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News from the District:

August 24, 2023

Eden Health District Acknowledges National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

Eden Health District Board member Mariellen Faria recently accepted a proclamation (see below) from the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District (HARD), on behalf of the children and families of our community, declaring September National Childhood Obesity Awareness month.

“Childhood obesity continues to be a significant health concern locally and nationally. Research has shown that access to physical activity is essential to improve health and wellness. The availability of public parks and recreation creates healthy communities,” Faria said when accepting the proclamation on August 22.

“HARD has and continues to make parks and recreation available throughout the district. The more accessible the parks are to the community, the more of an impact they make on the health and well-being of children. Eden Health District supports HARD’s efforts to curb childhood obesity by building more community parks and creating recreation opportunities for children and adults,” she added.

Eden Health District looks forward to continued collaboration with HARD to improve the health and wellness of all members of our community.


National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

WHEREAS, September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month; and

WHEREAS, during the past four decades, obesity rates have soared among all age groups, increasing more than fourfold among children ages 6-11; and

WHEREAS, 31.8 percent or 23 million children and teenagers ages 2-19 are obese or overweight, a statistic that health and medical experts consider an epidemic; and

WHEREAS, significant disparities exist among the obesity rates of children based on ethnicity and economic status; and

WHEREAS, the financial implications of childhood obesity pose a financial threat to our economy and healthcare system, carrying up to $14 billion per year in direct healthcare costs, with people in the United States spending about 9 percent of their total medical costs on obesity-related illnesses; and

WHEREAS, due in part to the childhood obesity epidemic, 1 in 3 children (and nearly 1 in 2 minority children) born in the year 2000 will develop type 2 diabetes at some point in their lifetime if current trends continue; and

WHEREAS, some consequences of childhood and adolescent obesity are psychosocial and can hinder academic and social functioning and persist into adulthood; and

WHEREAS, participating in physical activity is important for children and teens as it can have beneficial effects not only on body weight but also on blood pressure and bone strength; and

WHEREAS, proper nutrition is important for children before birth and through their lifespan as nutrition has beneficial effects on health and body weight, and is important in the prevention of chronic diseases; and

WHEREAS, public, community-based, and private sector organizations and individuals throughout the United States are working to decrease childhood obesity rates in the United States through a range of efforts including educational presentations, media campaigns, websites, policies, healthier food options, and greater opportunities for physical activity; and

WHEREAS, the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District is extremely proud of our parks and recreational facilities and programs and their contribution to building healthy active lifestyles to recreate, play and build self-esteem, confidence and sense of self-worth, which contributes to the quality of life in our community;

NOW, THEREFORE, Let it be proclaimed that the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District Board of Directors does hereby declare the Month of September as National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

January 7, 2022

Eden Health District  Receives More Than $1.25M in Funding From State’s COVID Relief Fund

The Eden Health District has been awarded $1,250,663 from the California Special District Covid Relief Fund. The District plans to use the funds to continue critical pandemic related services in partnership with community and public agencies.  The funds were made available from a $100 million allocation provided by the State Legislature and Governor Newsom in the 2021-2022 State Budget.

“We our very grateful for the receipt of this award. It will help us increase our pandemic related services to the most vulnerable in our community.  Covid testing, vaccination, distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE), and spreading reliable and vital information have been the pandemic priorities for our District and this award will allow us to sustain and expand our reach,” said Mark Friedman, Chief Executive Officer.

Eden Health District is committed to improving health outcomes for the community’s most vulnerable residents by working closely with community and public agencies through prevention, health education, and rapid response to emerging health issues.

This funding arrives after special districts across California experienced budget and staff cuts necessitated as a result of the COVID pandemic. Throughout 2020 and 2021, California’s special districts provided essential services to their local communities, maintained a large portion of the state’s critical infrastructure, and employed thousands of front-line workers, but initially received none of the COVID relief funding available to cities and counties.

“Special districts are addressing our biggest statewide challenges, all at the local level,” said Neil McCormick, CEO of the California Special Districts Association (CSDA). We applaud Governor Newsom and our Legislature for recognizing this and responding to our requests for partnership.  Special districts make a difference throughout California and this funding will make a difference in the communities special districts serve.”

