- Second District
On the 84th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, plans for the new Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital campus received a thumbs up from the Board of Supervisors, as they unanimously approved the master plan for an expansive health and wellness campus in South Los Angeles. The MLK campus will be at the heart of a web of community wellness resources. It recommends not only expansion of the new hospital and existing Multi-Ambulatory Care Center, but it also urges a new mental health urgent care center, mixed-use retail space, medical office space, connected community gardens, safe pedestrian walkways and recreational facilities to promote wellness and physical activity, among other suggestions.
A priority project for Board Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas, the in-patient hospital is expected to be completed by 2013. The master plan was the result of a year-long community planning process, and was formed with the input of hundreds of residents, civic leaders, business owners and health care advocates.
The master plans is a roadmap, not a hard and fixed requirement, but it seek to anticipate the future direction of healthcare and prepare for that new day. It also lays out a vision for the entire 142-acre Willowbrook community that surrounds the campus.
Off campus, the plan envisions space for school-based health centers, mobile clinics, blood banks, and community health centers to support the work of the MLK campus and provide a more holistic approach to health care. The plan recommends a new health park and a series of connected community gardens, safe pedestrian walkways, and recreational facilities to promote wellness and physical activity. It promotes access to healthier food options and includes space for retail. It also increases access to public transportation.
“I am thrilled with the passage of this master plan,” said the Chairman. “It is our goal to bring a complete and comprehensive network of services—not just a hospital—to South Los Angeles. The planning process was intense and intensive, but it was well worth it. This document will serve as a guide for many years to come as we bring top-notch services to a community that has long waited for quality care.”
Neither rain nor frigid temperatures could dampen the joy on 9-year-old Amauria Bowman’s face Friday night at the fourth annual tree lighting ceremony at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center in Willowbrook.
The fourth grader at Carver Elementary school was one of nearly 250 children that showed up to sip hot cocoa, eat sugar cookies and receive a toy for Christmas at the event hosted by Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas. As she snuggled into her warm jacket, Bowman reflected on the true meaning of the holidays.
“I just think this is a big celebration of life and the rain doesn’t ruin it,” she said. “What matters is that we have fun and celebrate and have a nice time.”
The gathering, which was also supported by Legrant Communications, served as a time of reflection in honor of the Newtown, Connecticut mass shooting where 27 people died—including 20 children. The Rev. Shane Scott of Macedonia Baptist Church, MACC Chief Executive Officer Cynthia Moore-Oliver and Elaine Batchlor, the Chief Executive Officer of the MLK Community Hospital joined Chairman Ridley-Thomas and the Grant AME Church Youth Choir at the event in addition to more than 100 adults from the local community. In his welcoming remarks, Chairman Ridley-Thomas noted that the tragedy put a spotlight on the importance of protecting children.
“When we think about Newtown, Connecticut we must give special accord to the children. We cannot act as if something extraordinary didn’t happen in this land,” said Chairman Ridley-Thomas. “We are here, also saddened by the circumstances in which any of us could have found ourselves.”
After a moment of silence and a prayer, 9-year-old Chryshell Perkins, a fourth grader who is also from the Watts-Willowbrook Boys and Girls Club, flipped the switch to light the tree. Perkins was selected for the honor because of her good grades. She smiled proudly and as she sipped her hot cocoa she noted how getting good grades would help her get into college. “If I get good grades and I don’t have enough money for college, they could pay my way,” she said, describing the possible scholarships that could be available to her.
The lighting of the “Tree of Hope” also highlighted anticipation of the upcoming construction and eventual opening of the brand new medical campus that is coming to the site. The Medical Campus, which will host an inpatient hospital, mental health urgent care center, medical office space, residential facilities for seniors and medical interns and residents, will provide a more holistic and preventative approach to health care for local residents. “We signal hope and life and new beginnings at the Martin Luther King Medical Campus,” said Chairman Ridley-Thomas.
But for 6-year-old Jonathan Eason, the night’s highlight was the Hot Wheels Trick Track stunt set that he received.
“It looks awesome and has very cool cars!” he said as he held the box tightly.
And while 12-year-old Karen Mendoza, of Edison Middle School, was happy to receive a Scrabble Slam card game to play with her siblings, her wish was a simple one for the holidays.
“I would like for my family to get together and have a great time,” she said.
The people have spoken! The street leading to the new Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital will be named “Healthy Way.” Healthy Way, proposed by Yolonda Simmons, received 370 out of 776 votes — a whopping 48%. In second place was Charles R. Drew Drive, with 202 votes, and King-Drew Avenue, with 56 came in third. Congratulations to Simmons , a resident of Inglewood, for choosing a name that resonated with so many people. “Healthy Way” communicates that a person driving on the road leading to and from the hospital will be embarking on a healthier way of life. The street-naming poll spanned two months, and I was both pleased and moved to see so many people participating in the opportunity to name this historic street. The construction and ultimate completion of the new hospital is proceeding well and is only three to four months off its original schedule with the building scheduled for completion in the Spring of 2013 and its opening, in 2014.
