The Healthy Living Initiative
Health is about so much more than our hospitals and medical insurance. Our health is profoundly influenced by factors such as our neighborhood, our income, our education, and the color of our skin—even in Silicon Valley. For example, people who live in the heart of San Jose have an average life expectancy of 79.5 years, compared to 86.7 years for residents of Los Altos, Mountain View and Palo Alto. Among racial/ethnic groups in Santa Clara County, Latinos have highest rates of obesity and African-Americans have the highest rates of hypertension.
The mission of the Healthy Living Initiative is to eliminate these disparities by targeting families and individuals in vulnerable communities and providing the services and connections they need to enjoy the healthiest lives possible. We do this by:
Preventing and Managing Chronic Diseases
People who are most likely to develop a chronic disease such as diabetes often lack the resources to prevent the disease and to manage its symptoms and long term effects. For many, chronic disease can be debilitating and demoralizing; it is also expensive for the individual and our health care system as a whole. Fortunately, there are ways we can both prevent and manage chronic disease.
The Health Trust helps these people by:
- Providing evidence-based classes and workshops in managing chronic illnesses such as diabetes.
- Providing low-income people living with HIV/AIDS with Case Management Services, Housing Services and Nutrition Support.
The Health Trust is working to increase the capacity of families and communities to ensure that young children are healthy and prepared to succeed in school and in their lives. The Health Trust’s Family Resource Centers, funded by FIRST 5 Santa Clara County’s Learning Together Initiative, offer free programs and services including:
- School readiness – Developmental screenings, early literacy programs and art enrichment
- Nutrition and wellness – Oral health education, Zumba classes, sports skills development and garden programs
- Parent and family education – Positive parenting classes, financial literacy
- Information and community resources – Health insurance enrollment, benefit application assistance, referrals to other services
Linking People to the Health Care they Need
The Affordable Care Act has made it possible for many more people to have health insurance. Yet health insurance does not ensure easy access to quality health care. Many factors, such as income and language barriers, prevent people from getting the care they need, even once they have insurance. We work to ensure people have insurance and access to the health care system. The Health Trust does this work by:
- Reaching out to and enrolling families and individuals in health insurance through Covered California, MediCal and other programs. We also provide patient navigation services to low-income Latino and Vietnamese families to help them access and effectively use their medical care. To learn more about these services or to make an appointment with an enrollment specialist, email FamilyHealthInsurance@healthtrust.org or call 408.961.9813.
- Offering a Health Market on weekends at the San Jose Flea Market where San Jose residents can seek and obtain health services and resources such as insurance enrollment, oral health education, nutrition and wellness education, as well as chronic disease prevention and management. To learn more, call 408.961.9813 or AlfonzoR@healthtrust.org
A large number of Santa Clara County’s children have untreated tooth decay. Tooth decay can be painful and lead to loss of teeth and dental function. Pain from untreated dental disease can lead to eating, sleeping, speaking and learning problems in children which affect social interaction, school performance and quality of life. Tooth decay and other oral health problems are a result of a lack of good daily oral health habits, a lack of access to routine and preventative dental care (particularly in low-income communities and communities of color), and a lack of fluoridated water in much of San Jose and other parts of the county. To help address this problem, The Health Trust is:
- Conducting community-based oral health education for families.
- Enrolling children in dental insurance to provide them access to services.
- Operating two Children’s Dental Centers to provide dental care services for children regardless of insurance.
- Advocating for community water fluoridation; and developing a fundraising feasibility plan for water fluoridation.
Promoting Disruptive Innovation
Disruptive Innovation (DI) is a framework, first coined by Harvard Business School Professor, Dr. Clayton M. Christensen, which seeks to create value within a new market, eventually displacing the existing market and value networks. On January 19, 2012, The Health Trusted hosted the Disruptive Innovation Summit comprised of more than 100 leaders of Silicon Valley’s health care and nonprofit organizations. During the summit, Dr. Christensen encouraged leaders to think about how their organizations might benefit from thinking disruptively. The Health Trust has previously funded seven projects and is currently accepting Letters of Intent for projects that follow the Disruptive Innovation theoretical framework.