Dr. Etsemaye Agonafer is City’s first for homeless, community health.

Deputy Mayor Named For Homeless Services

Story courtesy Mayor’s Office

Dr. Etsemaye Agonafer

On Feb. 13, Mayor Karen Bass appointed Dr. Etsemaye Agonafer as the City’s first deputy mayor for homelessness and community health.

Dr. Agonafer will focus on improving the coordination and delivery of social, health and behavioral services to homeless people and those at risk of becoming homeless, according to the statement. She will be tasked with building a team and leading efforts on housing and health outcomes for homeless Angelenos.

“We must continue to address this homelessness crisis with urgency and comprehensive strategies that work,” Mayor Bass said in a statement. “We know that health, both physical and behavioral, is a vital part of bringing stability to unhoused Angelenos, and Dr. Agonafer’s diverse experience and deep understanding of healthcare and homelessness in Southern California will be a crucial step forward in addressing the homelessness crisis and supporting those with health challenges.”

Dr. Agonafer began working with Mayor Bass’ office in May 2023, serving as the community health adviser as part of the Office of Housing and Homelessness Solutions. During that time, she supported Bass’ Inside Safe initiatives and designed
a substance-use disorder pilot program for people in the City’s interim housing sites.

According to the Mayor’s Office, Dr. Agonafer has experience in advancing health equity and justice for vulnerable populations because of her work as an internal medicine physician, educator and community researcher. She previously served as an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Health System Science at the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine in Pasadena.

In 2021, she was appointed as a White House Fellow in the Biden Administration and was placed in the Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. In addition to her policy work, Dr. Agonafer provided clinical care for individuals entering and leaving one of the nation’s largest jails, in the Inmate Reception Center at the Los Angeles County Twin Towers Correctional Facility.

She has a Master of science degree in health policy and management from UCLA, where she was also a national clinician scholar. She completed her internal medicine residency and chief residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Dr. Agonafer earned a Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from USC, and a Master of public health and medical degree from the UCLA/Charles R. Drew University PRIME-LA dual-degree program.

The Club welcomes Dr. Agonafer to a cause we believe in, too.