Ribbon Cut on Harbor-UCLA Medical Center KIDS Hub Clinic

Ribbon Cutting at KIDS Hub Clinic at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. All photos by Dave Franco / Board of Supervisors

On September 12, 2018, Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas joined with leaders from Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and the Department of Health Services to cut the ribbon on the newly constructed KIDS Hub Clinic at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. The KIDS Hub provides services to children from birth through age 18 who involved with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas speaks at the ribbon cutting at September 12, 2018.

“Today, we recognize, honor, and celebrate the critical services provided by our Pediatric Hub system for vulnerable children throughout the County,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “Simply stated: children matter, children come first, and our duty is to be there for them.”

The KIDS Hub provides state-of-the-art expert assessment while reducing trauma to the child victims and their families and evaluates. “The expert medical, forensic evaluations and developmental assessments we provide to identify child abuse and neglect for children involved with DCFS, are key to identifying and protecting at-risk children,” said Kelly Callahan, MD, KIDS Hub Medical Director.

The Harbor-UCLA Medical Center KIDS Hub provides services to children from birth up to age 18, who involved with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). It is part of a Los Angeles County Department of Health Services network of Hub clinics, designed to serve this particularly vulnerable population.

“We are thrilled to recognize the completion of the newest of DHS’ six Hub Clinics. Through our partnerships with the Departments of Mental Health and Children and Family Services, the Hub Clinics provide a vital link to medical care, forensic exams and other health services for the most vulnerable children in our communities,” said Christina Ghaly, MD, Acting Director of Health Services.

The KIDS Hub operates in partnership with the Los Angeles County Departments of Children and Family Services and Mental Health. “DMH is very excited about the expansion and enrichment of the KIDS Hub,” said Jon Sherin, MD, Director of Mental Health. “This additional resource is a critical component of our foster care network and will be an essential part of our ongoing work to prevent and mitigate trauma for children and their families.”

Supporting Suicide Prevention for First Responders

First responders supporting suicide prevention at the Board of Supervisors meeting on September 11, 2018. All photos by Dave Franco / Board of Supervisors

“I would like to thank my colleagues, Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Janice Hahn, for their leadership on bringing forth this motion.

“Addressing the mental health and wellbeing of those on the front lines is critically important and a good way to honor the heroism of the public servants who responded to the call for help on 9/11.

“A recent report by the Ruderman Family Foundation says it all: the number of firefighters and law enforcement officers who took their own lives outnumbered all line-of-duty deaths in 2017.

“Suicide is just one of many troubling outcomes linked to the traumatic experiences of our first responders and emergency professionals. Depression and substance abuse are others.

“This Board has committed to violence prevention as a public health issue, and to address community trauma before it spirals.

“That is why we recently opened the Community Healing and Trauma Prevention Center at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Public Health, to tackle the root issues of complex trauma.

“Now, we have an opportunity to apply these same principles to support those who serve us.

“When our first responders are taken care of, it not only impacts their health and their families – it also impacts the service they provide to County residents.

“Therefore, I am compelled and equally proud to vote “aye” in support of our first responders, emergency services professionals and death investigators.”

First responders stand in favor of suicide prevention at the September 11, 2018 Board of Supervisors meeting.


New Community Healing and Trauma Prevention Center

(left to right) Willowbrook Resident & Volunteers of America Prevention Coordinator Ebony Luchien, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, and Dr. Jan B. King. All photos by Bryan Chan / Board of Supervisors

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas along with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and community partners unveiled the new Community Healing and Trauma Prevention Center at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Public Health. The Healing Center will serve a community that experiences the highest rates of assault-related trauma and homicide in Los Angeles County. Homicide rates in South Los Angeles are nearly four times higher than the rest of the county.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas addresses over 100 attendees at the Community Healing and Trauma Prevention Center unveiling.

“The Community Healing and Trauma Prevention Center shows the County’s commitment not just to treating trauma after it occurs, but also to preventing it in the first place,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “Our efforts represent a paradigm shift in how we address violence. Rather than managing violence solely through public safety approaches, we are counteracting it using evidence-based public health practices.”

The Healing Center was developed with input from community leaders to ensure that the services provided reflect the community’s desires and focus on both healing and organizing for change. Support was provided by various agencies including the Los Angeles County Departments of Public Health, Health Services and Mental Health, MLK Community Hospital, MLK Outpatient Services, Saint Francis Medical Center, and Charles R. Drew University. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Bureau of Victim Services and members of the Community Action for Peace also participated in the development of the Healing Center.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas high fives Dr. Barbara Ferrer during a tour of the Community Healing and Trauma Prevention Center during its opening.

“The Community Healing and Trauma Prevention Center provides a safe space where residents can access support and services, where young people can develop their leadership skills, and where community partners can work together to tackle the root causes of complex trauma in South Los Angeles,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Los Angeles County Public Health.

