Willowbrook, MLK

Psychiatric Care Coming to MLK Medical Campus

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Nearly one in four adults—or 57.7 million Americans—has a mental health disorder and is in need of help. In Los Angeles there are too few available resources and outlets for treatment, and hospital emergency rooms have become ground zero for psychiatric patients. This route, however, only provides temporary intervention at great expense.

Recently, community leaders and healthcare providers gathered to discuss plans for the Martin Luther King Jr. Psychiatric Urgent Care Center, a new facility that is expected to open next spring. The center will provide prompt, quality and culturally sensitive care to both adults and teens.

The center, which will be on the Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Campus where the new Hospital and Outpatient Center will open, will offer psychiatric evaluation and assessment, crisis intervention, medication support and medication management. Also available will be individual and family treatment, alcohol and drug counseling and prevention, domestic violence screening and referrals to other community resources where people can seek help.[/raw]

The center will be run by Exodus Recovery, Inc., which has been providing psychiatric and chemical dependency treatment services in Southern California since 1989. The organization has developed and established several hospital-based inpatient and outpatient programs, a psychiatric and internal medicine provider group and a behavioral health managed care company.

The care received will be immediate and comprehensive including appropriate discharge within 24 hours to services spanning the entire spectrum of mental health treatment within the community,” said Luana Murphy, Chief Executive of Exodus Recovery, Inc. “This results in a significant decrease in the number of clients requiring hospitalizations, freeing up inpatient resources for those most in need.”

Although there is an emphasis on serving the indigent and Medi-Cal patients, no one will be turned away. Anyone over the age of 13 will be accepted, however, adolescents who are admitted will be housed upstairs and adults downstairs.

The approach to helping patients will be all encompassing, with psychologists, social workers, nurses, case workers and housing specialists on hand to help people get back on their feet. In addition, the center is expected to have strong ties to community centers, faith-based organizations and housing resources to continue offering services to those in need.

“Young people often react positively from the immediate attention and services provided in a more calming environment than can be found in a busy Emergency Department,” added Murphy. “They interact not only with professionals but will also be in the company of other adolescents with whom they can relate.”

Willowbrook Murals Win Prestigious Art Award

Los Angeles artist Louise Griffin knew she had a challenge on her hands when she saw the ribbed concrete walls lining the Augustus F. Hawkins Mental Health Clinic courtyard. Hired by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission to conceive of a project for the facility, Griffin knew that the textured walls, with their folds and edges, would be challenging for a mural. But the folds reminded her of the paper origami cranes she would make with patients in recreation therapy. So, incorporating the folds into the work, she designed a mural with brightly colored cranes flying over a landscape of blue, green and orange mountain peaks.

As it turns out, others also thought her idea was innovative and creative. The project was so engaging that it recently won an international competition called the Collaboration of Design + Art Awards (CoD+A Awards) for work in a public space. There were 433 entries submitted from more than 29 countries. A prestigious panel of judges narrowed the contestants down to 100 and then opened the competition to voting from the public where only 8 winners were selected.

[raw] Griffin wanted to make sure the residents at the health clinic participated in the making of the mural, so she included them in priming for painting, painting and touching up the areas all with the supervision of their recreation therapists. The two outdoor courtyards each measure more than 4,000 square feet.

“As the artist, I would stay near the patients, encouraging them and reinforcing their contribution to the mural’s overall success,” said Griffin, describing the process. “As more color was put down and the patients’ excitement grew, we saw doctors, psychiatrists and nursing students come out to help paint and be part of the mural’s process. The transformation of the courtyards brought on a positive reaction in both the patients and the staff long before the murals completion.”

The mural project, which was funded as part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Our Town “Project Willowbrook: Cultivating a Healthy Community through Arts and Culture,” is part of an ongoing effort to bring more civic artwork to Willowbrook, a small community between Athens and Rancho Dominguez near Compton. Project Willowbrook, is also part of a broader investment in the community, in particular with the construction and completion of the new MLK Jr. Hospital and Outpatient Center as well as the upcoming renovation of the Rosa Parks Metro station.

