2020: HEAL Webinar

Public Health Strategies: COVID-19 and the Central Valley

September 22, 2020 | Time: 1:00 - 3:00 pm PST

The San Joaquin Valley is experiencing unique challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. HEAL partners would like to highlight Central Valley resident's health in light of the pandemic, including the mental health of vulnerable communities, the barriers faced by migrant workers, community contact tracing for disease control, and the need to reshape public health infrastructure from the ground up in rural communities.


Video Playlist: Watch at YouTube

1:00 PM Introduction to Speakers and Topics

  • Moderators: Cindy Collier and Norma Rojas-Mora, Bakersfield College

1:05 PM Welcome and HEAL Collaborative Introduction

  • Dr. Sonya Christian, Bakersfield College
  • Video at YouTube: Watch

1:10 PM COVID-19 and Challenges Unique to the Central Valley

1:15 PM Mental Health During COVID-19: Vulnerable Populations

  • Dr. Sidra J. Goldman-Moller, UC Merced
  • Presentation: Speaker Slides - Download the PDF
  • Video at YouTube: Watch

1:30 PM Farmworkers and COVID-19 Working Conditions

2:00 PM Community Contact Tracing: Proven Strategy for Disease Control

  • Dr. Charles Daramola, Bakersfield College
  • Presentation: Speaker Slides - Download the PDF
  • Video at YouTube: Watch

2:15 PM Reshaping Public Health Infrastructure

  • Dr. Tania Pacheco-Werner, CSU Fresno CVHPI
  • Presentation: Speaker Slides - Download the PDF
  • Video at YouTube: Watch
  • Mayor Rey Leon, Valley LEAP Program, Mayor of Huron
  • Video at YouTube: Watch

2:50 PM Wrap Up Discussion and CHO Proposal

  • Dr. Kathleen Murphy, Valley Children's Hospital
  • Video at YouTube: Watch

2:55 PM Closing Remarks and Invitation to Join the HEAL Collaborative

  • Norma Rojas-Mora, Bakersfield College

Speaker Bios

Panel#1: COVID-19 and Challenges Unique to the Central Valley

Dr. Nancy Burke, Public Health Professor at UC Merced

Nancy J. Burke is a medical anthropologist and professor of Public Health at the University of California, Merced. Since 2015 she has served as Co-Director of the UC-Cuba Academic Initiative, and is editor of Health Travels: Cuban Health(care) On and Off the Island (2013). Her current research includes a study of syndemic care for high-cost, high-utilizing safety-net patients in the United States, and an ethnography of cancer patient navigation programs in US public hospitals.

Panel#2: Mental Health During COVID-19

Dr. Sidra J. Goldman-Mellor, Public Health Assistant Professor at UC Merced

Sidra Goldman-Mellor, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Public Health at the University of California, Merced. Trained as an epidemiologist, her research focuses on the social, clinical, and economic determinants and outcomes of suicidal behavior and other mental health problems across the life course. Her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the U.C. Firearm Violence Research Center, and the Hellman Family Foundation, and is regularly featured on media outlets including the Sacramento Bee and NPR. Dr. Goldman-Mellor earned her B.A. from Cornell University and her M.P.H. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Panel#3: Migrant Farmworkers and COVID-19 Working Conditions

Dr. Dvera I. Saxton, Anthropology Associate Professor at CSU Fresno

Dvera I. Saxton, Ph.D. is an associate professor in the Anthropology Department at Fresno State, where she teaches on topics related to health, environment, sex, gender and sexuality, and coordinates the internship program. She is actively involved with pandemic response efforts in Fresno County, and is a researcher member of the COVID-19 Farmworker Study (COFS) with the California Institute of Rural Studies. She is facilitating a group of community-based researchers to collect interviews with farmworkers amidst the pandemic. She received her doctorate in anthropology, with an emphasis in race, gender, and social justice, from the American University in Washington, DC. She completed a postdoctoral research fellowship with the Social Science Environmental Health Institute at Northeastern University in Boston, MA and recently became an Atlantic Senior Fellow for Equity in Brain Health with the Global Brain Health Institute, based at UC San Francisco. Her forthcoming book The Devil's Fruit: Farmworkers, Health, and Environmental Justice is due out from Rutgers University Press in February 2021.

