County Issues Requests for Proposals Tied to Public Safety Realignment
Matching the formerly incarcerated with jobs, housing and other support services is seen as key in keeping them from going back to a life of crime. With that goal, Contra Costa County’s Board of Supervisors is soliciting proposals from qualified agencies to provide a range of services to bolster the transition for those released to County supervision following California’s Public Safety Realignment.
The Board is making available a total of $3,530,000 for services in specific program areas. Four Requests for Proposals (RFPs) were released Tuesday, March 1, to deliver services in the following amounts: $2,000,000 for Employment Support and Placement Services, $1,180,000 for Short and Long-Term Housing Access, $200,000 for Peer Mentoring and Family Reunification Services, and $150,000 for Civil Legal Services.
Supervisor Candace Andersen, Chair of the Board and of the County’s Public Safety Committee, notes Contra Costa has been a leader among counties in its approach to implementing Realignment.
“Partnering with experienced, innovative, effective agencies will ensure we’re tackling recidivism with the right tools,” Andersen added.
Private, not-for-profit organizations, for-profit organizations, and public agencies that offer programs serving the needs of the target population, with demonstrated effectiveness in providing evidence-based and research-informed services aimed at reducing repeat offenses, are invited to submit proposals.
A mandatory Bidders Conference for interested responders is scheduled at the following locations and times: March 7, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Pittsburg City Council Chambers; March 8 from 10:00 a.m. to noon in the Zoning Administrator’s Room at 30 Muir Road in Martinez; or March 9 from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Richmond City Council Chambers. Potential bidders need only attend one conference.
Proposals are due by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 1, 2016. Additional information and RFP copies are available at website: www.co.contra-costa.ca.us/2366/Services-Programs or by calling (925) 335-1097.Read More
By Allen Payton
The California State Board of Education (SBE), at their meeting on Thursday, March 10th, voted to approve the charter school petition by Rocketship to open a privately operated charter school in the Monument Boulevard area of Concord. The decision reverses the unanimous vote of the Board of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) on August 10, 2015 to deny the petition of Rocketship Mt. Diablo (RSMD). It also reverses the unanimous vote by the Contra Costa County Board of Education (CBOE) against the appeal by the charter school on October 21, 2015.
“The path to college starts in elementary school. The new Rocketship public elementary school in the Monument Corridor means more of the youngest students in the community will get on the right track and graduate prepared to succeed in college and beyond,” said Cheye Calvo, Rocketship’s Chief Growth and Community Engagement Officer. “The California Board of Education made the right decision to give families a choice to send their students to a new Rocketship public elementary school in Concord.”
According to the state board’s agenda, “Pursuant to California Education Code…petitioners for a charter school that have been denied at the local level may petition the State Board of Education (SBE) for approval of the charter, subject to certain conditions.”
The California Department of Education recommended a public hearing be held and then the conditional approve of the charter school for five years, from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2021, with nine technical amendments, and under the oversight of the SBE.
The state board listened to arguments for the charter school from Calvo and Rocketship’s Chief Program Officer, Lynn Liao, and arguments against it by the Superintendent of MDUSD Dr. Nellie Meyer and Deborah Cooksey, the district’s Associate Legal Counsel, as well as a few others.
Each side was given 10 minutes to speak before public comments were received.
According to the slideshow and presentation by Calvo and Liao, “Rocketship Education is a non-profit network of public elementary charter schools serving primarily low-income students in neighborhoods where access to excellent schools is limited.”
The San Jose-based company has 10 schools in the Bay Area, with nearly 5,500 Pre-K through 5th Grade students, of which 86% are socioeconomically disadvantaged, 56% are English language learners, 7% are special education students and 81% are Hispanic.
Also according to the presentation, the results of the 2014-15 California State Assessment show the percent of students grades 3-5 classified as socio-economically disadvantaged who met or exceeded new Common Core standards in the Rocketship schools were in the 99th percentile for math and 86th percentile for the English language arts, both exceeding the students in the surrounding districts where their schools are located, and by double or more in math.
