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LifeLong Medical Care’s Hana Shirriel Awarded San Francisco Bay Area Albert Schweitzer Fellowship

WEST OAKLAND, CA – When you see the humanitarian work that Hana Shirriel has accomplished, you’re not surprised at all that the 29-year-old LifeLong Medical Care employee has recently been awarded a SF Bay Area Albert Schweitzer Fellowship.

When she heard that students at West Oakland Middle School were complaining about headaches and stomachaches because they were hungry and hadn’t eaten breakfast, she took action. Now 98% of the children at West Oakland Middle School have a hot breakfast.

Because of her respect and sensitivity to people, 60 families each week now come to the food pantry at the West Oakland Middle School (WOMS). They can select nutritious foods – products that they like -- geared to improving diseases like hypertension and diabetes.

Founded in 2006, the San Francisco Bay Area Fellows Program is one of fourteen Schweitzer program sites across the U. S. dedicated to preparing the next generation of professionals who will serve and empower vulnerable people to live healthier lives and create healthier communities..

Shirriel works full-time for LifeLong Medical Care as Adolescent Services Supervisor, running the food pantry at WOMS. She is a master’s in public health (MPH) student at San Francisco State University, taking classes at night. She is the only MPH student of the Bay Area Fellows, most of whom are medical students.

“The Fellows are amazing people who are doing great things. But my public health view of things is so different than how a medical student thinks,” said Shirriel. “I hope I can bring something to these other people so they can better understand how interventions and systemic issues can help the community.”

SF Bay Area Schweitzer Fellowship is a highly competitive program that selects graduate students from across the Bay Area to spend a year creating, implementing, evaluating, and sustaining a community service project related to health.    

Shirriel’s project will build off the work she does running the food pantry. “I will be creating a healthy community cook book using recipes from West Oakland families,” the majority of whom are African American and Yemeni, she says. “The plan is to sit down with families, discuss their recipes, assist them in incorporating healthier changes (if necessary), collaborate on cooking classes, and provide health education around nutrition and health conditions.”

“I’m really excited about it. I think it will be great,” says Shirriel, who says she first did a survey asking families if they were interested in sharing recipes and doing a cookbook.

The Richmond native says she is able to build trust and respect with the people who come to the food pantry because she understands their situation. She herself utilized public support and services from a young age. It was not until she went to college that she found the words for what she had experienced: “Oh, this is what social disparity is. This is what inequity is. It really clicked for me in college,” she says.

Shirriel bristles at the ploy that some school administrations have used, trying to leverage free school meals as incentive for students to behave well or to attend school on time. “It doesn’t work well for us,” she said.

At the food pantry, Shirriel greets clients and asks their opinion. “I’m very social with my families. You have to treat people with respect -- it’s not a shaming process. I thank them for coming and learn everybody’s name. I always say hello when I see them out in the community.”

Patrons have input on what kinds of food are stocked in the pantry. She did a survey with families, asking what kind of foods were helpful or what they needed in order to cook their family’s favorite recipes.

As she did with getting the free breakfast program at West Oakland Middle School, Shirriel is not afraid to advocate for a cause. She attended St. Mary’s High School in Berkeley as part of the Making Waves Education Program. “It fostered the fighter in me.”

The Schweitzer Fellowship culminates in Fellows becoming equipped to carry out important health ventures in the community once they complete their academic programs. They receive a great deal of mentoring during the year and workshops in leadership development, cultural awareness, engaging with the community, and other topics relevant to the work they are undertaking.  

After she graduates, Shirriel thinks she would like to continue to work in the Bay Area. Her MPH has a community focus with social justice. “I like being in the thick of it.”

About LifeLong Medical Care: LifeLong Medical Care is an innovative, non-profit Federally Qualified Health Center serving Alameda, Contra Costa, and Marin Counties with 14 health centers, two Dental Centers, an Adult Day Health Center, three school-based health centers, a Supportive Housing Program, and Urgent Care services. For more information visit: www.lifelongmedical.org.

LifeLong Medical Care Grapples with Shortage of Primary Care Providers by Providing a Range of Training and Residency Programs at its Health Centers

BERKELEY, CA – As surging health insurance enrollments under the Affordable Care Act increase the need for primary care providers, LifeLong Medical Care is grappling with the demand and helping to address the shortage by providing training and residency programs for a range of health care professionals.

Most of LifeLong Medical Care’s 17 community health centers have programs where students in various health professions gain clinical experience. LifeLong offers programs not only for medical residents, but also provides clinical training for nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and registered nurses.
At current utilization, California will need an estimated 8,243 additional primary care physicians by 2030, or 32% of its current workforce, according to a report by health workforce researchers Jeff Oxendine, Associate Dean for Public Health at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, and Kevin Barnett, a Senior Investigator at the Public Health Institute. The report, “Horizon 2030: Meeting California’s Primary Care Workforce Needs,” also states that California’s ratio of primary care physicians participating in Medi-Cal is about half of the federal recommendation.
“LifeLong has a formal relationship with the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) and University of California at Berkeley (UCB) Joint Medical Program, and we host the M1-M3 (first through third years of medical school) students at several sites,” says Eric Henley, MD, LifeLong Medical Care’s Chief Medical Officer.

Several LifeLong health centersalso host medical residents, including Kaiser Permanente Internal Medicine Residents and Highland Hospital Residents. In addition, LifeLong Medical Care hosts Touro College of Pharmacy Residents.

“We are working with the City of Berkeley to provide clinical experience for two preventive medicine residents they hope to be hosting in the coming year,” said Dr. Henley. LifeLong would provide training for the residents if they agree to accept positions with the city. The program is not yet finalized. The residents would be funded by the State Health Department.

LifeLong also provides training for two physicians as part of the domestic portion of the UCSF/UC Berkeley HEAL (Health, Equity, Action & Leadership) Fellowship. Each fellow rotates between an underserved domestic and international site. The training takes place at LifeLong’s facility in Berkeley. HEAL recruits from a diverse pool of highly qualified health professionals with a deep commitment to addressing health equity and social justice.

LifeLong also provides residency programs for nurse practitioners.

In addition, LifeLong is advocating for Assemblyman Rob Bonta’s bill (AB 2216) to support new or expanded primary care residency programs in federally qualified health centers, says Marty Lynch, LifeLong Medical Care’s Executive Director.

“We need funds to support this work,” says Lynch. “Most funds now go to academic medical centers or hospital-based residencies. As a result, it’s nosurprise we get too many specialists and not enough primary care physicians. It’s critical that we look at novel ways to train primary care providers so that we can meet the long-term needs of our community.”

About LifeLong Medical Care: LifeLong Medical Care is an innovative, non-profit Federally Qualified Health Center serving Alameda, Contra Costa, and Marin Counties with 14 health centers, two Dental Centers, an Adult Day Health Center, three school-based health centers, a Supportive Housing Program, and Urgent Care services. For more information visit: www.lifelongmedical.org.

Chabot College Gives LifeLong Medical Care Employee Faculty Excellence Award; Walter Wilson Named Outstanding Health Care Leadership Student

BERKELEY, CA – Chabot College has selected Walter Wilson, LifeLong Medical Care’s Pharmacy Program Compliance Coordinator, to receive the college’s faculty award for excellence as an outstanding business student in their health care leadership course.

The award is based on Wilson’s “excellent academic performance and positive professional contributions inside and outside of class,” according to Rob Leadbeater, Health Care Instructor at Chabot.

“I have a desire, I have a goal I want to meet. I want to contribute and make things better not only for the community and our patients but also for LifeLong Medical Care,” said 59-year-old Wilson.

Wilson is taking human resource management and financial management in health care organizations, as well as health care management. Although he had management experience before he started working at LifeLong Medical Care nine years ago, he said he really wanted to learn more specifically about management in a health care environment.

He takes all of his classes online, which requires “a lot of perseverance and good time management.” Wilson also works full time and is a single parent.

Wilson was chosen from a large group of exemplary candidates, according to Chabot. He was honored at a special awards ceremony May 10.

About LifeLong Medical Care: LifeLong Medical Care is an innovative, non-profit Federally Qualified Health Center serving Alameda, Contra Costa, and Marin Counties with 14 health centers, two Dental Centers, an Adult Day Health Center, three school-based health centers, a Supportive Housing Program, and Urgent Care services. For more information visit: www.lifelongmedical.org.

LifeLong Medical Care Receives a $50,000 “Innovations in Community Health” Grant from CVS Health Foundation

LifeLong Medical Care Receives a $50,000 “Innovations in Community Health” Grant from CVS Health Foundation

Grant is part of a multi-year initiative to help people nationwide manage and prevent chronic diseases

Berkeley, CA – LifeLong Medical Care has received a $50,000 “Innovations in Community Health” grant from the CVS Health Foundation, in partnership with the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC).

The grant has been awarded as part of the CVS Health Foundation’s commitment to address the need for more accessible, coordinated health care in local communities.

The “Innovations in Community Health” grant will help LifeLong Medical Care implement an organization-wide approach to panel management for adult patients with heart failure.

“Heart failure is a life-threatening chronic condition and one of the leading causes our patients are hospitalized. Closer management of patients with heart failure will improve their quality of life and hopefully keep them out of the hospital,” said Nermeen Iskander, Quality Director for LifeLong Medical Care.

Since 2012, the “Innovations in Community Health” grant program has awarded grants to community health centers nationwide that are committed to developing innovative, community-based programs and initiatives that focus on the management and prevention of chronic diseases, specifically heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and asthma.

This year’s grants are part of the CVS Health Foundation’s $5 million, multi-year commitment to expanding access to quality health care nationwide through partnerships with the National Association of Community Health Centers and the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics.

“Chronic diseases like hypertension and heart disease take a huge toll on health and mortality in our community,” says Marty Lynch, LifeLong Medical Care Executive Director. “LifeLong Medical Care works to improve healthy conditions in its community. This grant also helps us to improve how we care for our members when they seek medical care for chronic diseases.”

About LifeLong Medical Care: LifeLong Medical Care is an innovative, non-profit Federally Qualified Health Center serving Alameda, Contra Costa, and Marin Counties with 14 health centers, two Dental Centers, an Adult Day Health Center, three school-based health centers, a Supportive Housing Program, and Urgent Care services. For more information visit: www.lifelongmedical.org.

 

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