HEALTH IMPROVEMENT PARTNERSHIP OF SANTA CRUZ COUNTY 

2021 ANNUAL REPORT

A WORD FROM HIP

Dear HIP Partners and Community,

 

Equity has always been at the heart of HIP’s mission. As we unveil HIP’s 2021 Annual Report, it reveals equity’s centrality to our work, manifested as a daily commitment by the HIP Team. The COVID-19 pandemic provides us with clear evidence of how disparities impact health. Faced with this evidence, bolstering equity is the surest, clearest path to achieving overall community health and wellness. 

By focusing HIP’s 2021 CME programming, HIP Council conversations, and collaborative work through IBHAC and SNCC on addressing racism in healthcare, we opened conversations that led to new insights and committed actions. HIP’s Annual Community Forum – Juntos y Adelante: Advancing Recovery and Equity Beyond COVID-19 – elevated the work of our partners to do better by our communities of color, our LGBTQ+ community, and other marginalized groups, who too often have negative experiences accessing care and suffer from poor health outcomes. Addressing stigma in substance use disorder and making Medication Assisted Treatment available to the incarcerated population are other examples of addressing equity and bringing attention to the needs of our most vulnerable.

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By assessing HIP’s own infrastructure and hiring practices, we have assembled a team that better reflects the community of Santa Cruz county in race, gender identity, ability status, age, and other aspects of identity. Now, we are co-creating a culture of belonging at HIP, where each team member feels seen and valued for what they uniquely contribute. The team’s collective strengths open abundant opportunities to advance HIP’s mission, centered on health equity. In brief, we are challenging ourselves and each other to do everything with an eye toward serious consideration of who decides, who benefits, who pays, and what intended and unintended consequences are likely to result. In this way, we aim to be mindful of the implications of each decision on our aspiration of achieving health equity.

 

Thank you for engaging in this work with us and committing to centering equity in your own work. We hope that HIP’s 2021 Annual Report provides examples of how we are working towards our goals with intentionality. Whether it is the battle for reproductive justice or going the long mile of vaccinating our community, there is still much work ahead of us, in the community and within our own organizations. I am grateful that HIP is a place for leadership to gather, support, and put our hearts and minds together to achieve a more equitable society. 

 

Gratefully,

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Elisa Orona

Executive Director

MEET OUR TEAM

AMY
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Amy Mancia
Senior Program Coordinator

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ANAIS

Anaïs Muller Cohn
Operations Manager

BELEN

Belén Darris
Program Assistant

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BERENICE
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Berenice Herrera-Lopez
Operations and Program Assistant 

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CELYNE
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Celyne Demonteverde
Program Coordinator

ELISA

Elisa Orona, MS
Executive Director

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HEATHER
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JENNA
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Jenna Shankman
Program Associate

JUSTIN

Justin Medrano
Program Assistant

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RITA
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Rita Hewitt, MPH, CPhT
Program Manager

SETH

Seth Munki
Intern

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SHELLY
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Shelly Barker MS, RD, CDE
Program Director

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MARITZA

Maritza Lara, MS, BSN, RN
Program Director

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PAOLA

Paola Luna, MPH
Program Coordinator

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PRISCILA

Priscila Bacio
Program Assistant

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SIGOLENE

Sigolène A. Ortega, MPH
Program Manager

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SHRUTI

Shruti Police
AmeriCorps VISTA

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HIP MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS

  • Cabrillo College Student Health Services

  • Central California Alliance for Health

  • Community Foundation Santa Cruz County

  • Community Health Trust of Pajaro Valley

  • County of Santa Cruz Health Services Agency

  • County of Santa Cruz Human Services Department

  • Dientes Community Dental Care

  • Dignity Health Dominican Hospital

  • Dignity Health Medical Group

  • Encompass Community Services

  • Hospice of Santa Cruz County

  • Janus of Santa Cruz

  • Kaiser Permanente

  • Planned Parenthood Mar Monte

  • Salud Para La Gente

  • Santa Cruz Community Health

  • Santa Cruz County Medical Society

  • Stanford Children’s Health

  • Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center

  • Sutter Palo Alto Medical Foundation

  • United Way of Santa Cruz County

  • Watsonville Community Hospital

“Defining HIP values
was a great Exercise.”

— HIP Employee, July 2021 Pulse Survey

The HIP team, including all employees and interns, developed a Placemat that defines HIP’s six key values. After insightful discussions, Equity emerged as HIP’s most important value. As a representation of Equity, the core team that lead this activity was made up of a diverse group, including new members of the HIP team, veteran staff, and members representing all levels of the organization.

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“I’m proud to work alongside leaders with the initiative to diversify and grow HIP staff, and who understand the importance of building a Culture of Belonging for all HIP staff.”