Statewide, more than 2,000 independent special districts across the state serve the needs of all 40 million Californians at some level, and more than 60 percent of these local agencies provide specialized services to a disadvantaged community. 

# # #

About Eden Health District:  The mission of the Eden Health District is to improve the health of the community we serve by providing access to direct and indirect care services and health education.

About CSDA: The California Special Districts Association is a 501c(6), not-for-profit association representing more than 2,000  independent special districts that provide water, sanitation, fire protection, park and recreation, healthcare, electricity, port and harbor, resource conservation, library, cemetery,  and other specialized community services throughout California.

September 28, 2021

Contact: Mark Friedman
Eden Health District
(510) 759-4191

Transparency Certificate of Excellence Awarded to Eden Health District

Castro Valley, CA — Eden Health District received the District Transparency Certificate of Excellence by the Special District Leadership Foundation (SDLF) in recognition of its outstanding efforts to promote transparency and good governance. “This award is a testament to Eden Health District’s commitment to open government,” said, Mark Friedman, CEO. “Our staff is to be commended for their contributions that empower the public with information and facilitate engagement and oversight.” To receive the award, the Eden Health District demonstrated the completion of essential governance transparency requirements, including conducting ethics training for all board members, properly conducting open and public meetings, and filing financial transactions and compensation reports to the State Controller in a timely manner.

SDLF is an independent, non-profit organization formed to promote good governance and best practices among California’s special districts through certification, accreditation, and other recognition programs.

Special districts are independent public agencies that deliver core local services to communities, such as water, wastewater treatment, fire protection, parks and recreation, healthcare, sanitation, mosquito abatement, ports, libraries, public cemeteries and more.  Districts are established by voters to meet specific needs through focused service.  They can be specially molded to serve large regions or small neighborhoods depending on the need.

Local Elected Officials Promote “Mask On” Public Education Campaign In Castro Valley

August 14, 2020 – Eden Health District Directors Pam Russo and Roxann Lewis, Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley and City of Hayward Council members Elisa Marquez and Mark Salinas came together in Castro Valley yesterday to encourage the public’s use of masks and face coverings to counter the spread of the coronavirus.

Working in collaboration with the Alameda County Public Health Department, the Cities of Hayward and San Leandro, and the Castro Valley and Eden Area Municipal Advisory Councils, the Eden Health District has printed “Mask On” posters for Castro Valley, Hayward, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Ashland and Cherryland. The posters are free and intended for businesses, health clinics, schools, churches, public agencies and nonprofit organizations to display in their entrances. “Wearing masks in public or any gatherings, including events with friends and extended families, is essential for slowing the spread of the virus,” stated Director Russo. “While there are signs of progress in California, Alameda County remains a Covd-19 ‘hot spot’ in the Bay Area. Please wear a mask to protect yourself while protecting others.” “Our public safety and health are the top priorities as we continue to adapt to the effects of Covid-19 on our community,” stated Supervisor Miley. “If everyone continues to follow protocols, we have the chance to lead more public lives during the pandemic. If not, we go back to square one. I commend the Eden Health District for stepping up and launching an excellent local campaign to raise awareness about the vital importance of wearing a mask in public, and I am hopeful that residents and neighbors will take their important message to heart.” Posters may be retrieved during business hours from the lobby of the Eden Health District office building located at 20400 Lake Chabot Road, Castro Valley. Posters for the City of Hayward are also available from the Hayward Chamber of Commerce located at 22561 Main Street, Hayward. The public is also welcome to download and print or share “Mask On” posters from the District’s website at https://new.ethd.org/mask-on-public-education-posters. Posters are available in English, Spanish and Chinese languages.

Mask On Eden Area: Eden Health District Launches Public Education Program Promoting Mask Use

August 5, 2020 – Gordon Galvan, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Eden Health District, announced today that the District has launched a public education campaign to encourage the use of masks and face coverings in public to counter the spread of the coronavirus.

