We caught up with Jennie Mullins, Senior Manager at the Pima County Health Department to ask her about how the SaludArte Program came to be. Here is her response:
In June 2021, with the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine underway and COVID-19 rates diminishing to below 50 per 100K, PCHD along with the rest of the Nation, began to turn our attention to recovery and resiliency plans. A Roadmap to Recovery Plan was developed to harness early lessons learned during the pandemic and examine strategies to create a healthier, more equitable, and resilient Pima County. We wanted to seize the opportunity to re-envision what public health means and collectively address the impacts of the pandemic that disproportionately impacted communities experiencing vulnerability- older adults, communities of color and low socioeconomic means, congregate settings, people with underlying conditions, people living with disabilities and front line and essential workers. Little did we know that there was an Omicron storm brewing on the horizon that swept through the County late 2021 and early 2022.
Given the range of health, mental health and wellbeing, educational, financial and other impacts across the community, we sought avenues for a community centered resilience building process to:
• Honor the lives lost and capture our shared cultural experiences
• Create a renewed sense of community
• Strengthen community resilience and vitality
• Tap into the creative arts sector that Pima County is renowned for to provide opportunity for creative expression
• Bolster our public health system and social supports against future threats.
SaludArte was coined by Natalia Molina, former Community and Cultural Health Engagement lead, to capture the close connection between health, and wellbeing, healing and nurturing and arts and culture.