They had over 1,100 signatures of parents in support of the petition for the Mt. Diablo charter school.
Meyer stated that parents had been misled and caught in the grocery store and in church, and told if they sign the petition their children would be able to stay in Mt. Diablo School District and if they don’t they won’t be able to.
Cooksey told the board that “two local boards found it flawed. It doesn’t honor our community because the board of directors is so far from the school and that the parents would have to drive 50 miles to board meetings.”
During public comments Jeff Belle was the first of 44 speakers on both sides of the issue, who were each given one minute. Belle said he was speaking as a private citizen but that he was also a member of the Contra Costa County Board of Education.
“I can assure you we were very prudent in terms of our decision making,” he said.
Belle then spoke of his team of four advisors, including an attorney who is a former prosecutor, and special education, civil rights and English learner specialists.
“In terms of myself and my team, we did three things. First we had the wisdom to listen to the individuals,” he continued. “We visited Rocketship and Meadow Homes [Elementary School] and spent…more than eight hours at each place. The second thing we did was, we had the courage to lead and it takes wisdom and courage to do both.
However, before he could finish speaking and share what his team learned, the timekeeper said “Time.” Belle then finished with “I would ask you, that you would vote, vote no.”
He was followed by Ken Burt, the Political Director for the California Teachers Association, who was also opposed to the charter school.
One man, whose children are in Rocketship schools, spoke in Spanish and used an interpreter.
“Our children don’t have any time to waste,” he said. “We will get better education for our cities. Please approve the school.”
Another Spanish speaking parent said through an interpreter, “Because of lack of communication I don’t believe I am adequately supported. I ask your support of the approval of Rocketship.”
“This school has more communications,” she continued. “The teachers and the parents communicate better and there are more services for special needs children.”
Jonathan Eagan, Assistant Superintendent for MDUSD spoke about STEM education.
“Looking through their application, I’m not sure I see a lot of that,” he said about Rocketship. “Please vote no.”
Concord resident, Rich Ebert, spoke in favor of the school, blasting MDUSD.
“This discussion has very little to do with education. It’s all about politics,” he said. “The Mt. Diablo School Board is bigoted and prejudiced against charter schools of all kinds. Rocketship is no exception. They’ve been negative completely against the award winning Clayton Valley Charter and opposed the application at every level for the school of performing art. This is really about what they want for themselves.”
Barbara Oaks, a Board Member for MDUSD also spoke against the petition.
“I speak on behalf of a district with a proven record of success,” she said. Mt. Diablo is a high quality school district, offering a high quality education to every child. We teach the whole child with an emphasis on English learner students.”
One parent in support of Rocketship, Christina Gutierrez said she had worked over the last eight months to bring the school to Concord. She brought 60 letters of support from working families who could not attend the meeting, some handwritten, which she gave to the board.
“I helped gather signatures on behalf of Rocketship, and I habla Español very well, and there was no deception on our part,” she added.
Colleen Coll, a former Mayor of Concord, who teaches bilingual education to adults said some of her students signed the petition. She spoke of the 1,100 parents who had signed it.
“I ask you to honor it and bring Rocketship to our community,” she said.
Merle Hall, who owns property in the Monument coridor spoke in support.
“As the former Chair of the Board of Realtors I can tell you the relationship between education and property values,” he stated. “We have parents who are leaving because the schools are lousy. Please approve Rocketship.”
Some opponents wore bright yellow shirts with the words “No Rocketship” on them, including teachers from Meadow Homes Elementary School.
“Our students are doing great,” said one of the teachers. “We have a strong bilingual program. We have experienced and very qualified teachers. We are one of the turn-around schools. We are increasing our numbers every year. So I’m going to ask you, if we have all of this, what more can we do?”
“Our students are doing great. The community didn’t ask them to come,” he continued. “This gentlemen who wants to make money is the one who asked them to come. He wants to make money.”
