Social EM

Social Emergency Medicine

Our program is strongly committed to bringing awareness and addressing the social determinants of health that affect our patients’ health and overall quality of life. Many of our patients constitute vulnerable and marginalized populations that are often underserved and disproportionately impacted by the health disparities and health inequities that exist within our country. Below is a list of the many projects initiated by faculty and residents at Harbor-UCLA that focus on diversity, health disparities, health inequity, and social emergency medicine.

  • Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program
  • Trauma Recovery Center
  • Substance Abuse Treatment / MAT services / X-Waiver Efforts
  • Whole Person Care Substance Use Disorder Treatment
  • Immigration / Safe Spaces
  • Asylum Clinic at Harbor
  • Immigration / Asylum work in Tijuana
  • Screening for Social Needs (Chatbot) + Peds ED screening for social needs
  • Homeless Health/Street Medicine Elective
  • Safe Park LA
  • Food Pharmacy / Food Prescribing
  • IDHEAL Teaching Modules
  • Social Determinants of Health Curriculum for Sub-Is
  • Poverty Simulation at Orientation
  • One Degree Resource Connection
  • Hospital Wide Social Determinants Committee
  • Language access

International and Domestic Health Equity (IDHEAL)

This is a UCLA-system wide collaboration that focuses on how academic emergency medicine can play a role in the “promotion of health equity and the elimination of health disparities, locally, nationally and globally.”

Refugee Health Alliance Volunteer Opportunity

We are proud to partner with the Refugee Health Alliance (RHA) to provide healthcare to asylum seekers and other vulnerable populations in Tijuana, Mexico. The Refugee Health Alliance is a nonprofit that was created to provide medical care to the many refugees from Central American countries that are escaping violence and poverty. Many of our residents and those from other departments at Harbor-UCLA regularly volunteer in Tijuana under the guidance of our alumna, Dr. Hannah Janeway, to provide medical care at several refugee shelters found throughout the city.

Violence Intervention Program & Trauma Recovery Center

In June 2019, Harbor-UCLA received a near 2 million dollar grant in order to establish the violence intervention program & Trauma Recovery Center. This grant was given to assist in the development of a multi-agency collaboration institution involving the DHS system, sheriffs, Dept. of Mental Health, Dept. of Public Heath, Substance Abuse & Control Center, Whole Person Care of Los Angeles, SoCal Crossroads, Journey Out, Rainbow Services, Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Human Trafficking, and National Alliance of Mental Illness. All TTA level 1 & 2s will have an automatic page to this program which will alert an on-site social worker. The patient will then become connected to a network of services focused towards affecting the social circumstances that lead to the initial trauma, preventing further injury, and managing the complex medical and social recovery following the hospital stay.

Food Pharmacy

Started in early 2020, the Food Pharmacy is a joint initiative between the Emergency Medicine and Family Medicine departments. We are proud to work with our colleagues to bring fresh produce to our community. The Food Pharmacy partners with several organizations including Food Forward and the American Heart Association to provide farm-fresh fruits and vegetables to our patients and their families. Every Wednesday morning, from 9am to noon, we distribute thousands of pounds of fresh produce to people on a first-come, first-served basis.

We are grateful to provide “prescriptions” for this food as a means of advertising these goodies, but truly the food is available to all who come, prescription or not. We recognize that many of our patients do not have access to fresh, healthy produce as a result of living in urban food deserts, having limited income, and insufficient understanding of nutrition. We hope that by encouraging our patients to access this produce, we are able to extend our ability to improve peoples’ health beyond the walls of our hospital.

For more information about the projects above or social emergency medicine at Harbor-UCLA, please contact the following:

Dr. Natasha Thomas (

To support our social EM programs – Harbor Donation:

There are three ways to make a tax deductible donation to the Emergency Medicine Residents’ Educational Fund at Harbor through our very own 501c3!

1) Simply shop on

Use the URL

On the first visit enter “Harbor Emergency Medical Education Foundation” in the “pick your own charitable organization” box

Shop like you normally would and Amazon will donate 0.5% of everything you purchase to the Resident Education Fund

Please note that you need to use the above URL each visit instead of for the donation, but it’s otherwise the exact same Amazon

2) Use this Donate link to access the PayPal donation site where you may use a credit card or PayPal account to make a donation.

3) You may send a check directly to Dr. Madonna Fernandez-Frackelton: 1000 West Carson Street, Box 21, Torrance, CA 90509. Please make it out to Harbor Emergency Medical Eduction Fund (HEMEF).

Thank you so much for your support!!