition for San Franciscans most in need.

“In 2012, it is estimated that San Francisco’s underserved population had to scramble to afford 67.8 million meals. That is appalling in a city that is as wealthy as ours,” said Hilary Seligman, M.D., an associate professor in the UCSF School of Medicine, who is leading the EatSF Fruit and Vegetable Voucher Program. “We are committed to finding strategies that allow all members of our community to eat the healthy foods that prevent the development of chronic disease.”

The Children’s Oral Health Collaborative is committed to eradicating health disparities in childhood tooth decay, with the aim of making San Francisco cavity-free. The program is co-led by UCSF’s Lisa Chung, D.D.S., M.P.H., and San Francisco Department of Public Health’s Margaret Fisher, R.D.H.A.P.

Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease. In San Francisco, emergency department visits for preventable dental problems are higher than that for asthma and diabetes combined, and untreated tooth decay is two to three times more common for children of color.

“Our success is due to many dedicated partners, some individuals who have spent much of their careers to combat tooth decay, a pervasive health problem that all too often goes unacknowledged and untreated in children,” said Chung, an associate professor in the UCSF School of Dentistry’s Department of Preventive and Restorative Dental Sciences.

“Our collaboration recently formed thanks to the coordination and strong support from UCSF SF HIP (San Francisco Health Improvement Partnership) and SF DPH (San Francisco Department of Public Health), and funding from the Metta Fund. We hope this support from Hellman will bring greater awareness to the problem, our work to address it, and more partners to join us in our efforts.”

In choosing from an impressive array of active collaborations, the Hellman Foundation focused on cross-sector partnerships that had strong leadership, targeted a significant San Francisco challenge, and had the potential to make a real difference.

To learn more about the EatSF Fruit and Vegetable Voucher, please email eatsfvoucher@gmail.com. To get more information about the Children’s Oral Health Collaborative, please read its strategic plan.

Established in 2011, the Hellman Foundation finds and supports the creative change-makers improving the lives and livelihoods for all who call the San Francisco Bay Area home. For more information, visit its website.

Editor’s note: Content from the Hellman Foundation was used in this story.

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Bay Area Science Festival’s grand finale draws large crowd


Free extravaganza at AT&T Park caps 10-day festival.

UC President Janet Napolitano examines a brain at a science booth staffed by UCSF graduate students.

Ten days of the Bay Area Science Festival activities culminated in the Discovery Days event at AT&T Park, a huge display of science interactive exhibits, experiments and games. About 30,000 people attended the free science extravaganza.

The event was filled with over 150 different booths and exhibits, staffed by volunteer UCSF scientists and students eager to share their science with the public. Children and their families could see and handle pieces of animal brain to learn about neuroscience, watch a partial dissection of different sea creatures, pilot an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and take part in experiments to learn about basic science concepts like the effects of heating and cooling on water.

This year marks the 4th annual Bay Area Science Festival, which was created by the Bay Area’s scientific, cultural and educational institutions, including Science & Health Education Partnership (SEP) at UCSF. Other partners include UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

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Microscopic monsters and more at the Bay Area Science Festival

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UC Riverside students hosting free health fair Nov. 8 in San Bernardino


School of Medicine partners with Inland Empire Health Plan for 2nd annual event.

Second-year students from the UC Riverside School of Medicine will host the 2nd Annual Health Fair on Saturday, Nov. 8, at the Delmann Heights Community Center in San Bernardino.

Health screenings, flu vaccinations and a variety of health resources will be provided at the 2ndAnnual Health Fair scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Delmann Heights Community Center in San Bernardino.

The health fair is organized by second-year medical students at UC Riverside with co-sponsorship by the UCR School of Medicine and Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP).

Members of the community are invited to attend the free event. The Delmann Heights Community Center is located at 2969 N. Flores St. in San Bernardino.

A variety of health screenings will be available, including blood pressure, diabetes, glaucoma, hearing, mental health and body mass index. There will be flu vaccinations to the first 300 people attending and prescription glasses to the first 100 attendees.

Information on Covered California enrollment, affordable housing, bilingual health care resources, women’s health, after-school programs, homeless services, hospice and elderly care, and financial fitness will be provided. Fitness activities, including yoga, meditation and high-intensity exercise, also will be part of the event.

For younger participants, there will be face painting and balloon animals. Free soccer balls and sports jerseys also will be given to children as part of a soccer activity. There will be light refreshments, raffle prizes, a free library and gently used clothing.