Francisco Rios also spoke in Spanish and through an interpreter said, “I come to support the teachers and staff in general of Mt. Diablo and I want to say please vote no on Rocketship. I am a parent of three children who are in district schools. I am an involved parent and I have the chance to grow academically and personally with my children. I have been able to take advantage of the programs for parents offered by the district…to become a better parent, such as health classes, cooking classes…I have participated on a variety of committees.”
“Please vote no on Rocketship,” he added in English.
Following the public speaking period, the Board, including State Superintendent Tom Torlakson, took up the agenda item and asked questions about the conditions proposed by the CDE staff as part of their recommendation.
In response, CDE staff stated that Rocketship had agreed to have their board meetings or teleconferencing at the school, as well as Spanish language translators at their board meetings. There will also be an advisory board and 50% would be populated by parents of current students of Rocketship.
Torlakson further asked about online learning, monthly phone calls between CDE staff and school staff, as well as annual site visits.
Rocketship got a bit of a lecture from one of the board members.
“You can’t change the petition after the school board denied it…before the county school board could vote on it,” said Board Member Patricia Ann Rucker. “It was not political. They actually looked at what the petition said. That’s not racist. It’s not political. It’s fortunate in our appeal process, we have staff who are able to work with applicants, to close the gaps so that the petition can be approved.”
“I have to tell you frankly, I don’t think you know how to fix…the flaws in your petition,” she continued. “But I have to say it’s rather unusual, with the agreements the Superintendent has offered, in my time on the board, that we have done this much work to fix the situation which is what the staff allowed to do in this appeal process.”
“I understand that going forward, that this petition will be fixed and corrected and meet the quality of petitions that this board has approved,” Rucker said. “You just made a promise, today that you will pay attention to the flaws in your ELD [English Language Development] program. I’m holding you accountable for that because your petition is going to be approved.”
“Probably by the time you come back to have your charter renewed, I won’t be on the board,” she added. “But I hope your conscious of…how you tore a community apart, because of these very important facts I hope they will make you pay attention to these issues.”
Board Member Bruce Holaday stressed his point to the parents in attendance that “I do want parents to understand that if this charter petition is approved…and this charter school does exist, you do not have to attend it. And if you’re happy…you can stay in your district school.”
One more board member spoke before the vote.
“The ACCES has recommended a vote for approval. CDE is recommending approval. In my five years I’ve been on this board that’s rare.
It increases my confidence that this petition has met the requirements for being authorized.
She moved approval for the charter school with the additional conditions including a second visit during the year.
A few final speakers were allowed on the motion. The first was CTA Political Director Burt who spoke about fraud in the gathering of the 1,100 signatures on the petition and asking for the Board to look into it.
Another spoke thanking Member Rucker for addressing the ELD issue and said “Rocketship must have a dedicated ELD time.”
The man who used a Spanish interpreter, earlier in the meeting, said in English, “Please let us make a decision and put the political things aside. We need the best education for our kids. That’s why you are here for us.”
One final speaker wearing a “No Rocketship” T-shirt said, “This is about equity and serving our Latino parents.”
The Board then voted to approve the petition of the Rocketship Charter School with nine members raising their hands to vote in favor and one abstaining.
Following is the information for the item on the state board’s agenda, for the March 10th meeting:
Petition for the Establishment of a Charter School Under the Oversight of the State Board of Education: Consideration of Rocketship Mt. Diablo which was denied by the Mt. Diablo Unified School District and the Contra Costa County Board of Education.
The California Department of Education (CDE) recommends that the SBE hold a public hearing regarding the petition, and thereafter to conditionally approve, with nine technical amendments, the request to establish RSMD under the oversight of the SBE, for a five-year term effective July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2021, under the oversight of the SBE, based on the CDE’s findings pursuant to EC sections 47605(b)(1), 47605(b)(2), and California Code of Regulations, Title 5 (5 CCR) Section 11967.5 that the petitioner is likely to successfully implement the program set forth in the petition and the RSMD petition is consistent with sound educational practice.
