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.
“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.
“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.