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Health Care: Mid-City CAN eNews

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Building Healthy Communities: City Heights
July 2012
Civil Rights Act, high court ruling basis for health-care language right
Monroe Clark's wellness center aims to keep students healthy
Access to Health Care group makes push for face-to-face translation
In their own words: Attendees talk about Boys and Men of Color camp
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Civil Rights Act, high court ruling basis for health-care language right
The Legal Framework for Language Access in Healthcare Settings: Title VI and Beyond "The legal foundation for language access lies in Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which states:

'No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.'

Congress passed the Civil Rights Act to ensure that federal money was not used to support discriminatory programs or activities. In interpreting Title VI, the Supreme Court has
treated discrimination based on language as equivalent to national origin discrimination."
- excerpt from "The Legal Framework for Language Access in Healthcare Settings: Title VI and Beyond" by Alice Hm Chen, MD, MPH, Mara K. Youdelman, JD, LLM, and Jamie Brooks, JD

Donna Magden, Monroe Clark Middle School nurse
Donna Magden, Monroe Clark Middle School nurse

Monroe Clark's wellness center
aims to keep students healthy

On June 26, Monroe Clark Carnival and Health Fair had a major milestone to celebrate.


The school opened the Monroe Clark Health and Wellness Center, funded by The California Endowment. Mid-City Community Clinic and La Maestra Community Health Centers operate the on-site health center, alternating two and a half days each.


"We are very excited about it," said Andrea Karp, a licensed clinical physiologist with Mid-City Community Clinic. "It's one of the first of its kind in San Diego."


City Heights' Central Elementary School has a similar clinic. The new Monroe Clark clinic has three exam rooms and a special room for infants. It also has a separate entrance from the rest of campus.


It is not only the health of the students that the clinic is designed to help. Having health services on campus keeps students learning.


"It's an opportunity for us to bring medical services to the children of this community where they don't have to leave their school," Karp said. "It's a lot easier for their parents and for them."


Monroe Clark Middle School nurse Donna Magden said staying healthy and minimizing school absences is a big plus.


"It's on the campus, so it's convenient and easy for them," Magden said.


The clinic serves Monroe Clark students and their siblings, as well as the feeder schools of Hamilton Elementary, Rowan Elementary and Florence Joyner Elementary.


Coming to campus for the clinic also lets future Clark students get familiar with the campus before they enroll, Magden said.


KT Helgesen, a Mid-City Community Clinic pediatric nurse practitioner said having a holistic approach is one of the major benefits of the clinic.


"One of our goals is not only to provide comprehensive service or kids here, but also to decrease the amount of school days missed," she said. "If we can decrease missed attendance days by 10 percent, that's 10 percent more money the school district is going to get that year."


And staff members at the clinic reschedule routine health appointments based on students' needs, Helgesen said.


"If it's a class that you're failing, we aren't going to give you an appointment at that time," she said.


Monroe Clark Health and Wellness Center

4388 Thorne St.

(619) 563 6801 ext. 2018

7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday


Health center services

  • First aid
  • Health, vision, dental, hearing and scoliosis screenings
  • Health promotion and counseling
  • Communicable disease control and immunizations
  • Maintaining health records of all students

Access to Health Care group makes
push for face-to-face translation

The Mid-City CAN Access to Health Care Momentum Team has completed planning for The Building Healthy Communities Initiative for an ambitious campaign to ask insurance companies to reimburse for face-to-face translation costs.


The Supreme Court has interpreted the 1964 Civil Rights Act as "discrimination based on language [is] equivalent to national origin discrimination," according to "The Legal Framework for Language Access in Healthcare Settings."


However, the reality for many patients is that can mean a long wait for a phone call from an interpreter.


Amina Mohamud, co-chair of the Access to Health Care Momentum Team and member of City Heights Hope, knows this from experience.


"I went to a clinic and asked for interpretation," Mohamud, originally from Somali, said through an interpreter. "I had to wait four or five hours for them to arrange a telephone interview with someone -- maybe from a different state.


"So there are a lot of issues, and sometimes we say 'I don't want to go to the doctor,' even when I'm sick."


Momentum team plans include reaching out to the California Health Benefits Exchange, which the state created to comply with the national health-care reform law, titled the Affordable Care Act


The exchange will become a connector of people and insurance coverage. The exchange estimates 2 million Californians will buy insurance through it in 2019. Starting in 2014, the exchange will be California's method of delivering subsidized care to those earning up to four times the poverty level. Because the exchange will become such an important part of the insurance market in California, it will have enormous influence.


Birefes Ali, a City Heights resident as well as an Access to Health Care Momentum Team member and City Heights Hope member, says that requiring insurers to reimburse face-to-face translation would improve health care for many.


"Whenever I go to the doctor's, [I have a] problem understanding my doctor, or the doctor [has a problem] understanding me," she said.


Ali, who is originally from Ethiopia, said when she was pregnant she was offered telephone translation.


"It doesn't really make any sense," Ali said. "My broken English is better, because we are talking and waiting.


"It's not easy. It's a big mess"


The Access to Health Care Momentum Team is taking a break from meeting until Aug. 27, after Ramadan ends. Afterward, the group will begin working with community partners on implementing their new plan and on an enrollment event at Colina Del Sol Park.


"The aim of that event is to bring together all immigrant groups, and for us to really understand this is an issue that affects immigrants across the board," Mohamud said.

AHMT meeting
Members of the Access to Health Care Momentum team discuss medical interpretation on July 16 at the Scripps City Heights Wellness Center.

In their own words: Attendees talk about Boys and Men of Color camp

The California Endowment and Sierra Nevada Journeys are supporting a weeklong summer enrichment camp from July 15 to 21 in Portola (45 minutes northwest of Reno) for 115 boys and young men of color affiliated with Building Healthy Communities sites for the summer.

Attendees are 15 to 23 years old.


City Heights sent a group of seven boys and men of color to attend the camp. Two of them talk about why they are going.


The camp's goals include fostering youth leadership development, increasing knowledge of health equity issues, forging relationships between young people across Building Healthy Community sites and supporting team building in a natural environment.


To read more, click here



I'm Armand Binombe, I'm 16. I go to Crawford [High Educational Complex] and will be a junior this coming school year.


We are going to Portola, going for a summer Boys and Men of Color camp.


It's for fun, but it's mostly a leadership enrichment camp. So we are going to learn how to become leaders in our community and learn how to get involved in the community.


I'd like to bring back teen engagement. We don't have a lot of teens being active in the community.


They don't really get involved.


My name is Ali Ahmed. I'm 14. I'm going to Crawford, I'll be a freshman this year. I'm going to the camp sponsored by The California Endowment and Sierra Nevada Journeys.


It for Boys and Men of Color, and the purpose is to try to get these people from a bunch of cultures to understand each other. They will try to help out the communities where they live and try to solve some of the problems there and make it a better place.


We will learn how to have the skills to resolve conflicts.


I'm excited about it.


It will be important to learn how to solve problems, because it is kind of an issue when you get in a fight or something and you don't want to hurt someone, and you don't want to argue.


You just want to stop it.


City Heights Boys and Men of Color attendees
City Heights Boys and Men of Color attendees

The California Endowment

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