live / 2014

The Pathway

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Meet Each Need with Dignity

MEND provides medical services to local poverty-level people at no charge.


Please describe yourself.

Collaboration (partners are signed up and ready to hit the ground running!)

In one sentence, please describe your idea or project.

MEND provides services that meet the basic human needs of poverty-level individuals who reside in the northeast San Fernando Valley.

Does your project impact Los Angeles County?

Yes (benefits a region of LA County)

Which area(s) of LA does your project benefit?

  • San Fernando Valley

What is your idea/project in more detail?

        MEND has become a recognized leader in providing basic services in the northeast San Fernando Valley, and MEND’s Medical Clinic is the only free clinic in their portion of the Valley. Medical and vision care, as well as health education, are provided by volunteer health professionals to patients who are low income, have no health insurance and are not entitled to Medicare or Medical benefits. The Medical Clinic provides family practice, chiropractic, acupuncture and chronic disease care to thousands of people each year. When more specialized services are needed, the patients are given referrals to appropriate facilities nearby and free bus tokens are offered to help patients obtain these services. If needed, medications are pres

What will you do to implement this idea/project?

       Through the volunteer health volunteers, it provides basic ambulatory, hypertension, diabetic, vision, women’s health, acupuncture and chiropractic care to adults. The Eye Clinic provides eye exams, glaucoma testing and prescription glasses free of charge to all patients. Vision services are also provided to children. When more specialized services are needed, the patients are given referrals to appropriate nearby facilities.
       While the MEND health service programs extend over the wide range of illnesses and treatments of young children through seniors, a significant percentage of MEND’s medical activity is extended to the diagnosis and the treatment of hypertension and diabetes prevalent in the dominantly Hispanic population of the northeast San Fernando Valley. Nearly one-third of the MEND medical cash budget is directed to diabetic medications. The MEND Medical Volunteers have designed and implemented a comprehensive medical program that provides health care to poor uninsured families living in the northeast San Fernando Valley. The group includes physicians, doctors of optometry, a doctor of chiropractic, an acupuncturist, nurse practitioners and RN's, 
       Through a Holistic Approach, the Medical Clinic provides health education and exercise classes, including specialty clinics for diabetes, hypertension, women’s health and healthy aging; and has recently launched a 4-month Weight Management Course, the objective of which is to educate obese patients on nutrition and exercise, in a culturally-sensitive manner while helping them adopt lifestyle changes that can help them lose the excess weight. Our plan is to rotate 15 patients every 4 months through the course with the goal of helping them lose 10 pounds or lower their BMI score by one point.

How will your idea/project help make LA the healthiest place to LIVE today? In 2050?

       From its humble beginnings in 1971, MEND – Meet Each Need with Dignity – has become one of the most comprehensive and empowering poverty relief agencies in Los Angeles County, serving in thousands of individuals each month with a full range of services designed to meet basic needs and move recipients on to self-reliance.  Named the 2012 California Nonprofit of the Year by the Governor’s Office, MEND, to better meet the growing number client applications, has strategically worked to expand its volunteer workforce to more than 5,300 individuals supported by approximately 31 experienced employees, who gave the equivalent hours of almost 95 full-time employees in 2013. On-going collaborations are part of this leveraged manpower, with more than 300 universities and colleges, businesses, nonprofit and government agencies and community groups regularly working in MEND departments. MEND has a reputation for exceptional management, emphasizing high quality and innovative service delivery.

As we move closer to 2050, MEND can strengthen its abilities to provide health options for individuals and families and to break the bonds of hunger, disease, and poverty providing a future-serving as a pathway to self-reliance.

Whom will your project benefit?

For over 40 years, MEND—Meet Each Need with Dignity has been providing services that meet the basic human needs of individuals, many Hispanic, who reside in the northeast San Fernando Valley. All of MEND’s clients are below the Federal poverty areas of Los Angeles County. Many of MENDS’s clients are “working poor,” often holding down several minimum wage jobs and spending more than 70% of their income on rent. Others are single parents with small children who cannot afford childcare to enable then to work outside the home and, thus, must rely on welfare. Still others are individuals who suddenly find themselves unemployed and without financial resources. While some clients live in government subsidized housing, a large percentage share the rental of a house with other families and many still live in garages, shacks, trailers or other forms of substandard housing. MEND is the largest and most comprehensive poverty-relief agency in the San Fernando Valley and makes a significant difference in the lives of 3,100 people who, in 2013, turned to MEND for medical help.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

The following collaborators are confirmed, and we have worked together in the past. Each collaborator adds its own specialty to complete the quality of the various medical services provided. These collaborators bring three critical aspects to the success of the medical service on a day-to-day basis: 1) their specific expertise, 2) key necessary research and 3) in-kind work to help MEND provide full medical follow through.

