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Prevention Institute

Strategic Alliance alert: December 13, 2013

In South Los Angeles, A Bold Plan To Address Health Disparities

Here at Strategic Alliance, we’re big believers in breaking down silos. Health reform - including the implementation of the Affordable Care Act – offers new opportunities for partnerships between the health care sector and community health advocates in California. 

In South Los Angeles, a coalition of health care, labor and community advocates is working to leverage health care spending to invest in community prevention strategies we know work--like increasing access to healthy foods and making neighborhoods safer.

This week, Prevention Institute’s Rob Waters interviews Jim Mangia, president and chief executive officer of St. John’s Well Child and Family Center about the effort to create a wellness trust to pay for prevention and community health initiatives. 

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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, Prevention Institute’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).

Read more at the California Blog. 

Download How Can We Pay for a Healthy Population?

Prevention Institute talked to health-systems leaders around the country to identify emerging new approaches for financing population health and community prevention measures, including wellness trusts.

Join the Conversation: #healthyinnovation

Please consider sharing this blog on Twitter, and join the conversation on #healthyinnovation:

From @preventioninst: Profiles in Innovation: Can a wellness trust ease health dispartities? #healthyinnovation http://onforb.es/18FgYcd

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