The Petaluma Health Care District (PHCD) is playing a critical role in helping those impacted by the fires self-heal by serving as a catalyst for collective community action.
“The fires caused anxiety and stress throughout the region, elevating the need for education and access to trauma-informed care,” said Ramona Faith, CEO. “To respond to this need, PHCD offered special trauma-focused training sessions for health providers and those in other disciplines.”
A renowned bicultural and bilingual mental health professional came to Petaluma to conduct sold-out training on the impact immigration policies have on children and families who are already vulnerable due to their documentation status – and who are even more affected now as a result of the wildfires.
Through the Community Health Initiative of the Petaluma Area (CHIPA), awareness is being raised about the links between educational success and health, the impact of childhood trauma on life-long health outcomes, access to healthy foods and heart-health education.
By 2050, Sonoma County’s Latino population is projected to grow by over 60 percent, requiring a workforce that truly reflects the diversity of the region – particularly in the medical field.
Since 2015, PHCD has supported and dedicated funds to ignite interest in primary and mental health fields among Latino youth. The “My Future in Health Care” symposium in Santa Rosa introduces hundreds of teens to health career information. Through funding allocations from CHIPA, PHCD has enabled 63 Petaluma-area high school students and staff to attend this important event.
Petaluma Sober Circle is a two-year collaborative pilot effort of PHCD that connects homeless residents struggling with substance abuse with the Committee on the Shelterless, along with hospitals, charities, behavioral health centers and the Petaluma Police Department.
Success has been seen in an 80 percent decline in demand for police and an 83 percent drop in fire transport. As of December, 40 individuals completed substance abuse treatment and returned to a supportive shelter or alternative housing sites, and clients are visiting Petaluma Valley Hospital’s emergency department far less frequently.
In 2016-2017, PHCD provided more than $250,000 in charitable funds, sponsorships as well as in-kind and technical support to 28 nonprofit organizations, schools, civic groups and social service providers serving Southern Sonoma County.
Read about other winners of North Bay Business Journal’s 2018 Community Philanthropy Awards.