Simmons will be presented a certificate of appreciation at a Board of Supervisors meeting in January 2013 and also invited to attend the official naming of the street. Thank you again to everyone who submitted a name and/or voted. Although the contest has ended, I hope that you are still just as excited for the new Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital to open as I am. — MRT
What’s in a street name?
A name can tell the history of a city or a nation. It can honor leaders who improved lives, fought for human rights, educated children, greened a community or inspired generations. Martin Luther King Boulevard, Cesar Chavez Way, Pico Boulevard, Lincoln Boulevard—these names remind us that ordinary people do extraordinary things. Street names can also reveal the aspirations of a community. For example, Los Angeles residents living on Charity Street in the 1800s, found the name degrading. After successfully petitioning the city, they changed the name to Grand Avenue.
So have some fun. Tell us what matters to you, your community and your hopes for the new hospital – In this context, that’s what is in a name.
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas released his top five choices on November 6 for a final vote by you.
Click here for the rest of the rules and timeline.
Phase 1: A Call for Names (October 2 – October 12)
Entries will be accepted from October 1 to October 12. There is no limit to the number of suggestions that can be made.
1. Wellness Way
I believe that this hospital represents health and wellness in our community. Good health is about more than getting medical care, it’s a lifestyle. The street name Wellness Way will remind everyone that this hospital is committed to providing excellent medical services in the hopes of improving the health of our community.
2. Abernathy Ave
Rev. Ralph David Abernathy, Sr. was a passionate civil rights leader and minister. Honoring the spirit of the hospital, he was a close associate of Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Please be sure to keep the following Department of Public Works street naming policies in mind when making your suggestions:
After Phase 1 is closed, the list will be sent to the Department of Public Works to disqualify any names already in use by Los Angeles County.
Phase 2: Voting on the Top 5 Choices (November 6 – December 1)
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas will select his top five choices and those names will be posted for a final round of voting. Voting will take place from November 6 through November 28, 2012. The top vote-getter wins.
Phase 3: Official Street Naming
The winning street name will be announced and printed on street signs and road maps. The writer or writers of the winning submission will be invited to participate in the official street naming ceremony and be awarded a certificate of appreciation by the Supervisor.
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.
The new Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital and the newly renovated Harbor-UCLA hospital will be so much more than the old fashioned, traditional centers of medical services of previous generations. After a year-long community planning process, master plans for both hospitals are completed. Instead of fashioning two stand-alone facilities, plans are to have them be the heart of a web of community wellness resources. The hospital campuses will be at the center of a network that includes healthcare-related businesses, fitness centers, nutritional education and even housing. The master plans are roadmaps, not hard and fixed requirements, but they seek to anticipate the future direction of healthcare and prepare for that new day.
The MLK Medical Center Campus Master Plan lays out a vision not just for the facilities on what will be part of the completed MLK medical village, but also for the entire 142-acre Willowbrook MLK Wellness Community that surrounds the campus.
On campus, the plan suggests room for a new mental health urgent care center, medical office space, residential facilities for seniors and medical interns and residents, research and development, and health-related retail space, such as a pharmacy on the 42-acre MLK Medical Center campus. It also leaves room for the eventual expansion of the new hospital and new Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center.
Off campus, the MLK plan envisions space for school-based health centers, mobile clinics, blood banks, and community health centers to support the work of the MLK campus and provide a more holistic approach to health care. The plan recommends a new health park and a series of connected community gardens, safe pedestrian walkways, and recreational facilities to promote wellness and physical activity. It promotes access to healthier food options and includes space for retail. It also increases access to public transportation.
The 72-acre Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Master Plan substantially reconfigures the campus. It moves out-patient and mental health services into new buildings, adds hospital beds, adds new retail and improves campus parking. This plan suggests development of community walking paths, roof top gardens, and green open space for recreational community use. The plan also promotes the continued bioscience innovation already occurring on the campus through the County’s partnership with LA BioMed.
The County invested nearly $3 Million per campus to develop these long-term plans, which assess current conditions and propose a framework for future expansion of each site.
The next step is implementation. Once the master plans are approved by the Board of Supervisors, anticipated to occur later this year, the County will determine how it will finance these exciting redevelopment opportunities over the next 20 years.
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.”
The fourth annual Care Harbor free clinic, which kicked off Thursday, September 27, and ended Sunday, was a tremendous success. More than 4,000 people received free medical, vision and dental services inside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, thanks to the compassionate care provided by hundreds of physicians, dentists, optometrists, nurses, and other healthcare workers. Together these volunteers transformed the arena into one of the nation’s largest free clinics by volunteering their time and expertise.
As he has in past years, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas donated both funding and staff resources to the event.
