Introducing Susannah Champlin!


Susannah is a new summer intern at the San Francisco Department of Public Health and will be updating the Go Folic! website periodically. She is an undergraduate at UC Berkeley entering her senior year. Throughout her time in college she has volunteered in hospital and clinic settings, ensuring that underserved populations receive quality healthcare. She is excited to continue this work on a larger scale by implementing an interdepartmental communication network, contributing original social media content and conducting youth outreach. In her spare time she enjoys dancing, yoga, and traveling as much as she can! In the future she hopes to obtain an Masters in Public Health. She is so excited and honored to work at her dream internship!

Here is Susannah in Budapest, Hungary this past June.

Here is Susannah in Budapest, Hungary this past June.

A word from Curtis Chan


Good evening San Francisco!  I hope everyone was able to enjoy the perks of folic acid awareness week.  This week was just the beginning of a new year, a year where awareness and action will be the driving force taking control of our very own health!

Today’s blog comes to us from the fabulous Curtis Chan, MD, MPH, Medical Director of Maternal, Adolescent & Child Health in SF.  Let’s here what he has to say….

  1. Importance of Folate
  • Vitamin B9, also called folic acid or folate is found naturally in some foods, including leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, beans, salmon, and whole grains.   However, most women do not eat enough of these foods to provide the optimal health benefit of folic acid.
  • B9 is an essential nutrient for amino acid synthesis and DNA replication.  Hence, it’s particularly important during the critical first 8 weeks of pregnancy, during the critical window of early brain and spinal cord development of the fetus.
  • Compelling research showing that folic acid drastically prevented neural tube defects caused the US Preventive Services Taskforce and the National Academy of Sciences (1996) to recommend daily consumption of 400 mcg of folic acid.
  1. Study Findings
  • In July 2014, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the main professional organization for OB-GYN physicians, published in its highly reputable peer-reviewed scientific journal, Obstetrics and Gynecology, a research article from Harvard Medical School, “Maternal pre-pregnancy folate intake and risk of spontaneous abortion and stillbirth.”
  • The study showed that the risk of miscarriage (or spontaneous abortions) was 20% lower among women taking high amounts of folate acid (730 ug/d) compared to those with the lowest intake (0 ug/d).
  • Since 1992, public health and medical authorities have recommended that all women U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all women capable of becoming pregnant take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily to prevent neural tube defects.  While many women aren’t familiar with the brain and spinal cord deformities of neural tube defects, research has since shown other health benefits of folic acid to the mother and infant.
  • The significant risk reduction in miscarriage is another important reminder about the benefits of women taking folic acid vitamins as part of their daily routine, before becoming pregnant.

Curtis Chan, MD, MPH

Medical Director of Maternal, Child & Adolescent Health

San Francisco Department of Public Health

30 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 260b, SF, CA 94102

It’s Food- Tuesday! So there is no bette


It’s Food- Tuesday! So there is no better time to share one our most favorite (and easy) yummy recipes, full of folic acid!!

Lentil-Walnut Burgers
Prep time: 35 min
Chill time: 1 hour
Cook time: 15 min

Ingredients needed:
• ¾ cup dry lentils
• 1 ½ cups of water
• 2 Tbs. cider vinegar
• 1Tbs. olive oil
• 1 cup finely minced onion
• 4 to 5 large cloves of garlic (minced)
• Approximately 10 large mushrooms (minced)
• ½ cup very minced walnuts
• 1tsp. salt (optional)
• ½ pound fresh spinach, finely minced
• 1 tsp. dry mustard
• Fresh black pepper (to taste)
• ½ cup fine breadcrumbs or wheat germ
Directions for a successful healthy, folic acid filled burger:
1. Place lentils and water in small saucepan and bring to boil. Lower the heat and simmer,, partially cove red, for about 30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft and the liquid is gone. Transfer to a medium- sized bowl, add vinegar, and mash well.
2. Heat oil in a medium-sized skillet. Add onions and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients except wheat germ or bread crumbs, and sauté 5-10 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender. Add the sauté 5-10 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender. Add the sauté and crumbs to the lentils and mix well. Chill for about 1 hour before forming patties.
3. Form 4-inch diameter burgers (or however large you would like). Fry in a small amount of hot olive oil on broth sides until heated and crispy on the outside, or broil for 5-8 minutes on each side.
Lentils- 1 cup= 358 mcg of folate (90% DV)
Spinach- 1 cup= 263mcg of folate (65% DV)
Beats- 1 cup (boiled)= 136 mcg of folate (DV)

Clinician’s Corner Re-Post: Is There a “Best Way” to Take Vitamins?


Go Folic! Women's Nutrition Project:

Tis the season! I know, I know, holidays are over, but National Folic Acid Awareness Week has started (as of yesterday) January 4 and will continue on until January 11, 2015. Go Folic! Women’s Nutrition Project of SFDPH is thrilled to announce that as part of our folic acid awareness campaign, we are collaborating with many community health clinics in SF, to distribute a promotional bottle of multi-vitamins (with folic acid) for women of reproductive age (13-44 years old)!

To kick today off, we are reprising one of our favorite blogs written by Barbara Kaas, to help remind all of us the best way to take vitamins (it’s easy, but I bet it’s not just me who can make a multi-vitamin work more efficiently in my body).

Originally posted on Go Folic! Be Healthy!:

Throughout National Folic Acid Awareness Week (NFAAW), we’ve been encouraging readers to “Go Folic” by taking a daily multi-vitamin with 400-800 mcg of folic acid. So we thought that this would be a great time to re-publish one of our most popular blog posts, “Is There a ‘Best Way’ to Take Vitamins?” by guest blogger and project consultant, Barbara Kass, RNCNP, MSN.


Best way for taking vitamins?Morning or Evening?  With or Without Food? Is there a  “Best Way” to take a vitamin supplement?

If you’re reading this, you already know that taking a daily multivitamin with 400-800 mcg of folic acid is good for your health. But how can you get the most from your supplement? It all has to do with when and how you take it.

On an empty stomach or with food?

Try to take your supplement with a meal. Your body makes better use of vitamins when you already have…

View original 322 more words

Foodie Tuesday is almost here!


Foodie Tuesday has returned! …Except we’re a day late…so we would like to introduce Foodie Wednesday this week!

Fall is here, but not for much longer. In nearly one month winter will have set in, and unhealthy eating & laziness will also be setting in… NOT! Wait a minute……. Just because the months of notorious unhealthy eating are creeping up on us doesn’t mean we have to let all of our hard work with our bodies go to waste. Beginning this coming Tuesday, November 25, we will provide you with yummy recipes for eating healthy throughout the cold months to come.

We wanted to warm you up this week with an overview of some of the fresh, rich in folate, produce our beautiful state of California provides us, in the fall and winter months.  california-dreaming-panoAnd to the rest of the world outside of California, all of these foods still apply to you (but you may have to be a little more creative)!

FYI: We will be using the words folic acid and folate interchangeably, like we explained two weeks ago, folic acid and folate are essentially the same, the difference is how the body recognizes it.

Dark Leafy Greens
-Spinach- 1cup= 263 mcg of folate
-Collard Greens- 1cup= 177mcg of folate
-Romaine Lettuce- 1cupe= 76 mcg of folate
Broccoli– 1cup= 24% of daily folic acid recommendation
Citrus Fruits
-Papaya- 1 papaya= 115mcg of folate
-Oranges- 1 orange= 40mcg of folate
-Grapefruit- 1 grapefruit= 30mcg of folate
Brussels Sprouts– 1cup= 25% of daily folic acid recommendation
Cauliflower– 1cup= 55mcg of folate and approx. 14% of daily folic acid recommendation
Beets– 1cup= 76mcg of folate and approx. 20% of daily folic acid recommendation
Celery– 1cup= 34mcg of folate and approx. 8% of daily folic acid recommendation
Winter Squash– 1cup= 57mcg of folate and approx. 14% of daily folic acid recommendation.

vegetables-to-grow-in-winter-640x360

Now that we are all aware of some of the folate rich produce available in the fall and winter months, we can let the information marinate until Tuesday. Make sure to stay tuned and bring your appetite next week!

Until next time, keep folicin’ San Francisco.

Hi again…!


Hi again everyone! It’s been a while since we’ve last posted, so we decided to start to get back on track. First things first, a warm welcome to all of our new followers and an even warmer hello to our dedicated previous followers. Go Folic! Get Healthy is a nutritional project we have created here in San Francisco. We are all about YOU! Our primary focus is ensuring every female of child-bearing age gets the proper amount of folic acid (according to the NIH an average of 400mcg). Go Folic! Get Healthy is so committed to making sure every female in SF can get adequate folic acid we provide FREE VITAMINS!! Currently you can come to 30 Van Ness, suit 210 during business hours (Monday – Thursday, 1pm-4pm) and we will give you a free bottle of multivitamins.

Folic Acid Awareness Week is January 5, 2014- January 11, 2014 and during that week we will have so many great activities going on in the community, but most importantly that will be the start of your local community clinics distributing multivitamins. Way more convenient, right?!

WHAT IS IT REALLY? What is folic acid?? Folic acid is water-soluble B vitamin, which is important for women to get before, during, and after pregnancy. Folic Acid helps produce DNA and form healthy new cells. The process of creating new healthy cells is inevitably important to a developing fetus.

WHY? Why, you ask. 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned! WHAT THE FOLIC?? So all you women out there who are not planning on having a baby anytime soon and women who are…. Listen up…. Folic Acid is VERY important in helping reduce the number of babies born with neural tube defects. Neural tube defects are defects in the brain or spine of the developing fetus, which ultimately lead to various problems when the baby is born.

So now that we know why us ladies should take folic acid if we get pregnant, let’s talk about the other reasons we want to take folic acid. How many times have you looked in the mirror and wondered when is your hair finally going to grow out of the, not-so-hot-haircut-anymore? Well ladies, fortunately the answer has been right in front of us. Yes, you guessed correctly, the answer is folic acid. Folic acid has shown to increase the rate of hair and nail growth. And speaking from first hand experience here at Go Folic! Get Healthy, we have experienced it ourselves!

So let’s recap… to help prevent any neural tube defects from happening, as well as to expedite your hair & nail growth, a daily multivitamin with 400mcg of folic acid, as well as eating folate rich foods help reduce your chances (or grow longer hair)! You can find folate (the form of folic acid once it gets broken down in the body) in food such as dark green vegetables, beans, and fortified cereals. In addition, a few fruits such as, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, oranges and grapefruit juice also are rich in folate.

Well ladies and gent’s (those of you wise guys who want to ensure their girlfriend, wife, sister, cousin, etc. stay healthy) it’s been a pleasure… This is just the start of many more blogs to come. As we continue to blog we will get more in depth of the specifics of folic acid. If there are any specific questions on folic acid please comment and let us know. Also, if there are any topics in particular you want to know more about, we can also take request for blog topicsJ

Until next time, keep folicin’ San Francisco.

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Introducing Jenelle Merzon!


Please join us in welcoming Jenelle Merzon to the Go Folic! family.  Jenelle comes to us from Tuoro University, where she is earning her Masters in Public Health degree (MPH).  She will be interning with Go Folic! through January 2015, working on creating a multi-pronged SFDPH-wide event in conjunction with next year’s Folic Acid Awareness Week, scheduled for January 5, 2015 through January 11, 2015.  As Jenelle will also become a regular contributor to this blog, we promise to keep readers updated on our 2015 Folic Acid Awareness Week plans as they take shape.

In the meantime, here is Jenelle in her own words…

Jenelle MerzonI was born and raised on the central coast in San Luis Obispo, California.  I attended the University of California, Santa Barbara and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a minor in Exercise Physiology.  I have always had an interest in the human body and a passion for staying healthy through exercise and proper nutrition.  These passions led me to physical therapy.

The experience I gained while working in physical therapy set my foundation for pursuing a Masters of Public Health.  I will receive my MPH in December 2014, with an emphasis in Community Public Health, from Touro University, California.  I have volunteered and worked on many different community health projects, ranging from coordinating health promotion events to being a research assistant at Touro University.  While at Touro University I worked on studies that focused on improving MPH student’s health competencies and skills.  I am very excited for the opportunity to begin my internship with the GoFolic! Project within the Department of Public Health, San Francisco.

I am much more than just school and work!  You can commonly find me training for marathons, snowboarding, or attempting to train my dachshund puppies.  Most recently you’ll notice that I love being a newlywed with my husband, Andre.  I would probably be most known for being goofy, a vegetarian for 20+ years with no real reason why, and taking trips around the world.