For more information about Rocketship, visit their website at www.rsed.org.Read More
By Allen Payton
The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) will discuss and vote on the Draft Measure J 2016 Strategic Plan at its meeting on Wednesday, March 16 at 6:00 p.m. in the authority board room, located at 2999 Oak Road, Suite 100 in Walnut Creek.
Measure J is the county’s half-cent sales tax for transportation, which was passed by voters in 2004. The Plan was last updated in 2013 and this update will last through 2021. Almost half of all money generated by the half-cent sales tax will be spent on projects in East County.
Following are the highlights of the update to the Plan, according to the staff report:
- The Plan makes firm commitments of Measure J funding for specific projects through June 30, 2021. It also reflects actual revenues and expenditures through June 30, 2015.
- Sales tax revenues are now estimated to total $2.72 billion over the life of Measure J. This is approximately $10 million more than the estimated amount in the last Strategic Plan.
- Approximately $725 million is now estimated to be available for Capital Projects through June 30, 2021, or about 85 percent of total Measure J funds programmed for projects in the Plan.
- Due to the slight increase in revenues and lower than anticipated financing costs, the Plan loosens the overall “Expenditure Cap” on Project Categories from 76.2 percent to 76.6 percent.
- The Plan reprograms $9 million from the East County Corridor Reserve (Project 5011) to State Route (SR4)/Balfour Road Interchange (Project 5005), $1.224 million from Marsh Creek Road Upgrade (Project 24001) to Clayton Streets Improvement (New Project 24032), $3.8 million from Alhambra Creek Bridge (Project 24029) to Pacheco Blvd Widening (Projects 23003 & 24003), $437,000 from Camino Pablo Pavement Rehabilitation (Project 24017) to Ivy Drive Pavement Rehabilitation (New Project 24018), and $4.9 million from I-680 Corridor Reserve (Project 8006) to I-680 Carpool Lane Completion (Project 8001). In addition, funding is advanced for several projects throughout the county including Richmond Parkway Maintenance (Project 9002), I-80/Central (Project 7003), BART Station, Access, and Parking Improvements (Project 10002-03), SR4 Operational Improvements (Project 6006), and I-680/SR4 Interchange, Phase 3 (Project 6001).
- In programming additional capacity through the end of Measure J (FY 2034), the Plan adheres to each sub-region’s proportional share of Capital Project Categories in Measure J Expenditure Plan, as follows: Central County (TRANSPAC): 29.8 percent; East County (TRANSPLAN): 48.8 percent; West County (WCCTAC): 8.5 percent and Southwest County (SWAT): 12.8 percent.
- Consistent with the Authority’s strategy to use debt financing to expedite high priority projects, the Plan assumes one additional bond issuance: $95 million in 2018. The Authority will revisit the size and timing of the 2018 bond in future Strategic Plans based on an updated analysis of the Authority’s financial capacity.
- At the request of TRANSPLAN, any Measure J savings realized after the completion of SR4 East widening and eBART will be first redirected to reduce ECCRFFA [Eastern Contra Costa Regional Fee & Financing Authority] commitment on SR4/Balfour Road interchange, which has experienced cost increases and required additional ECCRFFA funding.”
In addition, following the Authority’s Administration & Projects Committee (APC) “meeting on March 3, 2016, BART requested the reprogramming of $250,000 from Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Supporting Improvements at Central County BART Stations (Project 10001-02) to the Shared Autonomous Vehicle Pilot Program (New Project 10001-06).”
The Contra Costa Transportation Authority Board meeting agenda packet for March 16, 2016 is now available by clicking here.
The Draft Measure J 2016 Strategic Plan can be located under Attachment A on the agenda page under APC Item # 2.A.4. (NOTE: This is a large file and may take several minutes to download).
Measure J is the continuation of the half-percent countywide sales tax for transportation, first adopted as Measure C in 1989. The new measure was passed by Contra Costa voters in November 2004. The Measure started on April 1, 2009 and will be in effect through March 31, 2034. The Measure J Strategic Plan guides the timing of Measure J expenditures based on assumptions about future sales tax revenues, debt service costs on proposed bonds, and project schedules. The underlying assumptions in the financial plan and the resultant cash flow estimates are critical to ensuring that the Authority will have the financial resources to deliver its project and program commitments.
