How can places with great wealth address health disparities that cause people in some neighborhoods to die, on average, 12 years earlier than those who live just a few miles away?
St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, a network of 10 community clinics in south Los Angeles, is adapting an idea now being rolled out in Massachusetts. They want to create a wellness trust to pay for prevention and community health efforts. Other proposals to create local wellness trusts in California are also being developed.
On Tuesday, the clinic kicked off its drive to create a Los Angeles wellness trust as it hosted the 4th annual South Los Angeles Health and Human Rights Convening. Today, in the third part of Profiles in Innovation, a series of interviews with health leaders, PI’s Rob Waters speaks with Jim Mangia, St. John’s president and chief executive officer, about St. John’s evolution—and about the effort to create a wellness trust in LA.
In the interview, Mangia talks about the clinic’s evolution and how an 18-month-old child brought to the clinic with a mysterious illness led to a major shift in St. John’s approach. The child turned out to have lead poisoning and the clinic learned a critical lesson about the influence of community conditions on health—and the need to address those conditions to improve the health of its residents.
For Mangia, this illustrated the need for St. John’s to play a dual role—as health provider and agent of community change.
If you’re talking about health, you’re talking about more than health care. We recognize that prevention and intervention around issues such as the availability of fresh fruit and vegetables in your neighborhood, the amount of park space, the availability of stable and living-wage employment—those are all factors (in people’s health).
Please check out the series and share it with your colleagues, friends and networks. We’ve created a hashtag for the occasion—#healthyinnovation—and we invite you to use it. Here’s a tweet you’re also welcome to share:
From @preventioninst: Profiles in Innovation: Can a wellness trust ease health dispartities? #healthyinnovation http://onforb.es/18FgYcd