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Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan Hosts 1st Community Alliance Connection Forum in San Diego

As many as one in four children in San Diego may be experiencing a mental health problem. Data show that childhood adversity is most common among African American and Hispanic children in San Diego, with poverty rates at a high of 22.9 percent. Unfortunately, the majority of these children are not getting the support they need. 

To address this challenge, Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan brought together more than 50 leaders from community-based organizations and public agencies to discuss and co-create solutions for Building Community and Childhood Resiliency initiatives in San Diego. It was a first-of-it- kind conversation about mental health awareness, trauma, and resources for women and children in the region.

San Diego Forum Group Photo
Left to right: Dr. Nicholas Yphantides, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer, County of San Diego; Amanda Lasik, Blue Shield of California, Blue Sky Program Manager; Marguerite Womack, Director of Community Engagement, Blue Shield Promise Health Plan; Alejandrina Ricardez, Manager, Community Engagement, Blue Shield Promise; Kimberly Fritz, Director of Accounts Management, Blue Shield Promise; Nicholas Zinter, Community Representative/Communications Manager, Office of Honorable Supervisor, Nathan Fletcher; Rosa Ana Lozada, L.C.S.W., CEO, Harmonium Inc., and Dr. Moisés Barón, Ph D., President and CEO, Center for Children.

As part of Blue Shield of California’s BlueSky, to support mental health for middle and high school students, the event included a session about innovative programs to help San Diego Country youth in multiple areas such as cognition, brain development, behavior, mental health, relationships, emotions, and physical health.

“The forum helped foster new ideas and suggestions on how the San Diego area can best address the most important health situations facing the region,” said Kellie Todd Griffin, Senior Director of Community Engagement of Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan. “We were fortunate to have some of the most dynamic leaders from the region sharing their thoughts on improving access to care and addressing public health issues.”

During the discussion, panelist Dr. Moisés Barón, President and CEO, Center for Children, discussed how mental health indicators in San Diego are heading in the wrong direction. He urged community leaders to focus on improving access to services, underscoring the importance of thinking about the multitude of settings to provide this care: in school, at home and traditional settings like outpatient therapy.

Various themes emerged during the conversation including the immense importance of communities collaborating to support children in San Diego, the need for more cost-efficient translation services, the benefit of integrating prevention into every program provided to children, and the importance of leveraging startup companies in the area who can serve as partners to provide technology-based solutions.  

Additionally, it was announced that Blue Shield Promise has become a partner of the Live Well program, an integrated approach by San Diego Department of Public Health for improving the health, safety and overall well-being of residents and their communities. The event closed with Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan reiterating our commitment to creating safe spaces for children and promoting the well-being of women and children not only in San Diego, but throughout California.