Griffin, a Los Angeles-based artist, has focused much of her work on environmental sustainability including an installation, Rooted which is a series of glass panel at East Rancho Dominguez Library comprised of collaged layers of photographs of neighborhood trees, historic maps showing East Rancho Dominguez and how it grew over time and children’s library books.
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MLK Hospital Construction Nears Completion

Moving forward with construction of the new Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital in Willowbrook, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved $29 million to complete the County’s share of construction work on the facility within the next 60 to 90 days.

After the construction of hospital, which is 92 percent complete, is finished, the staffing and equipping of the facility will begin; the hospital is expected to open in early 2015. Workers will be on site, working overtime and on weekends to meet the Oct. 31 deadline to complete construction of the hospital. The adjacent Outpatient Center is also near completion and is scheduled to open April, 2014.

After the board vote, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas emphasized that the hospital, part of an entire medical complex with a focus on preventive care in addition to inpatient services, will be a model of cutting edge care for the region and the nation.

“We’re making wonderful progress, and I really think it’s important to understand that this is more than a hospital,” he said. “This is an entire medical campus that’s in the works. And if it takes a little more time to get more than what was anticipated, I can live with that. But it will not be second rate health care for the people of this portion of our county. It will be as good as it can possibly get. That’s why we’re taking care to build a first-rate, 21st century medical village.”

The funding pays for such necessary items as bringing utilities up to seismic codes, replacing structural floor slabs and rebuilding deteriorating sewer pipes—all issues that came to light as workers began renovating the 40-year-old structure.

The board, which approved of the motion brought by Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas, was approved 4-0.

Moving toward completion: MLK Outpatient Center Gets Glassed In

  Wonderful progress continues to be made at the Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Center Campus. Construction of the new MLK outpatient center is more than 80% complete, and this short video shows workers installing the very  last pane of glass onto the façade of this beautiful new facility. More than 150 skilled construction workers are hard at work on the new building, putting in complex electrical wiring, finishing rooms and landscaping the grounds on the site. When it opens next year, the center will  far surpass what is typically expected in a “clinic”. Through approximately 70 specialty clinics and an urgent care center that will operate seven days a week, 16 hours per day, the outpatient center will provide a full range of primary and specialty services. The outpatient clinics will specialize in pediatric, obstetric and genecology services, as well as ophthalmology, orthopedics, maxillofacial and even neurosurgery treatment. The center also will have clinics for special populations, including pediatric foster children and people with HIV/AIDS.   Also, an ambulatory surgery center will offer elective outpatient surgical procedures, rehabilitation services and a wide array of diagnostic services. Stay tuned for more updates!

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science Receives $1- million Donation

Ask a student attending college about the cost of higher education and they will likely attest to the mounting debt and financial burden that comes along with attending a university.

But for some students attending Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, the financial weight is about to get a lot lighter thanks to a $1 million donation from Joe Adams, Ray Charles’ former manager and his wife Emma.  The donation is equivalent to 100- $10,000 scholarships  – the largest one-time individual gift  in the school’s history.

Charles R. Drew President David Carlisle says he is grateful for the gift and recognizes the positive effect the scholarships will have on the students.

“The more scholarships we can give out,  the less their educational debt and the less dependent they are for borrowing money on their education,”  he said.  “Thousands of lives will be impacted by this contribution- including students, patients, and members of the community that we serve.”

Angela Minniefield, Vice President of Strategic Advancement at the university agreed.

“This is a tremendous investment in our students,” she said,  noting that approximately 78 percent of Charles Drew students qualify for financial aid. “These funds will help to retain our excellent students that experience financial obstacles and help them maintain their commitment to serving the underserved.”

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas, who represents the area where the university is located, said the gift will help scores of Charles Drew students contribute to the future Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical Campus. The campus, which will house a new hospital and comprehensive health center, will bring health and wellness to a community that has gone on too long without a large health service provider.

“The scholarships will help countless students achieve their dreams of becoming doctors, nurses and experts in the medical community,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas.  “That’s something to celebrate.”

Read the Los Angeles Times story about the $1- million donation here…