To lift the voices of rural communities of the San Joaquin Valley by connecting available resources and bringing about policy changes needed to improve rural health.
Health equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. This requires removing obstacles to health such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences.
Rural HEAL Collaborative partners are passionate about improving health, education and economic outcomes in rural communities throughout the San Joaquin Valley. Our methodology for engagement takes the shape of effective partnerships, which are essential for community-based solutions for advancing health equity. By facilitating a shared vision and values, we work to increase communities' capacities to shape outcomes, and foster multi-sector collaboration for the benefit of all.
Located in an ethnically and economically diverse geographic region, the rural HEAL partnership offers the relevant research capacity and the ability to link to rural areas across the nation. Within our region, we understand how lack of access to education, food, and economic opportunities leads to medical deserts and chronic disease epidemics. As a result of our education, health, NGO, industry and political collaborations, we have experienced how collaboration begets innovation to tackle the challenges of building and sustaining healthy rural communities.
The 26,000-square miles from Merced to Kern counties constitute a significant population of low-income rural residents with the nation's lowest educational attainment. The lack of education translates to reduced employment opportunities, increased poverty, and limited access to healthcare. In California's Central Valley, like rural communities across America, residents encounter meager resources to improve workforce and economic development. Likewise, they experience few opportunities to carry out research and evaluate failing systems or leverage social and political power to eliminate health inequities. Like rural communities across America, ensuring that California's Central Valley meets the workforce demands of industry is essential to the economic stability of our rural communities. In rural regions, where populations are more dispersed and farther from major job centers, labor markets face different challenges than those in metro areas, where people are closer to education, training, and employment options.
As we continue to build the Rural HEAL collaborative, ongoing dialogue and strategic convenings among partners and interested others will remain the key to creating value and systemic change that improves the health and socioeconomic stability of people across the nation.
The Rural HEAL Advisory Committee represents a regional representation of partners working to improve the lives of rural residents. Partners pictured here represent UC Merced, UC San Francisco at Fresno, Central Valley Health Policy Institute, Central Valley medical professionals, and Bakersfield College Health and Workforce training programs.
Our short- and long-term strategic goals encompass an overarching commitment to serve as a catalyst for local, state and national collaboration and a progressive, creative force on behalf of all rural health constituencies/communities.
To fulfill our mission and implement vision, HEAL will:
HEAL collaborative proposes various pilot projects and initiatives to catalyze efforts to address regional inequities in educational attainment, meet regional workforce demands, and improve community wellness using a three-pronged approach:
Director, Business Development and Community Relations
Delano Regional Medical Center
Bakersfield College has created a space for local community healthcare professionals and partners to collaborate, discuss, and strategize the future of healthcare within our community. In November 2018, Bruce Peters, President & CEO of Mercy Hospitals, Sharlet Briggs, President & CEO of Adventist Health, and cardiology specialist Dr. Jeet Singh were just a few of the power houses in attendance. Attendees chatted about how we can all work together to ensure that our region is being provided the programs that it and the industry needs, and to try to help prevent any shortfalls in occupation employment.