Building A Net for Our Kids -- September 2014


Building a Net for Our Youth ​

Dear Friends,

September remains a behemoth on the Health Awareness calendar. Not only is this week National Suicide Prevention and Awareness week, but it's National Obesity Prevention month as well. As school in LAUSD ramps up this month, so do the stressors that every single one of our 650,000 kids must face. So what can we do? And better yet, what are we doing?

On average, in California a young person takes their life almost every other day. Suicide remains the 3rd most likely cause of death by youth, and we know by analyzing data from hospitals and emergency rooms, every day nearly 30 young people in our state attempt suicide. It's mind boggling. Access to care through suicide prevention hotlines is paramount and vigilance by invested adults remains key. These include parents, teachers, counselors, and staff at all of our schools. We know that calls by youth to suicide hotlines spike during the autumn months brought on by 3 major factors: bullying, break ups, and crises around individual dignity. State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson, has called for school districts throughout the state to adopt a Policy of Suicide Prevention. LAUSD School Mental Health led by Director of Crisis Couseling and Intervention Services, Pia Escudero, provide mental health services at many of our Wellness Center sites. They, along with other providers throughout the Wellness Networks bring LAUSD students access to mental health services in ways and access points that heretofore have not been available. Please click 
here for a list of resources and information, or here for a toolkit assembled by the Palo Alto School District. It might very well save one of our student's lives.

As we as a society work to alleviate the systemic challenges our kids face -- an ongoing struggle to be certain -- it is important this month (and every month) we recommit ourselves to creating the most supportive and elastic of safety nets, so that if and when a child falls, they not only land softly but are able to bounce back upon their feet, walking their path to wellness.

Student Health = Student Success!
MJ Signature
Maryjane Puffer, BSN, MPA
Executive Director
The L.A. Trust for Children's Health

Trust's 2014-2015 Oral Health Program Smiles, Opens Wide!

The L.A. Trust is excited to announce the expansion of the “dental screening and fluoride varnish programs” to up to 10 schools this year.  Plans include visiting 3 Wellness Center schools and at least 2 early education centers.  Last school year 1,918 students were screened, 7680 students received oral health instruction, 443 parents received oral health education, and 195 teachers received oral health program awareness. The program’s success is attributed to the collaborative effort and motivation of students, parents, school administration, school staff, School Nurses, Healthy Start Coordinators/Navigators, Organization Facilitators, Student Medical Services, and the participating Dental Providers.  We are also growing in the number of providers that are looking to provide school based dental services! Click here to learn more about our oral health initiative.



Find A School-Based Health Center Near You

As the L.A. Trust continues to emerge as the "backbone" organization to advancing school-based health care, we are proud to have recently launched a new a school based health center (SBHC) search tool.  L.A. County has about 75 school based health centers across 21 cities, so we hope the search tool will help guide adolescents and their families to sources of care that are convenient, teen-friendly, and offer high quality health care services.  Click here to start your search.

Trust Welcomes 2nd Oral Health Resource Nurse  

We are thrilled to welcome Claudia Yepes, RN, MSN, NP to our growing Oral Health team. A native of Colombia, Claudia Yepes graduated as a registered nurse from LA County-USC School of Nursing in 1995. She then obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from California State University, Los Angeles in 1998 and her Master in Nursing and Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Certificate from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2000. After working for several years in a community hospital as a registered nurse and at a doctor’s private office as a nurse practitioner, she joined LAUSD nursing services. Since 2006, she has had experience with students of various ages in elementary, middle school, and high school. Last year, she worked as a resource nurse in the East ESC and assisted in the implementation of different dental services in the East ESC. Her goal is to collaborate with Gloria Espinosa to expand the oral health services to the LAUSD students, their families, and the community. Welcome Claudia!


Claudia Yepes demonstrates proper tooth brushing technique during last year's oral health screening at Eastman Elementary School




2015 Sexual Health Summit: Request for Presentation Proposals

Mark your calendars for the 6th Annual Sexual Health Summit to take place on February 12, 2015.  This event is brought to you by the Southern California Sexual Health Collaborative, in partnership with the L.A. Trust and many of our partners.  The planning committee is currently requesting for presentation proposals which are due on October 1, 2014.  Please click here to download a submission form.  With the theme "Sexual Health: Bringing it Back" the committee is interested in presentations and panels which highlight tangible skills and resources that attendees can bring back with them and implement in their own jobs and lives.


Register Now for Walk to School Day! Wednesday, October 8! 

The sponsors of the annual citywide "Walk to School Day" have asked us to help get the word out about this year's event They are now in high-gear to identify schools and recruit volunteer organizers! Your partnering and engagement last year made all the difference in getting 50+ schools to host Walk to School Day 2013 events. This year, let's shoot for 100! The Mayor, Superintendent Deasy, LAPD and LADOT executives will be partnering to celebrate a truly memorable Walk-tober!  For more details click on the logo to the right, or visit



Rick Ellingsen Partner, Chair, 
Health Law Practice
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

The L.A. Trust for Children's Health
Board of Directors
Vice President

Upon Whose Shoulders We Stand:
Richard D. Ellingsen

Named one of the "Best Lawyers in America" in Health Care Law by Best Lawyers for the past 4 years running, Rick is a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine and Chair of their health law practice. He brings more than 25 years' experience representing a wide range of institutional and professional health care providers.
When did you join the Board and what prompted you to serve on the Board?  I joined the Board in 2009 after being invited by Joel Polachek (current Board President), whose enthusiasm for The Trust’s potential to help kids was infectious. This seemed like a terrific opportunity to use my skills and contacts to make a difference for the kids of L.A. Unified.
What is meaningful to you about the work the Trust is doing?  There are so many good people trying to meet the healthcare needs of our kids, and particularly the needs of underserved populations like the students of LA Unified, but they too often fail because the system is too complex and the needs are so great.  The Trust, more than anyone, is coordinating those good people so that together they can truly meet these essential needs and create a future for the kids of LA Unified. 
Looking ahead, what are you most excited about regarding the work of the Trust? The Trust is making a huge difference in the lives of so many kids – a difference that will impact their ability to excel in school and in life.

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The L.A. Trust,  
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