Our Focus on Equity: Communities of Color in Post-ACA California convening series continued today in Los Angeles, and we continued to hear more great discussion about behavioral health integration, Health for All efforts to expand health coverage regardless of immigration status, and ways to improve quality of care while considering equity measures.
The day began with a great presentation by Felicia Jones of Healthy African American Families and Dr. Michael Ong from UCLA about Community Partners in Care (CPIC). Jones and Ong described how CPIC was a partnership between community and academic partners to develop strategies to reduce the burden of depression in vulnerable communities, particularly South Los Angeles and Hollywood/Metro Los Angeles.
Welcome to Friday Facts! Each week we'll be taking a look at a specific chart from the Data & Resources section of our website. This week we're focusing on school safety in Los Angeles County.
We hope that our schools as safe places where children can learn without fear. For the most part, that’s the case. But inequities do exist, and in some communities, children of color are less likely to feel safe at their school than their White counterparts.
As you can see in today’s Friday Facts table, such inequities exist in Los Angeles County. Students of color are less likely to describe their school as “very safe” or “safe” than White students. African American (55.7%) and Latino (56.5%) students were the least likely to consider their school safe, especially compared to 71.4% of White students.
In our fact sheet, Spotlight on Children’s Health: Los Angeles County, we discussed the correlation between school safety and academic achievement. We noted that students who feel safe at school (87%) are much more likely to consider attending college compared to those who do not feel safe (69%). We also highlighted the connection between school safety and drop-out rates and how dropping out of school impacts a student’s future employment potential.
The same fact sheet included the following recommendations to increase school safety in the county:
The Latino Coalition for a Healthy California has worked tirelessly for the past year to reduce sugar-sweetened beverage consumption both in Berkeley and across the state, and we’re gearing up for a new battle this year. We're talking about an urgent social justice issue: one out of every two Latino children will get type 2 diabetes in their lifetimes unless things change. These statistics are simply unacceptable, which is why we’re working to engage our community across the state to become informed advocates on this issue.
After successful forums last year in Fresno, Stockton, Berkeley, Santa Ana, and Baldwin Park, where we presented to over 100 people, we are heading back to Southern California to spread the word about the type 2 diabetes epidemic in the Latino community.
We’ll cover why diabetes has become so common among Latinos, what California advocacy and community groups are doing to prevent it, and how you and your neighbors can join the effort. This forum is ideal for community members concerned about diabetes and healthy food access, promotoras/community health workers, teachers, parents, and local leaders. All are welcome.
The forums are all from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm and will be held in English and Spanish. Dinner will be provided and admission is free.
December 1, 2014, marked the passing of one of the great lights in the struggle for health equity – Lark Galloway-Gilliam. Lark served as the executive director of nonprofit health advocacy organization Community Health Councils (CHC) since its founding in 1992. That year may be a familiar one to the people of Los Angeles, and that’s because CHC was started as a direct response to the civil unrest. Many of the health care establishments that burned to the ground were owned by outsiders and perceived as out of touch with the needs of the community. Lark saw the need for change and – along with several other women in the community – brought together a coalition to address health issues in South Los Angeles.
Lark was a hero who fought for the underserved not only in Los Angeles and California, but across this country. She served as an innovative thinker in the public administration and nonprofit sectors for more than 25 years. She was the chair of the National REACH Coalition, a member of the Advancing the Movement Advisory Committee, and a Durfee Foundation Sabbatical Awardee. She served as chair of her local Neighborhood Council. Lark dedicated her life to social justice.
On March 17th , the Iris Cantor-UCLA Women’s Health Education & Outreach Center (WHERC) will coordinate our fifth annual conference, Women's Reproductive Health and the Environment: Best Practices for Los Angeles County. The WHERC hosts evidence based research seminars for professionals working on issues of environmental justice, women’s health, and community outreach. Education about current environmental hazards impacting reproductive health is offered to motivate attendees to take action on a local level. This free conference will be held at The California Endowment in Los Angeles from 8:30 am – 2:00 pm.
We expect the 2015 conference will attract a similar audience who attended in 2014 with approximately 270 academicians, community organizers, policy advisors, and public health officials willing to learn about current research, policy and legislative issues, and community advocacy activities. Based upon feedback from last year’s conference, we will incorporate a panel highlighting grassroots advocacy organizations and their work towards promoting environmental health and reproductive health. This conference further evaluates best practices targeted at improving reproductive and environmental health concerns pertaining to the lives of individuals in Los Angeles County.
For more information regarding the Women's Reproductive Health and the Environment: Best Practices for Los Angeles County conference and how to register, please follow this link. We also have previous conference materials and other resources available on our website.
The land of sunshine, celebrities, and world-famous beaches is also home to 5,000 active oil and gas wells. These wells are spread across 10 oil fields and 70 different sites embedded in neighborhoods, parks, and commercial districts throughout the City of Los Angeles. Although oil drilling occurs in diverse neighborhoods ranging from affluent Cheviot Hills to pollution-burdened Wilmington, in a new issue brief, Oil Drilling in Los Angeles: A Story of Unequal Protections, Community Health Councils found low-income communities of color in the City have fewer protections from the risks from local oil drilling operations than more affluent, whiter neighborhoods.
What does “fewer protections” mean? When Zoning Administrators for Los Angeles determined the terms of drilling in affluent communities in the 1950s and 1960s, they noted oil drilling was an activity more suited for industrial zones, and only allowed drilling in the Wilshire and West Los Angeles areas after a strict set of precautionary measures were enacted. Precautionary measures included enclosing drilling equipment and/or sites, monitoring air quality and noise levels, creating a 24-hour hotline for complaints and concerns, and setting stringent property screening measures like tall trees and walls to block sight of unattractive equipment. The oil drilling that occurs in wealthier, whiter neighborhoods is either at least 400 feet farther away from homes than in the lower-income communities of South Los Angeles and Wilmington — where the majority of the residents are Latino and African American — or is partially or completely enclosed to protect the neighboring community from the myriad risks. Conversely, oil drilling in South Los Angeles and Wilmington is not only closer to homes than wealthier communities, but also completely outdoors.