Mark Your Calendar: Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge

Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge

Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge

The Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge (SVIC) is taking place all-day on Monday, November 16 in the new Student Union Ballroom. We encourage CASA students to enter the competition. It is a great way to showcase the innovations conceived by our creative, talented students and celebrate at this year’s event.

The new “Best Sport-Tech” award, sponsored by University Advancement, will be made available this year in addition to the Best Overall Innovation, Best Elevator Pitch, and Best Social Innovation award categories. Each winner will receive a cash prize.

SVIC is a fantastic networking and career building opportunity for students. Judges include faculty and industry professionals from leading Silicon Valley companies such as Cisco Systems, Applied Materials, AT&T, LinkedIn, Citrix, Ericsson, WMware, NetApp, and more.

Cisco Systems in particular plans to use SVIC as a talent recruitment platform. Eligible students with a GPA of 3.2 or higher should visit the Career Center to improve resume writing and interviewing skills prior to the event.


  • October 5: Submission opens for students, alumni, faculty, etc.
  • October 26: Submission closes at midnight
  • October 28: Online judging begins
  • November 9: Finalists Notified
  • November 16: SVIC Finalist Showcase, Student Union Ballroom, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Visit SVIC to learn more.

Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge Poster

Dean Bullock MCs Health Trust 5-year initiative launch

Charles C. Bullock, the dean of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts at San José State University, and the chair of The Health Trust board, will serve as master of ceremony Jan. 16 as the nonprofit launches its five-year initiative to make Silicon Valley the healthiest region in America for everyone. The event, held at Mexican Heritage Plaza, highlights the work the agency has done in the last five years as well as the focus for the next five years to come.

Dean Charles C. Bullock

Dean Charles C. Bullock

The nonprofit agency was founded two decades ago with initial funding from the sale of two nonprofit hospitals in the region. The priority has always been to combat health disparities in the Silicon Valley region, with a focus on Santa Clara and northern San Benito counties.

Bullock oversees the College of Applied Sciences and Arts, where many of the programs are focused on graduating students who work in fields that are related to issues The Health Trust is trying to address.  They include:

  • Health Science
  • Kinesiology,
  • Nursing,
  • Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Social Work

At the Thursday event, Bullock will introduce different segments of the program that includes keynote speaker Dr. Julie Gerberding, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and a San José mayoral candidate forum, as well as breakout discussions.

In a video ( that will be shown at the launch, Frederick J. Ferrer, the CEO of the Health Trust, discussed some of the successes from recent years as well as the direction in which the nonprofit will be going for the coming years.

“We found a way to increase gardens so people can grow their own food in home gardens, community gardens and even in apartment gardens,” he said, of efforts to provide produce to low-income families.

The agency also continued to provide for Meals on Wheels programs and looked at ways to get senior citizens engaged in their own advocacy. They launched fundraising efforts for HIV/Aids advocacy, including Dining Out for Life and Hike and Bike to engage community support. They provide dental services to children suffering from oral health problems. They also created a program to help homeless and chronically ill populations as Silicon Valley has one of the largest homeless populations in the United States.

“In 2008, when we launched our last five-year plan, our vision was to make Silicon Valley the healthiest region in America – and statistically it is the healthiest,” he said, in a press release. “But statistics don’t tell what is really a tale of two cities. There are too many people in this community who don’t enjoy great wealth and don’t enjoy good health because they don’t have access to fresh produce or healthy places to exercise or services that they need to manage a chronic illness – or a roof over their heads. That’s why our new vision is to make Silicon Valley the healthiest region in American for everyone.”

The Health Trust has pledged to invest $80 million to combat some of the biggest challenges in Silicon Valley for low-income residents. In a press release, they estimate 13 percent of children are living in poverty and many suffer from dental disease, half of adults are overweight or obese, 20,000 adults and  youth are homeless, and thousands of older adults are isolated.