Members of the public are welcome to speak on any agenda item during the meeting. Those who can’t attend the meeting, it is scheduled to be audio cast live on the CCTA website on March 16, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. To listen to the audio cast or download the meeting materials, visit the Public Meetings page of their website.
For more information visit www.ccta.org.Read More
By Rev. Austin Miles
The California legislature recently passed the right-to-die law, and Governor Brown signed it into law. It becomes effective on June 9th. This bill allows physicians to supply the pills that will end a life that has become intolerable.
This bill was spurred on by 29 year old Brittany Maynard who suffered painful brain cancer, pleaded to have her life ended to put her out of her misery.
Since California had no such law, she and her husband took up residence in Oregon where euthanasia is legal. Her husband returned to push the Right to die legislation in Sacramento.
While it is understandable that when a life is destined to end, and consists of excruciating pain that cannot be soothed, the individual should be able to make the choice for death with dignity. However, there must be strict guidelines throughout this process.
For example in several countries that have adopted this law, involuntary euthanasia rose, where one is arbitrarily put to death, as laws became more permissive. This has created a mechanism where someone who has become too expensive to government health care assistance, or is simply in the way, a Pandora’s box is flung open. I remember a video showing a man about to be euthanized screaming, “No I don’t want to die.” Didn’t matter, he was in the way. This is deplorable.
In the Netherlands, 1,040 people have died without their consent. Before legalization, doctors would euthanize patients and then falsely sign the death certificates as “natural causes.”This gives meaning to the Death Panels that Sarah Palin worried about. Actually we already have active death panels with involuntary euthanasia. It is called abortion.
The only way this law should go forward, is to add a stipulation that physician assisted suicide can only take place with the consent to that procedure from the individual targeted, not by a death panel, not a relative nor anybody else. This addition to the legislation is mandatory.
Miles is a resident of Oakley, CARead More
Months of Action Result in Wage Increase That Will Eventually Reach $12.25/hour
Martinez, CA – Home care workers in Contra Costa County, represented by SEIU Local 2015, have ratified a new contract that raises their wage to $12.00 per hour as soon as the State can make the change, and to $12.25 per hour on January 1, 2017. The contract is on the agenda for a vote of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors at its Tuesday, March 15th meeting.
Home care workers currently make just $11.50 an hour and have not had a raise in more than seven years. The contract maintains their health care benefit, which the County had pushed to limit.
SEIU Local 2015 Provisional Officer Arnulfo De La Cruz was glad to reach a contract, but believes it should not have taken so long to achieve. “Home care providers, their clients and allies rallied for months at Board of Supervisors meetings,” he said. “This contract impacts those who care for our county’s most vulnerable population and should have been resolved sooner, but we are certainly glad that it is finally done.”
Union members voted overwhelmingly in favor of ratifying the agreement.
“We won our contract because we got organized and got members involved,” said home care worker John Roe, who was part of bargaining team. “Now we’re going to organize for $15.”
Home care worker Melody Lacy, also a member of the bargaining team, said “We got this victory because we have a union that is 100% focused on us as long-term care providers winning better wages and benefits.”
IHSS workers care for our low-income seniors and disabled neighbors, a tough but critical job that allows their clients to live at home with independence and dignity while being more cost effective than institutionalization. This work should be recognized and paid a livable wage.
Follow the conversation: @SEIU2015Read More
WHAT: Dozens of community leaders will show their support for Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services (MOWSOS) by helping deliver meals to senior clients in Contra Costa County during the national March for Meals event.