Working in collaboration with the Alameda County Public Health Department and the Cities of Hayward and San Leandro, the District has printed “Mask On” posters for each city and community in the Eden Health District area. The posters are free and intended for businesses, health clinics, schools, churches, public agencies and nonprofit organizations to display in their entrances.

Mask On Hayward

“Increasing the use of masks among the general public is critical to reversing the growth in the spread of the coronavirus in Alameda County,” stated Galvan. “Our Mask On” public education campaign, combined with the District’s ongoing support of the free Covid-19 testing centers in Hayward and San Leandro and the distribution of over 100,000 KN 95 masks to health care workers and nonprofit organizations, demonstrates the District’s commitment to addressing the unprecedented public health challenges from Covid-19. We thank our community partners for assisting in the distribution of the posters.” Posters may be retrieved during business hours from the lobby of the Eden Health District office building located at 20400 Lake Chabot Road, Castro Valley. Posters for the City of Hayward are also available from the Hayward Chamber of Commerce located at 22561 Main Street, Hayward. The public is also welcome to download and print “Mask On” posters from the District’s website at https://new.ethd.org/mask-on-public-education-posters. Posters are available in English, Spanish and Chinese languages. “Wearing a mask is the easiest and most effective way for individuals and families to prevent transmission of Covid-19 in public settings,” said Supervisor Wilma Chan. “As the virus continues to spread throughout Alameda County, I implore all residents to take this simple yet essential precaution to help keep our communities safe.” “Our public safety and health are the top priorities as we continue to adapt to the effects of Covid-19 on our community,” stated Supervisor Nate Miley. “If everyone continues to follow protocols, we have the chance to lead more public lives during the pandemic. If not, we go back to square one. I commend the Eden Health District for stepping up and launching an excellent local campaign to raise awareness about the vital importance of wearing a mask in public, and I am hopeful that residents and neighbors will take their important message to heart.” “The pathway for us to get through the pandemic is for everyone to work together and protect each other,” added San Leandro Mayor Pauline Cutter. “Masks do this. They prevent the spread of the coronavirus to others. Recent evidence also suggests that masks may protect the people wearing them.” “The posters are a great way to reinforce the message that if businesses are going to reopen that important safety conditions need to be met,” stated Kim Huggett, CEO of the Hayward Chamber of Commerce. “Wearing masks, observing physical distancing and washing hands are going to be critical in getting the business community back on its feet. The visual effect of these posters sends those messages loud and clear. The chamber is happy to be able to help in distributing these in both English and Spanish.”

Eden Health District Announces The Passing Of Director Charles Gilcrest

August 4, 2020 – With great sadness, Gordon Galvan, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Eden Health District, announced today that Director Charles Gilcrest passed away last night, August 3, 2020, from complications due to a heart attack he suffered. Gilcrest served on the Board of Directors since 2016. Always an advocate for patients, Gilcrest championed the District partnering with public and nonprofit agencies to expand access to healthcare, including mental health services, for the underserved members of the community. Recently, Gilcrest helped oversee the opening of a free Covid-19 testing center in San Leandro sponsored by the Eden Health District.

“Charlie Gilcrest was tireless in his efforts to support the people and causes he believed in. He was the best kind of friend you could have, whenever and whatever you needed, he would drop everything and come help, no questions asked,” stated Galvan. “Charlie brought passion, energy and foresight to the Eden Health District Board. We will greatly miss his leadership and empathy for the underserved.”

“Charlie brought a wealth of knowledge and history about the area we serve during his time on our board,” added Director Roxann Lewis. “We will miss his candid thoughts and perspective views on District issues. Thank you Charlie for your service on our Board.”

Mark Friedman, the Eden Health District Chief Executive Officer, commented, “Charles Gilcrest was a dedicated public servant and dear friend to so many. He was a wonderful example of humility and compassion who was always looking for the best way to serve the residents of the Eden area and his beloved city of San Leandro.”

