Chairperson Cheryl Tawede Grills, Ph.D.
Commissioner Cheryl Grills, Ph.D. was appointed to the Commission by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas on November 29, 2011.
Dr. Grills is a clinical psychologist by training with a current emphasis in Community Psychology. She is Professor of Psychology at Loyola Marymount University and Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts.
Dr. Grills is the national President of The Association of Black Psychologists and founder and director of Imoyase Community Support Services, a non-profit program evaluation and consulting organization serving community-based organizations and foundations around the country. Among the honors and awards she has received is her election in 2004 to the title of "Distinguished Psychologist" by the Association of Black Psychologists (the association's highest honor).
Dr. Grills is a graduate of Yale University and UCLA. Her research interests, publications and current projects include African-centered models of treatment engagement with African Americans; substance abuse prevention and treatment, community psychology; community mental health, prevention, and the provision of action research and program evaluation services to community based organizations engaged in social action, community change and prevention on a host of issues including the those related to public policy and environmental change strategies to address childhood obesity in communities of color, education reform, health care, slum housing, homelessness, the prison industrial complex, reentry reduction of recidivism from incarceration for African American women, culturally based approaches to mentoring, and issues related to disproportionality in child welfare and juvenile justice.
Dr. Grills consults nationally on a number of issues particularly regarding matters of cultural and social competence, multiculturalism and Afrocentric interventions. She has also studied under traditional medical practitioners in Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal and is a registered member of the Ghana National Association of Traditional Healers.
Commissioner Susan Burton was appointed to the Commission by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas on May 29, 2012.
Ms. Burton is the founder of A New Way of Life Reentry Project, a grassroots, nonprofit organization founded in 1998, to help women and girls break the cycle of entrapment in the criminal justice system and lead healthy and satisfying lives.
Commissioner Burton was formerly incarcerated; trapped in the criminal justice system for nearly two decades before finding freedom and sobriety in 1997. She has since made it her life’s mission to help other women adversely affected by the problems of incarceration and addiction by providing them with safety, support, and a second chance. For her efforts, she was named a CNN Top Ten Hero for 2010. Commissioner Burton was also awarded the prestigious Citizen Activist Award from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
In July 2012 Commissioner Burton was appointed by 2nd District Supervisor, Mark Ridley Thomas, to be a member of the Los Angeles County Sybil Brand Commission for Institutional Inspections, in recognition of her insight and leadership.