Live & Learn, Inc. provides public health research, consulting, and knowledge translation services. Based in California, Live & Learn, Inc. aims to improve the mental health and social welfare of communities across the nation and the globe. Our clients and partners include organizations and institutions in research, advocacy, policy, and direct service who are dedicated to public mental health.
Live & Learn works with public health system stakeholders to conduct applied research and policy projects that have a measurable impact on the mental health of service users, families, and communities and advance social change globally. We specialize in the inclusion of those who have personally struggled with their mental health in these projects.
Live & Learn brings the entrepreneurial spirit to synthesizing lived experience with learned expertise: a passion for seeking out high-influence opportunities that redefine the status quo in behavioral health services and policy.
On all projects, we partner with community-based organizations, governments, and researchers to maximize what we can learn from each other. Most of our collaborations are based on long-term, reciprocal relationships with our partners, with whom power and influence is shared.
In collaboration with these partners, we conduct projects that generate and disseminate actionable information related to workforce development, program implementation/sustainability, and service user experiences.
LAYSHA OSTROW, PHD
Founder & CEO
My research focuses on the design, implementation, and outcomes of community-driven interventions that present safe and effective pathways to independence 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.
In addition to my duties at Live & Learn, Inc., I am an Adjunct Professor in the School of Community and Global Health at Claremont Graduate University. I completed a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSF and 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 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 someone who personally experienced mental health systems that are ineffective at promoting recovery and community inclusion, I am passionate about improving others’ experiences and outcomes through research that advances the use of evidence in real-world settings.
As a Research Assistant with Live & Learn Inc. since 2016, Carina Smith is driven to improve access to heath care and public health services for underserved populations. She has assisted on a variety of grant-funded and technical assistance projects at Live & Learn, including the Guidebook for Peer Respite Self-Evaluation: Practical Steps and Tools and Reclaiming Employment. Working with quantitative as well as qualitative data, she has contributed to in several aspects of research studies such as survey development, data collection and analysis, and writing public reports and peer-reviewed journal articles.
Prior to becoming a Research Assistant with Live & Learn, Inc. Carina completed a bachelor's in Political Economy and German at UC Berkeley in 2016. Her work in public policy is largely motivated by understanding the dynamics of development, particularly in education and health care, with a particular interest in improving access to health care services.
Morgan Pelot has worked as a Research Assistant with Live & Learn, Inc. since 2018. She has worked on the 2018 Peer Respite Essential Features survey, the Psychiatric Medication Discontinuation/Reduction study, and quantitative and qualitative analysis for various consulting projects. Morgan has served as a peer counselor for almost two years at Second Story Respite house in Santa Cruz, CA and has completed peer support trainings including Intentional Peer Support, Cultural Competency, and required ethics trainings. For the prior two years she worked as a Direct Service Professional with adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities, providing job coaching, teaching independent living skills, and education about mental and emotional health.
Morgan graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz with a major in Psychology and Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology and is particularly interested in psychosocial approaches to emotional health and psychotherapy research.