Gilcrest served on the Board of Directors of the San Leandro-based non-profit organization Davis Street Community Center. As a Director, Gilcrest was instrumental in leading Davis Street’s successful transformation in 2015 of its long-standing free health clinic into a Federally Qualified Heath Center. Rose Padilla Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of the Davis Street Community Center, stated, “It’s time for Charlie’s homegoing. His spirit will live on through the lives he touched; he was a champion for most vulnerable in our community. I will miss his wit, his wry sense of humor and the weekly visits!”

A lifelong resident of San Leandro, Gilcrest was active engaged in community affairs his entire adult life and possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of San Leandro’s history. Among the positions Gilcrest held were President of the Business Association of South San Leandro (BASSL) and of the Halcyon­Foothill Neighborhood Association, Chair of the Joint Project Area Redevelopment Advisory Committee and of the Board of Zoning Adjustments, and member of the City’s Human Services Commission. Gilcrest was present at nearly every San Leandro community festival, volunteering for Davis Street and other nonprofit organizations participating in or organizing the festival.

San Leandro Mayor Pauline Cutter declared November 7, 2018, as Charles Gilcrest Day in the city, observing “Charlie has mentored and guided both aspiring and veteran political leaders and continues to be a loyal, beloved friend and community advocate who ardently dedicates himself to San Leandro.”

“Charlie Gilcrest had an indomitable spirit. He will be missed by many, but none so much as my partner Irish,” stated Shelia Young, San Leandro Mayor Emeritus. “Charlie never forgot to check on him even during his own health concerns. We are both touched by Charlie’s personal caring style. I could write volumes of stories of his community involvement from the Halcyon Neighborhood Association to the BASSL to campaign support for so many candidates. He made his mark on San Leandro in many ways. We will miss him and wish him restful peace for all eternity.”

Former San Leandro Mayor and State Senator Ellen Corbett commented, “Charlie Gilcrest was a kind-hearted soul. He was generous, sharing his political wisdom and his positive outlook freely. His giving spirit has left a lasting impact. He set a high standard for public service through his many years serving the city on boards and commissions, neighborhood associations, community organizations and at local events. He deeply cared about his San Leandro community and he showed it through his volunteerism and civic engagement.” Former San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy added, “Charlie deeply loved San Leandro. He treated the city as his family, devoting countless hours to the people of San Leandro. He was a person of integrity who acted always in the best interests of the community. Charlie had a brilliant mind and gentle nature. Charlie used his gifts to make our city and the Eden Area better.” Members of the community are invited to share their memories of Director Gilcrest on the memorial page: https://www.gatheringus.com/memorial/charles-gilcrest/4549

June 8, 2020 Alameda County Partners with City of San Leandro and Eden Health District to Bring FREE COVID-19 Testing to San Leandro San Leandro, CA – Alameda County, the City of San Leandro and the Eden Health District announced today that free COVID-19 testing will start on Tuesday, June 9th, at the Marina Community Center located at 15301 Wicks Boulevard, San Leandro, California. The testing is available to all frontline and essential workers, seniors, persons with diabetes, hypertension and other health conditions making them vulnerable to COVID-19—even if they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms. The testing is also available to all persons with COVID-19 symptoms. These symptoms include, separately or in combination, cough, fever, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat or a new loss of taste or smell. Testing is free and no insurance is required. People will not be asked their immigration status. Testing is open to all Alameda County residents regardless of where they live. “This site adds testing capacity to an area with limited testing options and is adjacent to communities that are being greatly impacted by COVID-19,” said Alameda County District 3 Supervisor Wilma Chan. “Partnering with the City of San Leandro and the Eden Health District on this site deepens our connections to residents who need to hear about this new testing opportunity.” For the first week of testing at the Marina Community Center, the dates and hours of operation are as follows: Tuesday, June 9th through Saturday, June 13th from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Starting on Monday, June 15th the testing center will be open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Testing at the Marina Community Center is expected to continue through August 2020. Testing is by appointment only and can be made by visiting the website https://lhi.care/covidtesting or calling toll free 1-888-634-1123. Both the website and phone line provide information in English and Spanish. “Safeguarding the health and wellness of our residents as we navigate the challenges posed by the pandemic is one of San Leandro’s highest priorities.” stated Mayor of San Leandro Pauline Cutter. “We are grateful to partner with Alameda County and the Eden Health District in establishing free Covid-19 testing in San Leandro. Anyone with a reason to be tested is welcome.” Testing services are provided by OptumServe as a part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s initiative to add more than 80 community testing sites across the state that focus on underserved communities. To determine where to locate new testing sites, the State evaluated underserved areas for known disparities and median income. The County then overlaid its own data and leveraged partnerships with community-based organizations and clinics to ensure appropriate follow-up care and other resources. “The Eden Health District continues to seize opportunities to leverage public resources to help slow the spread of the coronavirus in the community while maximizing service to all parts of our district.” stated Eden Health District Director Charlie Gilcrest. “We were honored to assist the City of Hayward in continuing its COVID-19 testing program and are pleased to join with Alameda County and the City of San Leandro in bringing a testing center to San Leandro.” Increased access to testing is a cornerstone of Alameda County’s COVID-19 response strategy, which includes contact tracing to identify cases early, and health and social supports for people who need to isolate or quarantine. The County is also serving as a resource to provide much needed testing supplies to clinics, hospitals and other entities, like Skilled Nursing Facilities, that serve vulnerable populations in order to equip more sites to test effectively and support increased access.

