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FACES for the Future

FACES for the Future

Vesper Society is committed to improving the well-being of youth. So, we link arms with leaders and organizations creating long-term solutions in their communities. FACES for the Future at St. Rose Hospital in Hayward, CA, was founded in 2007 as a two-year program to motivate and prepare underrepresented youth for careers in the health industry. Partnering with the Eden Area Regional Occupations Program in Hayward, FACES provides high school students with unique opportunities to learn from healthcare professionals in various hospital settings and explore career options in the health professions. Students benefit from academic enrichment opportunities, including individualized tutoring and college preparation activities, leadership training, and multi-faceted psychosocial support services, including one-on-one case management. The program also assists FACES alumni with job and internship placements, academic and career guidance, and ongoing life coaching. One of the program activities supported by Vesper Society was a retreat in December 2017. Students of the FACES for the Future-Hayward program had the opportunity to attend an overnight retreat in San Francisco. The retreat, offered in partnership with St. Rose Hospital Foundation, Vesper Society, San Francisco State University, and Vision Quilt, taught the students about public health issues and to develop their skills as advocates for their own communities. Activities included a visit by students to San Francisco State University (SFSU) where they were welcomed by Dr. Leticia Marquez-Magana, Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology, and Director of the Health Equity Research Laboratory. Dr. Marquez-Magana taught them about the field of Public Health and got them thinking about the reality of health disparities and social determinants of health. The students completed exercises to understand how they can influence the decisions made at their own schools. They gained familiarity with the college campus and had an opportunity to participate in a mentoring session with SFSU... Read More

Asian Health Services

Asian Health Services

Every day, Vesper Society links arms with leaders in overlooked communities that want to create a healthy future and helps them devise ways to do it. Established in 1974, Asian Health Services (AHS) provides comprehensive health care to low-income Asian immigrant and refugee adults and youth in Alameda County. They provide mental health services in primary care clinics, with the support of mental health therapy and/or case management. Faced with the imminent closure of a decades-old mental health program that served many low-income Asian/Pacific Islander (API) immigrants and refugee youth and adults, the Alameda County Health Care Agency reached out to Asian Health Services in 2016. Committed to serving those with mental health care needs in a culturally and linguistically competent manner, AHS heeded the call, understanding how important it was to continue these specialty mental health services for over 400 patients. With this additional service, AHS broadened its continuum of mental health services to treat low, moderate and severe mental health clients. AHS providers soon faced challenges in treating patients within the framework of their existing program. First, some patients had more urgent needs: their daily functioning level was low, they had difficulty complying with treatment plans, and/or they had negative responses to their prescribed medications. Second, some patients had lessening needs: daily functioning levels had improved, and a primary care center was sufficient to meet their needs. But they didn’t want to stop serving these patient groups – who both needed continued psychiatric medication management and minimal mental health/case management support to sustain a higher level of daily functioning. With support from Vesper Society, AHS was able to set up additional services for these two groups, so they can navigate the continuum of care more smoothly. Vesper also supports the new AHS Tele-Psychiatry Program, which aims to mitigate provider... Read More

First 5 Humboldt ACES/Resilience Project

First 5 Humboldt ACES/Resilience Project

Vesper Society is committed to finding long-term solutions that help leaders and organizations in rural areas improve the well-being of their children and communities. In November 1998, California voters passed Proposition 10, the “Children and Families Act of 1998” initiative. The act instituted a tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products to provide funding for early childhood development programs. Revenues generated from the tobacco tax must be used to enhance the early growth experiences of children, enabling them to be more successful in school and ultimately to give them an equal opportunity to succeed in life. When voters passed Proposition 10, they launched a new model of responsive public agencies. In each of the 58 counties, the First 5 Commission was formed—made up of local community leaders, experts, and advocates. Complementing First 5’s efforts, the California Children and Families Foundation (CCFF), a nonprofit public benefit corporation, conducts regional and statewide projects that assist county commissions and the children and families they serve. With support from Vesper Society, CCFF funds First 5 Humboldt ACES/Resilience Project. Adverse childhood experiences (ACES)— stressful traumatic experiences and household dysfunction—are one of the greatest public health crises facing Humboldt County.  Growing up with family members with substance abuse disorders, witnessing domestic violence, child abuse, and neglect are some examples of ACES. Research shows that when children are exposed to chronic stressful events, their ability to cope diminishes and this can lead to substance abuse and behavioral problems. First 5 Humboldt understands that prevention is critical. Children must have a healthy beginning supported by adults who understand and care about them in order to develop into happy, healthy, contributing adults. First 5 Humboldt uses resilience science to inform the work they do on behalf of children and families. Vesper Society is honored to support these important long-term solutions that... Read More