—Sigolène Ortega, HIP Program Manager

  • 47% of staff identify as LatinX.
    35% as White. 
    12% as Asian. 
    6% as Biracial (LatinX and Black).

  • 60% of staff speak a language other than English.
    9 out of 10 of those speak Spanish.

  • 4 staff members were raised in the Monterey Bay.
    4 are (or will be) graduates of University of California, Santa Cruz.

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On May 27th, 255 community members, HIP partners, and staff tuned in to the annual community forum Juntos y Adelante: Advancing Recovery and Equity Beyond COVID-19. This year’s virtual forum highlighted keynote Ysabel Duron, an award-winning journalist, Duron’s current national work focuses on capacity building in racial and ethnic communities to partner in systems change to address inequities. Alongside local community leaders that identify as Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and People of Color; to discuss strategies for promoting individual and communal well-being through infrastructure, policies, and systems that prioritize security, connection, and equitable access to necessary care and support.

Elisa Orona affirmed that the Forum exemplifies HIP’s commitment to “support healthcare system improvement, emphasizing prevention and equity, through integrated, coordinated approaches designed to yield better outcomes for patients, staff, providers, and the community overall. Working through an equity lens, we focus on ensuring that individuals and families facing barriers to the fullness of health are ensured equitable access to resources they choose and need to thrive. We push toward better care and well-being for everyone.”

HIP’s Population Health team worked with three healthcare organizations, Doctors on Duty, Salud Para La Gente, Santa Cruz Community Health, to implement ACE screenings across 11 sites. The Cohort’s accomplishments included:

  • The three participating organizations’ overall average ACE Screening Readiness Assessment scores improved from 66% in Feb 2021 to 84% in June 2021.

  • Doctors on Duty met their bold goal to have 100% of their health care providers complete ACE training between February and May 2021; they also had the highest number of completed screens!

  • COVID-19 was a significant barrier, but all three health care organizations implemented and expanded ACE screenings while recognizing the value of integrating ACE screenings to help patients and families heal.

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Over the last 20 months, HIP has strengthened partnership with the local health jurisdiction, healthcare leaders, and community-based partners through convening, linking, and building trust. Through the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak, HIP and the County of Santa Cruz Health Services Agency (HSA) have transformed their partnership - creating new forums where collective goals are developed to mitigate the spread of disease, vaccinate, and ensure equitable access for all Santa Cruz residents.

“The Pediatric Health Work Group came together last year to provide consistent and evidence-based information for the pediatric community regarding COVID-19 and related issues. As pediatric clinicians, [we recognize that] every day we see many health issues caused by issues too complex to be solved in an exam room, and that require working [collectively] with our partners to address.”

—Raelene Walker, MD, Pediatric Health Work Group Chair

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SafeRx Santa Cruz County has been developing an increased focus on addressing stigma/bias, cultural humility, and our partnerships with criminal justice as part of our work to integrate a health equity lens. This has led to us to collaborate to initiate MAT services in the Jails program, through engaging new partners and garnering new funding.

"Overall it was handled very well..it was pretty smooth going in. It definitely helped my physical and mental well-being to be able to stay on my medication. And it helped support and strengthen my recovery.
Coming off opiates in jail is about the
worst thing you can go through. I
appreciated that I didn't have to do that!"

— Adam, MAT in Jail Participant

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In addition, we have been able to deepen our partnerships with local Harm Reduction services and the County MAT to provide low-barrier MAT services to the community through a street medicine model available to all members of our community, including those who are chronically unhoused.

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Complex Care Coordination encompasses a variety of programs that promote equity and address social determinants of health. The Unite Us Platform is a technology tool that connects humans to all services, efficiently referring and providing services in a closed loop referral system. We at HIP are building on the Cal-AIM goals of bridging silos across physical and behavioral health and reducing health disparities for all.

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Call to Action by Participants

"Commit to integrating equity measures into

grant deliverables"

"Keep HOPE alive....

let's have more meetings like this!"

"Treat others the way I would want myself and loved ones treated. Advocate and approach with compassion and empathy."

"Examine myself for bias"

"Continue this conversation amongst our team to maintain awareness and always 'check' ourselves when providing care."

"Actively assess and advocate for culturally competent, anti-racist and trauma-informed care"

"Address my own personal bias and investigate my implicit biases"

"Fight for my family and our neighbors in my grandmother's memory"

"Recruit and retain people of color in healthcare"

"Create career pipeline for CHWs and MAs to become licensed clinicians."

"Keep asking questions.

I was so unaware."

"Be present, and listen.

Wait to speak."

Financial Health

July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021

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2021 ANNUAL REPORT