Eden Health District Board Appoints Pam Russo as New Director

April 21, 2020 – Castro Valley, CA – Gordon Galvan, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Eden Health District, announced that by a unanimous vote the Board has appointed Pam Russo as a Director. Ms. Russo was sworn into office on April 15, 2020. The Directors acted to fill a vacancy on the five-member Board due to the resignation of Megan Lynch, who resigned her position in advance of attending medical school. 

“At an unprecedented time in public health, the Board is grateful that Pam Russo stepped forward to serve as a Director. She brings a wealth of experience in the field of health care and deep knowledge of the health needs of our community,” stated Galvan. “At the same time, the Board greatly appreciates the exemplary service Megan Lynch provided for the past four years. We wish her outstanding success as she embarks on the next stage of her career in health care by studying to become a physician.”

“I’ve spent most of my professional life in healthcare and am excited for this opportunity to serve the public. I know the importance of being able to respond to critical situations while staying in touch with people and their health needs,” Russo commented. “I am focused on working with my colleagues on the Board to meet the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic for the residents of the Eden Area.”

A Registered Nurse with a 35-year history in healthcare, Russo worked at St. Rose Hospital, including in all clinical areas of the Hayward facility. During her last 15 years as an administrator at St. Rose, Russo oversaw the fundraising arm of the hospital, government affairs, marketing and project management work.  

Russo currently serves as the Executive Director of Hayward Area Recreation & Park District (H.A.R.D.) Foundation. Russo has been actively involved in the development and build out of Mia’s Dream Come True Playground in South Hayward; an all-inclusive park designed for children with special needs. A Director on the Hayward Chamber of Commerce Board, Russo is also an active member of the Hayward Rotary Club.

A longtime resident of Castro Valley, Russo volunteers throughout the Eden Area in multiple communities.  

Eden Health District Selects Mark Friedman As New Chief Executive Officer

March 30, 2020 – Castro Valley, CA – The Eden Health District announced today that it has appointed Mark Friedman as its Chief Executive Officer. The former CEO of the Thomas J. Long Foundation and First 5 Alameda County as well as a three time Mayor of the City of El Cerrito, Friedman commenced his service as the District CEO on March 18, 2020.

“We are excited to have Mark as the District’s new CEO. Mark brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the fields of public health, government and community service, and philanthropic giving combined with a deep commitment to improving access to healthcare. The Board will work closely with Mark to leverage its resources to address the COVID-19 pandemic,” stated Gordon Galvan, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Eden Health District.

“I am honored and humbled to serve as the new CEO of the Eden Health District during this unprecedented time,” commented Mark Friedman. “I look forward to working under the direction of the Board of Directors to partner with county and city agencies, healthcare providers and non-profit organizations to rise to the challenge COVID-19 poses to the health and welfare of the residents of the Eden Area.”

