Didi Hirsch Receives $100,000 Grant from Saint John’s Health Center Foundation

For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Kim Kowsky
Director of Communications
Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services



Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services
Receives $100,000 Grant from Saint John’s Health Center Foundation


Funding helps nonprofit mental health agency provide integrated health care to poor families in West Los Angeles


Culver City, Calif. (January 19, 2017) – Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, Southern California’s leading nonprofit mental health agency,  has received a $100,000 grant from  Saint John’s Health Center Foundation Affiliation Endowment Fund. The grant will allow Didi Hirsch to provide integrated health care at its Culver City center for adults with serious mental and physical health conditions who live at or below the poverty line.

“People with serious mental illnesses often avoid routine primary care because it is difficult to schedule appointments and they have felt stigmatized and dismissed by some medical providers. As a result, they often have more medical problems and die up to 25 years earlier than the general population,” says Didi Hirsch’s President/CEO Dr. Kita S. Curry. “This grant will help us provide compassionate, integrated health care to people with mental illness so they can live longer and healthier lives. We are truly grateful to the Saint John’s Health Center Foundation.”

For the past four years, clients served at Didi Hirsch’s headquarters on Sepulveda Boulevard have been able to receive physical health screenings and care from Westside Family Health Center’s mobile medical unit, which visits the clinic’s parking lot once a month. About 75 Didi Hirsch clients each year receive primary health care from the two-room mobile medical unit.

Saint John’s Health Center Foundation Affiliation Endowment Fund grant will pay for a number of innovations that aim to provide more comprehensive healthcare services to a larger number of Didi Hirsch’s clients. Those services include care coordination, expanded healthcare testing and a population health management registry that will help monitor progress and drive quality improvements. It will also allow Didi Hirsch to add a successful wellness program at its headquarters that was developed at its Inglewood center for adults with mental illness.

“We are pleased to make these investments in better health and better lives for so many people in need,” said Carl W. McKinzie, chair of the Affiliation Endowment Fund Advisory Committee. “These funds will do an enormous amount of good in our local communities by increasing access to health care and supportive services for many vulnerable populations.”

In 2012, Didi Hirsch made the bold decision to embed primary care in its community mental health setting, instead of the other way around—a more typical arrangement. In partnership with South Bay Family Health Care and with funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Didi Hirsch launched the Healthy Inglewood Project, which gave clients access to primary care, onsite lab work, nutrition counseling and a fitness program that includes exercise, nutrition education and weight management support. After six months, half of the clients with blood pressure issues that put them at risk of chronic health conditions were no longer in the danger zone while nearly half of those with obesity had lower body mass indices.

Based on what it learned over the past few years, Didi Hirsch modified the program—now known as the Healthy I Am Project—to make it more effective for people with cognitive challenges. Didi Hirsch plans to monitor client outcomes at its Sepulveda center and will introduce the wellness program at its other clinics as well as share it with peer agencies.

About Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services

For nearly 75 years, Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services has been transforming lives by providing quality mental health and substance use disorder services in communities where stigma or poverty limits access. From 11 locations throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties and about 100 schools, Didi Hirsch helps more than 90,000 children and adults each year.

Didi Hirsch’s Suicide Prevention Center was the nation’s first, and is now a leader in helping people who have thought about or attempted suicide, concerned family and friends, and those who are bereaved by a loss. Didi Hirsch’s 24/7 crisis center provides back up services for all of California, and is also one of three in the United States that takes calls in English and Spanish for the National Disaster Distress Helpline, the nation’s safety net during times of disaster. Learn more at www.didihirsch.org.