Some of the initiatives include:

  • Fresh Cart mobile produce vendors  and a Healthy Corner Stores marketing campaign to encourage consumption of healthy foods
  • Pay for Success projects that use private sector financing to support money-saving answers to expensive problems such as homelessness and severe mental illness
  • Aging Well Network Hubs that will connect older adults and their families to the information, services and relationships they need to thrive in their neighborhoods

Ferrer said the new five-year plan will continue the commitment started in 2008 to the same priorities. The three new initiatives, Healthy Living, Healthy Eating and Healthy Aging, will build on the organization’s signature policy and programmatic work, such as AIDS Services, Meals On Wheels and the community water fluoridation campaign, while moving toward more entrepreneurial funding strategies.

“At The Health Trust we believe that Silicon Valley, a community where innovation is changing the world, also can be a community where innovation improves the lives of all residents,” Ferrer said.

For more on The Health Trust, visit

Social Workers in the Library program gets high marks

Peter Allen Lee, a professor with the School of Social Work and Lili Luo, a professor with the School of Library and Information Sciences, received a College of Applied Sciences and Arts Incentive Grant for 2011-12 to evaluate a program created in 2007 that connects residents with social workers at public libraries. The San José State University professors’ evaluation of the program has been published as a journal article


Lee and Luo set out to look at the efficacy of the program started in 2007 by local Librarian Deborah Estreicher and Lee. The goal of the program is to seek ways to increase access to information about social service programs and to look for ways the program can be improved. For the last few years, professional social workers, with the support of the National Association of Social Workers, have been volunteering to meet one-on-one twice a month with those seeking information about social services.  The program is not intended to provide an ongoing relationship between the patrons and social workers, but to help connect patrons with services in the community.

In questionnaires from those using the services, Lee and Luo found that they reported the service to be helpful or very helpful. The main areas in which people sought advice was in finding services for housing, food, health and mental  health services, and employment. In 20-minute sessions, social workers offered referral information to patrons to connect them with such services. Other services patrons sought included grief support, family counseling and legal advice.  The evaluation found that seeing patrons in the library, which included a waiting area and private room was rated well. Patrons also liked the undivided attention in the private session as well as the system of screening and appointment scheduling.

For a longer summary of the evaluation of the Social Work in the Libraries, see the attached PDF Social Workers in the Library. For the journal article, visit

Professor Marjorie Freedman’s Let’s Move! Faith and Communities video brings her to a White House celebration with Michelle Obama

Dr. Freedman at the White House

by Marjorie Freedman

Dr. Marjorie Freedman’s winning 3-minute video won her a trip to the White House! The video describes the collaborative effort between San Jose State University (SJSU) and Most Holy Trinity Church (MHT) to fight childhood obesity in a low-income population comprised primarily of ethnic minorities (Vietnamese, Filipino, Hispanic and Samoan) living in East San Jose.

Freedman describes how she joined with parishioners (including Chris Rodriguez, RN, Health Minister) to create the MHT Food Justice Ministry, which worked to promote Let’s Move! key messages. With respect to healthy eating, teens participated in “Cooking Matters” and “Rethink Your Drink Classes.” Nutrition education materials included weekly bulletin columns in English, Spanish and Vietnamese, distribution of hundreds of bilingual children’s books promoting drinking water, and over 1000 Healthy Fresh Food Access Guides.  The video highlighted the development and adoption of a healthy food and beverage policy.  It described how MHT Food Justice partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank and Catholic Charities to promote CalFresh (SNAP or Food Stamp) benefits and how “double up bucks” programs enabled CalFresh participants to use their EBT card at local famers’ markets and the Farmstand at nearby Veggielution Community Farm.  Finally, the video highlighted how MHT youth are incorporating physical activity into their routines.  Filipino dance groups, Vietnamese Lion dancers, and the MHT Samoan Youth are shown practicing fun ways to “Move” while preserving their cultural identity.

Dr. Freedman would like to acknowledge the hard work and enthusiasm  of SJSU students, MHT parishioners, and the strong support of  collaborative partners (e.g., SCC Public Health Department, Social Services Agency, Three Squares, Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association, First 5 SCC, Second Harvest Food Bank, Catholic Charities, the Jewish Community Relations Council and Veggielution Community Farm) who all helped to make this program a success. Support for the program came from a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant, administered by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department.

MHT Food Justice is ongoing, and Dr. Freedman welcomes inquires from faculty, staff and students.  For more information please contact her at

The video is available at