Live & Learn, Inc. is a California-based, consumer-run and woman-owned social enterprise that provides research, technical assistance, and community engagement services to behavioral health system stakeholders. Live & Learn was founded because using science to improve mental health systems requires that the experiences of people who have used mental health services are represented by data.
Live & Learn improves health and social welfare systems by collaborating across stakeholder groups—practitioners, patients, advocates, and researchers—to promote public health by identifying common concerns and mutual solutions. We synthesize lived experience with learned expertise: those who have "lived it" through their own struggles and direct service to communities, and "learned it" through professional training.
On all projects, we partner with community-based programs, consumer groups, governments, and research institutions to maximize capacity, and invest in opportunities for cross-learning and growth. In collaboration with these partners, we conduct projects that generate and disseminate actionable products and information related to research and policy in the areas of workforce development, program implementation/sustainability, patient advocacy, and service user experiences. As a consumer-run business, Live & Learn has a demonstrated commitment to the inclusion of service users and families, which enhances our ability to deliver maximally informed and useful analysis, tools, and services.
LAYSHA OSTROW, PHD
Founder & CEO
My research focuses on the design, implementation, and outcomes of community-based psycho-social interventions that present safe and effective pathways to independence from the mental health system by promoting equity and empowerment. Central to my work is a commitment to exploring policy changes and historical developments in public health systems that cultivate active engagement by stakeholders and community members.
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.