Tomorrow, September 23rd, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) will hold a stakeholder meeting to gather public input on the Board of Supervisors’ proposal to establish a Community Prevention & Population Health Task Force dedicated to promoting health, equity and community well-being countywide. The meeting will be held at Prevention Institute’s (PI) Leimert Park office in South Los Angeles.
The Task Force amendment, which was passed by the Board of Supervisors on August 11th, represents a substantial victory for public health – but it didn’t come easily. When the Board initially proposed a motion to consolidate the LACDPH— a national leader in quality, effective prevention— with the Mental Health and Health Services Departments into a single, mega-agency, many stakeholders were concerned that a preponderance of attention would go to medical care over public health.
To ensure 10 million Angelenos weren’t denied a well-funded and focused commitment to community health, equity, and prevention of disease and injury – particularly those in low-income communities and communities of color –a broad coalition of concerned local residents and 130 healthcare, mental health, and public health organizations united around a clear message: an effective health system places prevention and health equity first. This message was the subject of an op-ed co-authored by PI, and published in the Los Angeles Daily News in July.
PI’s Managing Director, Manal Aboelata, provided instrumental testimony at the decisive Board hearing, stating, “Los Angeles deserves a robust vision and plan for building healthy communities and preventing illness and injury in the first place. We respectfully request…the creation of a Community Prevention and Population Health Task Force that would be responsible for propelling our county forward toward health equity and community health with a focus on the population and prevention for the 10 million residents of L.A. County.”
In response, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas (2nd District, County of LA) offered an amendment that would create a Task Force “responsible for reporting to the Board…with priority recommendations for health and equity and community well-being.”
PI thanks Supervisor Ridley-Thomas and looks forward to continuing its work with L.A. County through the new Task Force to ensure public health is empowered to create a culture of health equity, where preventing illness and injury remain overriding priorities.