From left are Dr. Keith Curry, Compton College president; Dr. David Carlisle, Charles R. Drew University president; Dr. Thomas A. Parham, CSUDH president; Assemblyman Mike Gipson; Jim Mangia, St. John’s Community Health president/CEO; Dr. Darin Brawley, Compton Unified School District superintendent; and Gregory Polk, Kedren Community Health Center executive director. (Courtesy photo)

Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson (D-Carson) joined partners at California State University, Dominguez Hills – including the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Compton College, Compton Unified School District, CSUDH, Kedren Health, and St. Johns Community Health – to officially sign the Memorandum of Understanding for the Compton Community Health Professions Partnership (CCHPP).

The CCHPP commits resources from stakeholders across the community towards a vertical integration along the health professions pipeline.

“We are witnessing a new day in Compton with this agreement,” said Gipson. “While the effects of past underinvestment have institutionalized patterns of neglect, preventing the Compton area from closing persistent gaps in healthcare, today’s announcement will help us focus our medical and educational providers around a common purpose for the good of the region.

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“I thank the six partners investing in this team effort, as well as the thousands of future K-12 and higher ed students who will gain opportunities through the Compton Community Health Professions Partnership, for sharing my vision of equity activated by this project.”

“Medical education is one of the cornerstones of closing health care disparities,” said Jim Mangia, MPH, president and CEO of St. Johns Community Health.

“The Compton Community Health Professions Partnership is a much-needed initiative that sets the foundation for local educational institutions and health centers to join forces to tackle these disparities. As a health care partner, St. Johns Community Health plans to provide rotation sites for clinical training opportunities along with future employment for Black and Latino health professionals to improve health outcomes.”

The CCHPP was envisioned to address the needs of marginalized and disenfranchised communities in a Medically Underserved Area. Compton’s population is 71% Latino and 28% Black, with 58% of residents living below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. As a direct result, the area experiences some of the county’s highest rates of obesity, diabetes cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, and asthma.

Relatedly, its Los Angeles County Service Planning Area 6 reports a record-high percentage of adults (16.8%) at risk for major depression. Compton is also a federally identified Mental Health Professional Shortage Area.

In its first year, the partners engaged in the CCHPP will participate in extensive public listening forums to hear firsthand from people who are experiencing barriers to entering healthcare professions, among other problems. As part of the ensuing phase of student recruitment, high schoolers will engage with CCHPP partners to tap into postsecondary training related to these professions.

CCHPP will reach undergraduate students at Charles R. Drew, Compton College, and CSUDH, and its focus areas (including offering additional scholarships) will expand as the partners seek further external funding. Ultimately, the partnership is responsible for directly implementing initiatives to increase health promotion and disease prevention, reorienting Compton away from crisis healthcare in favor of control over a person’s own wellness.

“On behalf of the Compton Community College District Board of Trustees and Compton College, we are excited to be a part of this historic partnership. This is a much-needed collaboration to address the healthcare needs of the Compton Community and southern Los Angeles County residents alike,” said Keith Curry, Ed.D., president/CEO of Compton College and Compton Community College District.

“Racial inequities in our healthcare system lead to a higher risk of illness and lower standards of care for people of color. We intend to train more health professionals to fill the gaps in our healthcare system and increase the capacity of individuals of color to take a more active role in their well-being.”

“The success of any educational institution is greatly enhanced by the authentic strategic partnerships it can create,” said Thomas A. Parham, Ph.D., president of Cal State Dominguez Hills.

“It is also essential to have educational continuity throughout the ladder of academic engagement students participate in. Our relationship with the Compton Unified School District, Compton College, and Charles Drew University and their dynamic leaders is a relationship built on shared mission, vision, and values that are supported by legislators like Assemblymember Gipson. The collaboration between our institutions and the Assemblymember’s office has created educational pathways that have and will continue under this MOU to create brighter futures for the students we all care so deeply about.”

“The Hub City is a hub for collaboration – a place where those doing good come together,” said Gipson. “As we move forward on creating training sites for participating students in the 65th District, including clinical rotation sites, I am reminded that our communities of color, such as the ones directly connected to this project, have unlimited potential.”