The Healing Center will build upon Trauma Prevention Initiative strategies in partnership with the community to create a comprehensive approach to violence prevention and intervention. For the past 3 years, the Trauma Prevention Initiative has been investing in community engagement and key violence intervention and capacity-building strategies to coordinate strategies across the lifespan, leverage resources of existing programs and develop innovative strategies, policies, partnerships, and strategic opportunities.

Health Equity Action Plan Launched

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas joined with the Los Angeles County Health Agency and community organizations in announcing the release of a new plan that promotes health equity countywide.

Over the next five years, the Health Agency and other partners to sustain efforts to reduce and eliminate some of the biggest gaps in health outcomes. Priorities include improving birth outcomes for black babies who currently die at three times the rate of white babies in the County, as well as reducing disproportionally high rates of sexually transmitted infections among men having sex with men, black women, and transgender residents.

“Health equity is essential in a society that values the wellbeing of all its members, to ensure that no one is left behind simply because of where they live and other factors,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, who authored the motion to create the Center for Health Equity within the County Department of Public Health. He added, “We have an obligation to avoid exacerbating health disparities in our communities, and to reverse them.”

The plan is a call to action to advance health equity so that everyone has access to the resources and opportunities they need for optimal health and well-being in the County.

“In Los Angeles County, there are stark differences in health outcomes based on race and ethnicity, geography and income,” County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. “The action plan is a set of strategic priorities and is a public commitment to achieving a set of well-defined equity goals to close gaps. These activities will build a movement toward ensuring everyone in the county can reach their fullest potential.”

“Equity shouldn’t be an aspiration in our society but rather a basic human right,” Community Health Councils CEO Veronica Flores said. “To ensure this basic right is operationalized throughout our County, the action plan will offer a clear path to accountability and strategy.”

The plan focus areas include:

  • Reducing the gap in black infant mortality by 30% in 5 years;
  • Eliminating congenital syphilis entirely in 5 years;
  • Reducing hazardous exposures to harmful toxins in low-income communities;
  • Improving health outcomes for residents with complex health needs;
  • Ensuring health agency services are accessible and culturally and linguistically appropriate.

LA County Steps Up to Take the Lead in Sativa

The Board of Supervisors endorsed a plan for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works to serve as interim administrator of the troubled Sativa Water District, and to lead the selection process for a permanent replacement water service provider in unincorporated Willowbrook and Compton.

“Sativa customers have endured decades of problems, not the least of which is brown water running through their taps, and it is long past time to identify a competent water provider that can better serve our communities,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, principal author of the motion.

“I’m deeply offended by what has transpired, and we need to be resolved that it will not continue on our watch,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas added. “It has already taken way too much time just to restore a modicum of dignity and respect to residents who deserve a clean, clear glass of water.”

County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer and Public Works Director Mark Pestrella testify in support of the motion. Photo by Martin Zamora/Board of Supervisors.

“Access to safe, clean drinking water is a basic right and must be guaranteed to every LA County resident,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn, the motion’s co-author. “We are in the process of dissolving the long-mismanaged Sativa Water District but we cannot leave these residents in limbo. LA County is ready to step in to protect our residents and our Department of Public Works is the right choice for interim administrator.”

Testifying before the Board, DPW Director Mark Pestrella laid out his department’s short- and long-term strategies during the transition.

“I am confident that the Department of Public Works can serve the current Sativa customers in a respectable manner, with the objective of providing each customer with affordable, clean and safe water,” Director Pestrella said.

When Sativa customers first expressed alarm about brown water running through their taps in April, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas filed an urgency motion to conduct an investigation, take immediate steps to prevent serious risks to public health, and determine whether appropriate management and governance of the water district is in place to address Sativa’s infrastructure issues, including the failure to properly maintain its 70-year old pipes. At his direction, the County also distributed approximately 20,000 gallons of bottled water to residents of unincorporated Willowbrook and Compton.

In June, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas called on the California State Water Resources Control Board to appoint an interim administrator to exercise “vigorous oversight” of Sativa, which has been plagued for decades by allegations of mismanagement and even nepotism. In July, the Local Agency Formation Commission of Los Angeles County (LAFCO) formally initiated dissolution proceedings over Sativa.

Today’s motion reiterates the Board’s support of AB 1577, authored by Assemblymember Mike Gipson, which would empower the California Water Resources Control Board to order Sativa to accept administrative and managerial services. The motion also calls for amendments that would allow the County to take immediate fiscal and operational management and control over Sativa as interim administrator, which appropriate financial resources from the state as well as appropriate immunities from liability. It also seeks a streamlined path for LAFCO and the County to select a long-term water service provider to replace Sativa.