I was given the opportunity in February of 2016 to sit for the first time in four years comfortably in the audience at the 18th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration in Marin City. I anxiously awaited my time in the schedule to speak about the youth social entrepreneurship and civic leadership program I administered the year prior. During that time I got the opportunity to reflect on the three years and a half years I had spent working the community.
The “Healthy People” Report sanctioned by the US Department of Health and Human Services gives us a definition of Public health based on the “The Social Determinants of Health.” This definition, as I have always understood public health to be, has not been the prominent definition used on the ground and is very misunderstood if known at all. The Social Determinants of Health represent the aspects that contribute to health beyond the traditional definition of individual health that included research, disease, data, genetics, and averages. We understand now that many other factors contribute to the health of a population including access to health and mental health services, education, environment and built environment, economic stability, and social support. I add to these determinants, technology. I have tried for some time to categorize technology however I thoroughly believe it is its own area overlapping with all others.
I started working at the Marin City Community Services District (MCCSD) a little over a year ago. MCCSD acts as the local government for Marin City and is governed by a five person publicly elected board (www.marincitycsd.org). When I started working in Marin City I quickly learned about the history, the vital statistics, the many organizations present, and started to identify barriers to success for individuals and organizations. It took a while to identify one of the major issues fighting against all the efforts to revitalize Marin City which was, the popular image that had been created for it.