Thoughts from the CEO
Dear CARESTAR community:

What a year it has been - for the world, for democracy, for California, for healthcare workers, and most certainly for our organization. 

Two years ago, when I was asked to serve as CARESTAR's very first CEO, I was elated. I was also humbled by the complexity of the emergency response landscape; however, I knew my career in primary care could help this new organization break silos, increase collaboration, and ultimately improve health delivery systems throughout the state. I also knew there were many experts in the field to tap into for guidance and have appreciated how many of you have shared your knowledge with us over the past couple of years.

This sense of collaboration and partnership has carried me through during some of the darker moments these past nine months, when hopelessness brought on by the onslaught of “unprecedented” situations ranging from COVID-19 to the obvious racial injustice in our country has felt overwhelming.

And lately, I am actually starting to feel a growing sense of hope. Hope in the unified voices around the world calling for greater justice and equality for all. Hope in the thousands of volunteers and poll workers who came out to help ensure a safe and fair election. Hope in the latest vaccine news. And hope in the small positive steps that I see in public health and in emergency response (see Community Paramedicine news below). 

For CARESTAR, in 2020 we continued our journey to be a catalyst for innovation in the world of emergency response. Our big milestones this year include a rigorous strategic planning process, reimagining and refocusing CARESTAR’s mission and vision, expanding our Board of Directors, and staffing up internally with the addition of a Communications Director as well as our first Program Officer.

As a philanthropic organization working with first responders, we feel privileged and grateful to work alongside institutions and individuals that honor and value lived experiences, community-centered approaches, and the recognition that we can and must do better for all communities, but especially for people of color.  

As we approach 2021, we commit to staying focused and flexible to meet the needs of a changing world, and I’m excited to partner with our grantees, fellow funders, and local and state-wide agencies to continue to find, fund, and advocate for a better, more equitable emergency response system. Although this year has challenged us in ways we never anticipated, it has reinforced the importance of the work that CARESTAR does, and I’m energized by what's to come and the possibilities ahead. 

From all of us at CARESTAR, we send our best wishes for your health and well-being into the new year.✨

In community and partnership,
Welcoming New Board Members
“For us to truly achieve a more equitable, unified, and compassionate emergency response system in California, we will need diverse perspectives, deep expertise, and a group with shared values guiding our work...Sarah, Michael, and Jane are not just leaders in their fields, but they have a true understanding of the importance of placing systemic inequities at the center of what we do.”

Tanir Ami, CEO of the CARESTAR Foundation

Sarah de Guia
is the CEO of ChangeLab Solutions, a national organization that advances equitable laws and policies to achieve better health for all. As CEO, Sarah oversees development and implementation of the organization's long-term goals, priorities, strategies, and budget. 
Dr. Michael Rodríguez
is professor and vice-chair in the Department of Family Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.  
Jane Smith
is an expert in EMS with 37+ years of experience, working in all ranks including field paramedic at Allied Ambulance in Oakland; dispatch captain with the San Francisco Department of Public Health Paramedic Division; and as SF Fire Department EMS Chief. 
2020 Grant Highlights
In 2020, we proudly awarded $4.2M in grants to innovative organizations, projects, and programs working to improve emergency response across California. A brief look at some of the work we supported throughout the year:

  • System transformations including technology to enable the sharing of critical health information between field responders and emergency departments;
  • Community Paramedicine provider training and deployment in fire and ambulance agencies;
  • National coordination of hospital-based violence intervention programs;
  • County-based pilot program to treat and provide wraparound support to patients struggling with opioid addiction; and
  • “Reimagining first response” research to better understand the current use of the 911 system. 

We look forward to continue learning from and with our grantees in 2021 to realize a more equitable, unified, and compassionate emergency response system.

Annual Leighton Memorial Grant Award Announced!
Feather River Health Foundation/ Adventist Health Feather River was recently recognized with a $100,000 donation from the CARESTAR Foundation for its heroic efforts during the 2018 Camp Fire.

What We're Seeing & Reading
AMA: Racism is a threat to public health
Building on its June pledge to confront systemic racism and police brutality, the AMA has taken action to explicitly recognize racism as a public health threat and detailed a plan to mitigate its effects. American Medical Association

The Community Responder Model
Today, a significant portion of 911 calls are related to quality-of-life and other low-priority incidents that may require a time-sensitive response but are better suited to civilian responders, rather than armed police officers. Center for American Progress

Cities Aim To Remove Police From Most Psychiatric, Substance Abuse Calls
Three cities, including San Francisco, are taking the police out of responding to most mental and behavioral crisis calls. Instead, mental health professionals and paramedics would respond first. NPR
We're Growing!
We are thrilled to announce that Linda Song Wendel recently joined our team as Communications Director. Linda brings a wealth of experience in communications and philanthropy, and has helped organizations achieve growth, positioning, and social impact through strategic partnerships and empathetic storytelling. Learn more
Our Mission: To improve health outcomes for all Californians, we use a racial equity lens to fund and advocate for improvements to our emergency response system.

Our Vision: All Californians experience an emergency response system that is equitable, unified, and compassionate. The lives of people touched by trauma or injury dramatically improve because they receive the appropriate care, services and supports they need to heal and prevent re-injury.
©2020 CARESTAR Foundation. All rights reserved.