PLACE Program
3530 Wilshire Blvd, 8th Floor,
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 351-7825


The way our cities and surroundings are designed can affect how much we exercise, what we eat, and the air that we breathe. As more Angelenos face the threat of chronic conditions like obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and asthma, the PLACE Program (Policies for Livable Active Communities and Environments) works with our partners to create policies and programs that make our neighborhoods and cities healthier, more active places for everyone. This includes streets that promote physical activity, safety, and well-being by accommodating all users of the roadway, and an urban forest that provides shade and climate adaptation and promotes mental and physical well-being.

PLACE works extensively with other County departments – such as Public Works, Regional Planning, and the Chief Sustainability Office -- to improve conditions in County unincorporated communities, where County government is responsible for providing services. PLACE also supports local cities to improve the environmental conditions in which people live.

Meet our team

Jean Armbruster, MA, is the Director of PLACE (Policies for Livable, Active Communities and Environments) at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, a program that fosters policy change in support of safe, healthy, and active environments. The PLACE team collaborates with County partners and community stakeholders to reduce traffic deaths and severe injuries; create more walkable and bikeable communities; improve tree canopy coverage; and promote sustainability. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Armbruster also served as Director of the Department’s Public Health Councils Program, an innovative response to protect low-paid, highly marginalized workers at increased risk for COVID-19. Ms. Armbruster received her undergraduate degree from Colorado College and her Master of Arts from California State University, Long Beach. She loves hiking with her dog in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Dr. Jennifer Lee is a Staff Analyst with the PLACE Program overseeing Safe Streets for Seniors and other Vision Zero projects. Prior to joining the PLACE Program, Dr. Lee worked with Public Health’s Emergency Preparedness and Response Division and community pharmacies to promote and improve equitable vaccine access during the COVID-19 and mpox pandemics. Before moving back to LA at the end of 2019, Jennifer spent a decade abroad with an adventurous career that included working on social determinants of health and health equity at the World Health Organization, managing projects for a startup tech company dedicated to supporting smallholder farmers and overseeing NGOs focused on income generation and community development in Southeast Asia. Jennifer received her doctorate and MPH from UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and a BA in Urban Studies and Planning from UCSD. She is an avid amateur long-distance runner and aspires to be a World Marathon Majors six-star medal finisher.

Debbie Martinez, MA, MBA is a Health Program Analyst with the PLACE Program, overseeing the program’s Vision Zero community engagement efforts such as the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Education Program. Debbie received her Master of Arts in Applied Social Psychology with an emphasis in Health Behavior and Program Evaluation from Claremont Graduate University, and her Master of Business Administration from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Prior to joining PLACE, she worked as a program manager for the National Forum for Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention where she led national initiatives to promote policy change and programming that centered health equity and reducing cardiovascular disease amongst the most vulnerable populations.

Justin Robertson, AICP is a Senior Planner at PLACE. Justin leads PLACE’s community pedestrian planning efforts; and provides active transportation and urban forestry leadership within the department. Justin received his Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree from UCLA, and his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from California State University, Northridge. Prior to PLACE, he worked as an associate planner for the City of Glendale, California; as a community organizer in tobacco policy at Public Health; and as an aide to Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge.

Ferdy Simons-Barrientos, MPH is a Health Program Analyst with the PLACE program, working on the Safe Streets for Seniors Program and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Education Program. Ferdy earned his Master of Public Health with an emphasis in Community Health Promotion from the University of Southern California and his B.S. in Biochemistry from Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Prior to joining the PLACE team, Ferdy worked as a Program Coordinator at AltaMed Health Services with the Workforce Development Department. Ferdy has also worked on various health promotion programs addressing Homelessness in Southeast LA with AltaMed Health Services, Tobacco Control with the Redwood Valley Rancheria Breathe Again Program, and COVID-19 testing and vaccination with CORE Response.
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