prevention

Senator sees opportunity for change amid crisis

If every crisis also presents an opportunity, state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier thinks the state’s current predicament makes this an ideal time to restructure the way government operates. DeSaulnier, a former Concord city councilman and Contra Costa County supervisor, has seen California government from just about every level, and he has seen its dysfunction. Now he is chairman of the Senate budget subcommittee that deals with health and human servivces programs, and he is hoping to use the crisis to drive innovation and collaboration into the system. I caught up with DeSaulnier last week at the Working Families Summit in Sacramento, and discussed his take on the problem and potential solutions.

Megan Baier

Local grants will aim to transform communities, improve health

A little known part of the federal health reform enacted earlier this year aims to improve health by improving the conditions under which people live. Part of a planned $15 billion investment in prevention programs, community transformation grants will provide money to clean up neighborhoods, rejuvenate neglected parks, and expand access to healthy foods.

A different kind of Youth Uprising

An East Oakland center for young people is an oasis of hope in a community in crisis. It provides counseling, job training, recreation, health care and more. Soon it will host a series of meetings between Oakland police officers and local youth to try to reduce tension between law enforcement and the community.

Federal health reform bill includes a new focus on prevention

The federal health reform bill that President Barack Obama signed into law last week will expand access to health insurance for millions of Americans. But the bill will also pour billions of dollars into programs intended to keep those people from ever needing the kind of care for which they will now be eligible. The bill includes new mandates on public and private insurers to provide more check-ups and screenings without co-pays. But the most intriguing provision creates a grant program to transform communities in ways designed to improve the health of their residents.

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