San Diego may top lists of America’s healthiest cities, but there is still work to be done when it comes to ensuring that every San Diegan has access to things that ensure good health: fresh, healthy foods at reasonable prices, safe outdoor spaces to exercise and the chance to receive affordable healthcare. United Way of San Diego County is working with its partners and community leaders to ensure these opportunities are realities.
United Way’s work focuses on four areas—education, financial self-sufficiency, health and homelessness. We recently held a series of community conversations to determine local perspectives on healthy living.
We talked to a diverse group of community members—crossing multiple socio-economic classes, occupations and geographies. We also interviewed top professionals with diverse expertise in the field, including individuals at 211, Chula Vista Community Collaborative, Kaiser Permanente, San Diego Medical Society and UC San Diego Health Systems.
Whether speaking to employers or employees, parents or children, experts or ordinary residents, we heard three common themes:
- A health care system that is fragmented and complicated to navigate
- Lack of access to affordable and healthy food
- Lack of access to affordable health care
Other local issues include: limited or unequal access to safe outdoor spaces for physical activity, limited prescription drug coverage and access to specialty care (especially mental health and dental), and limited access to preventative health activities.
“People should get the care they need when they need it,” voiced one community member.
Another San Diegan said, “I want equal access to health care and health education for everyone, not only knowing about proper diet but also having food accessible everywhere for proper eating.”
UWSD has formed a Health Vision Council, to determine its role in addressing these issues. There are many health concerns to tackle, but there are also many dedicated people and organizations in San Diego working to solve them—with the common goal of making the most significant community impact!
All of UWSD’s community work is driven by data, derived from research and reaffirmed by community conversations, so that we can make informed decisions and effectively evaluate the results.
To support our programs and improve health issues in San Diego County, make a donation here.