More than ever, I am hearing from you that public health is a priority.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, investments in public health in San Antonio were lacking. We have the business model backwards: we wait until people get really sick, and then give them an ambulance ride to the emergency room. It’s the most expensive form of healthcare in the world. Proactively investing in our community’s health helps people stay healthier and could save money on your county hospital district property tax bill.
Bexar County has the highest rate of diabetes in the state and the highest rate of diabetes cases requiring amputations in the US. We also lead the state in children visiting the emergency room for asthma attacks. Over the last year we have seen the devastating and disproportionate impacts of COVID in areas of our community that were already lagging in health outcomes, and we deserve better.
I was an advocate for improving health outcomes in our community before the pandemic. When the state eliminated air quality funding for Bexar County, I worked to find funding to turn our air quality monitors back on. After learning that San Antonio didn’t have adequate air pollution data, I persuaded AACOG to install an additional air quality monitor that recorded unhealthy air pollution levels multiple times in the first year alone.
Shortly after the pandemic arrived, I began volunteering to support Metro Health’s efforts. I enrolled in the Alamo Area Medical Reserve Corps. While volunteering, I encountered big gaps in our response – turning volunteers away because of a shortage of phones and delays in notifying patients that they had tested positive for COVID-19. I documented and relayed to city leadership what I saw as opportunities for improvement. On the first day that we opened a mass vaccination clinic at the Alamodome, I was on the front lines handing vaccine-filled syringes to nurses and doctors as each new patient arrived.
I’ve seen how unprepared and unorganized our district was and want to make sure we work together to build resilience for future challenges so that the most vulnerable are not neglected. I will bring my commitment to improving public health to City Hall and ensure that we don’t lose sight of creating a more resilient and healthier San Antonio.