Janet Zipser Zipkin, a member of the Tahoe Donner Giving Fund, writes insightful articles about the larger community in Tahoe Donner News. Janet’s articles share valuable information about North Tahoe-Truckee, and inspire giving and volunteerism within her smaller community of Tahoe Donner. The Tahoe Donner Giving Fund is a private TTCF fund focused on connecting community members with the philanthropic causes that they are most passionate about.
The following article was re-printed in this week’s Sierra Sun Give Back Tahoe page.
Community Report Card Update: Health
Tahoe Truckee is often rated as healthier than other parts of the U.S., with lower obesity, less physical inactivity, fewer cigarette smokers and a greater sense of being in excellent health. Based on the recently released Community Report Card compiled by the Community Collaborative of Tahoe Truckee, a program of Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, here is a snapshot of our local health challenges and solutions to keep our community healthy.
In 2014, there were 160 DUI arrests in the Town of Truckee, with 21% of all traffic collisions involving a drunk driver. 69% of these DUIs report a Truckee address. Of particular concern is the effect of substance abuse on our youth. Research shows that alcohol can cause alterations in the structure and function of the developing brain, making our youth more susceptible to impulsive decisions and exhibiting a disregard for consequences.
In Truckee, substance abuse is actively addressed by local and national agencies. Approaches emphasize education in schools, high school athletic programs, community presentations and media events.
Sadly, we have seen far too many incidents of suicide, self-harm and feelings of depression in our community. A task force now addresses adolescent suicide by providing education on recognizing the warning signs and guidance on how to have a direct conversation regarding suicide. In-depth training about suicide prevention has been expanded for those who work with regional youth.
Although Truckee residents enjoy healthy lifestyles rich in recreation, nutrition and healthy choices, there are significant health disparities between our Hispanic and non-Hispanic residents. Our Hispanic residents fared worse in overall ratings of general health and were less able to see a doctor or dentist due to cost or lack of transportation.
Promotores, or Community Health Advocates, connect culturally diverse populations and underserved communities to medical, oral and behavioral health services including prevention and screening. Additionally, they identify and assist with resources and needs for food, housing, transportation, jobs and education.
Making it Better
The good news is that we have an opportunity to make a real impact on our community’s well-being by supporting the non-profit organizations that have been working so hard to improve our region’s health and human services.
With appreciation to the following folks for providing insights and facts for this article:
River Mika Coyote MPH, Health Educator, Placer County Children’s System of Care and Director for Tahoe Truckee Future Without Drug Dependence
Caroline Ford, Executive Director of Wellness Neighborhood/Community Health, Tahoe Forest Health System
Adam McGill, Chief of Police, Town of Truckee
Alison Schwedner, Director of The Community Collaborative of Tahoe Truckee