Celebrating South LA Doctors-in-Training

The Board of Supervisors celebrated the newly accredited Family Medicine and Psychiatry Residency Programs at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU). In partnership with the Los Angeles County Health Agency, the residency programs will train a new generation of doctors to serve patients in South Los Angeles and surrounding communities.

Eight of the new Family Medicine residents and six of the new Psychiatry residents were on hand for the scroll presentation at the Hall of Administration.

“We have a dramatic shortage of primary care and mental health clinicians in this nation, and this shortage is most acutely felt in communities such as South Los Angeles,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, lead author of a motion that helped establish the residency programs. “It is vital that we empower doctors-in-training to become medical leaders who promote wellness and healthcare equity in a compassionate manner.

“This residency program will create a new pipeline for our homegrown LA County physicians,” added Supervisor Janice Hahn, the motion’s coauthor.

CDU President and CEO Dr. David Carlisle said the residency programs are intended to benefit medically underserved communities in South LA. “If you want doctors to work in the community, you need to train them in the community,” he said.

The Family Medicine residents will rotate through Department of Health Services facilities in the southern region of the County, including the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, which will be their home base for inpatient rotations.

The Psychiatry residents will focus on ambulatory services in communities that comprise the County’s Service Planning Area 6, which includes Athens, Compton, Crenshaw, Florence, Hyde Park, Lynwood, Paramount and Watts. Their primary training site will be the Kedren Community Health Center in South LA.

Relay for Life of Baldwin Hills

All photos by Martin Zamora/Board of Supervisors

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas walked with cancer survivors to kick off the Relay for Life of Baldwin Hills, a 24-hour walkathon aimed at increasing public awareness of cancer while raising much-needed funds for the American Cancer Society’s patient service programs, cancer research, advocacy and community education. In his speech during the opening ceremony, he stressed that fighting cancer requires all hands on deck.

“It’s an honor for me to be able to support the American Cancer Society in their work to fight cancer. I think it would be safe to say that most of us here have been touched by cancer, either personally or through a close friend or family member.

“According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 195,951 new cases of cancer between 2011 and 2015 in Los Angeles County. During that time period, 70,920 people died of cancer in the County.

“We can and must do more. We have to take action to lower the risk factors and exposure to known cancer-causing substances, promote healthy lifestyles, and provide early detection and screening programs.

“In Los Angeles County, fighting cancer means all hands on deck. Recognizing that cancer is a complex disease, our departments employ a multi-disciplinary approach to cancer care — with primary care providers, specialists, surgeons, geneticists, nurses, nutritionists, social workers and others coordinating care centered around the patient.

“Through programs such as Every Woman Counts and Family PACT (Planning, Access, Care and Treatment), we provide free early cancer detection programs, and follow-up care and treatment for low-income residents.

“The results have been noteworthy. In the past two years, we have improved screening rates for several major cancers: 17 percent improvement for breast cancer; 11 percent for colon cancer; and 47 percent for cervical cancer!

“This translates to 12,000 more patients who were screened in 2017 than in 2015.

“County hospitals, often in collaboration with the nation’s leading universities, offer state-of-the-art treatment and research dedicated to comprehensive patient care. Through the eConsult system, we have also improved the speed at which providers receive responses for oncology specialty assistance, ensuring that even non-urgent oncology requests receive responses within four calendar days.

“We have also developed a guidebook called 26 Cancer-care Related Expected Practices to educate providers and establish effective approaches to care, and we have created a Cancer Care Taskforce that will create an action plan for improving the continuum of care for cancer patients within the County system.

“Furthermore, our Department of Public Health works to actively reduce barriers to healthy lifestyles by implementing programs for tobacco control, healthy food access, and environmental health.

“I commend everyone gathered here today for your dedication to fighting cancer. This is a burden that impacts people, regardless of  gender, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity in all parts of County, and we must all step up to the plate.

“Today we are celebrating survivors, recognizing those who continue to fight, and reaffirming our promise not to give up.

“The inspiration, hope, and sense of community generated during the next 24 hours of the Relay for Life will carry us to the next 24 hours, and the one after that, and the one after that.

“Day by day, step by step, we will not only survive, but fight.”

Cannabis Emblem Program

As Los Angeles County continues to be concerned about the public health and safety impact of cannabis, the Board of Supervisors sought a report from the County Office of Cannabis Management on the development and implementation of an Emblem Program that would make it easier for consumers to avoid illegal marijuana businesses.

The Board approved a motion by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Janice Hahn that could allow the Emblem Program to be implemented countywide, allowing cities to opt in.

Similar to letter grades for restaurants, the Emblem Program would require legitimate cannabis businesses to prominently display a placard on their storefont, indicating they have received all necessary state and local licenses and permits to operate.

