The L.A. Trust…
Who We Are
The L.A. Trust for Children’s Health (The L.A. Trust) is an independent non-profit, 501 (C)3 organization that works to support the academic success of the 647,000 students of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). We do this by improving student access to quality health care, advancing the school-based health delivery systems through best practice and sustainable programs, and advocating for health for all students and families. Since its inception in 1991, The L.A. Trust has convened, led, and shaped health and wellness programs at LAUSD schools, including the creation of 14 school-based Wellness Centers that provide full primary care, mental health, and oral health services to students and their families.
When talking about what The L.A. Trust is, sometimes it’s easier to talk about what it is not. We are not LAUSD, although we work very closely together to nurture the same children. Nor are we the care providers that administer health services to the students and families of the district, although they too are key partners in our work.
The L.A. Trust serves as a “backbone” organization that facilitates action between LAUSD schools, clinics, and community partners in an effort to create and expand holistic health services and prevention programs for LAUSD students and their families.
LAUSD’s Wellness Initiative calls for the development of full-service and integrated Wellness Centers in strategic school locations in the district. This investment in school-based health care is unprecedented across the country in its scope and scale. To support the success of this effort, The L.A. Trust serves as a neutral convener, bringing together key school, health, and research professionals, along with community stakeholders, to ensure that the health needs of students and their families are addressed so that students can succeed in the classroom.
We work diligently to strengthen relationships between school health leaders and policy makers. We work closely with students and parents to better understand the challenges they face. We align partners around common goals to streamline efforts, and achieve measurable results.
As a strategic partner with the California School-Based Health Alliance, The L.A. Trust is uniquely positioned to advance the vision of wellness and health equity throughout Los Angeles County. Not only do we advance policy initiatives to shape and expand the school–based health care movement, we convene the School Health Policy Roundtable and the L.A. Coalition of School Health Centers — two bodies that focus on improving delivery of care for children and adolescents throughout the County.
To improve student health and increase readiness to learn through health care access, advocacy, and programs. Our work is grounded in the philosophy that health and wellness are integral to student achievement; school-based health centers have a critical role to play in access to services; and, effective community partnerships are a powerful tool for systems change.
A Brief History
The L.A. Trust was first established through a 1991 resolution of the LAUSD Board of Education in an effort to help improve the health of children and families within the District, as well as to provide resources and support for the growing number of school-based health centers within LAUSD schools.
We have historically served as a source of logistical and financial support for school-based health centers and for health partnerships serving LAUSD’s elementary, middle and senior high school students with a broad range of school-based health services.
From 1994 – 2002, The L.A. Trust provided substantial financial support to the direct operation of the six original LAUSD school based health clinics. At the same time, The L.A. Trust worked to facilitate the opening of new school-based clinics that could be self-sufficient and sustainable without ongoing direct funding.
Today, The L.A. Trust is pursuing a bold plan to further develop and expand its 14 Wellness Centers within communities experiencing significant health disparities and create opportunities to expand access to effective primary care, oral and mental health services throughout the District.
Wellness Phase 2
In 2014, the LAUSD School Board allocated $50M for the development and expansion of Wellness Centers as a strategy to achieve the District’s goal of 100% graduation. The L.A. Trust was named the strategic partner to help drive these efforts. This will lead to the expansion of currently existing Wellness Centers that require additional space to meet the needs of an integrated system, i.e. oral health or more counseling rooms for behavioral health meetings, and adding new sites on other high-need campuses.
What We’ve Achieved So Far
- 14 Wellness Centers are fully operational
- All sites have capacity for both primary care and mental health services, and 6 of the 14 sites are providing oral health services
- Throughout the District, we have expanded oral health services beyond the Wellness Centers and are working with over 300 providers to establish dental homes for our kids
- Access to healthcare has increased. Since March 2012 more than 190,000 patient encounters have taken place through June 2016, approximately half of which are student visits
- More than 650 student health leaders have been trained to advocate for and promote Wellness Center services on their respective campuses
- A social justice approach has been adopted by each Wellness Center with the understanding that they will provide services equitably
- Wellness programs include: nutrition, fitness, mental health and trauma awareness, oral health, asthma prevention and treatment, and smoking cessation and reproductive health
- An enhanced focus on early childhood development: linking parents and children to support services
- Through our Oral Health Initiative, more than 7,000 children have been screened for oral health disease. We can consistently discover that 5% of students (350 students) have abscesses and broken teeth, and another 50% (3,500 students) need to see a dentist within a month. Through our program, all of these children were linked to dental homes
- In early 2016, The L.A. Trust worked with student leaders to present to the LAUSD School Board requesting a $20M investment for improved access to clean water fountains on campuses. The resolution passed and the work to outfit each campus is underway
- 14 student advisory boards are active at each Wellness Center site, providing health education, mentorship, building leadership skills, and advancing peer advocacy training. Many of these students head to college or choose a career in healthcare
What We Do
The L.A. Trust supports the school-based health programs and clinics of LAUSD in three ways:
- 1) by optimizing the 14 Wellness Centers located on LAUSD campuses to provide integrated physical, mental and oral health care services for LAUSD students and their families;
- 2) by bringing a wide array of health promotion programming to students; and
- 3) by advocating for health policy change throughout the District and at all levels of government.