District V Supervisor, Federal Glover – March 24th, Bateman Canteen
District IV Supervisor, Karen Mitchoff – March 21st, Concord Sr. Center
Clayton Mayor, Howard Geller – March, 22nd, Concord Sr. Center
Martinez Mayor, Rob Schroder – March 23rd, Martinez Sr. Center
Pleasant Hill Mayor, Sue Noack – March 21st, Pleasant Hill Sr. Center
Oakley Mayor, Kevin Romick – March 24th, Oakley Sr. Center
Orinda Mayor, Victoria Smith – March 25th, MOWSOS Office
Walnut Creek Mayor Pro-tem, Rich Carlston – March 24th, MOWSOS Office
Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff, Lt. Paul O’Mary – March 22nd, Bateman Canteen
Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County, Executive Director, Will McGarvey – March 24th, Bateman Canteen
Bay Point Municipal Advisory Council Member, Debra Mason – March 24th, Bateman Canteen
WHY: Senior hunger is a serious issue in our community – 25,000 seniors are hungry in Contra Costa County and nearly 800 rely on our meal delivery to survive. Community leaders will join MOWSOS volunteers to deliver meals and see first-hand the impact Meals on Wheels has on individual lives.
WHEN: March 21st through March 25th, 2016 (see dates above for each community leader).
Bateman Canteen — 1409 Auto Center Drive, Antioch
Concord Senior Center — 2727 Parkside Circle, Concord
Pleasant Hill Senior Center — 233 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill
Oakley Senior Center — 991A Rosemary Lane, Oakley
MOWSOS— Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services 1300 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek.
Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services is a full-service nonprofit organization dedicated since 1968 to helping seniors live independently and with dignity. Based in Walnut Creek, the agency serves seniors all across Contra Costa County. More information can be found at www.mowsos.org.Read More
The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office is currently accepting applications for the College and High School Student Summer Internship Program.
Those interested are requested to send a cover letter and resume to Deputy District Attorney Dominique Yancey at email@example.com by March 31, 2016.Read More
At a closed session board meeting Wednesday morning, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California authorized the purchase of four islands in the San Francisco Bay-Delta for an undisclosed sum.
The deal is highly controversial in Northern California as it would put Southern California’s most powerful water agency in control of a group of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta islands that can serve as water storage areas or entry points for the proposed $15 billion Delta Tunnels projects.
For months MWD has been considering the purchase of islands now used for farming. The islands mirror the path of the plan for the Delta Tunnels proposal.
The four island deal includes Bouldin Island, Webb Tract, Holland Tract, and Bacon Island. They cover approximately 20,000 acres of the Delta. Here (and above) is a map of the islands in the path of the Delta Tunnels.
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta spoke on the matter.
“It is troubling for the Delta region that Metropolitan Water District is going to acquire such a significant portion of Delta land and Delta water rights,” she said. “They have the resources to change law and policies statewide to maximize their access to Delta water in their favor. They will own two islands that are directly in the path of the proposed Delta Tunnels project, eliminating eminent domain concerns for that portion of tunnels construction. We believe that having MWD as a neighbor is an existential threat to the future of the Delta and Delta communities.”
Delta Tunnels opponents note that after nine years and a quarter of a billion dollars spent on the proposal, Delta Tunnel backers have still has not produced a legally acceptable plan that can pass environmental standards. On October 30, 2015 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued the Draft Environmental Impact Report a failing grade of “Inadequate” due to lack of science about the impacts on the Delta ecosystem and endangered species.
For more information on the Restore the Delta visit www.restorethedelta.org.Read More
Contra Costa lawmaker also joins Budget panel
Sacramento – In an expansion of his role in the California State Senate, Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, (9th District), was named on Wednesday as Chairman of the Banking & Financial Institutions Committee and to serve on the Budget and Fiscal Review Committee.
Glazer, who was elected in May 2015, will serve on the Budget Subcommittee on State Administration and General Government. He also serves on the Public Safety, Insurance and Governmental Organization committees.
Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de Leon made the nominations, which were approved by the Senate Rules Committee.
“I’m pleased to have someone with Steve’s knowledge shepherd the Banking and Financial Institutions Committee and join the Budget and Fiscal Review Committee,” de Leon said. “His experience will be critical to the committees as it takes on issues of great importance to all Californians that create economic opportunity and financial security.”
