Alameda Health System (AHS) Breast Cancer Patient Navigator Zhonett “Z” Harper was recently appointed to the Measure A Citizen Oversight Committee. Measure A is a tax ordinance that provides financial support for emergency medical, hospital inpatient, outpatient, public health, mental health and substance abuse services to indigent, low‐income and uninsured adults, children and families, seniors and other residents. Each year 75% of the tax revenue is transferred to AHS.

“I am both excited and humbled by the opportunities this position presents to me, but most importantly, for our patients and community overall. I want to bring patients’ real life experiences to the data and budget considerations by sharing their stories. It is easy to become lost in numbers, equations and percentages. There is a big difference from saying X percent of patients have this Y illness and actually interacting with one of those patients every day, seeing their hardships and feeling their heartbreaks.”

Her role as a Patient Care Navigator for Breast Cancer at AHS is to help patients through their cancer journey. She links patients to resources like safe housing, transportation, care coordination, substance abuse rehabilitation, insurance, financial assistance, along with emotional and spiritual support. She plans to use her work expertise to help her peers realize the impact Measure A has on AHS patients.

“I will have the opportunity to understand how budgeting and prioritizing is handled firsthand, while also being an advocate for the needs of my community during the budgeting process. This is going to be a great learning experience for me.”

Harper, an Oakland native and is committed to give back to her city and county in any way possible.