The event is organized by the American Medical Student Association chapter at UCR with the support of local physicians and medical students. “Our mission for organizing this event is to provide medical students with an opportunity to reach out to a medically underserved community by providing health-promoting services in a fun, family-centered way,” said Diana Tran, a second-year medical student at UCR.

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UCLA volunteers help the underserved at free clinic


Health care workers give back at Care Harbor event.

An estimated 4,000 people showed up for this year's Care Harbor free clinic held at the L.A. Sports Arena, an increase from last year's 3,000 who attended. This year, about 50 health care workers from UCLA volunteered their services. (Photos by Ann Johansson, UCLA)

It was a typical misunderstanding that could have led to disastrous consequences. The man had run out of medication to control his hypertension. But he couldn’t afford to get it refilled, or so he thought.

So instead of picking up a simple, generic medication at Wal-Mart or Target for $4, the man decided to go without it and unknowingly put himself at risk for a stroke. All because he didn’t realize he could obtain the medication cheaply.

UCLA Dr. Patrick Dowling checks a patient's arm.

Fortunately, he was one of hundreds who were treated by UCLA health care workers volunteering at the Care Harbor’s annual health clinic held Sept. 11-14 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. His story is typical of many who come to this free clinic for the poor and underserved, said Dr. Patrick Dowling, chief of the UCLA Department of Family Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine.

About 30 percent of those who saw a UCLA health care worker at the clinic had prescriptions that went unfilled.

“These are people with hypertension and diabetes who can’t afford to get these medications — or think they can’t — and wind up in the ER, costing thousands when they simply needed to maintain their medications,” said Dowling, who, along with Dr. Carol Mangione, headed a UCLA contingent of about 50 volunteer health care workers. Mangione is the Barbara A. Levey M.D. and Gerald S. Levey M.D. Endowed Chair and professor of medicine and health services.

The man’s predicament, which was remedied by a simple referral to a local pharmacy, also explains why UCLA’s participation in the annual free clinic is so important and gratifying for the volunteers, among them, nurses; cardiologists; ear, nose and throat specialists; family medicine physicians and ophthalmologists from the Stein Eye Institute. Their ranks also included family medicine sports medicine doctors, International Medical Graduate (IMG) program participants, and medical residents and students from UCLA.

This year, an estimated 4,000 people attended the clinic, up from around 3,000 last year.  Mostly poor and uninsured, they came for dental work, eye care, general internal health care and other services.

The volunteers also gain something valuable, said Dr. Brenda Green, a third-year family medicine resident at UCLA. She is a graduate of the IMG program, which assists bilingual, bicultural immigrant medical school graduates from Latin America who reside in the U.S. legally, with earning a California medical license and obtaining a residency in family medicine.

Working at the Care Harbor clinic gave her the opportunity to work with the underserved populations that she will treat once she’s finished her residency.  To be in the IMG program, physicians must commit to practicing in one of the state’s more than 500 underserved communities for two to three years after completing their three-year family medicine residency.

“I love working with the Hispanic population since I speak Spanish and I can communicate with them,” said Green, who volunteered at the clinic last year as well.

Most of the people she saw suffered from chronic pain or women’s health problems; diabetes was particularly common, she said. The clinic offers referrals to patients who are diagnosed with other untreated health conditions, some of them serious.

“There’s a strong Hispanic population, and diabetes is prevalent among them,” said Green. “A lot of it is uncontrolled.”

A medical student in the IMG program, Daniel  Handayan found that volunteering at the clinic gave him the opportunity to use some of the skills he had learned at the Universidad Autonomo de Guadalajara, where medical students are exposed to clinical care earlier than in the U.S.

“I wanted to give back to Los Angeles,” said Handayan, who was born in Pasadena. “This is a great opportunity to use the skills I learned in Mexico.” He was one of nine IMG students who participated during the four-day clinic.

“They’re valuable because of the language and culture,” Dowling said.

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Creating a pathway to practice

 

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First-of-its-kind program seeks to encourage kidney donors


UCSF joins with Walgreens in blood pressure testing program for living kidney donors, potential donors.

While recipients of living donor kidney transplants receive steady follow-up care, the living donors themselves also need to be monitored. To make follow-up care more accessible, UC San Francisco and Walgreens are collaborating to launch the first program in the country that provides blood pressure testing at no charge to living kidney donors.

