Women’s History Month
By Assemblymember Phil Ting
For more than 30 years, the United States has celebrated March as Women’s History Month, previously Women’s History Week, to coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8. To commemorate the occasion, members of the California State Assembly have the opportunity to select and honor a woman of the year who has significantly contributed to his or her district; these honorees are recognized during a ceremony on the Assembly floor.
Over the last six years, I have been proud to honor women from different parts of my district who have risen to distinction in a diverse array of fields. Past honorees include an icon in the Filipino American community, a storied transgender and HIV/AIDS activist, an advocate for our San Francisco public schools and a woman who has developed new ways to bring dignity and self-worth to the homeless.
This year, I am proud to honor a woman who continues to break boundaries in her trailblazing career, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris. Dr. Burke Harris is a Richmond District resident and an award-winning physician, researcher, author and advocate who founded the Center for Youth Wellness here in San Francisco and was recently appointed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom as the first surgeon general. In this new role, she will work with both policymakers to address the root causes of serious health conditions as well as with young families to prevent health problems in children before they start.
After Dr. Burke Harris founded her first clinic in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood, she observed that even though her patients finally received comprehensive medical care, they still faced disproportionate risks for poor health outcomes and developmental and behavioral difficulties. Since then, she has devoted her career to combatting a health crisis that has not received widespread attention, yet has far-reaching and expensive consequences for our health care system: the effects of childhood trauma, such as exposure to adverse experiences and the toxic stress it creates.
In 2011, she founded the Center for Youth Wellness to study the effects of adverse childhood experiences and to develop ways for society to address the issue at its root. She raised public awareness of the issue through media appearances, a TED Talk and her book “The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity,” as well as features in other best-selling books. To continue researching methods of screening for and treating toxic stress, Dr. Burke Harris founded the Bay Area Research Consortium on Toxic Stress and Health. For her work, She has received awards from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Heinz Family Foundation.
I hope you will join me in congratulating Dr. Nadine Burke Harris as the 2019 Assembly District 19 Woman of the Year. The recognition ceremony for the Assembly’s Women of the Year will take place on Monday, March 4, starting at 1 p.m. I invite you to tune in at http://www.calchannel.com to watch her being honored.
Phil Ting represents the 19th Assembly District, which includes the west side of San Francisco along with the communities of Broadmoor, Colma and Daly City.