The Los Angeles County Health Agency launches the Center for Health Equity to ensure all individuals have access to the opportunities and resources needed for optimal health and well-being.
The Center’s mission includes advancing racial, social and environmental justice in partnership with committed organizations and residents. The launch event kicks off a series of public listening sessions throughout Los Angeles County to seek input on best practices, critical partnerships, and engagement strategies from community members and partners.
“The community is coming together to address health inequity and to ensure that the voices of the underserved are heard,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor and Board Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas. “The launch of the Center for Health Equity shows our continued commitment to closing the gaps in our most vulnerable communities.”
“The Center for Health Equity is an opportunity for us to leverage existing health resources, partnerships, and activities from across the Health Agency,” said Mitchell Katz, MD, Director of the Los Angeles County Health Agency.
“The Center will focus initial efforts in five areas: Infant mortality, sexually transmitted infections, environmental justice, Health Neighborhoods, and cultural and linguistic competency,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “With support from the Health Agency, external partners, and residents we can achieve system, policy, and practice changes that lead to health equity.”
“Achieving health equity requires that our health care providers understand and respond effectively to the cultural and language needs of underserved communities,” said Jonathan E. Sherin, MD, PhD, Director, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.
The Center’s five key initiatives include:
1. Closing the gap in infant mortality given higher rates of poor birth outcomes for African American, Native American, and Native Hawaiian babies when compared to birth outcomes for White and Asian babies;
2. Closing the gap in sexually transmitted infections given disproportionally high rates of infections among men of color, LGBTQ persons, and African American women;
3. Reducing disproportionate exposures to environmental toxins given the high burden of environmental hazards in communities of color and lower-income communities;
4. Improving fragmented and episodic care for residents with complex health issues by linking population-based approaches with comprehensive service delivery models through the Department of Mental Health’s Health Neighborhood;
5. Ensuring cultural and linguistic competency throughout the health agency so all Health Agency practitioners have the skills, values and principles to honor, understand, appreciate and respect the differing social, cultural, and linguistic needs of clients/residents.
The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of over 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health comprises nearly 4,000 employees and has an annual budget exceeding $900 million. To learn more about Los Angeles County Public Health, visit PublicHealth.LACounty.gov, and follow LA County Public Health on social media at twitter.com/LAPublicHealth, facebook.com/LAPublicHealth, and youtube.com/LAPublicHealth.