UCSF will provide vouchers for blood pressure tests redeemable at more than 4,500 Walgreens pharmacies and Healthcare Clinic at select Walgreens locations nationwide. Vouchers also are available to potential kidney donors, as blood pressure testing is a part of the initial screening process.

Tests are available daily during pharmacy and clinic hours with no appointment necessary and administered by health care professionals at Walgreens pharmacies and Healthcare Clinic at select Walgreens.

“The use of living donors has revolutionized kidney transplants, and this new program provides the opportunity to monitor their long-term health in a convenient, efficient way,” said John Roberts, M.D., professor of surgery and chief of UCSF Transplant Service and former president of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). “UCSF performs the most kidney transplant procedures in the United States, and we are pleased to be first to join with Walgreens in this effort that we hope encourages people to donate as there is a critical need.”

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UC Riverside physicians to provide women’s services at RCRMC


Supervisors approve contract as UC Riverside School of Medicine’s role expands.

UCR Health, the clinical arm of the UC Riverside School of Medicine, will begin providing comprehensive women’s health services at the Riverside County Regional Medical Center under a new contract approved today (July 1) by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.

The contract becomes effective July 15.

“Our partnership with UCR Health physicians is an important step in the development of a world-class medical system that will meet the needs of all Riverside County’s communities,” said Third District Supervisor Jeff Stone, chairman of the board. “Our county’s health care system has always been good. Now, it’s about to get a whole lot better.”

The contract calls for UCR Health to staff women’s health services with board-certified and board-eligible physicians to care for routine and high-risk obstetrics, including labor and delivery. The physicians, who will all be faculty of the UCR School of Medicine, also will provide an array of gynecological specialty services such as gynecological oncology, urogynecology and endocrinology.

“UCR Health is pleased to be providing these services to patients in the outpatient clinics and inpatient setting at RCRMC,” said John Heydt, M.D., senior associate dean for clinical affairs in the UCR School of Medicine. “This is one more example of the UCR medical school’s commitment to partner with Riverside County in meeting the health care needs of its residents.”

UCR Health expects to staff the women’s health service initially with eight physicians who will be medical school faculty, according to Heydt. Karen L. Noblett, M.D., will join the UCR School of Medicine faculty and become chair of obstetrics and gynecology at RCRMC in early September. Noblett is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology specializing in urogynecology and pelvic reconstructive surgery. She is bilingual in Spanish and English. Noblett is currently the interim chief medical officer at the UC Irvine Medical Center.

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UCSF’s Science Education Partnership leads award-winning STEM initiative


US2020 City Competition honors San Francisco’s STEM efforts.

Chelsea Stewart, a student at Raoul Wallenberg Traditional High School in San Francisco and an intern in the UCSF Science & Health Education Partnership (SEP) program, discusses her poster presentation with SEP academic coordinator Kishore Hari in 2012.

San Francisco is one of seven winners of a national competition to encourage mentoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), with an initiative to be led by UC San Francisco’s Science & Health Education Partnership.

The US2020 City Competition challenged cities to develop innovative models for dramatically increasing the number of STEM professionals mentoring and teaching students through hands-on projects.  US2020 is specifically focused on increasing STEM opportunities and excitement for girls, underrepresented minorities and children from low-income families.  Public/private coalitions from 52 cities across the nation applied, engaging nearly 600 companies and civic organizations.

The winners, announced last week at the White House Science Fair, will share $1 million in financial, consulting and staff support over the next year to launch their plans.

“I am excited by this opportunity to increase STEM mentors who are working with our students and getting them ready for the jobs of the 21st century,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

In San Francisco, eight of the 11 occupations with the largest projected growth before 2020 are in STEM fields. Yet most students in San Francisco public schools have never met a STEM professional.

San Francisco’s US2020 award-winning program, to be called “SF US2020,” will be led by UCSF’s Science & Health Education Partnership (SEP) in collaboration with the San Francisco Mayor’s Office, San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), Salesforce and Techbridge.

“We are incredibly proud that our own SEP program is the leader of this important collaboration. With over 25 years of successful experience in supporting STEM education in San Francisco, I’m certain our SEP team will set the bar high for the other cities who share the US2020 award,” said Elizabeth Watkins, Ph.D., dean of the Graduate Division and vice chancellor for student academic affairs at UCSF.

In San Francisco, Salesforce.com Foundation is the founding sponsor of US2020. National US2020 founding partners are Cisco, Cognizant, Raytheon, SanDisk and Tata Consultancy Services, recently joined by Chevron, with additional support coming from Discovery Communications, Fidelity Investments, HP, the Carnegie Corp. of New York and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.

