Merced County health equity tour

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The Alliance established the Merced County Health Equity Tours in 2022 to help Alliance staff better understand the member experience of accessing health care services in Merced County. The tours focus on the local landscape and what obstacles members may experience, as well as promoting relationship-building between Alliance staff and Merced leaders. These tours align with the Alliance’s continued and focused efforts to provide members with equitable, person-centered health care.

The most recent tour, which took place in May 2023, centered around behavioral health. Ronita Margain, Alliance Community Engagement Director (Merced) led the tour. Alliance staff who participated were Shaina Zurlin, LCSW, PsyD., Behavioral Health Director and Julie Norton, Behavioral Health Program Manager.

Tour stops

Merced Navigation Center, which opened in 2021 with the support of a capital grant by the Alliance’s Medi-Cal Capacity Grant Program (MCGP). The center provides transitional housing, case management and supportive services to individuals experiencing homelessness.

Mercy Medical Center, where the team toured the emergency department and discussed behavioral health challenges with hospital leadership.

Merced County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS), where the team met with new BHRS leadership and had a tour of the facilities and the Marie Green Psychiatric Center.

Community Tour of the City of Merced, which included UC Merced, Golden Valley Health Centers and South Merced.

Next steps

The Alliance will continue to build relationships with Merced County leaders and is already planning follow-up tours in the fall.

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