Live & Learn is a California-based, consumer-run and woman-owned social change microenterprise that provides research, technical assistance, and knowledge translation services to behavioral health systems. Live & Learn was founded in 2014 to improve public behavioral health systems by collaborating across stakeholder groups—practitioners, patients, advocates, and researchers—to promote public health and welfare by identifying common concerns and mutual solutions.
Our expertise is the meaningful inclusion of the perspectives of people who use or have used mental health services in conceptualizing and implementing innovative, data-driven public policy. The core of our philosophy is the synthesis of lived experience of struggle with learned expertise: those who have "lived it" through their own experience, and "learned it" through professional training.
On all projects, we partner with other entities and institutions to maximize opportunities for cross-learning and growth. Our clients include community-based programs, state and local governments, and academic institutions. In collaboration with our partners, we conduct concrete projects to generate and disseminate actionable information about workforce development, program sustainability, stakeholder advocacy, and service user experiences.
LAYSHA OSTROW, PHD
Founder & CEO
My research addresses how behavioral health systems implement effective policies, financing mechanisms, and service delivery practices that integrate the perspective of people who use or have used mental health services. I have particular expertise in the role of peer support in social service systems.
I hold a PhD from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and a Master of Public Policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. I completed a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSF. I maintain a position as a Visiting Professional at UCLA's Luskin School of Public Affairs.
In addition to community forums, I have been an invited speaker at events such as the Carter Center Symposium, the Kennedy Forum on Mental Health, the U.S. Senate HELP Committee’s roundtable to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, and the California Health Facilities Financing Authority. In 2016, I was the recipient of the 2016 Carol T. Mowbray Early Career Research Award from the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association.
As a person who experienced mental health systems that are often ineffective at promoting recovery and community inclusion, I am passionate about improving these systems through research that advances the use of evidence-based practices in real-world settings.