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Los Angeles,California,United States

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Public hospitals have been closing at an alarming rate. Last month, the troubled Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Center in Los Angeles announced it was preparing to reopen after years of quality concerns, but it has lived on the precipice for more than two decades.

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One would think that everything that could possibly be said about lead poisoning has been printed, broadcast and e-mailed around the globe countless times.

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Yolanda Vera oversees health care, public health and mental health issues for Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

She is the former director of LA Health Action, an organization that seeks to expand access to health coverage and care to all Los Angeles County residents through policy and advocacy, coalition-building, linking of existing resources and grant-making to local, community-based organizations. LA Health Action is funded by The California Endowment and is run out of this grant-making foundation's headquarters in Los Angeles.

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Steven (Steve) A. Escoboza is president and CEO of the Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties, a nonprofit trade association representing hospitals and health systems. Escoboza participates in the California Healthcare Association's Executive Management Group, attends meetings of the American Hospital Association Region Nine Policy Board and serves on the Conference of Metropolitan Hospitals Association Board. Locally, Escoboza is active on a number of state and local health-related boards and committees.

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Sheila Hall is director of the HIV/AIDS & Health legal assistance program at the East Bay Community Law Center, the largest provider of free legal services in the East Bay and a nationally recognized poverty law clinic. The center, founded in 1988 by law students at UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law, serves several thousand low-income clients and community groups each year with legal matters directly affecting their income, shelter and health care. The HIV/AIDS & Health practice offers legal services to HIV-positive clients and their families.

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Rufino Dominguez is director of Frente Indigena Oaxaqueno Binacional (FIOB), or the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations, a community-based, nonprofit coalition of indigenous organizations, communities and individuals in Oaxaca, Baja California and California in the United States. The coalition's members include several pockets of Oaxacans in Fresno and Madera counties. Founded in 1991 in Los Angeles, the organization supports indigenous communities with development and educational programs.

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Dr. Roberta G. Williams is a specialist in pediatric cardiology at the USC Keck School of Medicine and Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. Previously, she was the chair of pediatrics at the Keck school and vice president of pediatrics and academic affairs at Childrens Hospital. She earned her B.S. in zoology from Duke University and her medical degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She served as director of the echocardiography laboratory and medical director of the cardiothoracic intensive care service at Boston Children's Hospital.

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The Rev. Monsignor Gregory A. Cox is executive director of Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, one of the largest social service providers in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties since 1919. In more than 50 offices and community centers, the agency rendered over 1 million services each year. Clients come for emergency food and shelter, low-cost before- and after-school childcare, immigration and refugee assistance, psychological services, computer and jobs skills training, and other supportive services.

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