Category: Health and Health Care

5 - Sustaining Community Collaborations that Support Evidence-Based Health Promotion Programs

By 2020, the Los Angeles (LA) County population age 65 and older will grow by 43%. Older adults are disproportionally affected by chronic conditions such as arthritis, diabetes and physical disabilities. As a result, rates of chronic disease are also expected to rise and simultaneously, communities will continue to grow more diverse. One strategy to improve health outcomes and quality of life is to increase access to evidence-based health promotion programs (EBHPPs) that address chronic disease, fall prevention, and caregiving. These programs stress prevention, foster healthy behavior adoption, and seek to improve population health. LA has a rich history of developing and growing effective health and chronic disease self-management programs. However, only a small fraction of older adults have accessed these programs and reaped their health benefits. Research has demonstrated that the use of EBHPPs among diverse communities remains below the recommended Healthy People 2020 standards, as rates of chronic disease and medical costs continue to rise.
For the past five years, the LA Alliance for Community Health & Aging (LAACHA), which includes community leaders/organizations representing health care, older adults, persons with disabilities, academia, business, philanthropic and governmental agencies has worked towards expanding access and reach of reimbursable and sustainable EBHPPs across LA's vast geography and diverse communities, through strategic networking and leveraging of resources. Utilizing a public health/social determinant lens, LAACHA approaches EBHPP expansion by addressing community needs (via member surveying), systemic barriers (cost, accessibility, cultural competence), and community resilience, striving towards health equity.
Strategies used to create this multidisciplinary collaborative focus on engagement, replicability, and scalability. Highlights include creating a solid infrastructure, a strongly engaged Steering Committee of community leaders and content experts; surveying member interests and capacity; creating robust referral systems, and sustaining collaborative momentum. Successes include a diverse membership of over 140 individuals and 95 organizations; engaged members, effective resource sharing, and established collaboration between the County Departments of Public Health, Health Services, and Mental Health, to bring EBHPPs to both their clients and the community. Challenges include scarce funding, staffing, and striving to meeting multicultural and multilingual needs.
Collaborating with multi-sectorial entities, such as those focused on clinical care, academia, advocacy and funding reimbursement at the local, state, and national levels, serves to strengthen this initiative. LAACHA continues to evolve, consistently striving for innovative models to scale up, accelerate and sustain EBHPPs.


Ellen Eidem

Director, Office of Women's Health
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Office of Women's Health

Ellen Eidem has served as the director of the LA County Department of Public Health's Office of Women Health for 15 years, worked in public health for 30 years, is a founding member of the Los Angeles Alliance for Community Health and Aging, a collaborative dedicated to expanding evidence-based programs, and has worked on aging issues for many years.

Annie Pham

Program Manager
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Office of Women's Health

Annie Pham is a program manager with the Los Angeles County Office of Women’s Health. She has served as the lead manager for multiple chronic disease intervention projects involving evidence based programs, organizational collaborations and strategic engagement of at-risk populations. Annie comes from a health education and outreach background, with experience in federally qualified health centers. Her scientific interests include the development of systematic and culturally responsive approaches to improve chronic disease outcomes through integration of clinical and community settings. Annie received her Master's degree in Public Health from the George Washington University and her Bachelor's degree in Sociology from UCLA.

Viviana Criado

LAACHA Coordinator
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Office of Women's Health

Viviana Criado serves as the coordinator of the Los Angeles Alliance for Community Health and Aging (LAACHA). She maintains the organizational infrastructure of LAACHA, which is a collaborative dedicated to expanding evidence-based programs through the cross-sector partnerships of its' over 140 members, representing 95 organizations. She has worked in the field of aging and mental health for over 30 years.

Rita Singhal

Medical Director, Office of Women's Health
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Office of Women's Health

Rita Singhal has served as the Medical Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Office of Women’s Health for over 10 years. She is board-certified in Internal Medicine and an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. She serves as a medical expert on chronic disease and cancer prevention and addressing social determinants of health among women, and has dedicated her career to improving the health of underserved women in Los Angeles County.