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Immigrant Well-Being | Bay Area Health Funders Group and BARHII Joint Program

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 -
1:30pm to 3:30pm PDT
Northern California Grantmakers
160 Spear St., Suite 360 | San Francisco, CA 94105
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Rapid response networks play a critical role in quickly disseminating accurate information to immigrant communities that are experiencing heightened stress and trauma due to over policing by ICE and ongoing policy changes, such as the pending changes to public charge. These networks connect immigrants to needed legal and health care services that will help them heal from trauma and mitigate the impacts of stress, at a time when there is growing fear among immigrants about accessing services and benefits they’re eligible for.

We are holding this meeting in partnership with the Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative, bringing together philanthropy, public health departments, and legal services to engage in a conversation on the health care needs in immigrant communities, the legal aid and trauma informed care services available to them, and what role philanthropy can play to better support trauma informed rapid response efforts.

In this in-depth working group meeting, our goal is to move toward a more coordinated, proactive approach from philanthropy for supporting our immigrant community members. We hope you can join us for this important conversation.  

About the Bay Area Health Funders Group (BAHFG)

Bay Area Health Funders Group gathers in common cause toward the well-being of our communities. Funders from a spectrum of interest areas identify shared concerns and areas where they can support each other’s priorities.

Network members fund critical health issues such as access and equity and also welcome partners making investments to help build healthy communities more broadly, including nutritious foods, early childhood education, family services and environmental health. 


Melissa JonesExecutive DirectorBay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative

Melissa has over 15 years of experience in non-profit management and municipal government, including work in the Bay Area’s large and small cities. Melissa’s work focuses on the intersection of social determinants of health, social inequity, and well-being.  Melissa is an active community member in Oakland and also serves on the Association of Bay Area Government’s Regional Planning Committee, which advises on regional planning issues. Before joining BARHII, Melissa served as Senior Program Officer at Boston Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), where she launched and ran Boston LISC’s Resilient Communities, Resilient Families (RCRF) Initiative. Melissa served in youth empowerment organizations, as Program Specialist for the City of Alameda, and as Program Analyst for the City of Oakland’s Oakland Fund for Children and Youth. Early in her career, she served as Director of Professional Development for Partners in School Innovation where she trained staff to support school reform efforts in San Francisco Unified, San Jose Unified, and Oak Grove school district.

Hamid Yazdan Panah, Regional Director, Justice & Diversity Center of the Bar Association of San Francisco

Hamid Yazdan Panah is the Regional Director for the Northern California Rapid Response and Immigrant Defense Network (NCRRIDN) housed at the Justice and Diversity Center of the San Francisco Bar Association. The NCRRIDN coordinates and supports local rapid response efforts throughout Northern California, and provides immigrant communities access to resources and support. As an Iranian refugee, Hamid is dedicated to advocating for the due process rights of all immigrants in the United States.

Shirin Vakharia, Program Director for Health and Aging, Marin Community Foundation

Shirin Vakharia currently serves as a program director for Health and Aging at the Marin Community Foundation in Novato, California. In this role she oversees a $2.7 million portfolio and is responsible for grantmaking strategy for four initiatives. Prior to joining the foundation, Ms. Vakharia worked for Napa County Health and Human Services Agency as the Prevention Coordinator. In this role she planned and oversaw county and provider operated substance abuse prevention, tobacco control, HIV and mental health programs. She has a Masters of Arts in Community Counseling and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Cincinnati.