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Meet Talitha Phillips of Claris Health in West LA and Inglewood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Talitha Phillips.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I first learned about Claris Health (Claris) as a college student, desperately in need of support services. When I initially called the office for counseling as I processed my own unintended pregnancy situation, I was overwhelmed by the kindness of the staff and the personal care that I received. Over the next several months, as I attended a support group facilitated at Claris, I witnessed first-hand their relational and life-changing approach to caring for women and serving the greater community of Los Angeles. It ignited a passion in me as I have now served as the CEO at Claris for the past seventeen years.

While the agency has grown tremendously over the past decades, our approach has remained the same. We offer relational, holistic care to those in need. This care is extended regardless of an individual’s situation or outcome. Claris’ approach continues to inspire me, and I’m honored to witness lives impacted in the most tangible and incredible ways. To this day, I have a very strong connection to those served through Claris. I regularly attend their births as a doula, lead support groups, host events, and get to know their families.

This job has become a calling for me, and I believe it also helped grow my heart and my family through the adoption of my youngest child. I am privileged to lead an organization that offers such unique care and values the importance of becoming a community, or better-said family, to those in need.

Has it been a smooth road?
There have been many struggles along the way and lessons learned. Claris experienced seasons of rapid expansion into new and diverse communities across Los Angeles as well as a global outreach that extends as far as Uganda, Africa. Initially, we thought that because our model worked well in one community it would easily translate into a new community. I have learned, however, through successes and failures, the benefit and depth of investing in a new community. I have witnessed the number of years or decades that it takes to fully grasp the needs, challenges, and opportunities of serving each individual community. I now firmly believe that one strict model does not fit every community and that it is critical to remain flexible and to make adjustments that best meet the varying and unique needs presented.

Claris has never fit into one “type” of agency or service model and addresses topics that can appear controversial or polarizing (e.g. reproductive health). Many people and organizations have tried to label Claris. It’s been incredibly challenging as we’ve been misrepresented, misquoted, and have experienced criticism from both sides. I have learned to delicately navigate this and as a result, have created some common ground to unify people around these often difficult topics. As a result, we have built a very culturally and politically diverse group of donors, volunteers and staff who are all united around one common purpose of serving women and strengthening families in Los Angeles.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Claris Health is a non-profit, community-based, Primary Care Clinic in Los Angeles. We offer medical, mental health, and support services that are critical to those at-risk for or facing an unintended pregnancy as well as families with children under the age of five.

The women and men who walk through our doors are empowered to thrive through the ongoing support system that is provided by Claris and its network of over 140 partnering agencies. This support system is based on four pillars that underpin our model of care.

The care we offer is family-centric, we give voice to each member of the family and listen with compassion.  The care we offer encourages true choice, empowering men and women who feel hopeless, forced into decisions they wouldn’t make if only they had support.  The care we offer is client or patient-led, as we invite individuals to explore their own hopes and dreams for their lives.

And, the care we offer is integrated or holistic, bringing empowerment each step of the journey and regardless of the choice or choices made.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Los Angeles is a city of glaring needs. Here are just a few statistics:
* There are just shy of 53,000 homeless people in LA county.
* There are more children in foster care in California than any other state in the country.
The foster care system is often a direct pipeline to homelessness and sex trafficking, and LA is a hub for sex trafficking in the United States.
* 40% of single mother headed households in LA county are living in poverty.

The “solutions” to these problems aren’t easy and require a multi-faceted approach.

Claris’ unique approach to care makes us especially equipped to address the complex needs of women, men and families. For that reason, Claris has thrived in this city and has found an incredible purpose and a calling to serve.

Families in LA need more than just health care. They need counseling, case management, education, access to community resources, and an on-going support system. Our integrated medical, mental health and support services are designed to address a wide variety of needs that families are facing and let them know they are not alone.

Los Angeles may have a lot of need but it also has great potential. We have thousands of non-profits and government agencies aimed at helping the well-being of women and families. We feel grateful to be a part of this community and work within a large network of other, local service agencies.

I see incredible and hopeful potential for our city if we continue to foster a spirit of cooperation between non-profits, governmental agencies, faith communities, and residents. It’s going to take everyone working together to create a brighter future.

Pricing:

  • Suggested lab fees for STD testing/women’s health screenings range between $5-$75
  • Suggested fees for ongoing therapy sessions range between $5-$45
  • All suggested fees are waived for those who are unable to pay

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Noah Mensink Photography, Jenny Leigh Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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