Glazer said he is “appreciative of the confidence that the President pro Tem is showing in me by tapping me as chairman of the important Banking and Finance Committee.
“One of the most important tasks of a legislator is to be a good steward of the state’s finances, so I’m pleased to have a seat at the budget table.”
Glazer represents most of Contra Costa County in California’s 9th State Senate District.
A unique program that sends doctors from Contra Costa County to train physicians around the world is holding an event, on Monday, March 14 in Pleasant Hill, to raise money to continue its work in countries with limited medical resources.
The Contra Costa Global Health Fellowship is one of only six family medicine global health fellowships in the country, according to Dr. Neil Jayasekera, the fellowship’s founder and co-director. The fellowship, an initiative of the Contra Costa Family Medicine Residency Program that works in collaboration with UC San Francisco, was started in 2011.
Fellows train family physicians in other countries to build capacity for them to provide care in their communities. Global health fellows have trained local doctors in Kenya, South Sudan, India and Mexico. Most recently, fellows have been the African nation of Malawi to train medical students there. Malawi has one of the lowest physician-to-patient ratios in the world, as well as some of the poorest health outcomes.
“We are helping train the next generation of physicians in Africa. We’re providing the mentorship and the skills that will allow them to diagnose and treat disease, alleviate suffering, and save their patients’ lives,” said Dr. Jayasekera, who works in the emergency department at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center. “Our philosophy is teach one, help many.”
Dr. Mena Ramos, a current global health fellow, recently returned from a training expedition to Malawi. The experience was extremely rewarding, she said.
“After 3 years of residency training, the global health fellowship allowed me to share the skills I learned while at Contra Costa with providers in East Africa, and in turn, learn from their experiences providing care in a resource constrained setting,” Dr. Ramos said. “There is nothing more empowering than walking away knowing that you have shared a skill that will be useful to patients and communities beyond your own.”
Dr. Jayasekera added that the program also produces local benefits. Global health fellows are the most committed to working with the underserved and are very likely to stay here in our community and work with most underserved and vulnerable patients, Dr. Jayasekera said. For example, he noted, two recent fellows are currently the lead physicians at two prominent homeless clinics in the Bay Area.
The March 14 event is being hosted by the Contra Costa Regional Health Foundation (CCRHF), a nonprofit agency that supports Contra Costa Health Services. Global health fellows will share their stories about the places they’ve been and the people they’ve helped.
Proceeds from the event will help pay for the fellows’ travel expenses and the purchase of critical medical equipment, such as portable ultrasound devices. The Contra Costa Family Medicine Residency program is a recognized leader in point-of-care ultrasound training for family physicians.
While most people think of ultrasound in connection with prenatal care, its use has become standard in many areas of medicine. Ultrasound is especially well-suited for physicians who work in under-resourced settings locally and abroad. Global Health fellows devote a lot of time teaching doctors and medical students in other countries how to use ultrasound devices in their healthcare practices.
“Ultrasound is like radiology in your pocket,” said Dr. Erin Stratta, a current global health fellow who has worked in Peru. “It can be used every single day with just about every patient that you see. It’s the future of clinical practice and I think it is going to change the face of medicine.”
Those who are unable to attend can still donate to the cause by on the Regional Health Foundation’s website at ccrhf.org.
For more information about the Contra Costa Global Health Fellowship, visit cchealth.org/residency/ghf.
WHAT: Fundraiser for Contra Costa Global Health Fellowship. Admission is $35. There will be complimentary wine (donated by Sky Terrace Vineyards) and appetizers (provided by caterer Lovable Feast).
WHEN: 6 p.m. to 8.pm. on Monday, March 14
WHERE: Pleasant Hill Community Center, 320 Civic Drive, Pleasant Hill
WHO: Hosted by the Contra Costa Regional Health Foundation, a nonprofit that supports Contra Costa Health Services
HOW: Register for the event or donate to the cause at ccrhf.orgRead More