Supporting a Network for Integrated Wellness
LAUSD’s Wellness Centers represent an expanded concept in school-based health care. They serve students, families and the surrounding community by providing comprehensive care, prevention and early intervention and education to promote health and wellness. The L.A. Trust promotes and supports the development of the “network” around the Wellness Center, meaning in addition to the Wellness Center, we support the campus and its feeder schools to become more health and wellness focused too.
Our programs often go beyond student involvement. For example,
- oral health screenings on campus involve parent volunteers
- promotoras engage with families to learn how to talk with their kids about healthy relationships and healthy behaviors
- students lead health and wellness campaigns that address oral health, asthma, reproductive health, substance abuse prevention, and mental health awareness
Our Dash to Wellness dashboard is used to collect and monitor data across all Wellness Centers that help us to drive program and strategy decisions that aim to improve services and the health of all served. (June 2016 Cumulative Dash to Wellness)
The L.A. Trust provides various health and wellness support programming to the 14 Wellness Centers campuses, including:
Health and Wellness
- Asthma Quality Improvement Program – to work with other school-based health centers in CA to develop best practices for supporting students with asthma
- Dash to Wellness data dashboard allows for effective monitoring of access to care, and prompts training and assistance to advance quality improvement programs
- Early Linkages to Wellness Program advances child wellness and development through family connection to preconception, infant and toddler care, physical and behavioral health care
- Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) Program aims to prevent and treat childhood obesity and to increase healthy behaviors
- Oral Health Initiative provides community-wide oral health education, direct preventive care and early intervention, links patients to restorative care providers, and has become a national model for multi-sector integrated and sustainable school-based oral programs
- PCORI — Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute to help reduce unplanned pregnancy rates among Latina adolescents through the use of an iPad application in a clinic setting
- STD Awareness Project raises community awareness, educate teachers and Wellness Center staff about STDs, minor consent laws, etc.
- Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program integrates teen pregnancy prevention programs into LAUSD through youth engagement, parent workshops, and evidence based curricula to middle school students
Substance Use Prevention
- SBIRT – Alcohol Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment – to engage the Wellness Centers on using the SBIRT model to address substance use issues and needs
- TUPE – Tobacco Use Prevention Education to promote anti-tobacco education and smoking cessation classes to LAUSD students
- Health Careers Pathway Project – to offer students access to health career pathways by strengthening employer, community, and state college partnerships within Boyle Heights and South Los Angeles
How We Do It
The L.A. Trust team builds strong collaborative relationships with key leaders in LAUSD, the local health care system, funders, and other community stakeholders. These partnerships help create the collective and sustainable impact we all strive for in student health and learning.
The L.A. Trust has been applying a Collective Impact approach since 2012. We approach our work by studying the environments we work within including the needs of the community, be it staff, students, parents, or partners. We gather and communicate regularly with stakeholders and come to terms with our common agenda, mutual goals, and clarify roles and responsibilities. We measure our progress collectively and use the data to inform our best practices or next strategic direction.
We are guided by our strategic plan which is focused on key three goals:
- Integrated Wellness
- Advancing Policy
- Strengthening Backbone Support
The L.A. Trust supports a holistic view of student, family, and community health that integrates services to promote wellness and academic achievement.
Why We Do It
We know that when students graduate from high school, the likelihood of their future success increases exponentially. And we know that the link between health and the ability to learn is undeniable. But far too many of LAUSD’s 647,000 students don’t have access to the health care services they need to succeed. In fact, the numbers are bleak.
Many of Los Angeles county’s most vulnerable students do not have adequate access to quality health and prevention services. Low-quality health care and/or poor health are associated not only with higher health care costs but also with higher dropout rates, absenteeism, and poorer school performance. We know — and research confirms — that students are better able to learn and achieve academic success when they are healthy.
LAUSD is the second largest district in the nation with over 647,000 students, 90% representing communities of color. In LAUSD, 27% of students are uninsured, 52% are enrolled in Medi-Cal, and 74% participate in the National School Lunch Program. One in 5 Los Angeles youth living in poverty have no usual source of medical care.
The L.A. Trust wants every single child who attends public school in Los Angeles to have a fair shot at a successful life. That’s why we are committed to providing children, youth and families access to quality health care and wellness programs. The L.A. Trust understands that physical and mental health, social-emotional wellbeing, and positive development are inextricably linked with student academic success and lifelong health, which is why we do this. Access to high quality and integrated care is a value we hold close.
Keeping our children healthy requires the commitment of the entire community. The L.A. Trust for Children’s Health relies on contributions from people like you to help fund and support the wellness centers that deliver the critical healthcare services that the children of our community need to thrive. You can support our mission in a variety of ways…
- Make a one-time or recurring financial contribution.
- As a L.A.U.S.D. employee, you can make contributions via payroll deductions.
- Check our website regularly to make donations during giving campaigns.
CLICK HERE to learn more about donating to The Trust.