Foundation awards $2.25M to Calif. projects working on equity in emergency, prehospital care

CARESTAR grants will go to Nuestra Communidad, the National Indian Justice Center and the Loma Linda University Health Department of Emergency Medicine


By Leila Merrill

BERKELEY, Calif. — The CARESTAR Foundation announced Monday that it has awarded three grants totaling $2.25 million to multi-agency collaboratives across California working on equity and innovation in emergency and prehospital care.

The foundation said in a news release that the grants will help organizations and projects “catalyze new and better ways for all Californians to receive the most appropriate emergency and prehospital care when and where they need it, delivered by first responders and other healthcare providers who reflect the rich diversity of their communities.”

Tanir Ami, CARESTAR Foundation CEO, said that the new partnerships
Tanir Ami, CARESTAR Foundation CEO, said that the new partnerships "represent the next phase of our work, which is bringing community-based organizations into relationship with traditional emergency response agencies." (Image/CARESTAR Foundation)

Nuestra Communidad’s Project Lifeline will receive $750,000 over three years. The initiative is focused on creating systemic change in the Sonoma County 911 system to better serve all community members including immigrants, low-income residents, and people of color. Project Lifeline has a two-pronged strategy: collecting and sharing residents' opinions, experiences, and fears about calling 911 with local EMS responders, and working with EMS professionals to understand and address these barriers.

The National Indian Justice Center in Sonoma County will receive $750,000 over three years. The goal of its project is to transform Sonoma County Native peoples and communities' experience with emergency and prehospital care. The plan is to gather a network of key partners from tribal health organizations, local emergency services, tribal youth programs, and the Santa Rosa Junior College to share experiences, discuss challenges, and build trust toward improved local emergency and prehospital care. The intended result is a comprehensive plan for a Climate Ready Tribal Community Health Representatives training program in Sonoma County that will liaise with the Coastal Valleys Emergency Medical Services Agency and a local hospital.

Also receiving $750,000 over three years are the Loma Linda University Health Department of Emergency Medicine, Riverside County Emergency Management Systems Agency, and Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency. Together, they plan to form a comprehensive, community-centered program to provide emergent and sustained opioid treatment and service to individuals at risk for overdose in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The Emergency Management Strategies to Decrease Opioid Deaths project will incorporate community voices in the design and implementation of the project to address racial inequities in treatment for addiction and help EMS providers better understand the local and cultural needs related to emergency services' response to drug overdoses. Building on an initiative called Leave Behind Naloxone, a key component of EMSDOD will be to add two Emergency Medicine Substance Use Navigators trained to link individuals to wrap-around services in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

"Since the launch of CARESTAR four years ago, we have spent considerable time and effort to reach out to local communities, really listen to what they are saying about their experiences with emergency and prehospital care and build meaningful relationships with organizations that share our vision," said Tanir Ami, CARESTAR Foundation CEO. "I am thrilled about these new partnerships because they represent the next phase of our work which is bringing community-based organizations into relationship with traditional emergency response agencies to transform this part of our California's healthcare system into the equitable, unified, and compassionate one we all need and want."

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