Gregory Stevens, PhD, associate professor of clinical family medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, has joined the newly formed LA “Help Me Grow” Leadership Council. This new county-wide program has been created in partnership with First 5 and L.A. Care to address gaps in childhood development screenings. The group will meet quarterly to give input on the design of the initiative and provide insight.
First 5 LA and L.A. Care recently began contracting researchers, including Stevens, to investigate the gaps for lower-income children in proper developmental screening. As part of his study, he asked physicians if they routinely check children for lags in speech, motor function and overall development.
His findings revealed major gaps in screening, so he recommended the implementation of a program called “Help Me Grow,” which already has proven successful in other communities. The idea behind “Help Me Grow” is to create a centralized system for providers, families and services to connect. Currently, it is hard for doctors to connect patients with resources, so this would create a singular place for physicians, patients and regional centers to implement care plans.
“L.A. County is so large and diverse, with so many moving complex and competing parts, that having one coordinating entity for children, their parents and doctors makes a lot of sense,” Stevens said.
First 5 LA and L.A. Care adopted the recommendation and have committed millions of dollars into implementing the “Help Me Grow” model for Los Angeles County. As part of the leadership council, Stevens will be involved in the process of implementing this new model in order to close the gap in developmental screening.
“Being a part of this council that has brought a lot of passionate voices to the table, means USC will be at the forefront of improving the lives of our county’s youngest residents,” Stevens added.
— Claire Norman