To ensure that Los Angeles County’s Latino population can thrive, local and state officials need to find new and more creative ways to invest in policies specifically targeting structural racism, according to a. Solid funding and collective community action in K-12 schools support recent report.
UCLA faculty, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Southern California and Loyola Marymount University, prepared data for the Latino / a Scorecard Report: A Policy Roadmap for Transforming Los Angeles, published July 28 by the Alliance for a Better Community , compiled and analyzed. or ABC.
“Latinos and others in Los Angeles deserve a fair and equitable opportunity to be as healthy as possible,” said Michael Rodriguez, professor of family medicine at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. “We need to strengthen our governance’s commitment to working with organizations like ABC to promote policies that support changing community conditions and institutional and government systems to promote health equity.”
Although Los Angeles is home to one of the largest Latino populations in the country – nearly half of the county’s residents are Latinos according to the latest census, and that number is increasing – the report shows the county remains a difficult place to be for Latinos is to thrive.
And that is what policymakers need to keep in mind as they deploy recovery resources and seek to rebuild after the devastation of the pandemic, according to the report, which examined five factors: education, health, public safety, economic prosperity (including housing) and civic engagement.
Rodriguez, who is also a professor at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, contributed to the health analysis of the report. Health for Latinos in Los Angeles County was rated an overall “D”, with “D” scores in almost every health category, including access to health / insurance and mental health services, COVID-19 vaccination rates, depression, suicidal thoughts, and childhood obesity.
The report also looks at how the struggles of Latino communities have been exacerbated by the structural inequalities that existed before the COVID-19 outbreak and have worsened as a result of the pandemic.
“There is a crisis when we look at declining life expectancy, high teenage pregnancies, diabetes rates, and poor health care, among other health problems,” said Rodriguez. “It will require that we work together to develop and implement an agenda for action to achieve health equity.”
Policy proposals in the report to improve health conditions in Latino communities include large-scale considerations such as the official declaration of racism as a public health crisis and the expansion of access to “one-stop-shop” programs such as the innovative CalAIM- System of the state that is part of the Department of Medical Health Care Reform.
The researchers also recommend creating community health and health centers around K-12 schools and rethinking urban landscapes to create more parks in Latino communities. Long-term investments in programs that improve the cultural and Spanish-speaking proficiency of current care providers and educational interventions that inspire more Latinos to enter the medical profession would also have a strong impact.
Veronica Terriquez, the new director of UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center, wrote the conclusion for the report. She particularly drew attention to the conditions for children and young people.
“The negative impact of the pandemic on the region could be felt for decades, given its devastating impact on the education and well-being of young people,” said Terriquez, professor in the Faculties of Urban Planning and Chicana and Chicano and Central American Studies. “This scorecard provides an in-depth look at how LA County’s institutions support the health, education, public safety, economic prosperity and civic engagement of the county’s Latino residents, Inclusive Region for All.”
Almost 75% of the students in the Los Angeles Unified School District are Latinos. Using mostly pre-pandemic data, the report gave the county an overall C grade, with some progress in areas such as high school graduation rates (B) and English proficiency for English learners through fifth grade (A). But the grades for university enrollment for Latinos were only D. Reading skills in third grade were also rated D.
Recommendations for improving educational opportunities for Latinos range from investing in early childhood programs and bilingual early childhood programs to building a stronger pipeline for Latino teachers. The report also highlights the need to create, promote and invest in educational offerings such as vocational schools and certification programs.
For Latino higher education students, many of whom are first generation college students, programs that guide them through the institution with culturally relevant sources of advice and tutoring / mentoring services are crucial. The report cited UCLA’s longstanding Academic Advancement Program as an example of such a program.
The report also calls on policymakers to adopt sweeping changes that will positively impact the economic prosperity of Latino communities, including expanding the state’s economic safety net for low-income workers, creating programs that provide fair childcare services provide, developing partnerships with businesses and community groups to train workers in high-growth industries, increased support for small Latinos and micro-businesses such as street vendors, student debt forgiveness, and improved access to programs that prepare Latino families for home ownership.
The scorecard was created in collaboration with members of the three universities and 37 community groups. It is the first report of this kind from the Alliance for a Better Community since 2003.
“The resilience and hard work of this community is undeniable, and there has been significant progress for some,” said Vanessa Aramayo, executive director of the Alliance for a Better Community. “For the majority, however, systemic barriers persist. As we move towards recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vitally important for us to remove these barriers, protect the progress that has been made, and ensure that any recovery is fully recovered from. everyone is shared. “
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