[FILLED] Healthy Futures Initiative: Tobacco Retail Licensing

Host: California Health Collaborative
Openings: 1
Project Focus: Public Health
Skills Needed: Project Management, Relationship Management, Stakeholder Engagement, Technical Writing,

Remote or On-Site Placement

Hybrid – On-site staff meetings twice per month plus in-person events and public speaking. Otherwise, working from home. There is an office available in Turlock if the Fellow prefers working from the office.

Service Needs & Plans

The Fellow will serve the California Health Collaborative‘s Compromiso Adelante program in Stanislaus County. This program aims to educate residents and policymakers about tobacco’s health effects on the Latino community and advocate for effective tobacco control policies.

The program addresses social equity challenges by targeting health disparities caused by tobacco use among the Latino population in Stanislaus County, where the Latino population’s tobacco usage rate (14%) exceeds that of any other ethnic group in the county and the statewide average. Compromiso Adelante’s sting operation revealed high rates of illegal tobacco sales to minors, with one in four stores in Ceres and one in five in Riverbank selling to youth under 21. Implementing local Tobacco Retail License policies is expected to curb these sales, promoting health equity by reducing youth access to tobacco and fostering a healthier, tobacco-free environment in lower-income communities where tobacco retailers are more prevalent.

The Compromiso Adelante program and the cities of Riverbank and Ceres face several critical capacity gaps that hinder the effective implementation of Tobacco Retail Licensing (TRL) policies:

  1. Expertise and Efficiency: There is a significant lack of staff time and specialized expertise within the Compromiso Adelante program regarding the intricacies of TRL policy implementation. This gap hampers the program’s ability to develop and enforce effective tobacco control measures.
  2. Support for City Staff: The cities of Riverbank and Ceres experience staffing challenges that limit their capacity to address the complexities of TRL policies. City staff and elected officials often lack the necessary research and resources to fully understand and implement these policies.
  3. Health Outcomes Disparities: Higher rates of tobacco use among the Latino population in Stanislaus County contribute to significant health disparities. Current efforts are insufficient to effectively reduce underage tobacco sales and improve health equity within this community.
  4. Sustainability and Long-term Impact: There is an absence of a clear, sustainable framework for ongoing policy enforcement and public health education. This gap prevents the establishment of long-term improvements in community health and resilience against tobacco-related health disparities.
Project Description

1. Overarching Goals of the Project:

The primary goal of the Healthy Futures Initiative is to ensure successful adoption and enforcement of Tobacco Retail Licensing policies in the cities of Riverbank and Ceres. This includes reducing underage tobacco sales, addressing health disparities within the Latino community, and promoting a healthier, tobacco-free environment.

2. Role of the Fellow in the Project:

The Fellow will spearhead the research and development of Policy Implementation Plans for Riverbank and Ceres. This includes:

  • Collaborating with city staff, elected officials, and community members to gather input and ensure policies are tailored to local needs.
  • Drafting comprehensive implementation strategies that outline steps for compliance, enforcement, and community education.
  • Organizing training sessions for retailers on the new licensing requirements and compliance measures.

3. Desired Project Outcomes in Terms of Resources Developed:

  • Policy Implementation Plans: Comprehensive documents for each city that include:
    • Recommended licensing fees
    • Recommended departmental oversight (e.g., code enforcement, environmental health)
    • Timeline for implementation
    • Best practices for retailer education
    • A retailer diversion program for noncompliance
    • Recommended plug-in policies, such as retail density restrictions and storefront advertising restrictions
  • Training Materials: Resources and guides for retailers to understand and comply with the new licensing requirements.
  • Compliance Monitoring Tools: Systems and checklists for city officials to monitor retailer adherence to the policies.

4. How These Resources Will Help Increase the Agency’s Capacity to Address the Resilience Challenges:

  • Enhanced Compliance and Enforcement: The Policy Implementation Plans will provide a clear roadmap for city officials and retailers, ensuring effective and consistent enforcement of the new regulations.
  • Increased Community Engagement: Training materials and community education efforts will empower residents to understand and support the policies, fostering a collaborative approach to reducing tobacco use.
  • Support for City Staff: The plans will aid Riverbank and Ceres staff and elected officials by offering well-researched resources and answers to common questions about TRL implementation, thereby streamlining the adoption process.
  • Improved Health Equity: By reducing underage sales and limiting youth access to tobacco, the project will directly address the health disparities in the Latino community, promoting a healthier population.
  • Sustainable Impact: These resources will establish a framework for ongoing policy enforcement and community education, contributing to long-term public health improvements and resilience against tobacco-related health disparities.
Desired Skills

The ideal Fellow will have a background and interest in policy, planning, public health, social justice, political science, sociology, or environmental health. The Fellow should be bilingual in Spanish and have strong research, community engagement, and project management skills. Experience with environmental justice, planning, environmental health or public health is preferred.

Organization & Workplace Highlights

Founded in 1982, The California Health Collaborative (Collaborative) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization committed to enhancing the quality of life and health of the people of California, particularly the underserved and underrepresented. With a focus on preventive health measures and community-based initiatives, CHC works collaboratively with local partners to address critical health issues and promote sustainable, healthy lifestyles.

The California Health Collaborative has over 100 employees and works very hard to ensure that everyone feels connected and heard, even in the mostly-virtual environment that we are currently working in. There are several organization-wide newsletters, a diversity council that hosts events and trainings, an Employee Assistance Program for extra help when needed, and an “espresso with Steve” opportunity for anyone in the organization to chat directly with the CEO Stephen Ramirez. The Fellow would be working as a team-member on the Compromiso Adelante program which consists of one project coordinator and one part-time director. The Compromiso Adelante team meets regularly and works closely together on all activities.

On April 20, 2022, The California Health Collaborative Board of Directors voted to accept the California Health Collaborative Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council by-laws formalizing that the DEI Council will serve as a permanent standing committee within the organization. The mission of the council is to create more equitable, inclusive, trauma-sensitive, and culturally responsive environments through healing centered practices, elevating diverse narratives and analyzing systems and policies. The council offers a variety of activities and trainings to all CHC staff regarding DEI issues.

The Compromiso Adelante team is connected into a larger network of CHC tobacco control projects across Northern California, eight projects (each with 2-3 team members) in all. The California Tobacco Control Program, through which Compromiso Adelante is funded, also provides many trainings, conferences, and leadership development programs that the Fellow could take part in. Working in rural Stanislaus County will provide the Fellow with a unique opportunity to address community needs in small majority-minority towns where there is often a lack of funding and community-based organizations.

Community Highlights

Stanislaus County is a small rural county located in the Central Valley of California. As of the 2020 census, the population was 552,878. Like many rural central valley counties, the smoking rate in Stanislaus County is higher than the state rate, 15.5 vs 6.7 percent and tobacco-related diseases take a larger toll in Stanislaus County than elsewhere in the state. For example, cardiovascular disease mortality per 100,000 is 479.0 in Stanislaus County compared to 382.5 statewide.

The County hosts a large Latino population, approximately 265,978, accounting for 48 percent of the population, and making it the largest ethnic group in the county. Statewide, adult smoking prevalence rates are somewhat lower among Latinos than among non-Hispanic Whites, however in Stanislaus County Latino rates are higher at approximately 13.6 percent (12.9 percent for whites) and have the highest smoking rate of all ethnic groups in the county.

Stanislaus County is a short drive from world-renowned destinations such as Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park, and Mammoth Lakes, Napa Valley and San Francisco.

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