Initiated in 1987 by UCSF professor Bruce Alberts, SEP is recognized nationally and internationally as a model organization that supports quality science education for K-12 students through partnerships between scientists and teachers. Each year, UCSF SEP supports 300 volunteers working with San Francisco Unified School District teachers and students, contributing more than 10,000 hours. UCSF SEP also leads the Bay Area Science Festival, an annual 10-day celebration of STEM reaching 70,000 people.

The other winning cities are Allentown, Pa.; Chicago.; Indianapolis; Philadelphia; Research Triangle Park, N.C.; amd Wichita, Kan.

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New patient care model reduces readmission rates


Early results are promising.

Medical specialists within integrated care teams are helping to lower hospital re-admission rates for patients who are HIV positive. (Photo by Elena Zhukova)

>>Related: Pilot program reduces hospital readmissions for people with HIV and AIDS

By Kate Rix

A demonstration project aimed at improving patient care for people with HIV and AIDS has reduced the number of hospital readmissions at one Bay Area hospital by 44 percent.

The new approach — jointly funded by the California HIV/AIDS Research Program (CHRP) at the University of California, the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and Alameda Health System  — puts primary care physicians at the helm of an integrated care team that includes social workers, psychologists and medical specialists.

These collaborative teams form virtual “patient-centered medical homes” that work together to ensure that patients come to appointments, take their medications and get the care they need.

“The HIV epidemic has had a history of clients being advocates for their own care,” said John Mortimer, CHRP health policy and health services research program officer. “Our goal is to make medical care even more client-centered to help improve patient outcomes.”

Promising results

Early results are promising. Highland Hospital in Oakland looked at how many patients were readmitted to the hospital in 2010 before the demonstration project started and compared it to rehospitalizations during the pilot program.

As a result of patient-centered medical home care strategies, which included support for care transitions from hospital to outpatient care, the number of readmissions fell significantly. Of 89 patients admitted in 2010 for HIV-related treatment, 35 were readmitted within a month. From October 2012 to September 2013, 63 patients were admitted, and only 14 of them were readmitted within 30 days.

“This shows that our system is working,” says Dr. Kathleen Clanon, medical director of the Health Program of Alameda County. “The supports are successfully in place outside the hospital.”

In addition to Oakland’s Highland Hospital, four other community clinics are participating: the Tri-City Health Center in Fremont, Lifelong Medical Care in Berkeley, and La Clínica and Asian Health Services, both in Oakland.

“UC is happy to have supported this innovative and effective pilot research program,” said Dr. George Lemp, director of CHRP.

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Public health prep


Freshman thrives in research program.

Working with HERMOSA (Health & Environmental Research on Makeup Of Salinas Adolescents) helped build UC Berkeley freshman Maritza Cardenas' passion for research. (Photo by Robert Durell)

For Maritza Cardenas, life as a Berkeley freshman is exciting, and more than a little daunting. She is majoring in molecular and cellular biology, and plans to go to medical school. But there’s a minor hurdle: Freshman chemistry is the first laboratory class she’s ever had.

Growing up in the central California agricultural town of Salinas, Maritza didn’t get as much science prep as most of her fellow Cal classmates.

“I wasn’t very exposed to the idea of science in high school, but as I was applying to college and seeing how competitive it was, there was always this word ‘research.’ I think one of my main drives was being part of research — even though I really didn’t have a clear sense of what it meant.”

She got her chance to learn what it meant the summer after high school as one of 16 Salinas teens participating in a two-year program that trained them in public health and biomedical research while at the same time focusing on a potential health hazard to young women in the community.

The project, funded by UC’s California Breast Cancer Research Program, taught the students to design and carry out public health research and how to best reach out to their community to gather data and inform people about health risks. The teens also collected and prepared material for laboratory analysis.

The training focuses on potential dangers posed by chemicals known as endocrine disrupters, found in shampoos, face creams and other personal care products. Endocrine disrupters interfere with normal hormonal function, and are thought to pose a particular threat during the teen years when hormone-driven development accelerates.

The project, called HERMOSA (Health & Environmental Research on Makeup Of Salinas Adolescents), is a collaboration between Berkeley’s School of Public Health and Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas, a network of clinics providing primary health care to low-income and agricultural communities in Monterey County.

The team effort drew on a Salinas-based youth council developed by the public health school’s Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health, or CERCH, where teens gain leadership experience and focus on environmental health issues of particular concern to the community. Public health school professor Kim Harley is a co-director of HERMOSA.