MEND Medical Clinic: Total # 59 Medical Cont. Alzheimer’s Association Providence St. Parish Nurses American Diabetes Association SFV Optometric Society Anderson Career College SHP-PEP -Student Health Professional Pre-Entry Program Center for the Partially Blind Shalom Ahavat Temple Cal State L.A. School of Nursing Southside Coalition of Community Health Centers California Dept of Public Health: Champions for Change UCLA Dept of Int. Medicine: Community Health Program California State University Northridge UCLA Dept of Nephrology: SPRINT Study California State University Los Angeles: School of Nursing UCLA School of Nursing “ Heart Stiches”” Cesar Chavez Committee: Annual Festival & March USC School of Pharmacy Fraternity College of the Canyons: School of Nursing Valley Care/ Olive View Hospital Community Clinic Association of LA County Valley College of Medical Careers Community Clinic Voice Valley Community Clinic CSNAP VCCC Direct Relief Vision y Compromiso El Nido Western University School of Optometry Everest College West Coast University School of Nursing Worksource California TSE Program Youth Policy Institute Northridge Hospital Occidental College Pacoima Beautiful Pals for Health Partners in Care Platt College Providence Holy Cross Medical Center St. Joseph Medical Center

Homeless Health Care L.A Kaiser Permanente Kaiser Permanente Panorama City: Health Education Dept Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills: Residency Program Kaplan College LA County Health Department

LA County Department of Health Services: OVMC LA County Department of Public Health, Nutrition Program Latino Diabetes Association Lions Clubs Mission Community Hospital: Project Alto Mt St. Mary’s: School of Nursing National Kidney Foundation Network for a Healthy California- LA Region NEVHC National University School of health and Human Services

. Worksource California TSE Program

How will your project impact the LA2050 “Live” metrics?

  • Healthcare access
  • Number of households below the self-sufficiency standard
  • Percentage of residents receiving coordinated healthcare services (Dream Metric)
  • Allows patients to live healthier and through our holistic approche become self-sustaining members of the community

Please elaborate on how your project will impact the above metrics.

MEND has become a recognized leader in providing basic services to only households below the self-sufficiency standard. A holistic Health Clinic that includes medical, vision, and counseling services; needs assessment through home visiting and information. MEND is the largest and most comprehensive poverty-relief agency in the San Fernando Valley and makes a significant difference in the lives of 3,100 people who, in 2013, turned to MEND for medical help. This is nearly 3% of the population of city of Pacoima alone

Please explain how you will evaluate your project.

1) By June 30, 2015, MEND will increase the current percentage of 30% diabetics with controlled diabetes and improve HbA1c to 50% by providing screenings and health education. 2) A Quality Assurance Committee of health professionals meets quarterly to review 15 charts to ensure that appropriate treatment is being provided to MEND patients. 3) Implementing a Weight Management Pilot Course, that works with 15 obese patients, three times a year, to lower BMI scores by 1 point or more.

What two lessons have informed your solution or project?

Years ago when MEND was forming its mission, it learned two lessons. Initially, it learned it really had to bonds of poverty by providing basic human needs and evaluating them. They had to look at all aspects which made up each client and thus help him or her with individual needs – a holistic approach. This manifested into a broad array of services provided and the opportunity to access these services through many client entry points. It was through these entry points that MEND could realistically break the bonds of poverty. . For one, to combat obesity and poor health habits, a comprehensive health education program is being developed that provides exercise courses, a health education library and health-related classes and seminars

The other lesson learned was the critical need to get clients on a road to being self- reliant, so they didn’t become totally dependent on MEND to live. For MEND there is a “pathway to self-reliance”. As an example, through the efforts of its many volunteers and dedicated staff of professionals, MEND has been able effectively to provide for the human needs of its clients and offer a pathway to self-reliance through its educational programs. As an example, MEND has a course on Diabetic Health Education. Classes in this subject teach healthy eating and diabetic health management through diet and exercise while emphasizing the importance of living a healthy lifestyle to prevent diabetic health complications in the future.

Explain how implementing your project within the next twelve months is an achievable goal.

Since the late 1960’s, our founders have been concerned about the plight of impoverished individuals living in this part of the San Fernando Valley. Although they began in their garage, the need was so great for food, clothing and furniture that, in 1971, they formed MEND. From office space on Van Nuys Boulevard, to a warehouse that was purchased in the early 1980’s and expanded after the Northridge earthquake to an additional 40,000 square foot community center, MEND has kept pace with the needs of its clients every year and is prepared to do so in the coming 12 months.

Please list at least two major barriers/challenges you anticipate. What is your strategy for ensuring a successful implementation?

One major challenge is manpower, however MEND’s exceptional management, emphasizing high quality and innovative service delivery enabled a 400% growth in critical departments during the Great Recession. Ninety-nine percent of our collective work is done by volunteers and our operating expense remains below 5% (in fiscal year 2013). The other challenge is program funding, but we make it happen. MEND solicits no government grants and is funded through the generosity of foundations, businesses and individual donors. It also maintains a low overhead of approximately 30 full and part time employees in 2013. On-going collaborations are MEND, to better meet the growing number client applications, has strategically worked to expand its volunteer workforce to more than 5,300 individuals. For example, through MEND’s Medical and Eye Care Clinics, volunteer health professionals serve low-income patients who have no health insurance and are not entitled to Medicare or Medi-Cal benefits.

What resources does your project need?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)