Resolution: 15-03

Opposing Proposition 54  

WHEREAS, Proposition 54 would prohibit state and local governments from the collection, analysis or use of information pertaining to race, ethnicity, and/or national origin by state and local governments; and,

WHEREAS, Proposition 54 will appear on the October 7, 2003 special election ballot; and,

WHEREAS, though medical research activities and actions taken to maintain federal funding are exempted, classification of public health data is not; and,

WHEREAS, there exist significant disparities on national, state, and local levels in health outcomes and incidence of disease across different racial and ethnic groups; and, 

WHEREAS, the San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH) identifies risk populations and creates targeted programs to reduce disparities by collecting and using race and ethnicity data on a local level; and,

WHEREAS, many African American residents have been burdened with an unhealthful environment, poverty and racial discrimination, and tracking these issues and the demographics of these issues has allowed DPH to target resources and effective environmental disease prevention programs (such as the Health and Environmental Resource Center) to vulnerable San Francisco neighborhoods; and, 

WHEREAS, the tuberculosis CHOPS (Chinatown Outreach Prevention Services) program was developed by DPH to combat high rates of tuberculosis among San Francisco’s Asian population, which accounts for three-quarters of the City’s new cases; and, 

WHEREAS, data showing that Latinos are most likely to be uninsured statewide mirror enrollment data for the City’s local children’s health insurance program Healthy Kids, which was designed to provide health coverage for previously uninsured children and has 57 percent Latino enrollment; and,

WHEREAS, DPH is committed to improving the health of all San Franciscans by developing and maintaining services that are culturally and linguistically competent, consumer guided and community based; and,

WHEREAS, Proposition 54 would significantly limit the ability of DPH to provide culturally competent and linguistically appropriate services, by restricting its ability to gather sufficient information to fully assess cultural competency either of staff or contractors; and,

WHEREAS, as DPH is increasingly reliant on grant funding and funders expect that applicants clearly define their proposed target population in terms of demographics, disparities and need, the Racial Privacy Initiative would put DPH at a clear disadvantage in competitive grant situations; and,

WHEREAS, one of the two primarily goals of the federal Healthy People 2010 guidelines is to eliminate health disparities; and,

WHEREAS, this initiative would severely restrict DPH’s ability to collect, analyze and respond to health disparities based on race, ethnicity, and/or national origin; and,

WHEREAS, Proposition 54 would obstruct DPH in fulfilling its mission to protect and promote the health of all San Franciscans; now, therefore, be it

 RESOLVED, that the Health Commission of the City and County of San Francisco commends the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for its opposition to Proposition 54; and, be it 

FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Health Commission urges the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor to use its lobbying resources to actively oppose Proposition 54; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Health Commission directs the Director of Health to provide the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor’s Office, and, furthermore, that we should also provide the public with information on the devastating impact Proposition 54 would have on the ability of DPH to effectively provide quality health and public health services for San Francisco.

I hereby certify that the San Francisco Health Commission at its meeting of August 19, 2003 adopted the foregoing resolution.

Frances Culp, Acting Executive Secretary to the Health Commission