Dr. Edward Flores, Sociology Associate Professor at UC Merced

Dr. Edward Orozco Flores is an associate professor of sociology at the University of California Merced. He has published two books and several journal articles on religion and the post-incarceration experience. Dr. Flores is a faculty affiliate with the UC Merced Community and Labor Center, and has recently written several short COVID-19 related policy briefs on unemployment, COVID-19 positivity, and worker health and safety. His areas include race, gender, religion, immigration, and work.

Panel #4: Community Contact Tracing, Proven Disease Control Strategy

Dr. Charles Daramola, Public Health Professor at Bakersfield College

Dr. Charles Olufemi Daramola is professor and program director of the Public Health Science program at Bakersfield College (BC). Prior to joining BC, Charles served as faculty and program director of Community & Public Health at Florida Gulf Coast University. Dr Daramola holds Masters and Doctorate degrees in Health Education from the Department of Health & Behavior Studies at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York. He also holds an MBA from Baruch College of the City University of New York and is also certified as a health education specialist (CHES). Dr Daramola's study/research interests include health equity and reducing health disparities, health education and promotion.

Panel #5: Reshaping Public Health Infrastructure

Dr. Tania Pacheco-Werner, Co-Assistant Director at CSU Fresno Central Valley Health Policy Institute (CVHPI)

Dr. Tania Pacheco-Werner is Co-Assistant Director at the Central Valley Health Policy Institute at Fresno State. She is a medical sociologist by training and received her PhD in sociology from University of California, San Francisco. Her areas of research include policy analysis, neighborhood health, maternal and child health, and methodology. Her latest work on neighborhood health is "Unequal Neighborhoods: Fresno" uses historical, census, environmental, and health surveillance data to demonstrate how neighborhoods are a sum of policies and exceptions to policies that shape health outcomes. Her current research on maternal child health currently focuses on the role of stress and resilience and social determinants of health on preterm birth. She also does community engagement research activities on Fresno's economic equity initiative DRIVE (Developing the Region's Inclusive and Vibrant Economy). She is also a lead partner in the COVID-19 Equity Project, a community-based approach for education, testing, contact tracing, and quarantine support. She lives with her husband and son in Sanger, California.

Mayor Rey León of Huron, California, Founder and Executive Director of the San Joaquin Valley Latino Environmental Advancement & Policy (‘Valley LEAP')

Mayor Rey León of Huron, California is the Founder and Executive Director of the San Joaquin Valley Latino Environmental Advancement & Policy, also known as the ‘Valley LEAP' Project, a Latino, Central Valley based environmental non-profit organization. Mr. León is based in Fresno for the Valley and focuses on environmental and transportation justice, air quality, climate change, energy, green jobs and community development. He has been organizing in the Valley for the past twenty-four years and for the past fifteen years has been advocating and successfully building coalitions, community capacity, and advancing public policy. In 2014, Valley LEAP completed an Environmental Justice Planning Project and Report for the farmworker community of Huron where over 30 projects to improve mobility, access and safety were identified. More recently, Mr. León was voted into the Mayorship of his hometown of Huron, CA. As Mayor of Huron, he works diligently to improve quality of life for the residents who mostly are composed of hardworking low-income farmworker families.

Closing Discussion: Introduction to Congressional Health Office (CHO) Proposal

Dr. Kathleen M. Murphy, Pediatric ICU Physician, Valley Children's Healthcare and Hospital

Dr. Kathy Murphy is a pediatric ICU physician at Valley Children's Hospital. She sees the HEAL Collaborative as a strong mechanism to address public health issues that affect our communities. She got into public health because so many Central Valley kids end up in her ICU because these issues have not been addressed--that can change through HEAL.





For any questions, please reach out to Marbella Avalos at Marbella.Avalos@BakersfieldCollege.edu.

To stay in touch about this and future events, follow us on Twitter @ruralHEAL.

Visit the HEAL website to learn more about the Collaborative.

Connect on Twitter:

Sonya Christian, President at Bakersfield College | @sonyachristian

Norma Rojas-Mora, Director of Communication and Community Relations at Bakersfield College | @NormaRojasMora2

Cindy Collier, Interim Director of the Student Health & Wellness Center at Bakersfield College

Dr. Dvera I. Saxton, Anthropology Associate Professor at CSU Fresno | @DveraISaxton

Dr. Charles Daramola, Public Health Professor at Bakersfield College | @CharlesDaramol2

Dr. Tania Pacheco-Werner, Co-Assistant Director at CSU Fresno Central Valley Health Policy Institute (CVHPI)

Mayor Rey León of Huron, California