“Over a period of four days, we witnessed a tremendous outpouring of goodwill and kindness” said the Supervisor. “That’s why I am proud to stand with the tremendous Care Harbor organizers, partners and volunteers.
“Everyone has the right to decent, compassionate and accessible healthcare,” the Supervisor added, “and it’s a shame that our national discussion about healthcare is too often political and ideological in nature. This is a human issue.
I can’t speak highly enough of all the doctors and dentists, nurses and other volunteers who answered the call to help their neighbor in this time of great need.”
Care Harbor provided services on a massive scale last week – offering everything from eye exams and prescription glasses, to dental fillings, extractions and teeth cleaning, as well as immunizations and other health procedures. The clinic also arranged follow-up care with local community clinics and hospitals for about one quarter of patients treated.
One of those seeking care at the event last week was Kameka Jackson, 26, from Los Angeles. “I. don’t have medical insurance because I just got kicked off my mom’s medical plan because I turned 26 on August 22nd,“ said Jackson. “This is a blessing, she continued. “I’m a diabetic and I absolutely need medical insurance. I wish they did this more than once a year.”
Just as enthusiastic about the event were the medical professionals who administered care to the waiting patients, including 30-year-old nurse Jaclyn Risos. She heard about the Care Harbor volunteer opportunity on Facebook.
“I’m still looking for a job but I wanted to use my education to help my community,” said Risos, looking around the arena. “People have been so happy and appreciative of the medical services they are going to receive.”
Major progress toward the creation of the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital occurred this week, when the MLK hospital board named Dr. Elaine Batchlor as the institution’s new chief executive officer. Now as the hospital, still under construction, is built, Batchlor will begin to assemble its staff, physicians, personnel and also see to the equipping of the new facility. Scheduled for completion in 2014, the hospital will have 130 beds, including a 21-bed emergency department and a critical care unit. It also will provide a range of healthcare and social services.
Dr. Batchlor has an outstanding background and brings a history of excellence and innovation to her new position. A physician of internal medicine and rheumatology, she previously served as chief medical officer for L.A. Care, the largest public health plan in the United States. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Harvard University, an M.D. from Case Western Reserve University, and a master’s degree in public health from UCLA. Upon her appointment as CEO, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said, “Dr. Batchlor has the experience, expertise and leadership skills required to make this tremendous undertaking, the launch of a new hospital, the success we know it will be.” In this video, Dr. Batchlor talks about her vision for the new community hospital.
In an effort to recruit and retain health care workers, nurses, and primary care doctors to work in the County’s most medically underserved areas, the Board of Supervisors Tuesday took immediate action to ease the burden of student loan debt for Los Angeles County health care professionals.
In a motion sponsored by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, the five-member Board voted to allow Los Angeles County employees to apply for the Steven M. Thompson Physician Corps Loan Repayment Program, which provides up to $105,000 of loan assistance to physicians who commit to working full time for three years in an area with a shortage of health professionals. They also may apply for any other repayment program that does not require County financial contributions towards loan repayment.
The motion also directs staff to create a master plan on how to address physician shortage challenges in medically underserved areas using federal, state and philanthropic funds.
“By assisting physicians, who typically carry hefty loads of student loan debt, we hope to give them every incentive to go into public service,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “At the same time, the public benefits; we’ll be expanding access to health care throughout Los Angeles County, particularly in our urban, rural and traditionally underserved communities.”
At its meeting Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors approved a pilot program with St. John’s Well Child and Family Center that authorizes St. John’s staff to identify and assist mentally and physically disabled General Relief (GR) recipients with obtaining Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Authorization of the pilot program allows St. John’s Well Child and Family Center staff and Department of Public Social Services staff to go out into communities in the Second District to assist disabled residents with completing the SSI application, getting supportive services and if needed, initiating referrals to a health or mental health provider.
“We must ensure that individuals who have a mental or physical disability get the maximum care that they need,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “This pilot program is designed to effectively help residents obtain SSI so that they can efficiently obtain housing and medical assistance.”
The pilot program will enlist an outreach worker, a licensed psychiatrist, a program manager, and a driver to work together with GR recipients to assist them with applying and obtaining approval for Supplemental Security Income benefits.
Last year roughly 37,000 individuals in the Second District received GR assistance. A large number of these individuals are homeless. Of the 45,422 homeless individuals in Los Angeles County identified in the 2011 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count report, 19,380 of those individuals are in the Second Supervisorial District, making the district the highest concentrated area of homelessness in the County.
The County’s General Relief program currently provides $221 a month in financial assistance to indigent adults whereas $845 a month is provided to SSI recipients.
“The difference in the amount of money between GR and SSI could make the difference between perpetual homelessness and getting off the streets,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas.
The selection of St. John’s Well Child and Family Center comes two years after the Board approved a pilot program to identify one community-based organization to assist General Relief, Supplemental Security Income, and Medi-Cal Advocacy Program advocates in providing SSI services to General Relief participants.