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Joan Singson

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Stockton, California, resident Joan Singson was born and raised in the Philippines. “My family moved around a lot following our father’s work as a geologist and mining engineer,” she notes. We talked recently with Joan to learn more about her.

HLM: What’s your occupation?
JS: I work for San Joaquin County Clinics, where I serve as the director of population health. That entails a lot of looking into what our patients need and improving health outcomes. But I tend to play out of bounds because I think that truly making an impact on a population of patients, we can’t limit ourselves to the individuals in focus. Rather, we have to look at things with a broader lens and figure out how to best address community health needs within the healthcare delivery framework. I see it as community health, because ensuring the health of patients cannot be limited to the exam room. Since February 2020, my work has been mostly focused on COVID mitigation. We have been part of the initial group that developed strategies to reduce the negative impact of the pandemic. We are in it for the long haul, continuing to work with other county agencies and community stakeholders in ensuring an equitable provision of vaccination and testing services to our community and supporting the work of our public health services department. If we’re going to get out of this, we’re going to have to do it together.   

HLM: How long have you lived here? What do you love most?
JS: I have lived here longer than I lived in my home country. I love it here. I had opportunities to move to other cities, but I chose to stay. It’s geographically ideal for me. There’s the delta, and I’m 45 minutes away from nice day hike, fishing locations; and an hour and a half away for a city or coastal getaway; and right in the midst of agricultural heaven. I love our farmers markets, our local vineyards and the variety of food options. 

HLM: How is your heart inspired to serve the community?
JS: This is my community, my home. I’ve been here long enough to understand that it has its struggles; know that there are a lot of resources to positive outcomes; and build relationships with people who want to make a difference. I have the mind that if there is something I can do to help, I’m in. 

HLM: What sparks joy for you?
JS: Someone once told me that my eyes sparkle when I am working with people, helping people. 

HLM: What’s your free time passion?
JS: Outside of work, my time is best spent in my garden, my hand in the dirt. I’m the person that picks up an earthworm on the sidewalk and throws it back onto the dirt. I love taking short or long hikes, preferably along a river trail, a meadow or up a hill somewhere. 

HLM: Top three bucket list goals?
JS: Throw a big post-pandemic party; explore other countries; and then find a way I could help my community further. Run for office, right?

HLM: Do you have a favorite quote?
JS: Yes, one that I go back to when I start second-guessing myself. My brother and I watched Kung Fu when we were young. I was about nine. I’d be scared of the dark and he would say this thing that Master Po would tell young Grasshopper, “If you plant rice, rice grows. If you plant fear, fear grows.” It keeps me going. I think it has relevance in a lot of situations we find ourselves in even today. 

HLM: What are you currently reading?
JS: COVID updates from CDC. I am usually too tired by the time I get home and my weekends might as well be weekdays. There was a time I would have three books by my nightstand, a serious book on history, science or politics, a novel, usually a thriller, and something like Terry Prachett. One of my all-time favorites, The Year of Living Biblically, by A.J. Jacobs; it’s hilarious! Then there’s Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins. I loaned it so many times to different people, I lost track of the book. But books are meant to be read, not sit on the shelf. This is definitely one to share. 

HLM: Favorite food or dessert?
JS: I have an eclectic taste in food. I’m an adventurous eater, the type who goes to local markets to observe and taste what locals would eat when I travel. I like the small plates type of meals. I’ll enjoy appetizers and take home my entrée if I’m not paying attention. I’m the same with desserts. I’ll stand in front of the display case at Podesto’s and take my sweet time. I’m soft on tiramisu, fruit tarts and crème brûlée. Black coffee to go with, please!