United Indian Health Services

United Indian Health Services

Vesper Society believes that a just society begins when everyone is well and that rural areas need more attention. We support organizations like United Indian Health Services which has been providing comprehensive healthcare to Native American communities in remote Northwest California for over 40 years. Recognizing a medical need not met by their current offerings, UIHS goes above and beyond to provide dental services. Twice a year, staff members pack up dental chairs, equipment, and computer and drive a narrow two-lane road through the mountains to set up shop at Libby Nix Community Center in Weitchpec. They live there for two weeks, providing much-needed dental services like exams, fillings, extractions, cleanings, and oral hygiene instruction. Tribal government leaders keenly understand the oral health crisis in their communities, and UIHS is working closely with the tribes to provide more consistent and comprehensive dental services to this community. Vesper supports UIHS efforts to build two dental clinics in the area. The Yurok Tribe declared a state of emergency in response to a series of suicides in 2015. UIHS filled a gap in mental health services at the elementary school level in response to this situation. When the state of emergency came to a close in February 2018, Vesper Society funding enabled UHIS to continue providing a culturally-based behavioral health services program for youth in the Weitchpec... Read More

Open Door Community Health Centers

Open Door Community Health Centers

Every day, Vesper Society links arms with leaders who are working to improve the health of their communities. In the face of overwhelming urbanization, Vesper Society cares about what happens in rural areas and is proud to support Open Door Community Health Centers new facility in Fortuna. Open Door brings a proven model of sustainable healthcare, opportunity, and access to healthcare to the Eel River Valley, a picturesque community in the southern part of rural Humboldt County, California. Forty-seven years after opening its first clinic, Open Door now has 13 health centers and three mobile vans and employs over 650 people. Many of the natural resource-based businesses in the Eel River Valley—the cornerstone of its economy—have closed. As a result, professionals, including medical providers, have relocated to find employment in urban areas. Healthcare access has become a real challenge for the community with limited options, facilities located far from home, and specialty services like dental and behavioral health nearly impossible to find locally. Open Door provides a primary care family doctor to more than one-third of the county’s population. And Open Door’s focus on the continuum of care, from illness prevention and health maintenance to disease management and treatment, improves patient and community health and attracts providers to the area. With continued support from Vesper Society and hundreds of individual community members, businesses, and foundations, in 2018 Open Door opened its new 32,000 square foot community health, dental, and behavioral health center in Fortuna. The new facility offers team-based, integrated comprehensive services, including telemedicine. When fully staffed, the clinic will be able to accommodate up to 180 patients per day. After nearly five years of planning and construction, the new, state-of-the-art medical facility has helped recruit and retain healthcare providers and has been a boost to the overall quality... Read More

Street Level Health

Street Level Health

Vesper Society believes in a simple idea: a just society begins when everyone is well, and respected as a human being. Every day, we link arms with leaders of overlooked communities that want to create a healthy future, and help them devise ways to do it. Street Level Health is one of those leaders in Oakland, improving the health and wellbeing of underserved urban immigrant communities in the Bay Area. Over the past 15 years, their Health Access Program has supported thousands of low to no-income adults in the Fruitvale District of Oakland where 48 percent of households live below the Federal Poverty Level and 16,000 adults live at risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Known to many as the “safety net of the safety net,” Street Level Health’s center in the Fruitvale District serves a marginalized population excluded from the Affordable Care Act. According to the California Department of Health Services, through a Whole Person Care Model they triage clients who are 93 percent foreign-born with 43 percent having resided in the U.S. for less than three years. This population of Limited Language Proficient adults face a multitude of barriers that include language and literacy skills, legal status, unemployment, and lost work opportunities due to long wait times at Federally Qualified Health Centers. Increasingly, they also serve a growing number of the working poor who are unable to afford Covered California and have incomes that exceed the eligibility requirements for public benefits (138% – 200% Federal Poverty Level, which for a single person is $16,395). In September 2016, Vesper Society partnered with Street Level Health to respond to the lack of access to culturally and language responsive behavioral health services. These services focused on immigrants who face psychological and physical threats associated with extreme poverty, emotional trauma, and the... Read More

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