Kimberly Parra, the project’s other co-director and herself a Berkeley grad, praises Maritza’s discipline and persistence, but singles out one trait that she thinks has mattered most:

“The No.1 quality — the reason Maritza has been able to flourish — is that she really cares about her community and she’s very confident that she can influence it. She’s very humble at the same time.”

Growing up in Salinas, Maritza says her family was on Medi-Cal.

“We were receiving a lot of assistance. Being in that position, and seeing that it’s a big part of Salinas, I’m hoping to return home after medical school and start a clinic there.

“I see myself as the kind of doctor who has relationships with patients. I feel like I could be the kind of health provider that can educate patients, focusing on prevention, helping them help themselves.”

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Integrative medicine takes modern step


UC Irvine, Orange County arts school school team to create unique healing environment.

UC Irvine Health Family Health Center in Santa Ana is hopping with activity thanks, in part, to a troupe of student dancers from neighboring Orange County School of the Arts. The collaboration is part of a novel program that brings music and arts to clinical settings creating a calmer and more comfortable environment for patients.

Six OSCA dancers recently performed two contemporary routines in the lobby of the FHC to the surprise and amusement of unsuspecting patients and their families. Dancers sat alongside patients while they carried out their unique movements that included elements of ballet, modern and lyrical dancing.

This patient-centered approach to health and wellness focuses on treating the whole person including the mind, body and spirit and is part of UC Irvine Health’s Integrative Medicine Program.

“There have been a variety of studies demonstrating the health benefits of simple mind-body interventions, which include art, music, and laughter in addition to the more familiar mind-body techniques such as meditation,” said Dr. David Kilgore, director of integrative medicine at UC Irvine Health. “Our intent is to create a welcoming and less intimidating clinical setting that helps patients feel more at ease before meeting with their physician.”

In addition to the dance performances, the clinic has hosted musical performances and a poetry reading by OCSA students. The clinic also plans on displaying students’ artwork including paintings and ceramics.

A grant from the Samueli Foundation funds the integrative medicine program. Through this donation, the program integrates the best of Western scientific medicine with broader therapeutic approaches for patients to achieve optimal health and healing. A large focus of this health center is to bring preventive medicine to an underserved population.

“Our goal is to transform our sites from being a health care provider in the community to a community center that also happens to provide quality health care,” says Dirk Zirbel, Ph.D., associate director of UC Irvine Health Family Health Centers.

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UC Riverside hosting Palm Desert health fair, health exchange sign-up event


Certified counselors will provide Covered California enrollment assistance at March 21 event.

MEDIA ADVISORY: There will be a press conference associated with this event at 11 a.m. in the Building B Auditorium at the UC Riverside Palm Desert Campus. Present will be: Assemblyman V. Manual Perez; Edith Lara-Trad, regional information officer, Covered California; G. Richard Olds, dean of the UCR School of Medicine; Kathy Greco, CEO of the Desert Healthcare District; and Gary Honts, CEO of JFK Memorial Hospital.

UC Riverside Health will host a free health resource fair and sign-up event on Friday, March 21, to assist community members interested in enrolling in Covered California, the state health insurance exchange established in response to the federal Affordable Care Act.

The event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the UCR Palm Desert Center, Building B Auditorium, 75-080 Frank Sinatra Dr. in Palm Desert. Parking will be free.

In addition to Covered California enrollment assistance, the event will include free basic health screenings by UCR Health physicians and Medi-Cal application assistance. English- and Spanish-speaking certified enrollment counselors will be available to assist with enrollment in Covered California health plans. The application process may take up to 90 minutes.

In order to enroll in a Covered California health plan, individuals should bring:

  • Proof of California residency (California driver’s license or California identification card or proof of citizenship/immigration status)
  • Social Security number
  • Total monthly income
  • Number of persons in the household

Appointments are available by calling (866) 893-8446.

The event is supported by several cities and community-based organizations in the Coachella Valley. In addition to UCR Health, the clinical arm of the UC Riverside School of Medicine, the event is being organized in partnership with Covered California, the Desert Healthcare Foundation, and the Path to Health Program of Desert Regional Medical Center and JFK Memorial Hospital. Path to Health is a campaign by JFK Memorial Hospital and Desert Regional Medical Center that offers educational materials and resources for navigating the insurance exchanges and the ACA.

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Why UC is participating in Covered California

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