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Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County

Innovative Program Expands Support for Perinatal Mental Health Care Capacity in LA County

Six months after the launch of a collaborative to improve perinatal health, a new cohort of Los Angeles health centers will implement the innovative program. 

TCC Family Health (TCC) and St. John’s Community Health (St. John’s) joined the Los Angeles County Maternal Mental Health Access (LAMMHA) program as part of a second cohort implementing the evidence-based collaborative care model (CoCM) to treat common mental health conditions in primary care. Six months after training an initial cohort, the LAMMHA partners* chose TCC and St. John’s to join cohort 2 with two clinic sites each. During the two-year program, they will receive intensive on-going support and training to implement and sustain CoCM at their sites. Care teams from the four cohort 2 clinical sites attended an in-person training in Los Angeles on October 19, 2023 to build key perinatal CoCM skills. The session provided interactive education for behavioral health care managers, psychiatric consultants, medical providers, and other staff on how to identify and treat perinatal patients with mental health disorders regularly encountered in primary care. Providing training to the full care team highlighted the importance of CoCM’s team-based, interdisciplinary approach to deliver evidence-based diagnoses, treatment, and follow-up mental health care. 

Founded in 1939, TCC’s multi-disciplinary team of physicians, nurse practitioners, mental health professionals, and health educators provides preventive, acute and chronic care for children and adults; women’s health; family planning; pre-natal care; care management; chronic disease management for diabetes, depression, obesity, and asthma; behavioral health screenings and counseling; health education and outreach; walk-in immunizations; laboratory testing; eligibility screening and enrollment; interpretation and translation; and referrals to community resources.

The LAMMHA initiative aligns with my passion for strengthening quality of mental health care in our communities, utilizing collaborative integrative health care. I look forward to participating in this initiative with Cohort 2 and gaining access to a learning community to help improve maternal mental health care. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, providing counseling in an integrative health care system, I have witnessed first-hand the power of working in collaborative care to help address multiple aspects of a patient’s health, including their physical and emotional well-being. The initial kick-off training at the California Endowment Center was wonderful; I was able to meet others with collective empathy and dedication to provide extraordinary patient care. I am thankful to participate in this program to pioneer improved maternal mental health in Los Angeles County.

– Nancy Guzman, LCSW; The Children’s Clinic (TCC)

TCC’s providers are in agreement that there is an essential need for a multi-disciplinary collaborative approach with addressing prenatal and postpartum depression, anxiety, PTSD and other conditions.  “TCC is on a mission to help ameliorate the symptoms and improve the birthing parent’s quality of life. The LAMMHA project provided a detailed/multi perspective educational training that benefited our team. Our team left these trainings having a greater understanding of their roles and goals.” – Nancy Guzman, LCSW, TCC.

St. John’s Community Health offers a broad set of services including quality primary care, pediatric care, dental care, vision care and mental health care services. Patients also have access to St. John’s benefits team where they can enroll in or address any issues about their medical insurance. St. John’s team partners with over 40 community organizations to offer access to childcare, domestic violence support, housing support, substance use disorder support and much more. Through their diverse services and programs, St. John’s aims to decrease mother and infant mortality, reduce chronic illness with quality health care and education, educate patients on prenatal and postnatal care for a better health outcome for both mother and baby, help patients navigate through life challenges to decrease depression and/or anxiety, reduce stress and stressors, and help build a successful and healthy future for their patients and their family. St John’s will use the LAMMHA project to support its patients broadly, and in particular to advance the goals of its Committed to Black Wellness and Health Program.

St. John’s Community Health Committed to Black Wellness and Health Program envisions a safe environment where Black Women and Girls, both prenatal and postnatal can receive quality health care from a culturally competent team of physicians and staff. We work together to support and improve the well-being and health of Black Women and their children.

– Heather Alexander, St. John’s Community Health

LAMMHA is a five-year program funded by The California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) to support Los Angeles County community health centers in the identification and treatment of common perinatal mental disorders in primary care For more information and/or to apply for an upcoming LAMMHA cohort, please visit the CCALAC LAMMHA program page and our previous blog posts on the LAMMHA program and the LAMMHA ECHO series. For more information and resources around maternal mental health in California, please visit the California Department of Public Health – Maternal Mental Health page.  

*LAMMHA program partners: Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County (CCALAC), Elevation Health Partners (EHP), Maternal Mental Health Now (MMHN), Concert Health, University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington.