The California Senate has created a new Select Committee focused on the social determinants of health – the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. Science is increasingly showing that children’s well-being, in particular, is linked to their social determinants. As an example, nearly a quarter of young children in California live in poverty – a fact that has profound educational, health, and economic repercussions now and in the long term in that they create inequities that could be mitigated. The Committee is looking at people from birth through age 26.
The bipartisan Select Committee members will hold a series of informational hearings that focus on the specific social determinants of health that drive negative outcomes, such as housing and homelessness, access to health care, immigration status, poverty and the safety net, land use, and education. The Committee seeks to understand challenges in the current systems with the various determinants and consider ways to improve outcomes for children.
Interestingly, the Select Committee has decided to have a geographic focus which includes areas of high poverty rates in the state: Los Angeles, the San Joaquin Valley, the Inland Empire, the Central Coast, and Northern Border/Tribal Lands. They are clear, though, that this geographic focus is not exclusive of their work.
The Committee is set to be active throughout the two-year session and all recommendations will be posted on their website. They held a rally to kick off the Select Committee this week, featuring a special address by labor rights leader Dolores Huerta, and with a focus on the communities in the San Joaquin Valley.
The members of the Committee are Senators: Chair, Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles); Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel); Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger); Bill Monning (D-Carmel); Richard Pan (D-Sacramento); and Susan Rubio (D-West Covina).
(Article courtesy of the Alliance for Catholic Health Care)