OnCentral | Reporting on health and quality of life in South LA

Will AmazonFresh help South LA residents get fruits and vegetables? For now, the answer is no

AmazonFresh delivery man Tim Wilkie prepares a grocery order for delivery to a residence on Mercer Island, Wash. On Monday, Amazon Fresh launched in select Los Angeles zip codes.
AP Photo/Joe Nicholson

With AmazonFresh, Los Angeles has one more option to get groceries – but for now, it seems South L.A. is one of several areas where the company will not deliver.

AmazonFresh, the online grocery service launched by its e-commerce giant namesake, was only available in Seattle until Monday, when it came to select L.A. zip codes. Customers need to be Amazon Prime members ($79 yearly) and then will pay $299 per year for AmazonFresh.

The concept is simple: L.A. shoppers who log on to Amazon can buy food along with other things purchased from the site, and have them delivered within a day.

The announcement sparked some discussion on social media sites about whether this could be an option for people in areas where supermarkets are scarce – like South L.A. – to get access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The need for more grocery-shopping options in the area is clear. A 2010 report from the non-profit Community Health Councils, Inc. noted the following:


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Domestic violence survivors often don't get the mental health care they need

According to Elena Fernandez, the behavioral health director for St. John's Well Child and Family Center in South Los Angeles, there's "a lot of shame" that comes with being the target of domestic violence.
Hibr/Flickr Creative Commons

Women who have experienced domestic violence often don't get the mental health services they need, according to a new study.

Elena Fernandez, the director of behavioral health at St. John's Well Child and Family Center in South Los Angeles, can name at least one reason why.

"You have to remember that it's very stigmatizing," she said. "There's a lot of shame that comes with disclosing that 'I am a victim of domestic violence.'"

That's what researchers found in their study, which was published in the journal Social Work in Mental Health. In a statement, lead researcher Mansoo Yu said stigma, shame, concerns about privacy, health care costs and a lack of information were all found to play a role in preventing survivors from getting needed mental health services – even if they had access to them.


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Feds drop effort to restrict sale of morning-after pill based on age, point of sale

Emergency contraception like Plan B One-Step is a "way of chipping away" at South L.A.'s high teen pregnancy rates, said Jim Mangia, the president and CEO of St. John's Well Child and Family Center in South Los Angeles.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Obama Administration will cease its efforts to restrict who can buy the morning-after pill, it said on Monday, and will comply with a judge's order to allow girls of any age to buy the emergency contraception without a prescription.

That marks a reversal from its decision on May 1 to appeal the order from U.S. District Judge Edward Korman of New York's Eastern District.

Jim Mangia, the president and CEO of St. John's Well Child and Family Center, has said the morning-after pill is a critical tool for family planning in South Los Angeles:

"With such high rates of teen pregnancy, and all that is involved with that – including an increasing likelihood of a life of poverty, an inability to finish school and develop a career, all of the things that happen with the high teen pregnancy rate – this is a way of chipping away at that," he said.


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Where South LA kids can get a free lunch when school's out this summer

Over the summer months, kids can get free lunches five days a week at participating local parks, community centers and churches.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

School's out for many K-12 students in South L.A., which means they may also be out of a free meal. With almost 80 percent of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) students qualifying for free or reduced price meals, the summer can leave a hole in their daily diet.

So local and federal organizations have launched lunch programs to bridge the three-month gap and provide needy kids with a daily meal. Scroll down to see a list of locations.

The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank began serving lunches on Monday at 86 different locations throughout the city. The food bank gives out about 3,500 meals per day, at local libraries, community centers, Salvation Army locations and summer schools.

“For these kids, the lunch may be their first and last meal of the day,” said Maricelle Ranola, the Food Bank’s nutrition director, in a statement. “When they are enjoying something as simple as an apple – something that people who are not food insecure take for granted – it is an amazing sight.”


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Preventive dental care 'not at the front' of South LA patients' minds

A set of dentures sits in a lab at Watts Health Clinic. Dr. Frazier Moore, the clinic's dental director, said tooth decay is the oral health problem he encounters most, and that by the time patients get to him, the only option left is extraction.
José Martinez/KPCC

Dr. Frazier Moore, the dental director at Watts Health Clinic, isn't trying to fool anybody about the popularity of his trade. He's actually surprisingly honest about it.

"We provide a service no one really wants," he said with a knowing smile. "But eventually they have to come see us."

Moore's department tends to a patient population that's scattered throughout South Los Angeles and in dire need of dental care.

"The most common problem is tooth decay," he said. "We see that from early childhood all the way to adulthood."

Part of the reason is that people don't come in for preventive care. They only come "when they're in pain," explains Moore – for "acute, episodic care."

"The whole thing about preventive dentistry is not really something at the front of patients' mind to get routine care," said William Hobson, the president and CEO of the clinic and Watts Healthcare Corporation. "That's what's needed."


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