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CONGRATULATIONS KENNY

Congratulations to CYS’ very own, Kenneth ‘Kenny’ Green. Kenny has worked with CYS for almost two years as Program Manager for the Community Healing Collaborative (CHC). Kenny came to CYS “with over 27 years' of experience focused on community-based violence intervention, prevention, and youth development.” Just last month, Kenny was honored with an appointment to the Los Angeles County Public Health Commission. Within this role, Kenny will work on a team of five to address “’the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts of society.’ [1]” Kenny’s dedication to the community and the county of Los Angeles has equipped him to succeed as a passionate representative of the people and effective advocate for equitable safety and public health. 



To prepare for this exciting announcement, CYS conducted an interview with Kenny on his new role.   



When asked what excited him most about his role as Public Health Commissioner, he said, “One of my favorite quotes by Desmond Tutu, a Nigerian bishop renowned throughout the world for his work in humanity, is ‘There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they are falling in.’ That quotes lines up exactly with what public health is all about, especially the Public Health Department here in the county of Los Angeles. The World Health Organization determines five health threats to Americans, which all fall under the public health umbrella. The first  health threat is chronic diseases (diabetes, heart attacks, etc.), the second threat is substance abuse and addiction (opioid, fentanyl), the third threat is mental health (suicide is on the rise), the fourth threat is vaccine hesitancy, and the last and final threat is violence (last year, 42,959 people died of just gun violence).”  



When asked how his work in the commission ties into his work within violence-intervention, he explained, “One thing that people often do not understand is that when they think about public health they just think about medicine. The more I learn about the role of public health in Los Angeles County, particularly our Department of Public Health, the more I realize why I accepted the position of commissioner. I didn't know how big a role public health played in our county or society. Like others, I assumed it was just medicine and dealing with health, but if you look down at the list, the Public Health Department in Los Angeles has more than 50 departments within it. Some of them are child medical services, domestic violence, health and aging, violence in the community, women's health, vaccinations, maternity child health, etc. They deal with a wide range of issues that you might not expect to fall under the purview of public health.  



For instance, the Public Health Department has a division that’s called The Community and Fields Services Division. They address vaccination rates, mental health in our kids, and engage with parents and students. They are seeing where the gaps are in their lives, in the lives of our community and bring in resources and programs to address those gaps. The health and well-being of parents and students at schools is a priority of this division. Much of what we do in CYS lines up with what the Public Health Department is. I wanted to be the liaison between the community (both people and organizations) and resources.”   



Finally, when asked if there was anything else he would like to add, Kenny expressed, “I look forward to supporting and working with the Public Health commissioners on making our amazing county of LA healthy, safe, and thriving. There have been some great leaders on the commission prior to me and it is an honor. So, to continue working with her and the rest of the Board of Supervisors in making our community safe, healthy, and thriving will be a big honor.” 



CYS looks forward to seeing where Kenny’s role goes as he brings his leadership skills, programs-expertise, and experience working with families affected by poverty, substance abuse, gangs, incarceration, and domestic violence to the Public Health Commission table. We thank the commission for inviting Kenny to continue his impassioned work towards the health and wellbeing of everyone. 

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