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  • Shirley Harriman

Listening Session Held at Antelope Valley Partners for Health (AVPH)

Lancaster – Tuesday evening January 30 six tables of six participants each met at AVPH to be introduced to Los Angeles County’s announcement of the formation of CHE … Center for Health Equality. Public Health introduced the Center to community partners and stakeholders. The County was looking for what the participants considered best practices, who would be its critical partners and to gather suggestions on what we thought should be the most productive engagement strategies for CHE’s inaugural initiatives.

The guests took a “Gallery Walk” around the room to view the white posts pinned on the walls describing five unfair health burdens to prioritize and address:

1. Infant Mortality 2. Sexually transmitted infections 3. Environmental justice 4. Health Neighborhoods 5. Linguistic competency

Concerns were written on sticky notes and affixed to the white papers for analysis. What we liked, what we wondered about, what we envisioned for CHE and who would we invite to provide additional input were written on sticky notes. .

The Gallery Walk was followed by small group discussions. Two tables merged together with someone taking notes and someone being the group spokesperson. Our table discussed environmental justice. Environmental justice is defined as “The fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, origin or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.” We asked each other five questions about each topic at each table. Other communities had their issues as well, each community having different issues that described environmental justice and what support efforts will be required to build health equity.

The forms and notes along with the Gallery Walk white papers and the break out Q&A sessions were gathered to be entered into a dBase for analysis for the next session.

I attended and it was worth every moment of my time ... and yours, LLA! This CHE is going to benefit ALL. I am delighted I was invited and attended. It was a privilege to sit with and talk with such caring giving talented people. I was able to give my LLA perspective, our amenities such as our Park which is critical to optimal health in the community, the fact that we do not have a prison, a battery manufacturing business or other industrial facility or large manufacturing area around us; we have buttes and desert beauty to soak in every day; but we have a clinic too small for the community which needs to be expanded considerably. We have transportation issues for health care. Trash burning and trash burying and more disgustingly we are a dumping ground for everyone's trash including that which is contributed to by some of our own residents. The analysis that will come out of this 2-Hour Listening Session will be revealing, no doubt.

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