People Power for Public Health

California counties play a significant role in creating, funding, and transforming health safety net services, from behavioral health, public health, to emergency medical services. Through local policies and budgets, county staff and Boards of Supervisors hold power in affecting the health and well-being of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. 

For instance, CPEHN analyzed California county and city expenditures in 2018 and found that county and local governments have invested heavily in law enforcement ($25.2 billion) over public health services ($3.7 billion). These funding disparities have disproportionately harmed Black and brown communities to the detriment of these other vital services that keep people healthy and safe.

People Power for Public Health Report

The California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, in collaboration with the California Health Care Foundation and CARESTAR Foundation, released the following report, “People Power for Public Health.” 

Two years after the racial justice protests following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless more, intertwined with the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that racism is a public health crisis. Without intentional investments, accountability, and community engagement, we will continue to see preventable death and disease.  

CPEHN surveyed nearly 1,000 people, held listening sessions in Sacramento, Fresno, Kern, Orange, and San Diego counties, and conducted 12 key informant interviews to understand respondents’ experiences with health care and emergency services and what challenges Black, Indigenous, communities of color face in accessing such services, as well as preferences for how and from whom they receive care.  

Does It Add Up? Examining How Counties Spend Their Dollars – Background document examing how Kern, Sacramento, Orange, San Diego, and Fresno counties spend their general fund dollars on public safety versus health and human services.

Kern County – Research and report done in partnership with Vision y Compromiso.

Sacramento County – Research and report done in partnership with Decarcerate Sacramento/ Community Care First Coalition.

Orange County – Research and report done in partnership with Multi Ethnic Collaborative of Community Agencies.

San Diego County – Research and report done in partnership with Vision y Compromiso.

Fresno County – Research and report done in partnership with Central Valley Urban Institute.

Reading List – This reading list is created for advocates, organizers and anyone who wants to get involved in their city or county budget processes in California. The information and resources in this list provide an overview on how local budget works, the impact of recent federal COVID-19 relief dollars locally, and actionable steps for the reader to make demands for more racially equitable, transparent and accountable use of local resources.

Past Event: People Power for Public Health Webinar

The California Pan-Ethnic Health Network and the Contra Costa Budget Coalition held a webinar to discuss how we can collectively move public health to work for our communities.

CPEHN surveyed nearly 1,000 people in multiple languages to understand their main concerns about accessing health care, emergency services, and what they need to be healthy. Hear about the report and our recommendations!

Slides: view slides here

Webinar Recording: