Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, Ministers, and First Ladies Discuss HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C

(Clockwise from top left) Dr. Edward Mena, Dr. Wilbert Jordan, Dr. Orlando H. Pile, Dr. Stephen A. Parnell, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas

For the past year, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas has enlisted pastors and first ladies from churches throughout the Second District to bring their knowledge, influence, and compassion to the fight against sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS. Rates of infection in the Second District are among the highest in the nation, and the Supervisor maintains public health campaigns cannot succeed without the support and assistance of the ecumenical community.

On Wednesday, October 24, a roundtable of more than 40 doctors, physicians, ministers, and first ladies gathered to hear from health experts, ask questions and discuss the toll HIV and Hepatitis C are taking – especially among young African-American men and women. The dinner meeting was organized by Supervisor Ridley-Thomas and Oasis Clinic Medical Director, Dr. Wilbert Jordan — a trailblazer in the community with regard to education about and treatment of STDs.

“By addressing HIV/AIDS head on we can empower young people to take care of their physical, nutritional, and sexual health,” said the Supervisor. “It is my hope that everyone tonight gains a renewed desire to ask others to keep the conversation going and join the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C.”

The data is alarming: of the state’s estimated 134,000 cases, approximately 59,000 are in Los Angeles County, and Blacks, who comprise 8.8 percent of the population account for 21% of HIV cases.

Wednesday’s dinner followed a ministers’ breakfast hosted by the Supervisor last year that brought faith leaders together to discuss the growing number of young African-American and Latino women who have contracted an STD.

Throughout the evening, the group was engaged as a PowerPoint presentation illustrated “hot spots” of infection in the district and emphasized the importance of screening. Mostly, however, emphasis was on the role of the faith community in being not only a source of information, but of comfort and a sounding board as its leaders preach the importance of testing and screening and care for the whole person.

“Ministers and doctors provide very different services,” the Supervisor told the group, “yet both are integral to the health and wellbeing of the African-American community. By holding these meetings, we can collectively educate a large portion of the Second Supervisorial District. “

Click here to download the PowerPoint presentation.

Clipper Star Blake Griffin joins Supervisor Ridley-Thomas on a visit to Harbor UCLA Medical Center

Clippers star Blake Griffin is becoming a familiar sight at Harbor UCLA Hospital. On Tuesday September 25, the power forward spent part of his afternoon in the pediatric ward where he shook hands, signed autographs, handed out toys and playfully towered over the hospital’s youngest patients. As he did on a previous visit, Griffin made the rounds of the pediatric ward, the outpatient Child Life Center and the Child Life Center playground at the pediatric intensive care unit and emergency room, bringing delighted smiles to many young faces.

Not every child knew who the 6’10” Griffin was. Some were oblivious to his season of spectacular dunks and unaware that they were shaking hands with the man ranked by Sports Illustrated Magazine as one of the greatest Rookies of all time. It didn’t matter. They were happy to have a visitor who delivered toys, along with a big smile and a lot of encouragement for a speedy recovery. Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, who accompanied the ballplayer, noted his humility and gentle manner with the children. “Blake Griffin gave the children at Harbor-UCLA the best presents of all — his time and attention.” the Supervisor said. “He sets a wonderful example for all of us, showing how much we can touch other people’s lives simply by taking the time to show we care.”

Board proclaims World Sickle Cell Day

Four years after the United Nations recognized Sickle Cell Disease as a world-wide public health epidemic, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors continues to raise awareness about the debilitating condition. In keeping with its ongoing efforts, the Board today approved a motion by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas proclaiming June 19, World Sickle Cell Day in Los Angeles County. Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a hereditary disorder named for the abnormal, sickle shape of red blood cells, which are impaired as they carry oxygen through the body. Millions of people with SCD endure symptoms such as bone, gallbladder, and lung infections, shortness of breath, and bouts of extreme pain. Treatment currently consists of managing and controlling the symptoms with medications.

The disease is particularly common among people with ancestry from sub-Saharan Africa, South America, Caribbean nations, Mediterranean countries, India, and Saudi Arabia.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 90,000 to 100,000 people in the United States are living with SCD, and one in every 500 African-American babies and one out of every 36,000 Hispanic–American babies is born with the disease.

The Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center is working to cure SCD and has developed a clinical trial for a promising new drug treatment involving the oral administration of L-glutamine, the most common amino acid in the body. The clinical trail is currently being used by researchers throughout the United States for sickle cell treatment. “Despite medical advances, we are still in search of a cure for Sickle Cell Disease,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “It is my hope that by increasing attention, awareness and community focus on this issue, we will one day have effective remedies for an illness that affects thousands of families in Los Angeles County, the nation, and the world.” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas introduced the motion at the request of the Health Committee of the Empowerment Congress, a grassroots organization of neighborhood groups, residents, nonprofit organizations, business, religious institutions, and community leaders.

Free STD testing kits now available at Second District kiosks

  • Last year in the County of Los Angeles, 33,000 women were infected with Chlamydia or gonorrhea, and nearly one-fourth of all these sexually transmitted diseases were in South Los Angeles.
  • The consequences of untreated infections can be grave, resulting in chronic pain, infertility, life-threatening tubal pregnancies, and harm to infants born to mothers who are infected.
  • Our community must mobilize to safeguard our young people. Leaders from government, faith groups, medical and advocacy communities, as well as mothers and fathers, must empower young people to take control of their health and make wiser choices for this treatable problem.
  • Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas has launched a $2.5 million-initiative that unites a comprehensive, community-oriented approach with cutting-edge technology to give youth the guidance and tools to make better choices regarding their physical, mental and sexual health.
  • The initiative incorporates six components:
    1. Community Engagement:
      • The County will work with community-based organizations, medical providers, and religious ministries to engage youth to take control of their sexual health.
    2. Expanded Screening:
      • “I Know”: Screening is widely accessible through the County’s “I Know” home-testing program, in which trained community outreach workers use hand-held tablets to help women obtain STD testing kits.
      • “”: This website provides access to free STD home test kits, test results and access to free clinics for treatment.
      • Kiosks: Two kiosks, such as the one featured in this video, are now available at pharmacies located in Florence and Watts, empowering young women to input their own information and immediately obtain a home test kit from the pharmacy.
    3. Social Marketing:
      • The expanded “I Know” program is promoted by a media campaign incorporating imagery and messages of empowerment and building confidence for young women.
    4. Case Management:
      • Specially trained public health field staff, working in collaboration with community health providers, is ensuring proper treatment of infected individuals and their sex partners to stop the chain of infection.
    5. School Level Programs:
      • The County is collaborating with the Compton Unified and Los Angeles Unified School Districts to deliver enhanced health education, a medical provider referral guide for youth, and school-based social marketing.
    6. Public Relations:
      • The County is using a wide variety of multimedia channels to raise awareness about these issues and working with local communities to develop and implement long-term prevention strategies.

For more information about the “I Know” program, click here.

To download an “I Know” brochure, click here.

RSVP for MLK Center for Public Health Grand Opening this Friday

Local Worker Hiring Program

On October 19, 2010, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion by Supervisor Ridley-Thomas to implement a Local Worker Hiring Program for the MLK Inpatient Tower and MLK Multi-service Ambulatory Care Center (MACC) construction projects, including a Small Business Enterprise Program for both projects.

On April 26, 2011, the Board approved a Ridley-Thomas motion to enact a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for the MLK MACC project. This unprecedented agreement will create thousands of local jobs and guarantee the effective enactment of the project’s Local Worker Hiring policy.

Together, the local worker hire, small business enterprise and project labor agreement programs present an opportunity to use the County’s investment in public works as a catalyst for local job creation and revenue generation.

For information on the local hire program and the benefits of a project Labor Agreement, please view the following:

  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Project Fact Sheet
  • Local Hire Resource List
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    1. What is a local worker hiring program?

    A Local Worker Hire Policy requires that local workers perform at least 30% of the total construction labor hours and disadvantaged local Workers perform at least 10% of total construction labor hours. (The 10% disadvantaged worker hours are part of the 30% Local Worker requirement).

    2. What is a qualified local worker?

    Under the approved policy, qualified local workers are those who reside within a five-mile radius of the project or who reside in zip codes in the County of Los Angeles where the unemployment rate exceeds 150% of the County’s average unemployment rate. In summary, the local hire policy provides County residents who reside within any of 149 zip codes to qualify for the hiring preference, and ensures that local residents benefit from the County’s investment in public works.

    3. What is a disadvantaged worker?

    A disadvantaged local worker is a qualified local worker who lives in poverty, has no high school diploma or GED, possesses a history of incarceration, has experienced protracted unemployment, is a current recipient of social services benefits, is homeless, or is a single custodial parent.

    4. What if I am a qualified worker, but do not live within the five mile radius of

    the job?

    Skilled workers living anywhere within the County can still qualify for construction jobs with local worker hire requirements:

     Any resident who lives in zip codes in the County of Los Angeles where the unemployment rate exceeds 150% of the County’s average unemployment rate qualifies as a “local worker;”


     The 10% “disadvantaged worker” set aside is also available to any Countyresident, regardless of where they live;

     Finally, the local worker hire policy only sets a preference for 30% of the labor hours; any qualified County resident could still be eligible for the remaining 70% of the labor hours.

    5. What is a Project Labor Agreement?

    A project labor agreement is an agreement negotiated between the project owner (or public agency) and various trade unions. It provides the means to implement the local worker policy by adding flexibility to “first in, first out” dispatch rules, making it possible to hire the targeted disadvantaged and local workers. The project labor agreement opens apprenticeship programs to local and disadvantaged workers, enabling them to advance.

    6. What are the advantages of Project Labor Agreements?

    Project labor agreements have many economic advantages. Many studies confirm direct and indirect savings result from project labor agreements as a result of increased efficiency. They standardize workplace conditions and pre-determine wages. They help eliminate work stoppages and reduce the likelihood of cost overruns. They have been shown to lead increased productivity from higher-skilled workers trained through apprenticeship programs. Indeed, local worker hiring programs with project labor agreements have enabled communities, which have never before had access to construction careers, to enter union apprenticeship programs which provide lifelong skills. Finally, project labor agreements enable public entities to really target and hire disadvantaged workers.

    7. How does this policy encourage small business enterprise?

    The local hire policy encourages small business enterprise at the MLK inpatient tower and MACC construction projects by requiring the selected builders to have small business enterprise participation throughout the life of project.

    8. Where do I learn more about local job opportunities?

    To review local worker hire status reports for each of the projects currently underway, visit

    For information on employment opportunities, fill out an interest form at or contact:


    Marques Davis

    4112 South Main Street

    Los Angeles, CA 90037

    Phone: 323-432-3955 ext 162



Martin Luther King, Jr. Fitness Garden: Lean and Green

A new fitness garden is soon to blossom on the quarter-acre site surrounding the South Health Center Replacement Project. The pocket-sized parkland will offer space for clients of the center to put the principles of exercise and healthy living that are taught inside the facility, into immediate practice outside its front door.
At its Tuesday meeting, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors authorized $765,000 for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Fitness Garden Project, enabling the contractor to begin design and construction of the site. In addition to including a path for running and jogging, exercise equipment and benches, the fitness garden’s landscape will be environmentally efficient. It will be designed to minimize water usage and reduce storm-water runoff by incorporating an irrigation system with native plants, drought-tolerant shade trees and shrubs.

The Board also authorized a youth employment component to the project. Upon completion, the Department of Parks and Recreation will recruit and employ at-risk youth to maintain the site.

“The South Health facility, which opens this summer, promises to be a wonderful resource for the community,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who authored the motion funding the fitness garden. “The surrounding community has urgent health care needs, with a significant number of residents who struggle with chronic diseases and conditions such as diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure and cholesterol.”

The Supervisor continued: “I am committed to seeing that the County addresses these needs in a way that is comprehensive, and the South Health facility is prime example. On one site we are locating cutting-edge healthcare, fitness resources an greenery that incorporates the best environmental practices.”

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Historic Vote to Restore Quality Medical Services to Underserved Residents of South Los Angeles


Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas hailed the University of California Board of Regents’ unanimous vote to partner with the County of Los Angeles to provide medical services at the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital.

 “Your unequivocal support of this agreement will contribute to the substantial momentum we have already generated and you will be saluted for engaging in a partnership that will have a positive effect on health in LA County,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas told the UC Board, which approved the agreement during its meeting at UCLA.

Across town, at the hospital site in Willowbrook, more than 300 residents and stakeholders celebrated the Regents’ decision during a boisterous rally. Under the agreement, the UC System and County will partner to restore quality medical services to underserved residents of South Los Angeles.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas made opening the new hospital his top priority upon taking office a year ago. In his speech to the Regents, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas acknowledged the contributions of his colleagues on the Board of Supervisor and Chief Executive Officer Bill Fujioka.

He thanked Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for his support of the project; UC President Mark Yudof and Vice President Jack Stobo for their leadership in developing this agreement; UC Regent Sherry Lansing and other members of the Health Services Committee; and Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, who through his family’s foundation put up a $100 million guaranty to protect the UC from financial liability.

During his speech, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas acknowledged that “there is much work still to be done,” but said the County is intent on providing the “highest quality of patient care in a compassionate, culturally competent manner in a seismically compliant, state-of-the-art facility.”
The proposal for the new MLK Hospital is scheduled to be approved by the Board of Supervisors at its Dec. 1 meeting. County and UC officials will work with the Governor’s Office, California Health and Human Services Agency, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to secure the legislative, regulatory, and other programmatic support needed to execute, fund and implement this effort.

The process will include community input in the key implementation stages of New MLK Hospital’s development. Inpatient services could commence at a new hospital in late 2012.

For complete information, click here.

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