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Maternal and Child Health Access - Co-Chair

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Maternal and Child Health Access (MCHA), is a community based nonprofit in Los Angeles that improves the health of low income women and families through advocacy, education, training and direct services. MCHA conducted community-based research on access to quality health care for women and children in Boyle Heights in 2013. Thanks to funding from The California Endowment, through the "Health Happens with Prevention Campaign" and Building Healthy Communities-Boyle Heights Collaborative, this was possible (Please see the video to learn more. MCHA gathered stories from women that live and or work in Boyle Heights, and with their generous contributions of their testimonies, highlighted their work, and desires for better health care.

The work was informed by collaboration with the Building Healthy Communities Health Happens with Prevention workgroup comprised of leaders from the community and nonprofit organizations that advocate for quality health care access for all; under the shared value that health care is a human right. 
Within our workgroup, leaders from Neighborhood Legal Services of the County of Los Angeles, Clinica Romero, The Wall Las Memories Project, LA Voice, The Wellness Center at the Historic General Hospital, Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles, among others, work collaboratively to highlight health care challenges within the Boyle Heights community.

The Health Happens with Prevention workgroup, works with leaders in the community, churches, and government to achieve the goal of improving access to quality health care for everyone. They work to provide residents the tools to make a positive change in the community. To this end, the workgroup has developed a workplan that includes many strategies and activities throughout the year to support this goal. These include:

  1. Building community and institutional involvement through one on one relational meetings with varied stakeholders in Boyle Heights.
  2. Coordinating offsite enrollment events that allow community members to enroll in the different health care programs available in LA County (Medi-Cal, My Health LA, and Covered California). Most significantly, even though My Health LA enrollment is limited to occurring within participating clinics, BHCBH brings enrollment efforts to other places of trust in Boyle Heights
  3. Organizing community-led assemblies to empower and inform community members on important changes happening at the county level. But more importantly, through these assemblies, residents are able to voice their comments and concerns regarding these changes.
  4. Developing relationships with key healthcare leaders, like Dr. Mitch Katz, Director of LA County Department of Health Services.
  5. Building and strengthening partnerships with other city wide collaborations that are working towards the same goal, such as the LAHealth4All Coalition of strengthening the safety net for the remaining uninsured.

Earlier this month the Health Happens with Prevention workgroup organized an enrollment event at Resurrection Church. In the church's auditorium and cafeteria, 76 previously uninsured families were enrolled into coverage. Over half of the enrollments were for My Health LA, the LA County program that provides primary care benefits to county residents who don't qualify for Medi-Cal due to their immigration status. To ensure the success of the event, extensive outreach was done at Resurrection church and the surrounding community. Twelve Boyle Heights residents were trained to screen people into coverage and many of them were able to practice their newly learned skills during the event. It is only through the commitment and collaboration of residents like them, and our other workgroup members, that this work is possible.
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