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PRESS RELEASE: Extensive Health Survey to Begin in the Eastern Coachella Valley as part of 10 year, $1 Billion Initiative "Building Healthy Communities"

 
 
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 PRESS RELEASE 

 
 

 

 For media inquiries, please contact: Gail Wadsworth
Executive Director, California Institute for Rural Studies
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For Immediate Release:

April 30, 2014

Extensive Health Survey to Begin in the Eastern Coachella Valley as part of 10 year,

$1 Billion Initiative

"Building Healthy Communities"

California Institute for Rural Studies and Loma Linda University this week will launch an extensive regional survey in the Eastern Coachella Valley. CIRS is training community residents in the collection and analysis of environmental health data to inform health and environmental justice policy priorities in the Eastern Coachella Valley.

Working with local partners Pueblo Unido CDCCalifornia Rural Legal Assistance and Inland Congregations United for Change, CIRS and LLU will be gathering information on environmental health and housing as part of the the Eastern Coachella Valley Building Healthy Communities Environmental Justice Data Project. This effort is part of The California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities initiative;10-year place-based initiative in 14 communities across the state that engages residents, nonprofit and public agencies to collaboratively takeaction to improve the health of their community and ensure that zip code does not determine an individual’s health or life expectancy.

CIRS and LLU will be surveying residents in five communities: Coachella, Oasis, Thermal, Mecca and North Shore over the course of the next year. Their goal is to gather health data from 350 household surveys in each of these 5 communities, totaling 1750 surveys.

The need for up to date and specific information on resident health and the environment is essential to create tools for advocacy and policy change that are impactful. The ultimate goal of this work is empowerment of the community to create change.

"This community driven research project will provide the region with real information on health issues and housing quality.  CIRS has hired local promotoras de salud (lay community health workers) and students from Loma Linda University to carry out the study designed by CIRS, Pueblo Unido CDC, Inland Congregations United for Change and California Rural Legal Assistance.  We expect the results will be used widely by advocates and policy makers who are looking for data to improve conditions in these communities."

 Gail Wadsworth, Executive Director,

California Institute for Rural Studies

 

 

 

From California Endowment (See full statement here)

"The Coachella Valley, located in the eastern part of Riverside County is a center of agriculture and tourism, as well as one of the poorest areas in the United States. More than one in ten families lives below the Federal Poverty Level. The towns of Coachella and Thermal - with populations of 35,000 and 10, 000, respectively - are home to many farm workers and Native Americans who live in substandard conditions with contaminated drinking water, leaving families with young children exposed to high levels of carcinogens and other pollutants. Per capita income in some of these communities is $7,000 and below. Chronic health conditions such as diabetes, asthma, hypertension and cancer are widespread, with the majority of farm workers and other residents unable to access a regular source of health care.

Despite these challenges, Coachella and Thermal are growing with many vital community-based organizations and a new, progressive leadership. Because of this emerging political will and increased community support, a movement to improve conditions for these farm worker communities is growing."

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 _________________________________

 For media inquiries, please contact:
Gail Wadsworth,
Executive Director, California Institute for Rural Studies
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
California Institute for Rural Studies
P.O. Box 1047, Davis, CA 95617

  California Institute for Rural Studies (CIRS) is the only California non-profit with a mission to conduct public interest research that strengthens social justice and increases the sustainability of California's rural communities.

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