Los Angeles, CA — If there’s one person who cares about her community, it’s Lark Galloway-Gilliam.
As the executive director of Community Health Councils (CHC), a nonprofit community based health advocacy program, Galloway-Gilliam has emerged as a tireless advocate who exposes health disparities in ethnic communities, including the glaring inequitable access to health care, health care coverage and resources for the uninsured.
With obesity, hypertension and stroke reaching endemic proportions in the African American community, Galloway-Gilliam and the CHC press for policy changes that will impact health care in the inner city. “We’ve done a number of assessments that show that this community has a high concentration of liquor and convenience stores that contribute to obesity and health disparities but has far fewer healthy food choices because of a lack of healthy restaurants and grocery stores,” said Galloway-Gilliam.
To call attention to the issue, Galloway-Gilliam recently moderated a seminar entitled the South Los Angeles Equity Scorecard that brought together a myriad number of health officials to discuss the health challenges facing South Los Angeles.
“The Equity Scorecard seminar showed how the lack of healthy food outlets, park and recreational space, and the existence of toxic sites in our community like the oil fields in Baldwin Hills have contributed to the poor health status of this community. More importantly, it showed that a lot of these problems are created when our public officials don’t establish good policies to protect us from these harmful conditions,” she said.