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Los Angeles County

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If you live in L.A. County, and especially if you've driven back to the Los Angeles basin from somewhere else, you've seen it. A steely brown haze hangs over us for much of the year. We live in the smoggiest region in the United States (according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District), but for those raising children here it may not be top of mind. In some parts of the county, moms claw their way onto waiting lists for the "right" preschool while they are still pregnant.

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Stephen Opferman is a sergeant with the Major Crimes Bureau of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the co‐founder and supervisor of the Los Angeles County's Health Authority Law Enforcement Task Force (HALT). He has been with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department for 21 years and with the HALT team since its inception in 1999. While at HALT,Sgt. Opferman has gained a great deal of experience investigating illegal pharmaceutical and narcotics sales, underground medical practices, health care provider fraud and organized crime.

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Kathryn Pitkin Derose is a researcher at RAND Health, a division of the RAND Corporation, the nation’s largest independent health policy research program, with a broad research portfolio that focuses on topics including health care quality, costs and delivery. She is currently principal investigator on a multi‐year, National Institutes of Health (NIH)‐funded study on urban congregations’ capacity for HIV Prevention and care.

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Jeanne Smart has worked for Los Angeles County for more than 25 years, beginning in public health nursing field services and now in the development of supportive programs for children with special needs. She currently directs the perinatal nurse home visiting programs within Los Angeles County’s Department of Public Health. She has successfully integrated county programs with community‐based programs that strengthen and empower families to meet the special needs of high‐risk infants and children. Ms.

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Maxine Liggins is an Area Medical Director for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The Service Planning Areas in which she works include the wealthiest and the poorest residents of Los Angeles County. Public Health’s mission of “improving the quality of life for the residents of Los Angeles County” serves as a yardstick to measure the quality of health services provided in the Los Angeles County. Dr.

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Serious depression is a growing problem for multicultural seniors. But unlike older whites, ethnic people 50-plus are blocked from treatment by poverty, limited or no insurance, lack of programs geared for them—and the stigma of mental problems that permeates many cultures. New America media senior editor Paul Kleyman reports his series on mental challenges for ethnic seniors.

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Melvin Baron has spent his career educating the public about health and medicine, first as a pharmacist and then as a USC Associate Professor of Clinical Pharmacy. He’s 77 now, and he confesses to some frustration with the handouts that pharmacists and doctors use to inform patients about health and medicine.

“Much of what we give you is lousy,” he told me. “It’s a lot of words. Most of it is way above the audience. It doesn’t resonate and it’s boring.”

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