The Los Angeles (LA) County Departments of Public Health and Mental Health announce the creation of the Los Angeles County Community Collaborative (LAC 3 ), an incubator of innovation to address the nation’s opioid crisis. LAC 3 is a partnership between the LA County Department of Public Health, the Department of Mental Health and the Thought Leadership & Innovation Foundation (TLI). Guided by a universal prevention framework, LAC 3 aims to promote social and environmental conditions that protect communities from the harms of opioid use. It will build on LA County’s existing efforts, including the countywide opioid coalition known as Safe Med LA ( www.SafeMedLA.org), to engage a wide range of sectors representative of the County’s diversity. LAC 3 will foster public-private partnerships and support key stakeholder actions via a community-based collaborative. The collaborative will focus on early drivers of this public health crisis such as socioeconomic disparities, structural racism, resource inequities, and social isolation.
Barbara Ferrer PhD, MPH, MEd is Director of the LA County Department of Public Health and is a nationally known public health leader with over 30 years of professional experience as a philanthropic strategist, public health director, educational leader, researcher and community advocate. She explains that the LAC 3 will bring together organizations throughout LA County to coordinate, collaborate and innovate to deal with the root causes of this public health crisis.
Dr. Ferrer states, “The opioid crisis is both a public health and community emergency requiring a response that depends on meaningful engagement with people struggling with substance use and their family members, health care providers, community leaders, and the many neighborhood-based organizations that offer services and supports to residents. LAC 3 aims to build these partnerships and take collective action to address the upstream drivers of the opioid crisis.”
Jonathan Sherin, M.D., Ph.D. is a psychiatrist and an accomplished neurobiologist who serves as Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH), the largest public mental health system in the country. He describes LAC 3 as a coordinated, community-centric approach to addressing the opioid crisis in our community.
Dr. Sherin states, “We have been a proud member of the collaborative since its inception and LACDMH remains steadfastly committed to playing an active, ongoing role in finding a lasting solution for Los Angeles County. Yet, a unilateral, top-down approach cannot solve a crisis this complex and this pervasive within a community as large as Los Angeles County. LACDMH and its LAC 3 partners believe very strongly that a true solution to this crisis can be found only through robust collaboration with our community. A community epidemic of this proportion demands a community-based solution, one which is driven by mutual respect, understanding, and awareness. Community partnership and shared purpose with health-care providers are the key ingredients to finding lasting solutions.”
Bill Oldham, founder and chairman of the Board of TLI, says, “The shared development of an asset-based, community-led process offers a powerful network of community leaders working together to improve population health and optimize health and wellbeing for all people in LA County. As part of this groundbreaking effort, TLI will amplify and advance health equity throughout LA County.”