An initiative already started by the District has been the launch of a free COVID-19 Bulletin that synthesizes the near overwhelming news on the pandemic. With an emphasis on the East Bay, the bulletin also condenses the latest state, national and international news into manageable summaries.  The Bulletin is a joint project with the East Bay Community Foundation.

 “The COVID-19 Bulletin provides local policy makers and community members accurate and timely information to help them make the best policy and personal choices in response to the pandemic,” stated Friedman.

The bulletin is posted online at https://ethd.org/daily-bulletin-update/. Persons who wish to receive the bulletin directly by email should contact District Clerk Barbara Adranly at badranly@ethd.org to request to be added to the District’s bulletin distribution list.  Announcements regarding community services and the response to the pandemic can be sent to the same address for inclusion in future bulletins.

About Mark Friedman

Friedman serves on the Board of Directors of the East Bay Community Foundation, and served as its Board Chair from 2017 to 2019.  Friedman served as the Chief Executive Officer of First 5 Alameda County for 15 years and was the CEO of the Thomas J. Long Foundation for 4.5 years serving as one of the largest philanthropic givers in the East Bay, concentrating on grants to community organizations improving education, services to seniors, services for people with disabilities, and providing critical safety net services.

The Eden Health District wishes to assist those in the community facing food insecurity to find and obtain food for themselves and their families. We recommend you call ahead or visit the pantry’s website first.

You can view the Alameda County Interactive Map which will assist people in locating food distribution sites.

Eden Health District’s Daily Bulletins Regarding COVID-19

Community testing sites are free. You do not need a doctor’s note or medical insurance to get tested, you will not be asked about your immigration status, and most test results are available within 2-5 days.  Find Where To Get Tested For COVID-19

How to Coronavirus Proof Your Home
Consejos para proteger tu hogar del coronavirus

Eden Health District CEO Mark Friedman is featured in this video, produced by La Familia, detailing how the District is partnering with other organizations to help fight COVID. “The need in South County is great,” he said, “And here we are providing the testing and rapid results that will help people to stay healthy, for their families to stay healthy, and for our community to stay healthy.”

Donate Medical Supplies

Hospitals throughout the East Area are experiencing a shortage of medical supplies. They are seeking business and community donations of new items in original packaging of protective masks, gowns and gear, hand sanitizer and other products. For more information on how to donate visit:
Alameda Health System including San Leandro Hospital, John George Psychiatric Hospital and Highland Hospital
Kaiser including Kaiser San Leandro Hospital
St. Rose Hospital, Hayward
Sutter Health/Eden Medical Center, Castro Valley
Additional lists of SF Bay Area hospitals, neighborhood clinics and hospices accepting donations can be found here and here.

State of California COVID-19 Site:
The State of California has launched a new comprehensive, consumer friendly website and public service announcements to boost COVID-19 awareness at covid19.ca.gov

CDC COVID-19 Site:
Information regarding COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can be found on their website at cdc.gov

Alameda County Shelter In Place Order:
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding New Order Directing Individuals to Shelter at Home Except to Provide or Receive Essential or Engage in Essential Activities can be found at www.acpd.org

Information from Alameda County Public Health Department:
Our partners at the County of Alameda shared that as a precautionary measure they have declared a local public health emergency so that the County is poised to respond with additional resources as needed.
Residents should take these precautions to stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses:
● Wash hands with liquid soap and water and rub for at least 20 seconds
● Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing
● Refrain from touching your eyes, nose and mouth
● Stay home when sick; and
● Get a flu shot to protect yourself and others from the flu, which has similar symptoms to COVID-19
People who are well and healthy do not need to use a facemask. A facemask can be worn for those who are coughing or sneezing to protect others from getting sick. The use of facemasks is crucial, however, for health workers and others who are caring for someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings.
Healthy people should not be excluded from any activities based on their race or country of origin. There is no racial, ethnic, or cultural basis for the disease.
City officials are monitoring the situation and closely coordinating with Alameda County Public Health officials. We will provide additional information as we receive it. Current information from the Alameda County Public Health Department can be found at www.acphd.org

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