Magazine article The Nation's Health

Linking the Past to the Present: Los Angeles Center Welcomes Community

Magazine article The Nation's Health

Linking the Past to the Present: Los Angeles Center Welcomes Community

Article excerpt

Public health professionals understand and appreciate the impact of social determinants on health outcomes. We also work to identify and eliminate inequities that exist for people living within different ZIP codes. Let's consider two major areas of Los Angeles County: Beverly Hills, 90210, and Los Angeles, 90033, or Boyle Heights.

Approximately 15 miles apart, these two ZIP codes represent opposite ends of the socioeconomic spectrum, and the health status indicators are what you would expect. Specifically, residents in Boyle Heights contend with crime, violent gangs, poverty, poor housing and overall poor quality of life. Assessments have shown that residents have low graduation rates, poor access to healthy foods and high rates of overweight, obesity, cancer, heart disease and hypertension.

The iconic Los Angeles County General Hospital, built in 1933 on the hills east of downtown in Boyle Heights, provided charitable health care until it was replaced by a modern hospital built right next door. The new facility is part of the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, serving both community and county residents. Rather than demolish the old hospital, a partner-ship of organizations -- including the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, other governmental agencies, non-profit groups and private benefactors -- are working together to create a new health center at the site.

The Wellness Center at the Historic General Hospital is envisioned as a one-stop community health and wellness center created through a massive renovation of the original 19-story hospital. …

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