“As we continue our careful analysis of cannabis, the issue of public health and safety remains paramount,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “The Emblem Program will empower consumers to make educated decisions so that they can steer clear of unlicensed businesses that fail to undergo necessary public health and safety inspections, and offer products that are not tracked, inspected or tested for contaminants. The Emblem Program can also potentially reduce the profitability of unlicensed and unregulated cannabis businesses.”

“Creating a recognizable universal emblem is a good idea because it will allow consumers to know which dispensaries are licensed and selling safe products and which ones are not,” Supervisor Hahn added.

Recognizing that the emblem would be most effective if consistent across jurisdictions, state regulators are now considering implementing Los Angeles County’s program across California.

Urgent Care for People in Crisis

All photos by David Franco/Board of Supervisors

People in the throes of a serious emotional crisis can now get help at the newly opened Exodus Mental Health Urgent Care Center at Harbor-UCLA.

“It is essential that people in crisis have a place where they can feel safe and welcome, and avoid risking harm to themselves and others,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said during the grand opening ceremony. “This is a key piece of Los Angeles County’s safety net, diverting residents towards treatment and services, instead of incarceration.”

There are now six mental health care urgent centers across Los Angeles County, three of them in the Second District. Each provides stabilization services, medication evaluation and management or hospitalization. Interdisciplinary treatment teams can offer a full spectrum of psychiatric treatment services, including linkage to crisis housing, shelter beds, sober living, community-based outpatient program services, and inpatient treatment for mental health or substance abuse.

“Exodus is honored to be providing crisis services on the campus of Harbor UCLA,” said Exodus President and CEO Luana Murphy. “Since the inception in 2006 of the first Exodus Urgent Care Center in Culver City, 112,000 individuals have received crisis services with Exodus and, for some of these clients, this has been their initial contact on their road to recovery, assisting in ending their cycle of homelessness and inconsistent mental health care.”

“Since the ‘entry door’ for services was changed from the Emergency Room door to the Urgent Care Center door, a network of resources has been developed and fostered to support our clients in the community, plus our efficient intake procedure allows law enforcement to deliver clients to us quickly and return back to the community.” she added. “We look forward to supporting the Harbor UCLA Medical Center and campus  in providing very needed services.”

The Exodus Mental Health Urgent Care Center at Harbor-UCLA is a designated Lanterman Petris Short (LPS) Conservatorship, allowing the staff to evaluate and involuntarily detain those individuals determined to be a danger to themselves and others or gravely disabled.

In the last fiscal year, law enforcement brought almost 3,000 people to Mental Health Urgent Care Centers. It provided stabilization services to more than 2,000 people experiencing homelessness, and 1,000 children and young adults involved in the child welfare system.

Mental Health Urgent Care Centers across the County are relieving pressure on overcrowded psychiatric emergency rooms. During the last fiscal year, they handled over 35,000 crisis visits.
Only 5 percent of their clients were readmitted to emergency rooms or acute psychiatric units within 30 days of their visit.

Supervisor Janice Hahn, Mental Health Director Dr. Jonathan Sherin, Center for Health and Social Impact Director Dr. Mark Ghaly, and Exodus Recovery Chief Clinical Officer Kathy Shoemaker also attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony.




Artistic Addition to MLK Medical Campus

All photos by Henry Salazar/Board of Supervisors.

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical Campus in Willowbrook marked yet another milestone in its expansion with the opening of a parking structure embellished with a stunning piece of art.

“We want to ensure that the remarkable staff at the MLK Campus has space to park in a timely manner, so that they can get to work to start the healing process for our community members,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who led the ribbon cutting ceremony for the East Parking Structure. “This is another achievement in transforming this campus into a center of excellence.”

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and the artist, Rob Ley.

The 1,431-stall, six-story parking structure features a work of art called Endless Miles on its façade, as well as a reflection plaza and a walkway depicting the  campus’ historic timeline.

The artist, Rob Ley, said, ” I feel strongly that art is one of many aspects that help shape and reinforce the ever-evolving identity of a community. I hope the new artwork can serve as a gateway and perhaps even a landmark for both residents and those visiting this neighborhood for many years to come.”

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas thanked the artist for “capturing the personality, diversity, strength and heart of this community.”

Endless Miles was inspired by the many historical, cultural, economic, and infrastructure evolutions experienced here in the neighborhood of Willowbrook, as well as by the doctors and staff who work right here on the campus,” he added. “We all believe healthy people and healthy communities are fostered through art.”

The transformation of the MLK Campus started in October 2011. It now includes the MLK Community Hospital, MLK Outpatient Center, MLK Recuperative Care Center, and the Center for Public Health.

Construction is underway on the MLK Childcare Center that will serve staff at the campus. Later this year, workers will break ground on a 50,000 sq. ft. medical office building for physicians and other healthcare providers affiliated with MLK Community Hospital.

Meanwhile, plans are under way to build a comprehensive and cohesive behavioral health center at what used to be the MLK Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center.