LA County Aging & Disabilities Department Receives Six National Awards

LOS ANGELES, CA – Los Angeles County’s new Aging & Disabilities Department (AD) has earned six Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo). NACo awards honor innovative and effective county government programs that enhance service delivery for LA County residents.

“I’m honored that our department has been recognized with six national awards for our groundbreaking and impactful programs,” said Dr. Laura Trejo, Director of LA County’s Aging & Disabilities Department. “We have been charged by the Board of Supervisors to provide the highest level of service in all of our programs, ensuring that we fully support the lives, dignity, and independence of LA County’s older and dependent adult populations, adults living with a disability, families providing care, and our communities. This recognition from NACo highlights our commitment to innovation and serves as a testament to the effectiveness and the importance of our work.”

The six departmental successes recognized by NACo include:

  • Connections, Health, Aging, and Technology (CHAT): Launched during the COVID-19 pandemic to bridge the digital divide, CHAT enabled AD to distribute 643 digital devices with data plans to older adults and adults with disabilities, supported by digital literacy classes. While sheltering in place, CHAT was critical for these vulnerable populations to stay connected to family, friends, healthcare providers, and more while staying safe.
  • Voice-Activated Devices for Older Adults: AD provided over 1,000 voice-activated devices to older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing the effects of social isolation while making it more convenient for participants to do everyday tasks and stay connected.
  • Great Plates Delivered – Automated Contracting Process: Great Plates Delivered (GPD) enabled older adults to access nutritious and delicious food, lovingly made by local restaurants, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Alongside innovative technology, a new system was developed to streamline the contracting process for GPD service providers, ensuring greater efficiency. This enabled restaurants to survive the worst of the pandemic while protecting older adults from the pangs of hunger. GPD served 8,933 older adults and over five million meals during its operation.
  • Purposeful Aging Los Angeles (PALA) Phase II: PALA is an age-friendly initiative and partnership between the County, the City of Los Angeles, and external stakeholders to prepare the Los Angeles region for a rapidly aging population. Through its partnerships, PALA aligns aging strategies with our services, and advocates for older adults in areas such as connectivity, housing, social isolation, physical and mental health, and emergency preparedness. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, PALA pivoted to the region’s emergency response, elevating strategic partnerships and collaborations which proved instrumental in local COVID-19 response efforts that offered food resources, vaccine distributions, virtual social participation opportunities, and essential health services to keep older adults and their families safe.
  • Expanding Access to COVID-19 Vaccines for Homebound Older Adults: Homebound older adults often experience discrimination and inquietly in healthcare services. In partnership with other agencies, utilizing AD’s unique relationship with this population, this program expanded vaccination services to homebound older adults who trusted AD’s brand. Providing over 947,000 outreach services and more than 13,380 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in client homes, this program was tremendously successful in addressing inequitable healthcare services for homebound older adults.
  • COVID Test Kits for the Community: AD’s Community and Senior Centers recognized that many of our participants, particularly older adults and those with mobility challenges, found it difficult to access traditional testing centers. A proactive approach to help alleviate the spread of COVID-19, this program distributed free, over the counter, self-administered Antigen test kits to 4,102 Center participants. By increasing access to COVID-19 testing and encouraging early detection, the program’s approach aligned with the CDC recommendations for expanding access to COVID-19 testing within vulnerable populations.

Every year, NACo’s Achievement Awards are given in 18 categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice and public safety, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement and more. Launched in 1970, NACo Awards are designed to recognize innovation in county government. Each nominated program is judged on its own merits and not against other applications.

For more information about NACo’s Achievement Awards, click here.