The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recently honored a group of USC faculty members who work to protect vulnerable seniors from elder abuse.

Diana Homeier, MD, associate professor of clinical family medicine and director of the geriatric medicine fellowship training program at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and the Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Forensic Center (LACEAFC) were honored for 10 years of service at the Dec. 6 Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting. First District Supervisor Hilda Solis acknowledged the forensic center’s role in working with 12 county and city agencies to create better outcomes in cases of elder abuse.

“Adult Protective Services and the District Attorney’s Office have been especially committed to the success of the forensic center,” Solis said. “Over 1,300 of the most egregious cases of abuse and neglect have been handled at the center, and the team has significantly improved the health outcomes and protections for vulnerable elders and dependent adults.”

The LACEAFC was started in 2006 and the group has worked together, including meetings on a weekly basis, for the past 10 years to make a difference in the discovery and protection of older adults in Los Angeles County. Homeier and her team partner with Adult Protective Services to coordinate an interprofessional response to elder abuse cases. In fact, cases that have come to the center have been ten times more likely to be prosecuted, with evaluation research indicating that once clients are assisted by the center’s team they are less likely to be referred back with allegations of additional abuse.

Kate Wilber, PhD, Mary Pickford Professor at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, was present for the Board of Supervisor’s meeting and spoke about the work done by the LACEAFC.

“This is a unique program that really combats elder abuse. It is one of the few interventions to have been demonstrated to do so,” Wilber said in the meeting. “And as a result, the Los Angeles County model is being replicated throughout the country.”

The group was presented with a scroll from Solis that states, “The quality of life for victims of abuse and neglect is increased through enhanced communication and coordination between Adult Protective Services, law enforcement, and providers able to achieve justice. Therefore, be it resolved, that the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors hereby recognizes The Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Forensic Center for its outstanding services and contributions to the elder and dependent adults of Los Angeles County.”

— Claire Norman